July 7, 2023
Former Tzu Chi scholars participate in July 1 Mock Interview
By Joy Rojas
At the Mock Interview and Career Talk organized on July 1 for graduating Tzu Chi scholars at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, the 50 participants were a bundle of nerves.
Anxious at the thought of rehearsing for a job interview with guest executives from some of the top corporations in the country, they worried too about life after leaving the comforts and familiarity of school. Would they find a job, earn enough to improve their status in life, fit in with more experienced employees?
“For new hires, we always look at a person’s personality,” says Jhoy Sarmiento, a senior finance manager at Coins.ph. “I don’t expect them to have the experience and capacity of someone who has already worked. The ability to accept challenges, show compassion, and have the heart for the job are important qualities we look for in a new hire.”
“Practice, practice, practice [your mock interview]. Don’t be too sad when you get rejected,” adds Jennielyn “Jeng” de Dios, who rejoins Unilever after working with other major multinational companies. “There are a lot of options, so keep practicing.”
Both guest interviewers in the Mock Interview session, Jhoy and Jeng are former Tzu Chi scholars who credit their breaks and blessings in life to Tzu Chi’s holistic approach to education.
When their father’s earnings as a carpenter wasn’t enough to cover the tuition of one college student, let alone two, Jhoy and her twin sister Jennie moved from their home in Bataan to Manila to apply for scholarships. At the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), their grades qualified them for Tzu Chi scholarships. From 2006 to 2009, the twins received financial support to complete their respective degrees in BS Accountancy.
Today, Jennie works abroad, while Jhoy’s work for Coins.ph allows her to serve unbanked provinces and people through an online platform that gives consumers easy access to various banking and digital payment services.
If PUP trained them to become certified public accountants, Tzu Chi’s teachings molded their character. “Aside from the monetary help, the most important help that I got from Tzu Chi was the development of self, my confidence,” says Jhoy, who visited abandoned seniors in old folks’ homes and participated in Tzu Chi’s bazaars and recycling initiatives. “In Tzu Chi’s culture, you don’t just study for yourself; you learn values like filial piety and giving back.”
Years later, those lessons continue to impact her life. With her salary, she’s not only able to travel; she now has the means to look after her parents’ comfort, security, and health.
Impressed by Tzu Chi volunteers’ enthusiasm to serve in relief operations when she was a scholar, she too makes time to give back to the foundation that gave her and Jennie a chance to make something of themselves.
“I wouldn’t be here without Tzu Chi,” she says. “Helping in any way I can is my way of saying ‘thank you’ and telling the volunteers and the donors that they didn’t make a mistake in choosing to support me.”
Even as a young girl, Jeng was determined to rise above the circumstances of her less-than-ideal life. She took on parttime jobs as a tutor and service crew member of a fast-food joint, and sought out scholarships to fund her education.
A Tzu Chi scholarship covered her BS Accountancy degree in PUP from 2005 to 2008. After graduation, she made her mark as a finance professional of major multinational corporations.
Thus began a life she never imagined possible. She lived and worked in Singapore for close to nine years, interacting with colleagues of different nationalities on a daily basis. “It really made me step out of my comfort zone,” she says. “I was very shy, but this opportunity exposed me to so many people and their ways of life. It made me grow as a person.”
For all that she achieved, Jeng remains grounded, thanks largely to the monthly Values Enhancement Program (VEP) she attended for three years as a Tzu Chi scholar. A precursor to Tzu Chi’s Humanities class, the VEP instilled core values that shaped Jeng into the person she is today.
Moved in particular by Master Cheng Yen’s call to respect one’s parents, she took filial piety to heart and rebuilt her relationship with her mother and father. The daughter who admittedly didn’t have a happy childhood now spends quality time with her folks, treating them to restaurants and taking them out on trips.
Like Jhoy, Jeng is happy to reciprocate Tzu Chi’s generosity by participating in events where she can be of help to others. “I appreciate it and I really want to join,” she enthuses. “Thank you to the Tzu Chi family. May you be a blessing to more people.”