See Lessons, Not Failures
“Failure should not weaken us, rather, should make us see lessons to make us rise even bolder and wiser. Most world billionaires coped with hundreds of rejections and failures before they finally succeeded. There is no shortcut to success.”
In 2012, Shena Manaig joined QSS as a Waitress at Le Gourmet Restaurant in Souq Waqif. Shortly after two years, she had to go back to the Philippines to deal with a very urgent personal issue.
In 2015, she re-joined as a Cashier in QSS’ cafeteria and event project at the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, now known as the University of Doha for Science and Technology. Her education and career back in the Philippines made her stand out among her colleagues. This led to her promotion to Supervisor, until later on, to Location Manager after the former in-charge resigned and left.
Shena has never left UDST since then which made her naturally build pleasant business relations with the faculty, VIPs, students, and executives in the university, other than her natural charisma that makes them feel at ease dealing with her.
She is technically suitable for the role, both in terms of operational and administrative aspects. She takes staff appraisal seriously and talks to each of her subordinates in order to evaluate them accurately. She is capable of training her staff on food safety standards, standard operating procedures, wastage control and customer service. Shena is one of those adequately trained and naturally talented employees in QSS who can be groomed to be in charge of bigger catering and event operations.
How was your life back home?
Life back home was difficult that even those who were employed were financially challenged. Saving money was not an option because cost of commodities increased owing to inflation. I could easily find a position in the operations as a graduate of Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management, but the salary would not be enough to support my family.
Before QSS, which career were you pursuing back home?
I was given the opportunity to work as a Guest Attendant at Days Hotel after finishing my on-the-job training. It was an easy decision to make because we needed an income. That, however, prevented me from going on until the end of my third year, thus, I earned an Associate Degree as my diploma instead.
In addition to receiving a pay when I started as a Guest Attendant, I also learned and gained practical experience in the customer service industry. At that young age, I learned that one's willingness to learn and grow is essential for establishing a successful career.
I searched for a greener pasture and craved for new things to learn. My second job was at First Sumiden Circuits, Inc. as a Final Visual Inspector.
What was your driving force to leave your country and work abroad?
I had friends and neighbors who earned good money working abroad. I was aware that no matter how hard I worked back home, I could not easily get a better pay. I did not just want my family to survive another day. I needed to save money for the future.
To work overseas was a sacrifice being away from my family. I braved taking that sacrifice.
Also, I wanted to challenge myself by learning and doing more. I was at the peak of my prime and I didn’t want to let time pass without me advancing and bettering myself. I was eager to step out of my comfort zone.
Apart from achieving financial security, I knew what I desired and needed, and I was constantly craving for a new environment and experiences. I was always amazed by new things.
Even now, I have no regrets working abroad and in fact, I remain grateful for the opportunity.
How did you land a job in Qatar Star Services (QSS)
My uncle who used to work in QSS came to visit me during a feast celebration in my hometown. He asked me if I was interested to apply for a job. I went to the office of the recruitment agency, John Paul See (JPS) where I had an interview and was immediately hired for the post.
In 2012, I flew out of my country to work as a Waitress in Le Gourmet Restaurant. I was having fun at work and exploring new things in the country. I knew already where I was headed as my vision was clear. Unfortunately, I had to return to the Philippines in as little as two years due to a very urgent personal matter.
That was a huge setback for me. I learned that no matter how clear your goals may be, occasionally, something could come up to force you to adjust your plans. For the first time in my life, I was lost.
However, as the mantra says, THE COMEBACK IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE SETBACK.
In 2015, I personally contacted Ms. Wilma Curato, QSS’ HR Manager and requested if I could re-join QSS. Luckily, she accepted my request and was re-hired as a Cashier at QSS’ cafeteria and event project at the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar.
As a result of my comeback, I was given greater opportunities after being promoted from Head Cashier to Supervisor. I did not want to lose the second chance that QSS extended to me. I displayed my strengths in service operations, customer handling, and organizing events. I absorbed all the technical knowledge from the in-house trainings being conducted for Supervisors such as quality and safety standards, waste control, cost management, menu modification while balancing between the budget and customer satisfaction, and people management. I made my location manager feel comfortable delegating bigger tasks to me, that when she resigned, she recommended me as her replacement.
This promotion marked a significant turning point in my professional career and exposed me to working directly with university VIPs, executives, professors, students, and customers. As a result, it helped me become well rounded and confident.
And in 2022, the University of Doha for Science and Technology (formerly CNAQ) proved their trust and confidence in QSS once again when we received a Letter of Award for being hailed as the Service Provider for Food Services and Campus Restaurant Management and Operations, under my direct day to day supervision and the direction of our Executive Chef, Mahmoud Alsaghbini.
How did QSS change your life?
I improved my skills and abilities because of QSS. I experienced working with people of various racial backgrounds which taught me various things. Every day, the more I communicate with my staff and the more individuals I meet, the better I understand people’s feelings and reasons for their action, which increased my capacity for maturity and empathy.
QSS had a huge contribution to me financially and morally. Empathy opened my eyes and ears to understand what people go through, while my compassion opened my heart to share my blessings to those in need. Thank God, QSS compensates me in a way that allows me to sustain my family and support my humble charitable deed. During the rise of the global pandemic and Taal Volcano eruption in our own place, I had the opportunity to support the elderly orphanage in my village by sharing basic necessities. I have the heart for the elderly having been nurtured by my devoted, late grandparents. By helping senior citizens, I am able to pay my grandparents back.
Finally, over the course of my nine years of service in QSS, I have learned to be grateful for all the opportunities and experiences that I have received from my superiors, colleagues, and subordinates. Being grateful is the same as being humble. Even at the pinnacle of our careers, humility keeps us grounded that despite our failures, we will have enough humility to pick ourselves up and try again.
What lessons can you impart to others who are striving to establish their own success story?
There is hope while we live so we should never give up. This sounds easier said than done but come to think of it, how do we lose hope when we see an old man in the street carrying a container full of stuffs to sell under the heat of the sun? Or a woman on a wheelchair who comes to work happy every day? These people are great examples of hope and inspiration that no matter the situation, we should naturally remember that there is always a way.
Failure should not weaken us, rather, should make us see lessons to make us rise even bolder and wiser. Most world billionaires coped with hundreds of rejections and failures before they finally succeeded. There is no short cut to success.
Believe in yourself. If you can’t trust yourself enough, how can you expect others to be confident about you?
What continues to inspire you to keep aiming for a better life?
My family, of course, especially now that I have two kids. For as long as I'm alive, I will do everything in my power to ensure that they have everything they need to be happy and comfortable. I only want the best for them. This means that in order to see them grow, I am responsible to keep myself healthy and sound.
I now define a good life as one that makes me feel contented. God has given me two wonderful children as well as a supportive and responsible husband. We may be living what seems to be a simple life but this life is what motivates me to get out of bed each morning.