Dear Someone

Warning: another rant and bitter post

Dear Someone,

Allow me to conceal your identity by calling you “colleague.” I don’t know if you have something against my existence. I tried my best recalling instances that perhaps caused a rub between us. Our offices were never intertwined and become collaborated to a certain task. Hence, I can never think of a situation that have sparked a silent and cold war between us.

However, you seem to take some unexplained revenge on me through Facebook. First and foremost, I’m not a celebrity or an actress that demands for attention. So don’t bother to give me those opportunities. Sorry but I’d like to be more frank this time. Please stop taking those stolen shots of my huge face, uploading them in Facebook, tagging me and receiving those thousands of hits. The next morning, I would suddenly encounter unexplained smirks, murmurs, giggles and teases from some colleagues as I am approaching their way. @$&/!

There are a hundred more beautiful faces at the workplace who are willing to have their pictures taken. Please divert your attention to them. They badly needed you.

You see, my self confidence has become a scarce resource these days. If it is really silent revenge that you want, then I guess you are succeeding. Seeing stolen pictures of myself with my mouth wide open, closed eyes and crooked face, what more could I ask for?

Please, leave me some peace.

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I made a decision

I decided to stop my drama over my freelance clients here. I sought some advices from a few friends and so far, I received confusing and contradicting suggestions. ūüėÄ One friend told me to confront and personally deal with the clients. Another friend was supportive of my decision to just leave a discreet message to them through email or Facebook.¬† But at the end of the day however, no matter what approach I chose to do, I will appear as the antagonist who demands for her humble professional fee. This is the last thing I wanted to do in my entire life. I don’t want to play the role of the antagonist and begging someone to pay his debt. This is also the main reason why I never accepted jobs in call centers and collection groups. It’s not that I underestimate or belittle the job. My personality is not just fitted to become demanding and imposing.

With this experience, I have made some ironic and painful realizations about life too. You see, being righteous has its own consequences too. While I did my job to the best of my ability, destiny gave me a hard time to be repaid. Oh life!

I will be out of town for some days. Hopefully when I return to Manila, my decision to personally email my “catch me if you can” clients” will not be another regretful mistake.

Too much cheese leads to this disease

My friends will surely disown me after reading this post.  But right now, the hopeless romantic in me is dying in the heaven of cheesiness.  The one to blame for my hormonal imbalance  is the shallow drama series, My Princess.

And LET ME EMPHASIZE, I’m referring to the Korean¬†series that stars my¬†ultimate Asian girl crush, ¬†Kim Tae Hee.

Some might have mistaken my addiction to the local soap opera filmed in Bhutan. Oh please, I’m way too old for that.

The series was aired in a local channel last year but I managed to watch I think one or two short episodes. Either the air time of the series was in the afternoon or before the late night news, I can’t remember. I think I saw the teaser once¬†and my attention was caught because of Kim Tae Hee. Back then, my mind was perhaps too preoccupied to accommodate another addiction. When a blog¬†friend shared how her own hopeless romantic sentiments sparked up after watching My Princess, it felt contagious so here I am getting infected and plagued by my own cheesiness.

As much as I wanted to purchase a DVD compilation, my DVD player at home finally laid to ¬†rest and my illegal source of drama series was relocated somewhere out there.¬† ūüėÄ Last resort,¬†I patiently watched the equally illegal fragmented clips in the ever deep archive of You Tube.

Before I started my current freelance works, a fast internet connection, my struggling netbook and You Tube became my regular weeknights to dawn companions. I would be up until 2 am patiently searching for the episodes in clips.

And among the many episodes I patiently waited to load, this one triggered my hopeless romantic and cheesiness hormones.

Dear God,

If you will give me my own¬†Mr. P.,¬† I can let go of those clients who both¬†broke my heart and pocket.¬†Do we have a deal? ūüėÄ

Diane

Okay friends,¬†I’m ready.¬†Disown me¬†until¬†the cheesiness in my blood subsides.

UPDATE: My phone beeped and here’s the message:

“Friendship, tulog lang yan. Lilipas din yan.”

Writing warming up!

Freelance works have always been a part of my long prayers. Since I only report¬†to¬†work from¬†Mondays to Fridays, I know my lazy¬†self can still accommodate¬†jobs that can¬†augment my¬†very slim and shy bank account. ūüėÄ

My “thick faced” clients caused me some¬†verbal diarrhea in my previous post. Unfortunately, their silence¬†is continuously feeding my system agitations, stress¬†that will¬†soon¬†mutate to¬†cancer cells. If by chance they will pay me, I know the compensation is not even enough to render one chemotherapy session. Oh dear God, please don’t allow.

I won’t rant anymore about¬†them.¬†When I started writing this post, my original intention was to share a current freelance work that has been placing me to a challenge.¬† The research work I’m venturing thrives outside my comfort zone. Honestly, I had tons of¬† reluctance¬†before accepting the job.¬†But the the pending yet¬†unfiled estafa case ūüėÄ and the idea that opportunities only knock once convinced me to render¬†my sweetest yes.¬†¬†

It was all happiness when two works came in a row. Writing, learning and money! Money! Money! It felt like heaven when I was able to seal the deal. However, the happiness only settled for a while. When I started receiving only two hours of sleep, bloated eyes, pimples, splatter of unlimited facial oiliness, stress eating and weight gain, what the hell am I doing with myself?

I know I don’t have the right to complain because I’m paid or should I say, I will hopefully be paid. Oh please, not another estafa case again. I’m actually happy and thankful deep inside. At the end of the day, I know the reason why they chose me is because they believe in my capability. The idea that people see me as someone who can save them from the hell of writing a paper already flatters me.¬†¬†

I’m writing this post within office hours and I know! I’m guilty of stealing hours and resources from my full time job.¬†To my defense, my job entails me to write anything that the boss says.¬†¬†Let’s just say that this is part of my daily writing exercise. I need to warm up¬† to¬†get things¬†going and I’m using this blog as my excerise machine. ūüėÄ

Now that I have perked up¬†my writing senses, I should start the real thing. I’d better be¬†going. Wait, my watch says 11:51 am. Oh well,¬†I’ll be off for¬†lunch in a while. ūüėÄ See you later real work!

The dignified loser

When I was taking my business law back in the Graduate School, our professor introduced me to the term, industrial partner. As defined, the industrial partner is a member of a company whose contribution evolves only on services, instead of money and property.¬†He told us that in cases when the officers of the company will face¬†legal monetary charges (pardon the inappropriate term), the industrial partner becomes free¬†from any liability. This can be explained by the nature of the industrial partner’s contribution. Any service rendered can never be returned or recovered.

This rationale of the industrial partner made me felt a slight punch on my face. The idea is people who are engaged in services are more prone to end up in a worst off position. Considering my personal experience, allow me to explain things.

Those who know me well or were at least reading my previous posts are aware that I accept freelance works in the form of research writing and consultation. What I earn from my freelance work is just enough to fatten my very slim savings account, a pair of shoes or a well deserved monetary gift for my parents. I started gaining clients after I finished my MBA and when I started teaching. In one way or another, I was able to establish some credibility from teaching and perhaps from the words of my previous clients as well.

As much as I love the tasks involved in every freelance job, another aspect of the job I should equally love are my clients. I may not be the best in the field but I exert all means to serve them well and foster the best professional¬†relationship.¬† I know¬†that my¬†clients are¬†the ¬†lifeblood of my freelance work,¬†but they are never my God. I respect¬†each client but I don’t go to the extent of worshiping them. If worst comes to worst, (which almost but never happened to me yet) I’ll play it by “part.”¬†I’ll finish my part and after this, let’s forever part ways.

I respect my clients regardless of who they are. Whether the client is older or younger than me, I treat them equally. I do the job and submit everything before our agreed deadline. Once the work is done, this is where a critical issue comes in.

When the service provider completes the task, it’s but proper that he is compensated. It’s a business¬†principle that is assumed to be known by everyone. Assumed!¬† It pains me to accept that such word sometimes complicates the situation. When something is only assumed, should we not expect that it is bound to happen all the time?

Late last year, one of my relatives approached me to assist the husband’s thesis. Filipino culture dictates that we are relatives, I didn’t present my usual professional fee. But since they insisted and even asked for my bank account number, I told them the modest amount I charge.¬† I never expected to be paid but here’s the catch, the husband promised to deposit payment to my bank account. Months passed, I never heard any word from the wife and husband again. I saw them in a recent family reunion and to their avail, they ignored my presence and¬†rendered that classic¬†“dedmatology” (ignore a person) attitude.

Setting aside the monetary issue, my point is when you promised something, DO IT instead of BRAGGING IT. I also believe that fulfilling promises¬†qualifies as a business principle.¬† You don’t even need to enroll to a prestigious Catholic university to learn that.

Recently, I was happy to accept another set of research writing jobs. Though we have very limited time to finish everything, God knows how many hours of sleep I forgo to serve them well. I told them my rate, they agreed, I made the job and here I am left hanging in the tree of uncertainty.

Being greedy for money is the last thing I want people to remember me. Whenever I accept freelance jobs, I tell them my rate and the extent of services I can render for them. Other than that, I leave everything to the client’s will. I don’t¬†even implement the exact¬†terms of payment. My principle is plain and simple, a service rendered deserves due and proper compensation. Once I’m done with the job, settle your responsibility too. It makes no difference in getting a hair cut. Once the stylist is done, you pay to the cashier and leave. Business is closed.¬†Everything is mutual and equal. You don’t run away from a salon, spa or¬†a restaurant. You wouldn’t want to be called as a shameless swindler, especially in front of other people. Service rendered, payment received. Simple yet it appears to¬†become complicated¬†for some clients.

Whenever a client decides to leave me after the work, I have nothing to held on. Since I’m doing everything for freelance, I don’ t usually implement contracts and everything. I treat every client as a decent and honorable professional. Hence, being the educated people they are, I assume they know how to carry out their responsibility. But the sad part is,¬† not all¬† educated clients are honorable enough to abide¬† with professional agreements.¬† When a client refuses to adhere with the principle of honor and respect, what can I do? If client has¬†the shameless balls to dishonor, deceive and enslave me, what can I do?¬†Can I retrieve my services? Can I tell client to return my report? What¬†will I do with the report anyway?

I guess this is one thing I have to bear with my job. Part of being a service provider is the chance of becoming oppressed by an educated acting uneducated client. At the end of the day, though I ended up as the worst off slave, I know I did my part. I can walk away with my head help up high because I know that I’m the dignified loser.

Life after “bracing” myself

I waited for this day for four years.

Four years ago, I availed of the tooth filling benefit at the workplace. In the course of the procedure, the dentist told me that I’m prone to experience a locked jaw. In my mind, my reaction was “what was that?” The dentist told me that the constant sound made by my jaw bones every time I open my mouth signals that I need further treatment.

My initial move was to google and self educate. I later learned that there is a possibility that a person can’t anymore close his mouth as a result of a joint disorder. Whew, that frightened me to death! What if that happened to me in the middle of my class, meeting, or anywhere.

I went to another dentist and consulted my case. This time the dentist told me that my case will be better treated by a TMJ specialist. Another encounter with a nosebleeding term… What the hell is a TMJ specialist?

I went to my cousin’s house to relate my condition. My cousin is not a dentist nor a TMJ specialist but she has been our reliable initial consultant for our health issues. We both couldn’t understand my condition but she knew someone who is a TMJ specialist. This started my years of journey with my metal wires or commonly known as braces.

In an August holiday four years ago, it was my first time to see a TMJ specialist. I¬†went to¬†Dra. Lovi’s clinic to finally clear things about my condition. And there, I was surprised with the amount of money I needed to raise to treat my condition.

The treatment I have to face consisted of three stages, the TMJ treatment, orthodontics (braces) and the finishing treatment. God knows how much I prayed and begged for freelance jobs to finance my ever expensive problem.

During the TMJ treatment, I was asked to wear this plastic rubber appliance

I have to wear this appliance at least one hour a day and during my entire sleep. Dra. Lovi told me that this device is designed to align my upper and lower jaws.

It may not look intimidating but God knows the agony I have to endure whenever I wear this. I can’t open my mouth whenever I’m wearing this piece of almost eternal sacrifice. Imagine the discomfort of never opening your mouth for a hell of 1 hour and sticking the device to one position. Though the appliance is made of a soft plastic rubberlike material, it still pained like hell because it forces my upper and lower jaws to be positioned in one direction.

After eight months, I retired this appliance and I was finally installed with the metal wires or braces. Did it hurt like hell too? The braces of course hurt, but it wasn’t painful the way I expected it.

Things remained the same on the first day I wore my braces. The only discomfort I had was like having the feeling of beads attached to each of my tooth. The pain came two to three days later. If eating involves any intensity of biting, my lower molar will release a sudden painful sensation. If I bite the thinnest piece of potato chips or even those deep fried french fries, the agonizing pain will rise and soon torture my entire mouth.

Aside from the toothy pain, how can I forget sharp and rough edges of the brackets. Mouth Sores were erupting each day and that tortured me to the fullest. Some of these evil eruptions were impeding my speech and even the way I chew my food.

I guess everything settled down after three weeks. I continued with my monthly consultations and after spending around Php 50,000, Dra. Lovi had the heart to cut my monthly dues.

I had free consultations for 6 months and that gave me a huge financial relief. The 6 months went so fast and here I am writing this post.

On Tuesday, (hopefully) I’m making my last payment to Dra. Lovi for the last phase of my treatment. My braces are off and I will soon wear the newest technology in dentistry, the invisalign.

Hopefully, I’ll finish the entire treatment within a month or two. I’m looking forward on the day I can finally smile without those dental impediments again.

Here’s my “braced” journey in pictures.

Warning: Yucky teeth ahead

Now you are free to vomit! I know I have just ruined your appetite.

and finally

will meet my invisalign soon.