During my first few months at work, a previous neighbor approached me as I was waiting for an FX taxi bound to the train station. She wanted to verify if I was already working. When I said yes, she made the expected series of questions. Where I work? I told her the name of the school that serves as my employer. What I do? She never allowed me to answer. She assumed and mentioned, so you work as the school’s cashier?
In a way, I felt insulted. But allow me to clarify things first. I felt insulted not because I’m belittling my fellow hard working employees, who are performing the job of a cashier. Heaven knows the risk and meticulousness required to a cashier in any institution. What rather offended me is the manner she addressed her assumption. The tone of her words sounded a great belittlement for someone who spent four years of sleepless sacrifice in college. She made me feel affronted.
However, deeper analysis of the situation made me realize that my agitation is partly my fault. Why? I used to wear an all white blouse and blue pants as my office uniform. With my poor posture and Plain Jane, I realized that I should still be thankful because I wasn’t mistaken for another person. Blame it on my used-to-be frail built, pale face and poor posture. I don’t look sophisticated and dignified for my real job position.
My neighbor’s misconception of my real work left me wondering how my relatives and my immediate family view the career I chose to take. Do they really know in the first place what I do for a living?
It later dawned me that even my mother cannot exactly figure out my line of work. I used to work as a Researcher and currently, the Planning Officer of the school. My mother tells everyone that I’m an analyst. According to her, I analyze numbers and write. Truth is, she is on the right track. In real life however, my life as a Researcher extends beyond those tasks. I will no longer write about my life as a Researcher. Let my old post about my life in Research explain everything.
After working for Research, I was transferred to the Planning Office. This time, I’m sure that my mother is totally clueless as to what I do. All she knows is that I work in one of the school’s offices.
Pointing out these situations enabled me to discover the technicality and the rarely understood nature of my work. My work at the Planning Office is not as easy to present like the careers of the accountants, doctors and teachers. My line of career is something that only the members of the management committee and a few colleagues could understand. Allow me to explain my current job, the simplest way I could.
I work for the Planning office. For those who could still recall their Management 101 in college, we were oriented that any organization possesses the following functions; Planning, Organizing, Leading, Implementing, Controlling and Evaluation. Obviously, our office performs in the first phase of the management process. We plan! We help offices and the management draft their objectives. However, we don’t just facilitate the planning activity itself. Our real objective is to help every department draft and organize programs and activities that will be supportive and consistent with the institution’s mission and vision. Basing from my experience, a common mistake of offices is the drafting of activities that later end up as useless and unproductive efforts for the entire institution. Some offices create programs for the benefit of beautifying their accomplishment reports. Little do they know, the programs are leading the organization to nowhere.
Our office also directly reports to the institution’s President. Hence, much of our assignments are directly commanded by the President. If he wants a project proposal for a new business venture, cost benefit analysis documentation to his executive report, everything is handled by our office.
I’ve been reporting for the Planning Office for two years. My few years still makes me feel that I’m new to the department. Why? It’s because of the unpredictable tasks and assignments given to us. You see, we do what the Presidents wants. In effect, we don’t experience routine tasks. Life as a Planning Officer meant waiting and bracing myself of the unexpected and later make or break the President’s respect.
A few weeks ago, one of my cousins was surprised to know that I still report for work during the summer vacation. Since we don’t have enrollees, she was asking what we do without the students. Turns out, she thought that I work for the Registrar’s Office. Worst is that I discovered that she thought that schools only have two offices, Registrar and Finance. Phew! And no, I didn’t explain and lecture the details of my real job. I simply told her that I directly report to the Office of the President. I don’t directly serve students so I still have work even without them. To which she said, ah secretary ka? (So you work as a secretary?) And I just gave up…