Emotionally Fragile, please handle with care

I just need two more days to report for work. This is a rare privilege I own because yours truly works for a school. This is my favourite time of the year. But for 2013, it seems not. Maybe I’ve been so used to this pattern or routine. Hence, the excitement and happiness are no longer the same. I’m not feeling the same Christmas atmosphere back when I was starting to work. Oh well, maybe this is still an aftermath of my previous post.

While everyone here is no longer in the mood to work, I’m going against the tide. I have other plans. I want to finish checking the endless papers to be edited, email them to my dearest college kiddies and check whatever is left for me to accomplish in my office job.

I still appear unwell. I’m coping. I’m trying to get back on track. I was almost there not until what happened yesterday. Before I left for work, someone unintentionally offended me.  Of all people, why him? I sure have my own fault. I’m silently sensitive and emotionally fragile these days. But with my current state now, I just don’t need those words.

I said my piece. I’m getting back to work.

The Assurance

The birthday is finally over. I officially reached the age I’m dreading for the longest time. I’m now 30 … (Insert a sad, sluggish and weak face here)

When 2013 entered, I had my list of how to celebrate my …. 30th.  (My mind and heart are still having a difficult time admitting that age.)  I wanted an out-of-town getaway with my family, few friends or even on my own. I wanted to visit Nuvali to experience that man made lake, try a fancy restaurant and check the outlet shops around.  After a day in Nuvali, I wanted a weekend stay in Tagaytay. I’ve been to Tagaytay quite a few times and all I had are pleasant memories. I love the lush greenery, cool temperature I don’t encounter in the city, and the relaxing view of the Taal Volcano. If I only I have the resources, I will surely acquire a real estate property in Tagaytay. I wanted my own  sanctuary in the silent and peaceful area of Tagaytay.

Unfortunately, life or probably my laziness had other plans. Nothing in my list happened. Even my kid-at-heart dream of having a cake and birthday candle didn’t happen. Call me shallow but this gave me silent tears. The last time I had a real birthday cake was when I turned 18. After the much awaited birthday song, I uttered my wish, blew the candle, and I was showered with hugs and kisses from my family and a few friends. This never happened again.

On the last working day before my birthday, I treated my workplace friends for dinner. It was a birthday tradition I intend to keep. This time however, I was given an unexpected surprise. I underestimated my budget. I was happy with my friends but on the way home, my knees started to weaken because of unexpected bill. Nevertheless, I don’t have regrets. I blame my stupidity and poor budgeting skills.

A day before my birthday, I felt unwell. I had recurring colds, surprise dysmenorrhea, severe headache and signs of an upcoming fever. My patience was dwindling and my irritation hormones were escalating. Come Sunday, I hosted a simple get together with my paternal cousins. To be honest, I don’t have plans of pushing any sort of party or celebration with my family. I’m still drowning with the endless bills to pay and my new responsibility as the family’s bread winner. However, I don’t like to be tagged as the birthday grinch. Instead of spending on another fancy restaurant, I decided to invite everyone at home. I figured out that this is the cost effective way to celebrate. I gave the budget to my parents and they took care of everything. Though I was showing evident signs of agitation, I was thankful to my parents for organising everything. I was spared from the additional set of worries.

On the day of my birthday, my guests didn’t arrive on time. Much to my dismay, my cousins who were the lead bullies were absent.

I admit that I didn’t like the way I spent my 30th. It was the worst birthday I had over the recent years. It wasn’t a happy birthday after all.  I gave in to the request of other people, only to later frustrate myself. I was already unwell. My family aggravated everything. Worst of all, I feel so guilty for enslaving and exhausting my parents.

It has been days after my birthday. I hate to admit it but I feel quite relieved that it was over. I’ve been dreading the day I will turn 30. Despite of this, I was hoping for a great birthday.  I wanted this birthday to be remembered as the best. Unfortunately, the opposite of what I was expecting prevailed. I was given my own taste of sadness and bitterness.

I never wished for anything grand. This is something I learned over my years of existence. I mentioned this many times here. All I wanted was for things to turn out fine. On my 30th birthday, I never wished for the attention of everyone. Personal handwritten notes, hugs and kisses, great friends, I’m fine with these.

Unfortunately, life always have other plans.

The Miracle Project

This video gave me tears.

The priceless happiness brought to the passengers gave me tears. However, my heart also cried for the hardworking men and women of West Jet Airlines. Upon further internet research, I learned that the people behind the miracle project are volunteer employees. I’m sure, these employees committed themselves to embrace additional tasks out of their way.

The reason why my attention was more focused on the employees is because I’m one of them too. I’ve been one of those silent people who prefer to work behind the scenes. I never wished to be in the shoes of the lead character. I’m fulfilled and contented knowing that I have my own contribution in making things happen. Attention and recognition are good but over time I learned that these things easily fade away. Two to three days after a successful endeavor, people will forget everything.

Setting aside my emotional issues 🙂 I have to say that West Jet’s miracle project is the simplest yet effective advertising project any company can implement. In my years of reading and teaching, I learned this concept of building Emotional Attachment as a target for branding and positioning strategies. One way for companies to successfully reach their target market is to build an experience that will capture their hearts. In this case, West Jet is another company who successfully made it happen. Every passenger will surely remember their West Jest experience as one of their priceless and happiest trip home.

That Facebook Page

I cannot remember the exact time when Facebook Pages was launched. My earliest recollection was when famous showbiz personalities started creating their own fan pages. The page enables fans or likers to receive updates and gain drops of access to the everyday lives of these people. Over time, businesses also started to take advantage of this feature. Likers are updated on product arrivals, store openings and promotional offers. The power of Facebook pages further evolved when informal organizations or groups started pages whose function exceeded what these famous personalities and businesses can offer. Eventually, there are hate pages for people and companies, tribute pages, gossip pages and so much more I couldn’t even imagine.

The company or the school where I’m working recognised the need to join this social media bandwagon. The school’s Communication Office maintains an official page whose main function is to showcase accomplishments, achievements and important announcements. As an employee, I felt obliged to “like” and become aware of the activities made in our official page.

As my number of “friends” or contacts increased, I later discovered unofficial Facebook pages that carry the name of our school. Among those I discovered was this page that carried the most number of fans or likers. Out of  sheer curiosity, I joined the group. I was expecting the unexpected. True enough,  the page led me to unearth cans of worms. Most information posted are gossips, hearsay and negative things about the school. Some are half-true, too good to be true, exaggeratedly true and only a few are hidden truths.

I don’t have means to track the moderator of the page. Though to be honest, I don’t see the point of knowing the perpetuator. If the management will discover, what for? The negative things have been said and documented. Punishing the criminal will not erase the crime. My firm opinion on this kind of issue remains the same. Suppressing the air that spreads the smoke is never the solution. Eliminate the fire that emits the smoke.

On the few months I’ve joined the group some common issues discussed evolve on the following, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL and BASKETBALL!

Our school is a member of this famous collegiate league. We lost the chance to take home the championship title for two consecutive years.  Hours and days after the last game, everyone seem to have a brilliant explanation over everything. blah blah blah Heck, everyone suddenly becomes a seasoned basketball analyst.

While I have nothing against the overflow of stupid and useless thoughts (freedom of expression that is), I believe that everything has its own limitation. Most members are of legal age. Let’s not anymore debate the kind of relationship that exists between age and maturity.

One post I will never forget was when the entire coaching staff of the Basketball team posted their gratitude and appreciation for all the supportive fans.  In my mind, they should have coursed their words to the official Facebook page of the school. Better yet, they should have waited for an institutional event and requested seconds for their most awaited gratitude speech. I couldn’t blame them because the official Facebook page of the school is dormant anyway. In addition, the page unites both alumni and students. There’s more following and reach observed in the famous and unofficial Facebook page. I guess this is another example of how the “unofficial” takes over the role of the “official.” Oh well, let’s reserve this issue in another blog post.

This Facebook page usually becomes active during the heat of the basketball season. Months after, the page turns like a room of dust and old cobwebs 🙂  As a result, my curiosity hormones are deprived with its own supply of juicy facts or not.

I thought I was maintaining my usual inactive and boring Facebook account. Everything changed when I saw a significant number of my former students liking this controversial Facebook page. It perked my interest.  I ended up becoming another silent stalker of the page.  What I perceived as another unofficial page changed when I discovered the overflowing posts everyday.

Unlike the other pages I encountered, this account possesses a point of uniqueness. Only the page administrator can create posts in behalf of all the fans. However, there’s a twist behind the posts made. All information should be submitted by fans through Google documents. Why consider an external source in collecting information? This is to facilitate the element of anonymity. We all know how the absence of identity can change the rules and outcome of the game. Anonymity removes inhibitions and grants that barrels of bravery to anyone. I believe this is the main contributor to the popularity or call that success of the page. The juiciest untold stories are unearthed with anonymity. Everyone is given an endless feast of gossips keeping the messenger safe and protected.

Whether the stories and experiences posted are true, most are tainting the reputation and image of the school. As much as I want to feel sad for the school, I’m more concerned on how some colleagues are addressing the issues shared on the page. Some of my colleagues are counterattacking the accusations by rendering comments. Seriously? This is not the mature and professional way to treat accusations made by kiddies. If they see the page as an immature attempt made by college kiddies, why waste time fueling a non-sense online debate?

If I may use the Filipino-gay lingo, why make patola over a very childish destabilizing attempt?

Of the many comments made by a few colleagues, I can never forget this colleague who challenged the college kids to transfer school. He told the kid to leave school if he is unsatisfied with the kind of services rendered.

Oh Dear God! This is a testament that feeding my fellow employees with countless customer service seminars does not actually breed customer service. Oh well, I personally think that you don’t need advanced degrees to understand the right and wrong in Customer Service 101.

All the while, I thought that this would be the last stupid and lame behavior from a colleague. Days after, I learned a colleague who vehemently reacted to a post directed at her. Her name was never mentioned but clues tend to point at her. And just like that, I was given a living case example that age, educational attainment, and parenthood do not in any way correlate with maturity and professionalism. In the end, she obviously appeared defensive and guilty. Worst of the worst, the lowest of the low, she threatened of filling legal charges. Libel, seriously? How can you file charges to a person hiding under a pseudo name? If her objective is to discipline the kid, I don’t see legal action as the right approach. The legal charge will simply threaten the kid.  It will not prevent the attacks made against the achool.

This rant post is getting longer. I’m afraid I’m becoming useless and annoying. Let me end by leaving three points

I was never against the page which they now tag as the freedom wall. In my line of work, we show appreciation for rants and complaints. We even treat complaint as a gift. Through complaints, we are able to discover areas of weaknesses straight from the client’s voice.

Hunting the page administrator is useless and a waste of time. Due process, Facebook terms and conditions and bureaucracy, how many years and legal fees do we have to incur to close the page? As I have said, nothing can be undone. Efforts, resources and time should rather be directed to discuss and address the  complaints.

Lastly, I have one request to my colleagues .. Please don’t make another patola.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Let there be light!

I grew up with this Christmas tree. It stands in the middle of the a famous shopping centre and venue for important events such as basketball games, concerts and movie premiere in the city.

Over time, neighbouring cities become developed and started their own Christmas traditions. This Christmas tree became less famous especially among kids today. In my case, this tree will always remind me of the priceless and happy memories of Christmas as a kid.