What does the fox say? – Why I’m thankful for having strict bosses Part II

Warning : Some words in the title are not related to the post. Read (at your own risk) to find out 🙂

A few months ago, I wrote the reasons why I am thankful for having strict bosses. In a nutshell, I could say that strict bosses brought out the best in me. They gave me my own dose of stress and worries but at the end of the day, they made feel that I can make things happen.

I’m writing this post at 5:22 pm, a few more minutes and I can already call it a day. I’m feeling saturated with my documentation project. I can no longer write. It has to be over for today. I closed all Office programs and decided to write a blog post instead.

I’m writing about a colleague whose inefficiency challenged my hard earned patience. Teaching taught me how to lengthen my patience. I guess its easier in teaching because I deal with kids who have yet to learn everything. But when dealing with colleagues, it’s another complicated dish of patience to be studied and prepared.

It started when HE has been accumulating minor shortcomings. Phone calls that were not relayed, letters and memoranda that are accumulated on his desk and his favorite hobby of passing tasks to our working scholars.

A few weeks ago, Colleague A was asking a copy of this particular report. He was the custodian but since he was not around, I took the initiative to leave a note on his desk. A few weeks after, I bumped to Colleague A and asked if she was able to secure the documents. I was surprised with Colleague A’s response. There was no return call or notification. Being the concerned employee, I confronted my “very efficient” colleague. The “very efficient colleague” replied, the document was not with me. I CAN’T DO ANYTHING. In my mind, wtf#$%! So, we have to end there? I did my secret investigation (don’t ask me how) and turns out, ALL THE DOCUMENTS WERE FORWARDED to him. What does the fox (pronounced same as the previous bad word) say? Since I’ve been bitching here, allow me to totally vent out and enumerate all his sins

  1. He got all the front row seats when all the laziness was bestowed from above.
  2. He has poor file management, considering that he was a Secretary and Program Coordinator (What does the fox say?) for more than 10 years.
  3. He is the best lifeguard…. to himself. He deserves an award for being great in saving his huge and inefficient ass. In local parlance, ang galing mo manlaglag ng tao ‘pre. You have full expertise on know how to save yourself in expense of other people.
  4. Liar! Ktnxbye.

It later dawned me the real reason why he acquired all these awards. HE NEVER HAD A STRICT BOSS IN HIS ENTIRE LIFETIME. He was pampered in the softest mattress, abundant pillows, cushioned and comfiest linens. In my case, my strict bosses’ orders and commands became my lullaby. I was thrown in the ocean and forced to swim for survival. Suffice to say, I had my own share of the worst.

Okay, I’m being too harsh now. Let this day serve as another milestone when my borders of patience has been granted extension.

Fireworks

Someone said, “Fireworks make me sad. It only lasts for a few seconds or minutes. Everything about it is meant to end. You cannot feel its forever.”

 She said, “I love fireworks. I’m mesmerised by its lone and temporary life that is more than enough to reveal its magnificence.”  

Rare Respect for this Government Office

This post was originally posted in my other blog. I felt the need to repost it for many reasons. Read and find out… at your own risk 😉

I have always been amazed of the rare neoclassical architecture of the Philippine Postal Corporation

 

If you have noticed, the pictures were limited from the façade and the external structures of the building. I haven’t shown anything within the premises. On the few times I visited the Philippine Postal Corporation, I always catch an ongoing event. The main service area that accepts all letters and packages has an equally magnificent architectural finish. The high ceilings with intricate detailing, sturdy and elegant marble tiles, wooden tables reflective of the old and local wooden carvings and the distinct patterns of the metal railings of each transaction counter.

While some of you might think that the Philippine Postal Corporation is perfect, there are far more hidden areas of improvement that demand attention. More than the decline of the usage of traditional mail, some facilities inside the building are pleading for restoration or at the very least, minor renovations.

Whenever I have to claim a parcel abroad, I always receive this notification to visit W-124. The section is situated in the underground level and often unknown to everyone. In my case, I discovered the area when I decided to redirect all my packages at the workplace’s address. Since I work in Manila, I figured out that my packages would arrive earlier.

On my first time to visit W-124, I have to inquire for specific directions. The security personnel were kind enough. As I was navigating my way to the underground floor, a few employees willingly pointed me the direction even without asking.

When I found the W-124, this is what fronted me.

Cracked and bare cement floors that still exhibit cleanliness though, heavily stained walls, rusty metal gates that separate the clients from the attending employees and counters that would at least look half decent with minor repaint.

The customer reception area looks so pathetic. One can’t imagine this condition to exist, amidst the magnificent neoclassical architecture. However, there are far more depressing scenes. The place where the attending employee stays is more tragic. I didn’t take photos out of respect and courtesy. But dear God, the area where packages are sorted will never look conducive for working. It is not airconditioned although there are electric fans provided. How could they bear the heat in the always summer temperature in Manila? The bare cement floors, dark and unpainted walls, poor lighting and the ceilings that are meant only for storage of old and unused things. The area looks like the classic warehouse used as hideout for gangsters and kidnap victims in those local action films.

In short, the area will never be conducive for working. While I don’t have the right to complain for the employees, I feel a degree of sympathy for them. The kind of services they are rendering does not reflect any sign of dissatisfaction from their pitiful workplace. The employees are courteous, smiling and don’t look exhausted at all. In fact, I’m the one who looks more haggard. lol Sometimes I even caught them joking and laughing over silly stories. I often subscribe to the idea that happy employees are bred by a favorable working environment and good pay. But the employees designated at W-124 serve as real life contradictions of this traditional belief.

I also have to mention the transparency and strict compliance of the designated Customs Officer. Despite his huge and intimidating beer belly (heeehee Sorry, Sir), he was consistent in implementing the custom fees. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about unexplained and anomalous fees. In my case, I never experienced any form of extortion or corruption. I only paid the mandatory Php 50 inspection fee for my packages worth less than Php 3,000.

While my post can’t do anything to improve their welfare, I just want to commend the hardworking and forever customer oriented employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation. My recognition specifically goes to the customs officer and the two lady personnel assigned in W-124. Despite the negative impressions that taint government employees, they provided great service doesn’t come with an expensive pay and price tag.

Having enough

I have a lot of plans for the Holy Week break. These include

1. Cleaning my room

2. Finish a portion of my documentation project at the workplace

3. Visit blog friends and followers

4. Exercise

and as you have sensed it, nothing in the list was accomplished. So what occupies me on this rare holiday break? Zzzzzzz

I never denied that I’m the queen of procrastination and laziness. I’m typing this post at 12:38 am, a few minutes before Black Saturday started. I’m wasted and useless again. In a few more days, I will be back to work and threatened to be attacked by my bad and old habits. Dear God! Have mercy on me.

Maybe I wasted an entire holiday break. Despite my consistent laziness, there’s a little realisation that dawned on me. It was ignited by some side stories involving a close relative. I won’t mention our specific affinity. Only God knows, one of my relatives will eventually discover my silent space here.

It was a long story to begin with. I don’t even know how and where to start. I’m quite reluctant relating the entire story because along the way, I might be hinting persons and unintentionally insinuating blame to some. The relative who prompted me to write this post is living a financially abundant life. They are relatively well off among the rest of the family. They live in those fenced subdivisions, own the latest car models, and growing businesses. Despite all the enviable possessions we see, the family is silently plagued by a problem. Someone is misbehaving. Someone is engaging in an extra marital affair.

I maybe wrong or right but as I see it, MONEY is one the primary suspects.

~

Whenever I’m asked to identify my wishes, having enough to sustain my needs never fails to be in my list. Even as a kid, I’ve bear in mind to ask enough. This made me remember that instance when I first read Aladdin’s story. It dawned on me, what would I wish if the magic lamp landed on my hands.

  1. I want my special brother to be healed. I want him to become a normal kid. Unfortunately, it never happened. I learned that my brother’s condition is meant to last a lifetime.
  2. I want to have a happy life. At that age, my definition of happiness is too shallow. Like a lot of food, toys and playtime. As I age, I have different measures of happiness. At this age, I want to have more time with my parents, more vacation, writing opportunities and my own family.
  3. I want to have enough. It remains the same since I was 7 and 23 years after. I hope I have enough of what I need.

I don’t know how the third wish thrived on me. I’m sure it never came from my parents. The constant lesson my parents imbibed on me was to study well. I’m always told that if I study well, I will be able to live a better life. I can buy everything I want.  Growing up in a Catholic school, I was taught to be good to others. But having enough? Where did that come from?

I may sound like I’m trying to present myself as the purest saint. But no, I’m an equally normal sinner.

Perhaps, the overall upbringing and my constant exposure to all those drama series and local Filipino films made me hold on to the dream of having enough. I have seen how having more than enough devastated friends and families. If the tradeoff of every excessive wealth gain is an inch of unhappiness, I will never think twice. I prefer to take the hardest way. I can endure the hardships, sadness and frustrations if at the end of the day, all I have is a happy life that I can always be proud off. 🙂

Rant or Career Plans?

When my lone best friend at the workplace informed me of her abrupt resignation, I was shaken and awakened. More than the tears and sadness, I suddenly became more concerned with my own career life. What now for me? Everyone is gone? What about me?

Amidst the sadness, I felt more pathetic. I turned freaking 30, the age I’ve been dreading. Months before my birthday, I’ve been avoiding the thought of planning this critical decade of my life. My carefree 20s is over. It’s time to get serious. What I do in this age will shape my life.

My career is always one of my primary considerations. I’ve been working in the same company for 10 years. Adding up to my own world record, I was in the same company after college. Before, I was proud. Today, I feel ashamed. What’s with the loyalty?

Months from now, I’m a 10-year service awardee on the annual employees’ awards night. No offense meant, but I never felt proud of loyalty awards. For me, they are the cheapest form of achievement. Forgive me dear friends, readers and colleagues; this is only a personal and biased opinion.

Whenever I’m reminded of my 10 years in the same company, I dread the thought of being weak and complacent. I was never too brave to move out of my comfort zone. I was avoiding challenges. I deprived myself to experience greater things. But then again, whenever I would hear the rants and complaints of friends about their work life, I’m attacked by the guilt of becoming rather thankful.

But seriously, even though I feel that I don’t have a sense of direction, I do have my own dreams for my work, family and life. Perhaps, here are some of them.

I need to have a clear career path – Someone unintentionally offended me recently. She said that at my age, I should have noted achievements. Reading her mind, she meant high position in the company, own car, real estate and that overflowing money. I almost wanted to say, you could have just slapped me.

I’m burdened with all the stupid debts I made. I don’t have that savings account that can assure approval of all visa applications. I remain as the technical staff behind my boss. I’m nothing to her predefined indicators of successes. To redeem my dwindling self-esteem, I can proudly claim that I worked hard for everything I have. I never cheated. I’m cleaning up my own financial mess without the salvation of my parents.

I wanted to write – My job permits me to write. It’s just that I write about things that bore most people. I write technical reports. I translate numbers to words. Other than the confidential technical reports hidden, buried and later forgotten by everyone, I wanted to venture in creative writing. Better yet, I want to get published.

I want financial independence – Dear God, please help me. While most people would dream of winning the lottery (I’m a virgin to this), I wanted additional work. I dream of more freelance writing jobs. More than the money, I need the assurance that I worked hard for everything I have.

To have a stable freelance work – I encountered a blogger, who boasted that her earnings are more than enough to survive her basic needs. Her earnings from her full time job remain untouched. Another famous blogger admitted that her monthly online earnings equated to the monthly salary of a pilot in this luxurious airline.

I’m not dreaming of a six-figure income every month. It’s way too much for me and my family. I also believe that having more than enough is either way, unhealthy. I want my career in freelance writing to cover up my monthly expenses. My earnings from my full time job will then be set aside for savings and investment.

If possible, I’m also looking at the direction of becoming a full time freelancer. My previous works enabled me to realize that I can work from home. I become more productive when everyone is asleep. I’m able to write from midnight till dawn. I sleep during the day so the chance of going out and attacked by my shopaholic hormones is avoided.

Lastly, I want to have my own family – Cliché of all the clichés! I once had an online conversation with a friend. My dear friend is having a financially abundant life in another country. It was her dream. When she asked me what I want to achieve, I replied without hesitation… I wanted to meet Mr. Right and have my own family. Even though our conversation happened through an online chat, I sensed her disappointment. She simply replied, ah okay. She later confided what happened to my brain?!? What happened to the class valedictorian?! Well apparently, my heart is getting bigger than my brain. Hence, the emotional outbursts and posts in this blog.

I think I’m talking too much. It’s 11:26 pm, in a few minutes this rare holiday break is over. I’ve broken my hiatus in this blog. This is enough for me and for everyone who have been patiently reading my rants.

Why I was grateful for having strict bosses

In my almost 10 years of working, I stayed in the same company, hopped to different offices and I guess the highlight of everything, survived four different bosses. It does not really count as an achievement or even an accomplishment. One thing I can be proud of myself though, I peacefully parted ways with them. I can still face my previous bosses without a drop of hate or apprehension, except for one  (God bless her soul) who already went ahead to heaven.

This post was inspired by a supposedly professional advice given by a local DJ.  Apparently, the avid listener is exhausted with all the criticisms made by her boss. She felt belittled and futile. I was quite surprised with the advice given by the DJ.

Here’s an edited and enhanced version of the DJ’s advice

You should be thankful for having a strict, demanding and unappreciative boss. The DJ reasoned there’s no point of recognizing tasks that has been successfully accomplished. You should never be commended for fulfilling your responsibilities. However, mistakes and shortcomings deserve all the criticisms. We need to be bombarded and awakened to improve.

I was expecting some sympathy or the very least, a little comic relief for all employees placed in the same predicament. Surprise of surprises, the DJ appeared like a spokesperson of all the cursed bosses in the world.

Admittedly, part of me agrees with the response of the DJ. I will not deny that at some point, the strict and unreasonably demanding bosses brought out the best in me.

I had a boss who wanted everyone to speak English at workplace. The good side of such practice, I was able to exercise my more than 10 years of taking English classes. I was able to prove to everyone that I can speak the language, even after passing the recruitment interview.

Barely months after graduating from college, I had a boss who baptized me with fire. I was asked to present my first research to the community of employees. Some months passed, I was asked to present the results of a critical study to the members of the management committee. I forgot what stage fright meant. I realized that I was meant for greater things. This I guess prepared me for teaching and that one great endeavor in Taiwan.

I had a boss who was very strict with attendance. Back then, I almost qualified for perfect attendance award. I developed good sleeping habits. I leave home early, I feel more relaxed and refreshed before starting another work day. I escape the unnecessary stresses from the unpredictable travel time from commuting. I was very observant and compliant with company rules.

When my boss is very keen on details, mastering perfection and infusing a little creativity in preparing technical reports became a habit. This demands time, patience and pressure but at the end of the day, I feel fulfilled. I surpassed a great challenge.

I used to belong to an office who handles events and seminars. With a very obsessive compulsive boss, I learned coordination, collaboration and doing things without being told.

I also remember starting with an office that wasn’t allocated with working scholars. I never had assistants. I managed to accomplish even the smallest detail of my job. I photocopied my own materials. I sort my own documents. I route letters and memoranda across offices and buildings. I do follow up calls on my own.  I survived without depending on other people.

Although at some point I also believe that excessive strictness does not always breed positive things. I definitely had my own share of this injustice. I had a boss whose demands demeaned me. I was losing my self esteem. I suffered emotionally that translated to my health. I had unexplained sicknesses. I lost weight the unhealthy way. Had it not because of my concerned parents, I would not have discovered that I’m an inch away from developing a fetal blood related disease.

At the end of the day, I would like to believe that my strict bosses made me competitive. I didn’t become one of those employees who exist for payday. My greatest gain and learning from my strict bosses, I was trained to make things happen.