Career

Understanding

Before the day ends, all I wanted to do is cry.

I received my first suspension at work. Blame all the tardiness I’ve been accumulating over the past months. It’s payback time.

It hurts. Although I’m completely aware that there’s no one to blame but myself.

Of 15 years I spent in school, I was never given any form of disciplinary action. I never excelled in class but I can proudly claim that I’m well-behaved, disciplined and have been observant of rules and regulations.

Prior to this suspension, I can proudly claim that I have a very clean slate at work. In my first few years of working, I even collected monthly perfect attendance awards. I was almost a contender for the annual award, if only fever and flu did not struck me a month before the year ended. In terms of output and productivity, I believe that I’m doing well. I may not produce the best outputs but I’ve never been the source of worries and headaches of present and past superiors. I comply with deadlines. I produce what is expected from me. I have also been a good colleague. I hated a few, but I never committed anything against them. I had my share of petty misunderstandings with a few, but I was able to resolve things on my own.  I was able to iron out things even without the assistance of my superiors. I have been unfairly treated, but I’ve never avenged. I was never complained for inefficiency, insubordination and all those offenses against person.

Okay, I’m trying to uplift myself. I’m trying to make myself believe that I’m not a total mess. I screwed up myself but I’m not an embarrassment. But then again, no matter how much I convince myself, I will not deny that this has been the lowest point of my career life. I feel like a stupid and useless crap.

When my Boss presented the suspension order issued by the HR, I easily accepted it. I accepted my fate. I was even given the freedom to choose the dates of my two-day suspension. It will be next week. I was actually not surprised with the suspension. I knew it was coming. But like my other experiences, everything feels different once it happens. True enough, after  I signed and accepted my suspension order, I was  controlling my tears. My initial defense mechanism was to salvage my remaining self-esteem. I filed for week long leave immediately after my two-day suspension.

To console myself, I invited a few friends to eat out a while ago. I also have another source of frustration prior to receiving my suspension order. I just came home from a “failed” trip abroad. I should be blogging about this, but destiny made other plans. The suspension is obviously more compelling. I was laughing the entire time while having dinner with my friends. My friends probably felt that I’m fine. I’m not sure if anyone of them were able to sense it. Deep inside however, I wanted to cry. This is how it feels to become a stupid disappointment. It didn’t help that my friends counted all the privileges that will be taken away from me after the suspension. All the more I felt bitter and inferior. Before parting ways, one of them offered a stupid suggestion of going to Tagaytay.  I just smiled but deep inside, I wanted to scream. WTF! All the more I would look so pathetic. I love traveling but seriously, I wouldn’t use it as a scapegoat for my low moments. I even wanted to return the question, would you even see yourself going to Tagaytay on your own? Given that I will be losing my two-day salary, spending more will definitely not work.

Before I left the office my boss offered another working schedule. He told me to adjust my reporting time from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. I said yes or I’ll think about it. I’m not really sure, I can’t remember the reply I uttered. Truth to be told, I wanted to render a different response. I wanted to tell the real reason why I’ve been accumulating all those tardiness records.

I’m losing my drive to work for the company.

It would be painful to utter those words. But no matter how much I deny it, it’s the truth. I wish I was wrong. But this is where myself leads me.

I feel that it’s already mission accomplished for me for the company.

I’m no longer needed.

I don’t see future in my current company.

I don’t see myself growing in the company.

I’m on the dead end.

There’s no more for me in the company.

The company will surely survive without me.

No more promotion.

No more opportunities.

How I wish I was able to tell my Boss the real reasons behind my tardiness.  The motivation and drive to work is losing me. I feel like a candle that gradually loses its flame.

I don’t need an adjustment in my working schedule. How I wish my Boss is sensitive enough to figure out at least half of my sentiments. I doubt. All the reports I’ve submitted. All the presentations I successfully made. These can never point any clue about my real sentiments.

I don’t need another set of pathetic words of consolation. I’m not ready for unsolicited advises.

I wish my family, friends and Boss and people around me can sense and understand how I feel.

Teachers can’t teach everything

Some months ago a friend introduced me to her friend who also happens to be an educator.  Admittedly, I have very poor social skills and it would take a lot of effort from me to initiate and sustain a meaningful conversation. Good thing the person introduced to me was naturally articulate. Quite an irony for the educator in me. Consider me then as the rare exemption. Although I talk a lot in my part time profession, I’m not a good material for socialization.

I thought I was discovering a great acquaintance not until he uttered something that somehow demeaned and disrespected my field of discipline. He asked what subjects I handle in my years of teaching. Having been a major in Economics, I told him I handle Basic Economics and Research Writing related subjects. I even lamented that educators within my field are starting to get extinct at least in our college. There’s only a few of us left handling the subjects, added to it the fact that enrolment in our discipline is decreasing. He later expressed a self-proclaimed conclusion that even majors of other business studies such as Marketing and Finance are capable of teaching Economics. Hence, the need to have Economics majors to teach the subject is no longer needed.

If you quite know me, you can easily guessed what happened next.

I initiated an intellectual debate that turned to a drama series catfight.

Of course not, LOL. I faked a smile, turned quiet and left the conversation.

I allowed my composure to prevail and avoided an instant debate. Under the rule of etiquette, I might have acted right. However, under the unwritten rules of my field of discipline, I’m definitely a disgrace. I failed to uplift my specialisation. I disappointed Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and my other great grandfathers in the profession.

If I were PMSing or blessed with more debate hormones, I would have ditched out his lame conclusion by saying that I can also teach Accounting. Yeah right, I cursed to never study that subject again. But my general understanding is enough to transfer information and education to the non-business majors. I can teach Basic Accounting to the non-Accounting majors. In like manner, I can also teach Marketing and Finance because God knows I have been learning the two subjects from the books and in practice… my everyday life. Evidence? Read my New Journey Series. And I’m 100% sure that an Accountant or an Accounting major will equally feel insulted when an Economics major is given the license to teach even Basic Accounting.

Maybe an Accounting major like him is equipped with basic information on Economics. I don’t doubt his capacity to teach. Given him the reference materials and stocked knowledge from his college Economics, he can no doubt teach the subject. I however like to provide another approach to prove my point.

Consider a car being sold by two seasoned salesmen. Salesman X started his career in selling cards across brands and distributors. There’s also Salesman Y who shared the same years of experience with Salesman X. Salesman Y however is engaged in selling cosmetics and other beauty related products. Who can better sell the car?

Salesman Y can sell the car because he has the selling skills. He knows the approach in selling. He knows the general behaviour of the customers. He can sell because he knows the process of selling.

Salesman X can obviously sell because of his skills and experiences. However, what gives Salesman X the exclusive right in selling cars is the KNOWLEDGE about cars. More than the process of selling, Salesman X truly knows what he is selling. He knows the core information of what he is doing.  Something that Salesman Y does not possess.

In like manner, Salesman X may have the skills in selling. But give him the responsibility to sell cosmetics and other beauty products, Salesman X’s reputation in selling will surely be ruined. Salesman X can sell, but he cannot sell what he has not been selling.

Fine, I overreacted and made a fuss from something that should have been ignored. I will end my point with this simple statement that should have been my saving grace.

All teachers can teach, but they cannot teach everything.

For 2015

The holiday break is almost over. My two-week vacation is about to end in a few days. I enjoyed my slow and quiet time at home. I subjected myself to a full house arrest to avoid the expenditures. Although I was able to go out in between. I still have pending tasks, mostly self-imposed, to accomplish. One is the annual decluttering tradition. Before the year ends, I clean my room and collect all the useless items I accumulated. Mostly credit card bills, I decided to receive them online this year. Clothes, bags, impulse purchases and other items should be gathered and taken out of my room. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do this tomorrow.

While most people are writing about resolutions, I intend to write down the things I look forward for 2015. Eleven months after, I should check back this post and verify the outcome of each.

1. The Major Project at Work – My major project at work was finally accomplished in the last quarter of 2014. In the previous years and based from the experiences of other companies, results are released before the year ends. In the case of my company, we are still hanging in the tree of uncertainty. While I’m trying to condition myself not to expect anything, I will not deny that part of me is wishing for positive results. If the Boss above will grant my prayer, it will create a win-win situation for the company and myself.

More than the success, another reason why I’m praying for positive results is the little emotional attachment I have for this project. We started the project with another President and CEO, along the way his health condition abruptly deteriorated. The Board was forced to designated an interim President and CEO. We don’t have problems with our new Boss.  In fact he was  equally supportive. Should the project yield positive results, I would like to consider it as my personal gift to our past President & CEO. He has done his share. He has the best intentions for the company. I’d like pay forward his purest and kindest intentions. Hopefully, this project will make it happen.

2. The new insurance – I got another insurance policy late last year. Since I don’t have an extensive HMO, I expect the new insurance to give me support and protection on health concerns. There will be another 10 years to pay and work for.

3. More time and new experiences with my family – If the belief that how you spend your 1st day of the year will reflect your fate for the entire year, then I’m more than thankful. I spent the first day of the year with my family and relatives. Although recently I’ve been frightened by news about death of friends, acquaintances and other relatives. I know that I will not spend my entire lifetime with my family. My only prayer is not now and God will give me enough strength, financial resources and support system.

4. The Credit Card Bills – The New Journey Series will hopefully come to an end. It’s all my fault, I know. But this year, I want to devote much of my freelance earnings to settle the bills.

5. More freelance works – I don’t do anything to promote my professional services and portfolio. I prefer it that way because I want my past and satisfied clients to speak and promote for me. Hopefully, there will be more for this year. Last year, I was abundantly blessed in the beginning and middle of the year. I have pending clients at the end of 2014, I hope they will push through with their projects.

6. Plans about my career – Everything is still uncertain today. I haven’t really decided. One thing sure though, I have to arrange my financial condition before anything else.  I was also fortunate to be granted an educational grant for a professional course. Hopefully, I’ll satisfactorily finish it before the first trimester of the year ends.

Should I Stay # 2

My current working schedule is way better than the previous semester . I handle two consecutive classes in the morning and my remaining hours are spent for my office work. I love the fact that I can go home early. No more evening exhausting evening classes. Just when I was about to start office work, I learned that two of my colleagues are tendering their resignation. One will study abroad and the other will pursue her dream of pursuing a career in the industrial sector. Sigh… Here we go again. I’m not friends with these colleagues. No personal relationships but why am I affected? It’s not that I will miss them. We’re never friends. But something has intensified in me again.

People are leaving and I’m being left behind. What now for me? I’m beginning to feel that I’m left in the flock of losers.

As I was beginning to over analyse things again, the following thoughts dawned to me

1. I admire people who are willing to accept lower salaries in another company – In exchange for more possibilities of career growth, this colleague admitted that she is very willing to accept a lower salary to start and build her career in the corporate sector. This will never work for me. My New Journey Series will explain. I have a new insurance policy and I need to build my savings account.

2. I fear the uncertainty – If I move to a new company, I fear the new boss and colleagues to deal with. For sure, there are patience testing experiences again.

3. I don’t want to leave my job just because everyone is leaving – I don’t want to appear as someone who only joins the trend. When I will tender that resignation, I want to do it because I’m convinced that it is the best decision for me.

4. It’s hard to leave a very understanding Boss – This has been one of my greatest struggles. My current Boss is highly respected in the company. He has led successful projects. He is best known for being one of most considerate and understanding superiors in the workplace. How can you give up the best?

5. My recent conversation with my Mother – I told her last weekend that I’m already having second thoughts of transferring to another company. I also advised her that I would most likely land on a BPO company that requires graveyard shift. These BPOs are surviving the employment market of the Philippines. You know, the classic stories of American and European companies who transferred bulk of their operations to Asian economies to avail of cheaper operations costs. After explaining this situation, my Mother encouraged me to remain where I am. Magtiyaga ka na anak sa ______, kesa naman sa gabi ka magtrabaho. Ikakamatay mo pa ‘yan. Mapapadali ang buhay mo nyan.  I can’t blame her. I have a friend who works for a contact centre and later found her health deteriorating. After 3 years of working, she passed away. Months after, I learned that one of my friend’s colleagues also passed away, same reason accounted.

6. I’m halfway writing this post when I realised that it was already lunch time. I left my table for a while and purchased my lunch. As I was returning to the office, a colleague behind me blurted… mag-isa ka na lang ngayon, wala na yung kasama mo mag-lunch. Good thing another colleague approached him I almost want to say, SH@#$% you don’t need to emphasise it. I KNOW ! I KNOW! I know better because I was able to find a best friend for 10 years at the workplace. And you? Look at you, you have been eating lunches on your own for more than 15 years. I can’t imagine how miserable is the workplace for you. 

I’m more confused now. Or maybe, I already have a decision it’s just that I’m refusing to accept and face it.

It’s finally over

It has been a challenging week. Everything that happened since Monday gave me a year long quota of worries and pressure. I swear and I’m not exaggerating!

I report for work before 8 am and end the day earliest at 9 pm. I was working more than 12 hours for a week. Everything went worst when I had the need to bring home the work. I sacrificed sleep. There were days when I have to be thankful for two hours of sleep. I was feeling my blood pressure dropping to that perfect two digit rate again. I never bothered to check my BP because it would surely add up to my worries. While writing this post, I realized that this was so far that the greatest sacrifice I made for work. Let me enumerate some of the reasons.

  1. There were several days when I forgot about my lunch breaks. I was too focused with our deadline.
  2. In the middle of the week, I felt a stabbing pain near my abdomen. I later realized the reason. It has been more than 6 hours when I last had my kidney break. Beat that!
  3. I woke up with the heaviest arms. It felt like tons of sandbags were attached on my arms. Blame it on the prolonged hours of using the computer.
  4. I felt a bit impaired because of the rough pain on my hands. I collected a lot of paper cuts.
  5. My legs and thighs pained the worst. On the last days of the week, I have to walk and beg for printers from other offices. I have to work while standing to monitor all the printers working. Lesson learned: I have high respect to all sales personnel in shopping malls.

All the sacrifices are now over. Thank God! I don’t have regrets because we were able to beat our deadliest deadline. What I really wanted to write are the few things this experience taught me.

  1. I tend to become snobbish during crunch time. Sorry naman. 😉 No joke ever appealed to me that time. I guess this is my coping mechanism. Instead of ranting and complaining, I’d rather keep quiet and get things done.
  2. The printer can feel the stress and pressure. Expect this to happen so during crunch time, don’t blame the malfunctioning printer.
  3. I still love my job. I cannot count how many posts contained my sentiments about working and staying in my current employer. I will not deny that I’ve been called to leave my comfort zone several times. The past week made me realize that I still have the fiery energy and determination to make things happen.
  4. As much as I don’t want to use influence, it really helps when you have friends from key offices. It is easier to seek favors and expedite unusual requests.
  5. NOTE: THIS LESSON GOES OUT TO ALL THE SUPERIORS, SUPERVISORS AND BOSSES around. BE THANKFUL FOR SINGLE and pathetic EMPLOYEES. (Note again: I don’t mean to underestimate the capabilities of married employees. In like manner, I don’t impose the conclusion to all single employees.) Modesty aside, you can easily impose unlimited and unpaid overtime work to single employees.
  6. You will always have insensitive colleagues. Don’t get me started 😉 Let me relate my frustration by saying how much I miss my first colleagues from my previous department.The spirit of teamwork and all for one, one for all was thriving in us. When someone is      drowning with work, everyone willingly obliged to offer a hand. The Boss doesn’t need to remind or pinpoint someone. I remember how my friend T would always approach me. “You need help?” “What can I do for you?” “You want me to buy you lunch?”

It has been a different story in my current department. How would you feel when your lone colleague is busy looking for a live NBA stream, when you and your Boss are dying inside a torture chamber of deadline?

Oh well, the last realization made me feel some blood rising to my head. Chill Diane! Haha

At the end of the day, I’m just so thankful that the past week was FINALLY OVER.

Kids and Plagiarism

Kids today are way blessed with the advances of technology. Think of computers and internet, these innovations are supposedly designed to make studying easier. This is the ideal, but we all know how reality plays the game.

Every semester, I have to read, edit and enhance business papers. These are works of my dearest college kiddies. To be honest, this is the side of teaching I hate. More often than not, I gain nothing but frustration whenever I read my students’ output. I’m not expecting something grand and innovative. I understand the fact that they are neophytes in research paper writing. What I hate the most is whenever I encounter plagiarized works. Plagiarized in the sense that the entire work is the end product of copying and pasting from varied websites. This is my greatest pet peeve, source of stress, frustration and fuel in activating my cancer cells….hopefully not.

This is the unfortunate trade off of excessive information accessed in a matter of seconds. I used to have high expectations with these kids. Over time however, I learned to adjust with their laziness and dishonesty. Today, I don’t anymore care whether a paper is grammatically problematic. In fact, this has become my point of leverage. If a paper is screaming with grammatical sicknesses, there is a high chance that the idea was novel and original. A paper with straight and seamless English is most likely a compilation of articles from everywhere. In class, I tell these kids that poor grammar can be addressed. But the lack of substance, content and idea… mankind is yet to invent the antidote.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to work and for sure.. the next months would entail another set of frustrating encounters.

 

Another unwritten realization at the workplace

The workplace and its concealed real life characters have been the consistent subject of my posts. While most of the stories I shared related imperfections and negative experiences, please don’t develop the impression that I hate my second home. I love our institution and its accompanying weaknesses.

For this post, YES I will blog another experience and realization that sprouted at the workplace.

After having been the only subordinate in the office, my Boss welcomed a new addition to our two-man team. We can finally call our office as a team.

The newest recruit is not after all new at the workplace. He was employed years ahead of me. He used to report to another department. Similar to my story, he was transferred to our office, with a new job title and assignment. Truth to be told, I PREFER ANOTHER PERSON. If I sound too harsh and blatant, let me rephrase. I DON’T TRUST HIM ENOUGH. Different but everything boils down to the idea that if given the chance to choose a colleague, he’s not included in my selfish list.

I have my own set of objective and subjective reasons why I don’t like him. Much of it arose from the undesirable encounters. The most prevalent was when he requested me to generate the statistical tables for his masteral thesis. For those who know me, this is what I actually do for freelance. I use my advanced knowledge in Statistics to assist masteral to doctoral students in finishing their thesis or dissertation. I generate statistical tables, provide interpretations and thread everything to a one great report for a minimal professional fee. Let us just say that he was one of those people who took advantage of my kindness and underestimated my professional services. He asked me to generate his paper’s statistical tables and demanded as if HE WAS A PAYING CLIENT. To be honest, he was actually more demanding than my paying clients. He was one of those people who made me feel that my services don’t deserve any compensation. I also realized that he was one of best people who has the tendency to use friendship as a pathway for personal advantage. Oh well, I just have to mention and emphasize that HE WAS NEVER COUNTED AS A FRIEND.

His reputation was already tainted. I’m already subjective but I gave him a fair chance. We started working and soon enough, I discovered his immature and annoyingly flawed ideals.

When another conceited colleague left our office, he told me that he is straight forward and hates to play pretend with colleagues he doesn’t like. In colloquial parlance, he claims that he is not plastic. He avoids conversations and interactions with people who failed to earn his respect. He cannot pretend to be good with people he deems as bad.

I respect his principle even though I don’t adhere with it. I didn’t bother to express my contradiction. As most of you know, I hate arguments. If that’s how you see things, fine. I will not stress myself from engaging to an unnecessary debate. In my mind and heart however, I wanted to share my own set of unwritten realizations and personal wisdom I gained from the workplace.

He is years older than me but at that point, I was able to prove that maturity does not come with age. Wait, did I mention that he teaches this subject termed as Human Behavior in Organization? Oh well, what about practicing what you preach?

Back when I was just starting to work, I imbibed the same principle. I don’t like you and you have to settle to my selfish and immature conviction. I will ignore your existence. I vow to never make any single conversation with people I hate or I don’t like. No good mornings, Christmas greetings or even the simplest hi and hello.

I remember sharing this principle with an older friend who treated me like a little sister. Ate B told me that I shouldn’t treat undesirable colleagues that way. She encouraged me to wear the shoes of the good and patient person. I never listened and held on to my selfish conviction. Ate B’ told me that whether I like them or not, there’s a high chance that we will need to collaborate and work together. If I continue to impose my hardheaded conviction, I will end up stressing and punishing myself.

Years after, I realized my immaturity and followed Ate B’s advice. Along the way, I discovered, learned and experienced the most important yet unwritten principle in any workplace.

Be Civil!

This is what I wanted to tell new/older colleague. Back off your hard and selfish convictions. The righteous colleague prefers to be good, patient and civil.

At some point, I believe that colleague will tell me that being civil is the professionally disguised term for being plastic. Both may appear as pretending that everything is fine. I beg to disagree then. There’s still an evident line that separates being civil as against being plastic.

Being civil means choosing to become the professional and educated person. You chose to be in the shoes of a good person because this has been the universal rule carried out by the educated human beings. As a good person, you allowed your heart to prevail than the often selfish conviction of the mind. You love and value your company. To prove and practice this, you decided to become good to everyone. In the future, when the company requires you to collaborate with people you don’t like, you will forget your personal convictions in exchange for the success and gain of the company.

Being plastic is much different from being civil. Plasticity means wearing a fake mask of a good person. After the encounter, the plastic colleague will wear the hat of an evil backstabber. He will spread fake or exaggerated stories of complaints against the hated colleague. Giving gifts, rendering fake praises and all those artificial sugar coatings make the plastic person.

Being plastic is forcing yourself to be good. Being civil is planted by the mature mind and the heart that understands the welfare of the organization. Being plastic means pretending to be good while being civil is choosing to be good.

So there dearest colleague .. It’s hard to be civil but at the end of the day, you have to remember that we are in the same boat. We should row to one direction and throw away those excess baggage of selfish convictions to accelerate and reach that destination.