Quarantine Chronicles # 2

When the community quarantine in my country started, I thought I would be fine. I will work from home, submit my outputs and continue receiving my salary. I thought everything will be simple and easy. As days progressed, all the worries and struggles started to escalate.

Back in April, my superior gave a major task. It will be my first attempt to prepare this critical document. It took me several days to gather my working pace. As usual, I work from night till dawn. I submitted my output, my superior accepted and I thought, it was mission accomplished. As days progressed, issues emerged. I had no choice, I shrugged it off and moved on. There were other concerns to attend.

Soon enough, I discovered problems within my department. It was my first time to hire. I trusted someone believing that the person was competent to fulfill the responsibilities. Turns out, I planted another problem. Both skills and work attitude were problematic. It was a tough decision. On top of this global crisis, I will remember 2020 as the first time I hired and fired someone.

Meanwhile, another colleague remains unreachable. The last time I heard from her was April 18. I exhausted all means to reach out. I even asked a former colleague, who lives within her place, to check her condition. I learned her family was fine. I just can’t understand why she refuses to send a single SMS. I’ve done my part. I respected her silence.

A few more weeks, my employer implemented cost savings measures. Everyone was forced to use their leave credits. Non-tenured employees experienced reduction in their salaries. I heard complaints and other stories from colleagues. The tensions and worries were becoming stronger.

In between struggles, my sanity is saved by friends. I’m thankful for friends who made their presence felt, albeit online. Facebook Messenger has become my sanity platform. I wouldn’t survive half of the past 65 days without them.

On top of work, there’s also my growing worries about my family. I don’t wish anything grand for my family. The fact that everyone is healthy and I have the means to support them is more than enough. Though admittedly, I have worries for myself. What will happen to me when they are all gone? If my parents and brother gets hospitalized. I keep imagining the worst, which only contributes to my level of unnecessary stress.

It may sound petty but minor concerns such as the sweltering weather did not contribute anything good. My work from home devices are overheating. Purchasing another electric fan does not solve the problem. Fellow Filipinos knew how electric fans work during the summer season. It emits an equally irritating heated air. As much as I want to purchase an air-conditioning unit, resources do not permit. Likewise, it’s inconvenient to find someone, who will install the unit. I bought an air cooler instead. I was pretty contented except that the expensive device started malfunctioning as I type this post. Phew! I hope it doesn’t totally malfunction. I even wrote a great review in my other blog. In a few weeks, lengthy zoom meetings will start again. The air cooler is my petty source of comfort. 😦 Also, I think my wfm arrangement will continue till the end of the year. This air cooler is my only investment for that much needed comfort.

More than health concerns, the economic implication of the global crisis has become the common struggle of both government and private sectors. Companies are losing earnings. When the national government announced the one-month quarantine, I was fully aware of its economic effects. Though in my mind, one month is a manageable time frame for everyone. Unfortunately, we are hitting 60 days. I knew a businesses resorted on the most drastic measure of closure. I hope the few businesses I patronize will never cease operations.

Some businesses tried their best to impose survival measures. I appreciate companies finally embracing e-commerce in a short span of time. Some established brands even sell via Facebook. Restaurants shifted to deliveries. I’m quite amazed on how businesses are responding to generate sales. But these actions only qualify for the reactive phase. In times like this, broader strokes and long term actions are direly needed.

This crisis has diverted everything. Plans, decisions and outlook in life. It’s day 60+ in the Philippines. Wuhan had it for 76 days. I thought Philippines will be better. I thought we can address this in a span of one month. Sadly, it looks like Philippines will exceed the lockdown period of the place that started everything.

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.

Midyear Reflections

I haven’t been blogging here lately. As proof to this, I almost thought I wouldn’t remember my username and password. Haha I was also surprised with the number of registered followers. Seriously, did I deceive 168 people to follow me? Haha Thanks to everyone who landed here and decided to hit that follow button below. I haven’t been blog hopping lately because I’m too occupied with work. I guess at some point, I’m not really busy. The not-so-better excuse is I’m so poor in time management. Worst of worst, I’m getting worst over time.

I still have tons of work to do. But then again, maybe I’m just too disorganized. I’m handling a new subject. I have freelance work inquiries. I have to extract my creative juices for a new venture with a friend. Best of all, it’s 4:39 pm and I haven’t taken a bath. Haha Beat that! My excuse, I was up until 2 am and I took a shower before I hit bed.

Setting aside my current concerns, the main reason why I’m here is to document my midyear reflections. Half of the year passed, I intend to determine my achievements (if there’s any), frustrations and struggles I continue to battle.

The year started with a lot of freelance works. I never expected them. I was serving four clients in a span of three months. The additional earnings were great! My greatest investment for these projects is the much needed shower heater at home. Other than that, as expected, my poor financial management skills prevailed. For those who know me well, you can sense that I had my confessions of a shopaholic again. In particular, I went overboard with my online shopping. My Auntie who resides abroad will finally return for good here. It didn’t help that we chat in FB most of the time because she willingly provided her US address. I took advantage of the opportunity to buy from the US based online stores I used to stalk. As a result, I have three new bags coming over the next months. Yes I was able to eliminate credit card balances but as always, there were additions and it will take more time to totally escape from this bad habit.

Credit cards are still a struggle. I was able to eliminate a huge credit card balance from my freelance earnings. Problem is there are other cards and the evil interest rates are killing me. As of date, I’m still struggling but I guess, I’m way better than my status last year.

My tardiness records are killing me. I know deep inside that waking up early is not the struggle. It’s hard for me to admit it but I know, part of me is no longer challenged with my current job. I’m serving the same company for 10 years. Though I transferred to different offices, part of me feels that my mission here is already over. The resignation of closest friends also convinces me that I should move on. I never tell them, but part of me feels hurt whenever they say negative things about the company. They make me feel like a pathetic and useless loser. Yes, I’m not working for a perfect company. However, I still believe that my second home is not as bad as it seems.

I completed a major documentation project at work. This project convinced me that I’m not after all the worst employee. I have beaten my tardiness records for some time. I reported for work as early as 6 am and leave work as late as 10 pm.

I opened a new business venture with a friend. We have a candy buffet business and will have our first client soon. One thing I realized, I’m perhaps not meant for business partnerships. The business made me realize that I’m really meant for my freelance writing works. I hate to explain and prove myself, especially when I’m sure that I’m right. I hate it that I need to win arguments. I hate exhausting myself for an entire day in Divisoria. A little note: I don’t hate Divisoria. It’s a haven for all businesses. I just hate the fact that I have to endure the scorching heat of the sun, walk the crowded streets, deal with rude sellers and climb endless stairs of the train station after a long day.

I opened my own eBay shop. I should have done this for the longest time. Before, I used to simply give away my old stuff. I never realized that I can make some money with all the shopaholic attacks I made. So far, I’m still learning to untangle the business practices in eBay. I made some accounting and discovered that I have profited around Php 2,000. Win win situation for me and my buyers. I was able to declutter, earn some money and give items to people who will need them more.

If I will be asked how my 2014 is going, I have to say that everything is relatively stable. I still bear the same credit card struggle. I have an achievement from my documentation project and freelance works. I learned something new. Other than these, I’m thankful because I’m blessed with good health, despite my overweight problems. I still have my family and my 30 year old self is still trying to figure out my future route and path.

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.

The day I cried for my Father

I intend to spend the past holiday at home. It should have been a great break because yesterday was pay day. Unfortunately, the piles of bills to pay swept everything. I planned to spend the entire day at home. I should get more sleep, read books, and drown myself with entertaining drama series.

I woke up with a number of text messages from my cousin. She was requesting me to treat Grandpa for merienda. I admit. I wasn’t happy. This is not the time to spend because I have nothing to spend in the first place. I initially avoided the conversation. I answered my cousin’s other queries. In the middle of our exchange of messages, I learned that another cousin volunteered to treat Grandpa, much to my relief. Unfortunately, the treat didn’t push through. I don’t know what happened on my cousin’s end. I was pissed off to some extent because my cousin never bothered to explain what happened. I was left hanging and waiting.

When weekend came, I was surprised with a photo of Grandpa tagged in my Facebook account. I learned that the “not-so-legal” partner of another cousin took Grandpa to his favourite restaurant along Sto. Domingo Church. I should have been happy for Grandpa and thankful for my other cousin. He and his partner did a great favour for us. However, my heart was telling otherwise. I felt cheated and frustrated. My financial struggle took away an opportunity to spend time and create those priceless memories with Grandpa.

Days passed, I forgot everything. I thought I was fine not until I learned that my Father personally thanked my other cousin. The exact words uttered by my Father to my cousin,

Nilabas mo pala ang Lolo mo. Salamat ha. Pasensiya na kayo ha. Hindi ko na kayang ilibre ang Lolo niyo. Wala na kasi akong trabaho.

(Thank you for the taking time to bring your Grandpa to his favorite restaurant. Pardon your Uncle’s financial incapability. I don’t anymore have work and income to treat your Grandpa.)

My Father’s humble words of appreciation to my cousin stabbed my heart. I was pierced to pieces. I excused myself and rush to the bathroom. Tears are welling up. I have to salvage my remaining pride and self-esteem. I have to look strong and unaffected even in front of my own mother.

My Father’s words reminded me of my failure. In my previous post, I selfishly bragged about my untainted work ethics. No one can ever accuse me of engaging in some questionable activities. I feed my family with nothing but hardwork. At the end of the day however, it made me realize how far can my honor and dignity take me? Can it pay bills? Can it give me that protection in times of accidents and sicknesses? Can it build my much needed savings account? Can it give me and my family a better life? Can people recognize this as proof that my parents did a great job? I hate to admit it but in the case of my family, financial wealth is always the indicator of successful parenting.

Maybe this entire post boils down to my financial struggle. Maybe I’m just really jealous and frustrated. Whatever it is, my wish remains the same. I just want to have enough and live happy.