Random things from the workplace

Because my life evolves mostly from the workplace lately or like forever since I turned 21 …

1. Tardiness seem to be a problem of everyone – I noticed the correlation between years of service and frequency of tardiness. All the while I thought I was the only person making this statistic. Apparently, there’s a lot of us in the same boat.

2. Those who are itching to move to another company are those who are most likely to stay – I’ve heard colleagues who would complain of the limited benefits and low early retirement pay. Only to later realise that they mostly comprise the service awardees

3. Practice what you preach. Walk the talk. Unfortunately, there are people who only preach and talk. What a wonderful world ♪♪♪ (insert sarcastic face here)

5. Everyone gains that barrels of bravery in Facebook status messages. Unfortunately, the bravest people in Facebook are the weakest in real life. Seriously, can you really tell your boss to get lost?

6. Some people just don’t realize that ranting in Facebook does not make them a better person. If you rant about your boss or colleague, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are right and better. Little do you know, you are worse because you emphasise things that should have been confidential in the first place.

7.  I have nothing against Facebook. In fact it has become one of my happy places (no pun intended, promise). However, I feel bad that it has become an avenue for people to unconsciously spread their immaturity. Worst, it has burned bridges and created hurtful memories for some. I have been a witness as to how some students and colleagues rift relationships because of that 420 character allocation. To some extent, even some of my family members are doing it.

8. I have this colleague turned friend who would always lecture about how we are wasting our money. When we once tried the slot machine at Resorts World, when we went to tried Tacsiyapo and all those silly yet memorable adventures we made. I respect her opinion about frugality. But when the law of happiness and living your life to the fullest are considered, I strongly object. I’m a firm believer of venturing to new experiences every year. It may not be necessarily expensive though. Splurging once is enough to draw that rare smile on your face every time you reminisce. You may have a fat bank account, real property, insurance, own car and all those material wealth. At the end of the day however, what weighs more the amount of happiness stored in your heart.

9. The pressure of doing good is degrees higher if you work for a school. Maybe my colleagues will not agree. But in my case, this is my strong belief. Kids are our clients. More than academics, we have the power to influence their value system. This personal belief further intensified when I started teaching. I lost my right to say those bad yet relaxing words whenever I feel pressured and irritated. I will never be heard shouting that “f” and “s” words inside the class. I have to control myself. I don’t cut in the queue of lines (one of my pet peeves) to show respect, even though the canteen attendant gives me the opportunity.

10. The famous Filipino proverb about tomatoes. One rotten tomato is enough to spread spoilage to a bunch of fresh tomatoes. Spoilage rate is higher if a fresh tomato is placed in a basket of rotten tomatoes. Most of the times, this is true. My years of working however taught me that in most instances, there are always exceptions.


Another ending

I shouldn’t be blogging today. I’m too occupied with my teaching tasks. I said many times before that this is the part of teaching I hate. Checking papers, tracing deficiencies, and encoding grades. I should be working but in the middle of the working day, I received a very sad news.

My lone best friend at the workplace is leaving.

She is tendering her resignation less than a month from now. When my best friend uttered the words, “mag-re-resign na ako,” it felt like my heart stopped beating.  I was drowned by the fact that she is leaving and I’m left behind. I held my tears, I smiled but deep inside, I’m weeping.

I met my best friend at the workplace in 2005. I joined the Research team a year ahead of her. Back then, there were usually 4 to 5 people that form the Research Team. Over time, our colleagues eventually found better lives and career in other companies. We ended as the remaining members of the original Research Team. Years after, I was one of those employees affected by the job rotation. I was transferred to Corporate Planning under a great boss. My separation with my best friend entailed working two doors away from her place. Call me too emotional and sensitive, but that separation already gave me months of adjustment.  I was looking forward for lunch breaks because that was the only time we were together.

Oftentimes, I rant and my best friend would patiently listen.  We would share gossips and laugh out the silliest things at the workplace. I was living and enjoying the same routine for SEVEN YEARS. I was having lunch with the same person everyday… for seven years.  We would alternately eat at the school canteen, Jollibee, Greenwich, Chow King, Chicken Bacolod to the cheapest snack houses outside the school. Those lunches made my growing up years as a uniformed corporate slave.

And this day, my seven years would change in less than a month….

I’m not just losing a lunch buddy. I’m losing a best friend. I’m losing a part of myself. Just when half of my life is unstable and I’m being attacked by my quarter life crisis again, one of my security blankets is taken away..

Corporal Punishment or whatever it is …

In western countries, corporal punishment has long been restricted. The case of Asian countries, particularly in the Philippines, shares a different story. While there’s a law that protects children from any form of abuse, culture and tradition can overpower everything. Perhaps in American countries, the typical patting practiced in Filipino families is enough grounds for child abuse.

In our home, I admit growing from this type of disciplinary action. I have been hit by slippers many times. A few instances, I experienced having my earlobes or hair pulled by my mother.

While I don’t personally advocate inflicting any form of pain to inculcate discipline, I never blame my mother for adopting such approach. I believe my mother’s approach was effective to some extent. I grew up respecting and fearing my parents. The fear later contributed on instilling the much needed discipline.

I’m not a parent and maybe, I don’t have the right to talk anything about parenting principles. I know a number of my blog followers such as Jonalyn & Juan ,  Postsquared and Jen are parents. I would really appreciate if they can share their sentiments.

Setting aside my inexperience, allow me to share my opinion on corporal punishment as a tool on instilling discipline.

As I have said, I never believe in using pain to develop discipline. I’m an advocate of using teaching, learning and experience instead. When a child does something wrong, the parent should

Teach – Explain to the kid what makes everything wrong.

Learning – Let the kid speak. Let the kid explain why he did it. Let him process his own thoughts.

Experience – Make the kid see the possible outcomes of his mistake.

So why all of a sudden, I’m writing a topic out of my personality?  As always, this was prompted by some incident that happened at home, work or wherever.

Two days ago, I became a stupid witness to some corporal punishment inflicted to a poor kid… (I hate to admit it) within my family. Worst of the worst, it wasn’t a family member who inflicted the punishment. It was “someone who tries to become a family” who instigated. Let me baptize that person as the Antagonist.

The pathetic three-year old kid was slapped on her thighs many times by this antagonist. I rarely see the kid so most likely, there is a high chance that the kid was often maltreated. Yesterday, the kid did something naughty. If I’m not mistaken, the kid played with the faucet in the backyard. When another cousin reported the incident to the elders, the antagonist dragged the poor kid to the backyard. I knew what I was witnessing was a mistake. I tried to get the attention of the poor kid, but the antagonist prevailed.

The antagonist perhaps later realized that there were a lot of eyes around. She ended the scene by threatening to slap the kid with her hand towel.

If only I had the genes of Kris Aquino or Simon Cowell, the story of this blog post would have been different. The antagonist’s family will curse me to death in their bravest 63,206 character allocation in Facebook. But no, I prefer to take things on my own hands… in the most silent and deadliest way.

Some of you might be wondering, where are the parents of the poor kid? A surprising back story can explain why the poor kid has always been tagged as bad and naughty. Both parents of the poor kid are mentally delayed for their ages. The parents are in their late twenties to early thirties, but their mental ages are way younger. They are unfit to become parents, but destiny made other plans. This greatly explains why the kid turned out to be the naughtiest and often the cause of headache of the elders in the family.

There’s no way the antagonist can read my sentiments. I’m likewise not in the position to confront her. Should this happens, I will surely gain nothing but enemies from the antagonist’s children. (It will be raining hate status messages screaming with grammar violations Heehee) Yes, the antagonist is a mother in her 50s. It’s quite hard to believe that she has the age but the missing understanding, patience and maturity for a poor kid. Considering she has reared a number of kids, I doubt if she doesn’t know the hate arising when another stranger maltreats your own blood. Maybe the antagonist is used to this kind of discipline. Maybe she doesn’t mean it. (I doubt?!) Maybe she has to remember that she was never family. She was just given the privilege to live within the compounds of my paternal family. I really hope someone would have the courage to clarify her limits. My cousin’s family has been accommodating to the antagonist and her family…. but behind their backs they are most unwelcome to the family.

The least I can do know is to pray for the poor kid. Despite the absence of proper discipline, I hope the kid will grow up way different from her parents. Impossible, I still hope the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to protect the kid from the hands of the antagonist. I hope my late grandma and auntie will guard her in times of another danger. Maybe in the end, I just wish that the antagonist would leave and forever stay away from my family.

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.

For M and L

I can’t believe it’s been eight years. After I obtained my permanency status at work, I immediately applied for admission to the Graduate School. At an early age, I was very eager to make things happen. I enrolled a number of subjects because I wanted to acquire my masteral degree in the soonest possible time. Little do I know, life at the Graduate School will lead me to another world of happiness.

After burning bridges with some good old friends, I was rewarded with another set of supportive friends. Cheesy and cliché as it may sound but I considered those semesters as one of the best years of my life.

Unfortunately, those years of happiness ended abruptly. After taking our comprehensive examination, everyone in the group went with their own plans. L was the first to graduate. In my case, I decided to take things slow. I took my time to write that grueling thesis and graduated the year after.

Since then, the group never became complete again. I tried to organize reunions only to frustrate myself because no one dared to respond to my invitation. A year after, L asked me to organize another reunion. The feeling of frustration was still thriving in me. Hence, I did my own share of selfish revenge. I secretly prayed the she will feel the same amount of rejection and frustration. L can never play the role of the best event organizer and my expectations prevailed.

The years prospered and everyone went on with their lives. In the middle of the previous year, M surprised me with her upcoming wedding. It came as a blessing because I was able to relieve and spend some moments with M. I wanted to spend more time with M, but I can’t take her away from her most awaited day.

During M’s wedding, L shared her recent source of happiness. L is engaged! Time flies so fast because it’s been months since L got married.

If only I had been given more time with M and L, I wanted to tell them how much I miss them. All the more I miss them now.

I hope they still remember those Saturdays when we attend the anticipated mass. We would arrive early and caught the last few moments of the wedding rites either in San Agustin or the Manila Cathedral. While wearing our faded jeans and comfy shirts, we would watch the happy bride and her equally fulfilled groom. Each of us had that rare trace of smile accompanied by a silent dream. The happy ending, the fairy tale, which both of you already have.

The way it sounds, yes this is another emotional post. This serves as an aftermath of my previous post. This is again brought by my fear of being left out.

I know that you two are having the best time of your lives. I don’t anymore want to bother both of you with my recurring and agitating quarter life crisis. Let this post serve as my regular venting channel.

I wish you the continuous and overflowing happiness. If time will come that you will remember me, a prayer will be enough. While I still wish for my own happiness, the least that I can ask now is the assurance that whatever happens, everything will be fine.