An Open Letter to our Incoming President

Dear Mr. President,

This letter has surely no way to reach you. There are only a few workplace friends and family members who recognize this blog. Among my workplace friends, those who are aware of this page have moved to other companies. They left the institution because of better career opportunities. That’s what most of them mentioned during their exit interviews. Truth is, my friends who left lost faith in the company. I will not deny my real sentiments. I’m one with my friends who have gradually lost hope, faith and trust to our second beloved home.

I hope you have  noticed my preference of calling the institution as home. Cliche as it may sound, we have considered the company as our home.  As Catholics, we love that we can exercise our religion without restrictions. The perks of being hired in Catholic institution! At the same time, we learned to love the institution for its openness to accept non-Catholic students and employees. All the more our company deserves to be called home. Our company imbibes the real essence of Catholicism. Welcome and respect your brothers and sisters, regardless of their beliefs and preferred religions. We also love that we have the annual spiritual retreat. Most of our Catholic friends, relatives and family members only experienced the spiritual retreat during their last year in High School or College. In our case, we are blessed to experience it once every school year. Added to this, we love that we are not forced to report for work whenever Manila is about to be hit by a disastrous typhoon. On December, we have a prolonged Christmas break. How many companies will allow a two-week paid break during the Christmas season? As compared to other organizations, we believe that our home offers a relatively relaxed working environment. Those who cannot beat deadlines are not punished but understood. 🙂 We always exercise the virtue of patience and compromise. When a colleague loses a family member, we love the efforts extended by your brothers, our dearest priests. Priests are taking time to say the Holy Mass to the bereaved family member, even though it meant reaching the farthest provinces in Luzon. We may not have the best compensation and benefit packages. We are however compensated with a relatively relaxed working environment.

Unfortunately, these blessings and conveniences lost its luster and appreciation among my colleagues. As proof to this, there was a sudden increase in the number of resignations over the past months. A portion of these casualties include my lone best friend and other colleagues who have turned to become great friends. My opinion might sound too biased but really, the colleagues who decided to leave form the few best assets of our second home. It would take years before another set of valuable employees will be sufficient to replace them.

A few weeks ago I heard pieces of information about upcoming changes. The biggest income generating sector of the company is having a new head. You were also bringing in a chief consultant who was once a powerful department head. I was one of the few persons who appreciated this move because the chief consultant has sufficient knowledge and experience about the systems and culture in the organization. The consultant knew the real story and struggles happening in our second home. This was way better than the move of the previous administration. People from the “superior” sister company were brought in only to fix things that were not really broken.

Tomorrow, will be your big day. I assume. The most awaited formal appointment ceremonies will be held tomorrow. I have colleagues who were tapped to assist in the programme and ceremonies. While me? Let me tell you something… I have been an idle being for the past weeks. I’ve been reporting for work for nothing. My workplan is empty. It’s good as, I’m paid to do nothing. Lucky problems for some of my colleagues. In my case however, this adds up to my quarter life crisis, dwindling self-esteem and other personal struggles. I’ve relayed my condition to my superior but as of date, he has nothing for me. Oh well, this is another story to begin with.

Speaking of my superior, I learned that you had initial talks with him. I assume you’ve given him instructions to produce several documents for your review. My superior requested me to generate one of the documents. I finished everything in one day… After this task, I’m left hanging in the tree of uncertainty.

My letter is getting longer but I haven’t reached even the tip of my sentiments. I intend to relate the real condition of the workplace, at least in the point of view of a staff who has been there for the past decade.

You are about to embrace a home that was once blissful. It used to be a home for my colleagues who left. They say that home is where the heart is. True even for my colleagues and friends who left. They don’t hate the institution. Who could ever hate the home where they grew up? Unfortunately, the home they treasure has been broken by different forces. One of which is the presence of some leaders who failed to lead. We had our own share of leaders who were more interested with the position, than the responsibility. This gradually devastated what was once we considered home. Little by little, the damage has been felt. And for my friends and colleagues who left, it felt like they are bound to fix something that is totally broken. It’s better to leave things broken than hurting yourself trying to fix it. In my case, I never imagined how my second home would eventually make me self destructive.

There are a lot of things that needed to be fixed and HEALED. Placing everything in the right place is not a walk in the park. You will be inheriting problems. Unfortunately, problems are not designed to diminish or at the very least, remain constant over time. There will be more to come. One of which is this government legislation that is bound to lessen the revenue of the company in the next four years. So much can happen in the next four years! I can imagine how many more good employees are about to leave. And for those were left, their spirits are dampened especially when the management is leaning to downsizing. Those who leave are no longer replaced. There are lesser clients but the work load remains the same. The diminishing revenue further deprives employees of their much needed salary increase, rewards and the little things that can relieve their hardwork.

The employees are fully aware that the company is not at its best now. The others that feel alarmed and who can still afford to transfer are moving out. Those who are left accept the miserable fate of the organization. Leaving them dissatisfied and simply working for payday.

Much is expected from you Dear President. The previous administration was quite lucky to inherit a relatively systematized and orderly systems and procedures. In your case, you are inheriting a problematic environment. Worst of the worst, the problematic system is coupled with diminishing profit over the next four years.

Despite of all the negativities, I’m wishing you all the best in your leadership and administration. You have a big shoes to fill in. There’s a long, winding, rough and uncertain road ahead. What’s only certain now, people are praying and wishing for a better and brighter life ahead.

P.S. : Of my more than a decade of working for the institution, I never had the chance to witness any installation ceremony. When I first arrived in the institution, the current President was about to end his term. During the installation of the succeeding President (who is now crippled by Parkinsons disease), I filed for a vacation leave. It wasn’t intentional though. I filed for the leave months before the ceremony was scheduled. With his leadership, everyone even the rank and file employees were invited.

On your installation ceremony, only a few colleagues were given the chance to attend. The managers were all required to attend. My colleagues who are also rank and file employees were required to attend to serve as usher and usherettes. I’m not trying to insinuate something. I’m just too observant about everything. 🙂

I was never a failure

I started writing this post several weeks ago. I planned to have it queued for publication since last week. I never had the chance to finish this post because I don’t know how to end it or perhaps, I actually don’t know how to start it. I was stuck in the middle of everything. Quite a premonition as to how I really feel.

In the middle of the past weeks, I was caught with the reminder that the first day of September marks my 10 years of working. I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since I finished college. Such span of time is the same as finishing my entire years in Elementary. I was 6 and 10 years after, I emerged as 16 year old teenage kid. I didn’t realize that I have completed a decade in working. But I guess the real highlight of everything was the fact that I stayed in the same company. Some would feel proud but in my case, I’m half-hearted saying that I’m proud of achieving that loyalty. Honestly, part of me feels ashamed and pathetic.

A few months ago someone told me that at my age, I should have already achieved that level of advancement and stability in my career. I don’t know what she exactly meant but from her words, I can sense that her measures of career advancement include a managerial or supervisory position,  a real estate property, brand new car and all those monetary and material manifestations of successes.

Truth to be told, my ego was hurt. I felt like someone telling me that I’m a sore loser. I’m nothing. I wasted my 10 years. I made a mistake in steering my career. I wanted to prove her wrong. A debate or any form or oral argument was never my style. So let this blog post salvage my wounded ego and dwindling self-confidence. I hope I will end this blog post convincing myself that I did not mess up and wasted the past 10 years of my life.

I was able to finish my masteral studies

I said in a previous blog post that graduate studies already lost its luster on me. I may no longer be interested to pursue further studies but I’m proud of the graduate degree I earned five years ago. I financed my own studies. I satisfactorily surpassed all the requirements. There were no special favors and requests made. It was only me, determination and that discount privilege that made me finish my degree.

I was able to fulfill my dream to teach.

First and foremost, not everyone has the interest and patience to teach. In like manner, not everyone has the capability and qualifications to teach. I’m proud to say that I have worked my way to become a qualified educator. And more than the qualifications, I became an educator because I have the passion and dream to become one. I didn’t venture to teaching because of the additional pay (which by the way, does not really translate to an additional pay). I decided to teach because it would mean the fulfillment of a dream.

I was able to finance our home renovation

I’m fortunate because my parents made all means to purchase our own home. Over time however, the the wear and tear of our home demanded that much needed renovations. In my 10 years of working, I was able to finance all renovations made for our home.  There were no loans made. Everything was financed by my personal earnings.

I was able to correct one of my physical disabilities…. my crooked teeth

Orthodontic treatment is so expensive! I spent a significant amount of money to cure ugly teeth, something my parents cannot afford then. After 5 years of visiting Ms. Ortho, I was able to free myself from all the metal wires. Except that I have to live with these metal retainers?!?

I was able to see some parts of the world other than my country.

My first trip abroad also meant my first international research presentation. Years after, my appreciation to traveling intensified. I was able to see my neighboring Asian countries. I was responsible in financing my trips. No rich parents to back up my expenses. It was all me!

I have my own investments

I was able to purchase my own insurance apart from what the company provides. While my savings account still needs to be boosted and I have debts to pay, I took the risk of investing in the stock market. I’m proud to say that I’m building my own wealth. I have relied on hardwork to earn these investments.

I was able to build my reputation as a credible freelancer.

My knowledge in Statistics and years of experience in academic research helped me build my credentials for freelancing. I have consultancy and research writing work aside from my day job. Modesty aside,  my few colleagues recognise and respect me for my knowledge and expertise in research. Freelancing gave me both learning and earning opportunities.

I started serving as Statistician for masteral students writing their thesis. Not everyone has the knowledge and patience in understanding numbers, digging information and relating interesting stories. A lot of people only see Statistics as a field of study for those who are good in numbers. Unfortunately, Statistics also demands creativity and the talent to craft interesting and believable stories. I’ve been doing this for quite a number of years already. I may not be a major in Statistics but my degree in Economics helped me work my way to this profession.

I grew from Statistical reports to full blast research. I was hired several times to write an entire masteral thesis. This might sound professionally illegal. However, I always remind my client that though I do the writing, we are actually working as a team. The client provides the input while I translate his thoughts with the requirements set by the academe.

I was able to build successful businesses. In particular, I discretely worked with a number of successful food cart businesses in Manila. The problem with some businessmen is their lack of technical writing skills. They always have the talent to create demand, but to place their ideas in writing has never been their turf. So like a typical hopeless romantic film, we meet and complete each other. 🙂 Even though I didn’t sign a disclosure agreement with them, I respect and prefer to keep mum about the successful businesses I’ve documented. I have been rehired several times and hopefully, our relationship will continue.

I was able to transition from research to corporate planning.

I used to believe that I’m meant for research. I was reluctant when I was forced to move from research to corporate planning. I love research because it fulfills my dream to write. When I moved to corporate planning, I was afraid of losing the opportunity to write. The research was lessened but my dream to write was still fulfilled. There’s so much more to write in corporate planning. A few of my accomplishments in my 5 years in corporate planning include the preparation of the institutional manual of policies and procedures and lately, the documentation project. The project consultant was surprised to see that I was able to accomplish a task good for 7 persons. Not that I’m carrying my own chair and it’s still to early to declare success, but my company was able to save tons of money from my existence. Moreover, the tasks I have been performing were meant for supervisory and managerial positions. I’m proud to say that the rank and file employee in me can actually accomplish things meant for advanced positions.

A few minutes from now, it will be September 1. I’ve been officially working for 10 years. At this point, I may not be successful. I may not have exhausted all means to success. I’m just one of those many rank and file employees who report to work everyday, patiently waits for payday and still struggling over insecurities and frustrations. The person I am today may not be the best. At the end of the day, what I can proudly claim is that I’ve never been dependent to my parents for the last 10 years. Lastly, despite not passing those society imposed indicators of success, I have lived a clean, honest and good life. I never cheated. bribed, boot licked or use another person to reach my destination. Everything I have is owed to my hardwork and the blessings from the Boss above.

Not passing the indicators of success does not conclude that I’m a failure. I’m a work in progress and years from now, I know, a better person will emerge from this post.

Why I’m no longer interested in pursuing further studies

I arrived at work earlier than everyone else. Truth is, I’m still late at 7:23 am. I should report as early as 7:00 am because I have to offset my office hours for my 4 pm classes. Where will I ever find the antidote to my laziness to wake up early?

This post has been stored in my Draft Folder for quite some time. I think I started writing the title some time last year. As always, someone or a recent experience prompted me to write. How I was ignited to write this post, I can’t exactly remember. One thing sure, my years of working experience in the academe gave me lesser appreciation for advanced degrees, particularly PhDs. How ironic because I work for a school where masteral and doctoral degrees are considered as a requirement for promotion and career advancement.

Years ago, I used to admire people who have earned their PhDs. It made me respect more the few colleagues who have those extended alphabets after their family name. I see them as the master of everything. They know everything. They are gods in their respective fields of discipline. Unfortunately, the respect gradually faded when I started to gain working opportunities with colleagues, whom I thought as gods and goddesses. Call me the meanest, but my admiration turned to disappointment as I witnessed and experienced their working performance. I don’t want to go in details but dear God, modesty aside… my 24-year old self was able to produce better technical reports than my colleagues who undertook years of Graduate School studies. (Note: Just in case any of my colleagues happen to read this post, my claim is not true for everyone. I guess there are still a few colleagues with PhDs who really work well.) This is just one of the reasons why Graduate studies no longer appealed to me… Let me enumerate and explain other reasons why I’m contented with my lone masteral degree.

1. I will not gain any promotion or career advancement – I’m only a part time Faculty Member. My base appointment still lies on my office work. As of date, I have attained the highest possible rank and promotion for my position. Good as, I’m on the dead end of promotion.  No more ladders of career growth for me. The next position I can achieve is that of my Boss, which is 100% impossible for me to achieve. If let us say my Boss becomes the VP (which is 100% impossible) maybe I’ll have the 0.00000000000000001 % chance. 😉 So as you can see, the selfish reason of career advancement accounts for my lack of interest in pursuing advanced degrees.

2. I don’t have a clear expertise – I’m becoming a Jack of all Trades and a master of nothing. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics.  I started my career in Research. I earned my MBA.  My little knowledge in Statistics made me earn some freelance works. I ventured to teaching, particularly Economics and Research Writing. I used to tutor High School kids who are having difficulties with their Math subjects. After some time, I was transferred to Corporate Planning. On the side, I established a candy buffet business with a friend. Years ago, I even had a mini printing business. Where is the expertise path here?

If I will pursue further studies, I want it to be useful to whatever career path I intend to take. I’m not sure if a PhD in Business or Economics would be useful to my uncertain career path. PhD in Business will be relatively easy because its offered at the school where I work. I can get discounts and I’ll be spared from other expenses. The convenience however comes with a tradeoff. I have to deal with a few colleagues who might become my classmates. Based from personal experience, I don’t encourage this set-up. It’s hard to divide the line between work and school. In addition to this, there will surely be conflicts when a subject requires a research output focusing on a particular company. Most of the time, I will be faced in a tug-of-war situation with colleagues, who intend to consider the school as a setting.

3. I love my weekends – Who doesn’t? I cannot anymore imagine waking up early to attend Saturday classes. Leaving me with Sunday as the lone rest day.

4. Cost Benefit Analysis : Cost > Benefit – I maybe wrong but considering the expenses I have to endure, the cost of education will never exceed the benefits I have to receive. This arises from my reality that career advancement is over. Not that I’m being too hard on myself, but my current set up in the company means that there are no more path of career growth for me.

5. A PhD does not suit my current position or level in the company – Seriously, a corporate slave with a doctoral degree? It will never sound good. It would only contribute to my pathetic state. I would appear as someone who can advance herself in academics, but never in actual practice.

6. I learn more in the battlefield – I’m apprehensive and partly frightened with this conviction. My reluctance and fear arise from my colleagues and other people who have the best intentions of pursuing advanced studies. I work for a school and I’m aware that I should not be saying anything that can harm the academic industry. I don’t want to spark a spat or any form of debate. Please consider my opinion applicable to myself. I don’t intend to convince and influence others.

When I transferred to Corporate Planning, my immersion with industry practitioners intensified. I was able to attend symposia and seminars with people from multinational companies. Most of the best and knowledgeable speakers I encountered don’t have multiple degrees. Some don’t even have a masteral degree, but they hold critical positions in their respective companies. I have seen VPs, COOs and CEOs who only have their undergraduate / bachelor’s degree in their credentials. However, their working experiences mesmerised and impressed me well. They were able to lead successful projects. They are driven by ideas leading to innovations. They have countless achievements and accomplishments. They are so empowered to think that it was decades ago when they last entered the portals of the academe.

Caution : I’m not saying that the academe is useless and pointless. Everyone needs schooling. The academe provides the preparation and professional grooming. What I’m trying to emphasise is that graduate studies are becoming overrated FOR ME. Yes, I intend to limit this conviction to myself.

I’m thankful to all the teachers and professors I’ve encountered. Being a teacher myself, I know that my past teachers have in one way or another, contributed to my entire learning experience. I later discovered that the real learning and knowledge happens as soon as I move out from school. Truth to be told, 80% of what I know were learned from the actual battlefield. I was oriented to research writing in the academe. When I started working, my knowledge in research widened and realised that there’s more to do in business or corporate research. The same goes with my little knowledge in Statistics. The application of Statistics in the Academe and workplace are so much different. More often than not, I gain more appreciation when I learn the system of application in the battlefield. In Graduate School, I will learn things the traditional way. In the actual battlefield, I have to figure out things on my own. No books, journals and any other reference materials. I’m forced to move mountains with no tools at all. I learned to be more resourceful and creative in practice. There are no passing grades to beat. Passing rates are determined if I can make things happen or not. And most of the time, failure is not an option in the battlefield.

I think I have written so much. It’s 11:48 am and yes, I stole office hours for this blog post. I might as well end here and return to where I should be.

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.

Four Years

Had it really been 4 years here?

I started blogging in 2005. I explored and tried blogs in different platforms. I started with Blogger but after a not-so-good experience with Google Ad Sense, I left and switch to WordPress. Truth to be told, I still maintain another blog from Blogger. I tried Multiply, Friendster, Weebly, Tumblr and Livejournal. I later discovered that the battle is between Blogger and WordPress.

I wanted to check my old posts and feed myself with some nostalgia. Unfortunately, my laziness hormones are overpowering everything. So as always, I’ll do it in the most unorganized way. I’ll allow myself to drift away with whatever thoughts that will come along the way.

I’m asking myself what have I achieved in my four years of existence here. My fondest memories are the earning opportunities I gained. Some years ago, I was accepted to Bucks2Blog. I was able to score paid blog posts. If I will sum up my earnings, I would like to believe that I already earned around $ 200 from all the sponsored posts. Unfortunately, I gave in to my shopaholic attacks. The most I can remember, I was able to purchase a Longchamp Le Pliage from my earnings. But for savings and investment, nada!

I don’t have intentions of popularizing this blog. Maybe between popularizing and monetizing, I will go for the latter. I wanted to remain semi-anonymous. The reason lies behind all the posts I made. I blogged about some people I hate and I don’t have intentions of telling them. I admit, I’m not brave enough to personally confront them. All I wanted is to selfishly vent out to the world. Case closed J

I’m beginning to realize that this blog became a portal of all my negativities. Yes, I’m guilty. I don’t know but for some reason, I find the drive to write when intense emotions are accumulating on me. If I would make an estimate I guess only 20% of the posts I made breed happy memories. Most of them are accomplishments, appreciation and those rare and unexpected instances of happiness.

Despite all the sad, pathetic and annoying stories I’m compiling, I will definitely hold on to this blog. I may not be able to blog on a regular basis, one thing sure though… I intend to keep this space.

Before I end this post, (I hate to sound to cliché) I would like to thank everyone who followed, liked and managed to read my posts. I may not personally know everyone. Perhaps, our paths have already crossed. Who knows? But really, every click, browse and reading you made here means a lot to me. THANK YOU DEAR FRIENDS and VISITORS! My four years in the blogosphere will never be the same without your presence. My gratitude particularly goes to my counted but frequent John Tugano, husband and wife team of Say Cheese, Plaridel, Renz and the Thriving Pessimist!

And since most of the time I’m always alone here let me do the cheering, here’s to more years of writing!