It will never happen

Before the past week ended, I saw a strange pile of documents on my table.  When I examined the documents, I discovered that it was meant for another colleague. Although the responsibility was not mine, I was familiar with the work attached to it. It was a pending liquidation report. I knew the nature and history of the pending liquidation report because months ago, the Finance Department sought my assistance in resolving the problem involved.

Here’s the story behind the pending liquidation report

Last year, our office conducted a Christmas party for our core group of employee volunteers. Part of the little incentive, we provided gift certificates for everyone. All the gift certificates were disbursed. I thought… Apparently, there was a set of gift certificates that remains unliquidated. It was declared as disbursed.Records however relate otherwise. There was no record that the gift certificate was received by the intended recipient.

I tried to perform the role of the mediator. I asked the Finance Department possible alternatives to address the issues attached to the liquidation report. The most feasible thing to undertake, I was asked to produce a document that will be certified and approved by our Department Manager. The document will declare that our Department Manager can attest to the issuance of the gift certificate to the target recipient. The recipient back then was a colleague-volunteer, who unfortunately, already left the company.

Solution was finally found. I relayed the most awaited solution to my colleague. I remember, our Department Manager was present when I discussed everything to my colleague.

Months passed. All the while, I thought that my colleague was able to resolve the situation.

I was surprised to discover that my colleague did not take action. Nothing has been done with the pending liquidation report. I was beginning to feel pissed off. I made some means to help him close the pending report. Sadly, nothing has been done.

I kept wondering why did my colleague choose not to do it. At that point, all I could think was because he tries to distance himself from the dirty work. He apparently involved another colleague in the disbursement of the gift certificates. He is probably fighting for the belief that the colleague he assigned should be responsible in cleaning the mess. Problem is, the colleague he assigned already left the company.

And so I thought that everything that was happening around me was a mere product of laziness and refusal of someone to do the job.

The Finance Department started complaining to me. I found out that my colleague has been habitually lousy in submitting liquidation reports. They don’t anymore want to transact with my colleague. I knew at that time, it was my time to get myself in the picture.

I finally produced the certification needed. I produced the much awaited document certifying that my Department Head can attest that the missing gift certificate was indeed disbursed.

When I handed the document to my Department Head, I sensed his reluctance to sign the certificate.

I’m sooo dead. Why did I choose to play the role of the mediator?

My Department Head wants to establish that the the recipient indeed received the gift certificate.

I took my last resort. I searched for the colleague who was the intended recipient of the gift certificate.

And so I verified. To the last minute, I was 100% sure that the intended colleague recipient was able to take home the gift certificate.

Nothing was received.

The intended recipient did not receive the gift certificate.

She wasn’t even aware that she was entitled with the gift certificate.

I was shocked. This can’t be.

I was trying to convince myself that everything was just a mistake. As I was gathering more facts and starting to connect all the details, everything pointed to one conclusion.

The gift certificates were stolen.

My colleague and the colleague he assigned to distribute it connived to keep the unclaimed gift certificates to themselves.

Months ago, I was able to witness a murder committed right before my eyes. I became a witness to the act of a heartless criminal. I thought that was my worst.

When I discovered another crime unfolded right before my eyes, a form or stealing within my immediate environment, I thought I will already be immune. It should mean nothing.

My emotions jumbled. At first, I felt sad. I felt disappointed. I later felt frustrated. The frustration turned to self-pity and as much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m starting to feel that familiar sting of depression again.

My emotions maybe selfish and unreasonable. One thing I can never deny though, my emotions has always been real and honest.

The depression brought about by my tardiness suspension dawned on me again.

As much as I don’t want to deny it, the crime committed by my colleague and another colleague, gave me reasons why my tardiness suspension was just too harsh and cruel.

My two colleagues who kept the gift certificates for themselves were able to get away from it.

When I presented my evidences to my Department Head, he finally reached a resolution. He agreed to pay for the lost and undocumented gift certificates. He handed me the money and silently, I was able to finally close the liquidation report. Case closed. Criminals are freed.

I have all the evidences yet at the end of the day, nothing happened with the criminals and offenders?

While me? The only mistake I made was the fact that I failed to report to work on time. I paid so much for all those tardiness.

My salary suffered from all the deductions.

I got a bad record in my 201 file.

I got a two-day suspension.

I lost the performance bonus incentive.

I lost the promotional opportunity.

The tears and emotional burden

the dwindling self esteem

Between stealing and coming to late for work, who deserves the greater punishment?

It never happened that way.

It will never happen under the right way.

Holiday Thoughts

The saying that Xmas is for the kids became true to me when I started working. Apart from the fact that I started to earn, it was during this age when I crossed the other side of the fence. Gone are the days when I receive gifts, both monetary and non-monetary, from the elders in the family. When I had my first 13th month pay, it signalled the time when I was forced to embrace the role of the “giver.” I have to give, give, give, give and that endless list of giving.

In my family, the cash gifts are more appreciated. I don’t disagree because at the end of the day, you have the freedom to buy the things that can make you happy. I have my own share of receiving those crappy and useless gifts. Either they end up in the trash bin or given away to cousins, friends to charity boxes. This is actually the main reason why I never really subscribed to the idea of exchange gifts. If I join exchange gifts, I don’t expect to receive anything decent. In my years of existence, I always receive gifts that aren’t meant for me. So when I join one, I think of it as giving away something with nothing good to expect. I cannot understand how others would not make an effort when joining exchange gifts. And yet they will end up the happiest because they will receive the best gift. Life is good… for them. Haha

I may sound as another Christmas Grinch here. But really, no matter how much I deny it, Christmas has to be my favourite time of the year. If we will remove all the expenses, (I hope it would happen in reality) I’m just glad with the fact that I get reunited with my good old friends. I look forward to those short yet meaningful dinners.  The atmosphere at work is lighter. Everyone seems to have that rare smile on their faces. I have a two-week vacation. I have that rare 8-hours of sleep. Traffic maybe the worst but at some point, I do appreciate the sight and feel of the Xmas rush. I will have that special dinner with my family from Xmas and New Year’s eve. The next day, I will be reunited with my cousins. I have been doing this routine for 30 years yet for some reason, I never get tired of it.

I maybe broke now but I still believe that I will find other reasons to be happy.

Of Train Rides, Fantasies and Reality

I have this secret fascination about trains. Whenever I watch those sappy romantic films, I’ve admired scenes when the lead character is spending quiet moments or about to meet the right one, in her most unexpected train rides. Since then, I dreamed of creating my own perfect train moment. I may not necessarily meet The One, but I often imagined myself wearing that perfect outfit. Long black hair, my 120 lbs old self, dream bag from Kate Spade and sporting my most coveted Tory Burch flats. Reality unfortunately never fails to give me the perfect ruin for everything. I’m most of the time haggard, lousy and sleepy on my daily train rides.

In my country, the government provides three train lines. The most controversial is the MRT. It has been the subject of complaints and inefficiency over the last months. I rarely take the MRT because its service routes are away from my usual destination. The last time I took the MRT was December of last year. Yesterday, I came from an out of town work in the South. The easiest way to reach home is to take the MRT. I took the last station and was fortunate to gain access to the limited seats.

While I was settled to my seat, a security guard approached the passenger beside me. Because my mind was too occupied, I failed to notice the old man needing assistance. He was wearing a protective mask, gauze bandage taped around his neck, frail arms, and trembling legs, which is evident despite wearing thick yet worn out jeans.

When the train started to depart, I noticed his struggle to pull out something from his bag. It was a folded white sheet of paper. He handed me a paper that contained a printer generated letter. I silently read it and was rather impressed with the perfect usage of the academic English. The letter looks like one of those we see as examples in English textbooks.

I later discovered that the man was seeking financial assistance. He has been suffering from the late stages of lung cancer. I spared myself from the other details presented in the letter. I immediately understood his intention so I discretely handed him a minimal amount of money.

While confined on his seat, he continued to extend the letter among the other passengers. An old woman beside him expressed disgust and rendered rude words. A lady covered and protected herself with a handkerchief and pretended seeing nothing. The other passengers rendered the same attitude. Everyone decided to pretend blind.

I don’t want to persecute both the old man and the majority of the passengers. I admit that I cannot vouch for the real condition of the old man. I will not deny the possibility that he is likewise pretending his sickness. Despite the uncertainty, I gave him some money because part of me believes that he needs it. Whether he is suffering from Lung Cancer or not, he is begging because he has nothing.

As for the other passengers who pretended not to see, I will try my best not to judge them. However, the attitude of rendering rude words, covering yourself with handkerchief even though the man was meters away from your seat and denying the man’s existence cannot escape as a violation in my standards of respect. If you refuse to help, it’s not difficult to utter, NoI’m sorry. I respect that they are threatened with the infection and transmission of whatever disease the man is carrying. In my case however, I don’t see threats of transmission by exposing your hands to a piece of paper.  We don’t know, your own hands may actually carry  more threats of infections because of the excessive money you possess.

On the next station, a group of three ladies, based from their t shirts, I concluded as sales associates from this mobile phone service provider. While the other passengers rendered what seemed to be the normal attitude of ignoring; the ladies read the letter and handed out a few bills. What I thought as a showcase of rare compassion changed when one of them blurted, “babalik din sa atin ‘to, triple, doble pa sa quota” (That money will return to us in triple fold, more than our designated sales quota), followed by a chorus of what seems to be the sound of victorious laughter.

Oh dearest writers and producers of these sappy romantic films, I’m not blaming you for making me believe in feel good stories. But sometimes, it wouldn’t hurt to feed me with some taste of reality.


Respect for who they are

A few weeks ago, a conversation with a few group of friends led to their sentiments about gays and lesbians. I can’t exactly recall how the topic emerged. The most I can remember, a friend uttered her reluctance of dealing with lesbians. She admits preferring gays than tomboys. She has this natural disinclination against lesbians. She swore never getting involved with them. I wanted to challenge her selfish conviction. I wanted to tell her how inconsiderate and discriminating she was. My intensifying desire to argue was taken aback because I remember the real intention of that night. We were gathered to unwind after an exhausting work week.

At some point, I regret my decision to keep quiet. Part of me feels guilty for my other friends. Yes, I have a handful of great friends, who are lesbians and tomboys. I don’t have gay friends of my age. The most I have are gay students who provide me that much needed comic relief in class. Some of them turned out to become a few of my good friends. (NOTE) I don’t mean discriminate but I had more negative experiences with gays than lesbians. Despite of everything, I don’t really consider gender as a requisite for friendship or even work.

The experience made me recall a great lesson life taught me. RESPECT and NEVER DISCRIMINATE. This particularly goes to the members of the gay and lesbian community. I’m a devoted Catholic and even though Bible interpreters keep on claiming that God despises them, my respect remains untainted. Even in my family, I’m proud to say that gender is not really a major issue. I grew up with parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents who whole-heartedly embraced and accepted every kid, regardless of who they are and what they chose to become. I guess this started my firm belief of respecting everyone.

So whether you are girl, boy, bakla or tomboy, you are welcome to my life. As long as you can bear my hopeless romantic hormones, cheesiness, foodie indulgences, and occasional mood swings then welcome to my life 🙂

Rant or Career Plans?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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