Tag Archives: WorkLife

StoryWeaver Stories: I Teach Life

Someone recently asked if I ever get tired and frustrated when I engage with a company for years only to teach the same thing over and over again. 

Truth? Yes, I get tired. But it’s the physical kind, brought about by all the walking around, making sure everyone’s on the same page. It’s because I don’t sit on my ass at the back of the room, leaving them alone and making that incredibly dangerous assumption that they’re doing it right only to shoot them down in the end. 

It’s also the mental kind of tired, from learning their past, understanding their present and trying to knit all those bits of information together so I could make sense of their future. It’s the constant turning of the wheels in my head, trying to find ways to make a complicated concept relevant and easy to understand. 

It’s also the emotional kind of tired, from listening to the stories that they’ve been secretly dying to tell. It’s the bringing of their experiences home with me, because their lives begin connecting with mine – when they cease to be random faces who will eventually evaluate me in the end and become individual persons with individual stories, each of which is important. 

But most of all, it’s the spiritual kind of tired – from standing aside and allowing them to go through what they need to go through in order for them to bloom after being broken. It’s from being secretly sorry for causing headaches and stress but understanding that it is a requirement so they will understand that they are capable of succeeding on their own. 

So yes, I do get tired. But frustrated?

Never. 

Not when I get to read their messages when the course is done. Not when I get to see twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings grow in a span of three days. Now when it sinks in that for a short span of time, in moments that sometimes feel so fleeting and temporary, I realize that I had somehow made a difference. 

When people ask what I teach, I give them the usual answers: I teach leadership, I teach wellness, I teach concepts and I teach frameworks. But this is my real answer: at the end of every course, of every topic, of every hour of every day, I teach life. 

I always find myself playing the part of a proud mother, basking in the reflected glory of my children’s triumph. In the many, many years that I have been doing this – as a consultant, as a trainer, as a tutor, as a mentor, as a leader, as a friend – and with the many, many pieces of myself that I have given, I find that I am forever grateful for those pieces of them they have also left with me. 

And when I see my group photos, when I see my batch pictures… Honestly, how could I not?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under This So-Called Life

The Truth About Tips and Trust

It’s become a habit for me to take a cab from where I get off the south shuttle in the morning to the office. The building isn’t far – I could close the distance in 7 minutes. 5 if I walked with a purpose. The cab ride isn’t necessary, but I’ve found it to be a luxury I could let myself take if only in exchange for more time to do the things that need to be done. 

Today I handed my morning driver the amount needed to cover my fare, with about a little under 20 to spare. As I reached for the door handle, he turns to me and says, “Ma’am, may sukli pa po kayo.”

Change. It’s been a trend. Cabbies are more observant to give change back when it is warranted. How different from that cabbie from more than a decade ago, who blatantly asked for extra payment when I had the audacity to give him the exact amount. 

Maybe change has come. Not only from them, but from me. I, who asked first if they had change, before giving my payment. I found myself saying that it was okay. I knew I had overpaid – albeit not by much. But still. 

I wonder if the cabbies zipping around the Metro have noticed this – that people are now more willing to give what they’ve asked for, simply because they stopped asking for it. 

It’s surprising, sometimes, how I find the thread that connects all things in my rather colorful life. Today marks the fifth graduation I’ve held for a course I researched, designed and launched one year ago. The second for this year alone. Despite not being as popular as our older, more established courses, we’ve never had to cancel a class yet. 

I am fiercely proud of it – this program that was researched from the ground up, built from a framework that originally contained material I found to be unusable due to either lack of clarity or lack of relevance. This was my first design and it hasn’t failed me yet. 

As with any product, it has gone through many, many iteration cycles, each shorter than the last. No design is perfect. No design is permanent. With a perpetually evolving world, I have come to realize that all designs must evolve with it. 

But I digress.

In one iteration cycle, I decided to strengthen the topic on Relational Trust. Finding that I could not clearly delineate it from Organizational Trust, I eventually found a way to merge the two concepts in one: Building Trust. Trust is a universal belief. It is a truth from which all relationships stem – personal, professional or organizational. Graduation day is always the day when trust is discussed. 

Funny how, in all places, I found today’s thread between tipping a cabbie in the morning and discussing trust in the afternoon. 

Trust, I realize, is similar to the tips given. The less you ask, the more people are willing to give it. 

Leave a comment

Filed under This So-Called Life

2015: Variations of Hell on Earth

There are a lot of things I can live with. Unfortunately, stupidity is not one of them. So can you imagine how difficult it is to perpetually be in the same breathing space as some who’s level of intelligence is in the negative? Can you understand how the level of difficulty increases when said unintelligent being is part of my group?

I used to think that maybe it’s me. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I expect too much from someone who’s been here for less than a year. I know it’s not fair to compare how I was when I was new, so I try not to (although I end up doing it anyway). But when the consistency of her inconsistencies are unparalleled, and when the simplest of things cannot be done, and when the same errors are being committed time and time again, it leads me to believe otherwise.

It’s. Not. Me.

True enough, there’s more then enough dislike talking through me right now. I’m watching Lady J take the heat for a mistake committed by TGoE. I know it’s part of her role – accountability, right? It’s a leader thing, I get it. As long as The Garden of Eden is under her supervision, it will always be her mistake, even if it’s not. But when you look at the long and sordid situation they’re in and you realize that all of it could have been avoided simply by TGoE correctly managing expectations, can you really blame me for really wanting to drown the latter in the loo?

Lady J wonders why she sticks it out with us. TGoE’s answer is the Ms. Universe response: “I really love what I’m doing.” Dude, seriously. And yet, when the question “But what if what you’re doing doesn’t love you back?” is posed to her (and it has been – many, many times), she has no response.

I’ve come to understand that this seems to be her natural response to potential conflict situations – she withdraws, stays silent, puts on her “kawawa” face (which is the most annoying thing ever), and sulks. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in that head of hers (I have images of her very few neurons playing tag with each other – Goddess knows they have more than enough space). I wonder if it’s ever crossed her mind that she is, for most of the time, at fault? If you just base it on how she retells certain things, there was always someone else who told her the wrong thing. Or there was always someone else who misunderstood (but what she said was really correct. Like REALLY. She’s sure of it). It’s never her. It’s always someone else. Seriously, how long can someone delude themselves into always thinking this way (apparently, it’s been going on for almost 9 months and it’s still going strong!)?

I get it, you know. Her working in this kind of environment is hell for her. It’s difficult enough when you feel everything you do is wrong. It doesn’t help when every single person you work with (at least those who count) confirms this. Often times to your face. Her life in this office? This is her variation of hell.

Lady J is convinced that one day TGoE will decide to leave – not because she’s being to hard on her, not because of the fact that no one ever talks to her in the office (except for Robo-egg and Barney, but those are different stories and will be told at a different time), but because she will never be able to deliver. I, on the other hand, am firmly convinced that she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Try to look at it from a completely predatory point of view:

You get paid every fifteen days to do absolutely nothing of worth except encode random stuff which other people assign to you, mostly because they’re desperate for you to do something. But since you aren’t capable of delivering at a normal capacity, none of them will give you work that actually requires at least the smallest iota of intelligence. After all, at the end of the day, it’ll still be their necks on the line.

So you’re coasting along. No one really talks to you, save for a couple of poor souls who are, more or less, in the same boat, and it’s enough for you because at least you have “friends”. People talk to you behind your back (like literally – they sit behind you and they talk. Using not-so-soft voices) but you don’t really care. After all, work isn’t about making friends. When everyone else is loaded, you finally get assigned to a customer. And because you have all the time in the world, you spend a better half of an hour talking to them on the phone, not even considering that they might not have the same amount of time in their hands. And when you fuck up, you know that someone will always come to your rescue – because even if you know that they abhor your presence, they also have an image to uphold.

So it’s a blessed existence. You get something for doing absolutely nothing. Why on earth, would you leave?

So I’ll say it again. I don’t think she’s going to leave. If she had an ounce of pride, she would have left months ago. If she really cared about the rest of us, she would either have shaped up (because there has been more than enough time for the improvement to show) or shipped out (because her being here is actually weighing us down and we can’t look for a more suitable person because she’s still there).

But where is she? She’s still here. And honestly, I don’t see her going away anytime soon.

And this is my variation of hell.

Dark & Twisted…

1 Comment

Filed under Secret Life of Bees, Stories from the Garden of Eden

2015: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

I took a book out of my husband’s book: Tell the truth and let the pieces fall where they may.

When you get called into a close-door meeting because a colleague has issues with you, it definitely puts one in a mood. Today was one of those days.

So we have our Monday meeting. It started well enough – I had finished all the required reports last night and was able to send it over so I knew there was a possibility of us discussing it first thing this week. The meeting ran for about an hour an a half, after which P and I went back to our lives. About twenty minutes later, Lady J comes back out and says we need to have a talk with The Garden of Eden because she has issues with the both of us.

So D-Day finally arrived (I had been anticipating this since our episode last Saturday).

She started with P, and no matter how much I want to describe that in detail, it really isn’t my story to tell. So I’ll stick with mine (and because mine was waaaaaaay more intense). So she says, “You said last Saturday this relationship was not an easy one. I wanted to clarify what made you say that.”

Talk about flinging the door wide open.

Me, being the bitch that I am, the first statement out of my mouth was, “What I said was I know this relationship has been difficult.” And so the long and arduous conversation began…

Highlights:

Me: You know me. I don’t need to be friends with people I work with. You want to ask me right now if we’re friends? We’re not. I don’t need to be friends with you. I just need you to do your job.

* * *

Me: Remember <client name omitted>? You sent me the report at 11 PM. I came in at 7 AM to edit it because I didn’t get a chance to see it before that. You knew the meeting was at 9:30 am on the same day. I get it that you need help – but sana naisip mo din na may iba akong ginagawa. Wala kang konsiderasyon.

Me: You send me the report on a Thursday night, then you go on leave. I get it – it’s a credit leave, by all means take it, I don’t care. But then again, kahit pinaghirapan kong basahin yun hanggang hating gabi, paano ko sya ibabalik sayo e wala ka? Tapos presentation sa Monday?

* * *

GoE: (not verbatim) After the Baguio thing, I really thought everything was okay…
Me: Going on an out of town trip with me for four days does not make us friends.

* * *

GoE: (not verbatim) I was really affected when I gave you a gift on your birthday. And I know you said thank you. But after that you just kinda looked at the gift from the side and you didn’t even look at me. I felt snubbed. Feeling ko napahiya ako – especially since everyone was at the table.
Me: What kind of reaction were you expecting? (I am seriously bewildered by this.)
GoE: At least sana tumingin ka man lang sa akin.
Me: Well, I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. But if you ask me if I could relive the moment – would I react differently? No, I wouldn’t.

* * *

GoE: Sometimes I feel that when I make a mistake, it gets magnified. But pag kayo kayo lang, napagtatakpan.
Me: Okay – tell me about a time when this happened.
GoE: (goes off into a long explanation)
Me: So that’s an example of how when you make a mistake, it gets magnified. What about the other part?
GoE: It’s just a general feeling that I have…

* * *

GoE: (not verbatim) When you talked to me about , you said you had talked to <colleague’s name omitted>. Hindi na ako nakapalag dun kasi feeling ko hindi naman ako pakikinggan. You chose to believe <colleague’s name omitted> even if I was also there.
Me: You know why? I think there is something fundamentally wrong with our relationship. I don’t trust you. I seriously question your judgement. And you have absolutely no credibility in my eyes whatsoever.

* * *

GoE: (not verbatim) I really am trying…
Me: It makes me wonder… is done. Four of your five accounts are dead. You have no sales and no runs. What’s going to happen to you now?

* * *

Me: I’m tired. I’m tired and frustrated. It’s been six months. It took you four months to learn a 3-day program – and that’s not even to its completion. How on earth with you survive the coming days?

* * *

Me: Did you ever tell people that every time you become close to another consultant, I do something to make the closeness go away?
GoE: (semi-horrified look) I never said anything like that…
Me: The thing is, you can say that I’m a slave driver. I know I make you do a lot of things. I know I’m horribly strict when it comes to the reviews. And if you say all of these things, it’s okay because it’s true. But when I heard about that, honestly, it kinda affected me – because then it became… personal.
GoE: (not verbatim) I apologize for that.
Me: At this point it’s irrelevant.

* * *

Me: You know when it really started to bother me? When I ran a hundred hours in May, <consultant’s name omitted> ran 84, I hardly ever saw <consultant’s name omitted>, <consultant’s name omitted> got shipped off to . Even <consultant’s name omitted> went on medical leave. EVERYONE was busy. Except you.

* * *

GoE: Is it a dead end for me?
Me: What do you mean by that?
GoE: Is it a dead end? In your opinion.
Me: When you say dead end, what you do mean? Are you asking me if I’ll ever trust you again? Are you asking if I’ll ever see you as credible? What?

* * *

GoE: Do you accept my apology?
Me: (split-second hesitation) Yes. But it won’t be clean slate. I will never forget.

* * *

This day. I love this day.

Dark & Twisted…

Leave a comment

Filed under Secret Life of Bees

2014: Random Rantings of a Resume-Reader Part Deux

I once again find myself drowning in a deluge of CVs from hopefuls who, honestly, are not going to be given the opportunity to step within 10 feet of me. After a lot (A LOT) of laughs between me and my officemates, I thought it selfish to not share. So here we go…

Once again, in no particular order…

CV#1. Using words with more than 3 syllables does not an impressive resume make. Thank you for saying that our “recent manpower posting in (newspaper name omitted) for (position omitted) offers excellent employment opportunity in Administration.” But it doesn’t, really. I would also like to understand what these “human skills” are to which you are referring. If you have human skills, does it mean that someone people have inhuman skills? Just curious.

CV#2. I really can’t find anything wrong with your CV… but that’s probably due to the fact that I never finished reading it. The bullet points in rather small font are so boring, it made me want to get a gun and shoot myself in the head. But overall, your CV’s really good. Promise.

CV#3: I have so many things I want to say to you…

1.) “Good Day” was a good start. After that, it was all downhill from there.
2.) I love the fact that you have a dream. Keep dreaming.
3.) Given how your cover letter was written, I strongly suggest that you keep God and the gifts you believed He endowed out of it.
4.) This is not the Ms. Universe pageant. Even if you had put in “world peace”, I still wouldn’t interview you.

CV#4. I never really thought of using “prestigious” as an adjective for my company, but thank you for saying so. It must also be said that brown-nosing will not get you closer to an interview, no matter how much you may be looking forward to it.

CV#5. If I profiled you skills to suit that of an unemployed member of Philippine society, would you still be interested?

CV#6. Thank you for sending us a 16-page CV. Next time, however, please do not send us copies of the following:


* Your transcript of records from college
* Your diploma
* 9 certificates of employment
* certifications of seminars that you have attended in the past
* Your NBI clearance
* Your passport

If we wanted those, we would have asked for it in the add.

CV#7 (had to save the best for last). Do not lie in your resume. When you claim to be proficient in communication, rethink statements such as “I possess a good communication and writing skills…”. “A hand worker who is eager to learn.” is not even a statement. It is a phrase. A very wrong-sounding phrase.

***

Luck to your future endeavors. You’re going to need it.

Dark & Twisted

Leave a comment

Filed under World Domination

20.13: Career Milestones

I found this interesting article that talks about certain “milestones” that we should have reached by the time we hit the big three-oh. Since I have successfully survived my twenties and am now in a different chapter in my life, I decided to compare this list to what actually happened to me.

And here’s what I came up with…

*          *          *

By the time we say goodbye to our twenties, what should we have experienced in our careers?

1. At least one intern has addressed you as “Mr.” or “Ms.”

TRUE. Not taking into consideration my current profession (wherein you are automatically called “Ms.”), I first experienced this while I was riding an unbelievable packed bus somewhere in Ayala Avenue. There was a man who was kind enough to give up his seat so I could sit down. And then he said, “Ikaw na po dito, Ma’am.” Good God, he called me “Ma’am”. I used to be a “Miss”. That was the day I realized I really was getting old.

2. Seven words: moved from your parents’ house for good.

TRUE. I finally bought my own place (check out my LifeList here) September of the previous year and moved in last April. It’s very empowering to have your own place. And after more than three decades of being shipped around, living with different people to whom you have to adjust, I finally have a sanctuary where I can just be myself. The one most important rule in my house is: If you don’t like the way I live, you can always leave.

3. Handled every schedule imaginable — days, nights, weekends, weekend nights, holidays, holiday nights… you get the idea.

TRUE. I have worked days, nights, and all hours in between. I have worked during Philippine, American and British holidays. Been there, done that. I’m very thankful that my schedule lets me keep a relatively normal life.

4. Written so many cover letters that you could pen an autobiography of failed job applications.

FALSE. I have only ever written one cover letter. In fact, when I was told that I had to write a cover letter to accompany my CV, I had to look it up online so I could get “samples”. Incidentally, that one and only cover letter I’ve ever written landed me the same job I’m still working in right now.

5. Had such a terrible boss that you questioned the very idea of working to earn a living.

TRUE. Her name was Meow and it seemed like she was meant for me. As punishment for every wrong thing I’ve done in my life. Then there was Mother B. Now that was a colorful character, if I do say so myself. And “colorful” is a euphemism for certain words I am unwilling to write here.

6. Realized that your college major — once a pivotal career decision — really didn’t matter all that much.

TRUE. Dude. Seriously. I have a degree in non-clinical Psychology with a minor in Communications. There aren’t ready-made jobs for courses like mine. I do, however, admit that my background comes in really handy.

7. Slaved away in your office on a picture-perfect Sunday because, well, the work’s just gotta get done.

TRUE. It was not in my office. It was in some office in South Superhighway. Or Antipolo. So many Sundays of my life I shall never get again. *sigh*

8. After several years in the professional ranks, your résumé no longer has traces of college clubs and achievements.

N/A. I never put college clubs and achievements on my CV. And the fact that I didn’t have college clubs and achievements is besides the point.

9. Battle tested, you don’t even flinch when the client says, “This isn’t what I wanted. You’ll need to do it again.”

TRUE. I sit in during Management Committee meetings of one of my clients. I dealt with that girl who had ginger for toes. Believe me, I’ve done this.

10. Maintained a 401k and contributed funds to the point that you can actually see it working.

N/A. I don’t understand what this means. :p

11. Defused a stressful office situation by saying, “In my experience, here’s what we should do.”

TRUE. I’m a consultant. This is normal. I’m actually pretty handy in crises since I’m not prone to emotional outbursts (Unless, of course, the crisis happens to be the carpenters making a mess out of my house. Then I’m a bundle of nerves and I get really nasty.)

12. Landed a nice raise and proceeded to buy something you would never get otherwise.

TRUE. The Macbook. The DSLR. The Macbook Pro. The condo. And all these were possible because of a promotion and being kuripot since I was, like, 10.

13. Elected to take an advanced education course (or pick up a new skill) because of the value it added to your career.

TRUE. About the picking up a new skill part. And the newest skills that I’ve developed (after learning how to put on make-up) was selling.

14. After bouncing from job to job, you finally see the value of a stable situation with long-term potential.

FALSE. I’ve never been the type to hop from one job to another. I was with my first company for seven years. I was with my second company for five months (admittedly, that was a bad example).

15. Been there and done that long enough to understand who you are and the type of work that gets you out of bed in the morning. If your twenties were the decade to get knocked around, then may you spend the next ten years cashing in on the education.

TRUE. Although I have been very, very fortunate with the jobs that I landed (stable company, relatively good compensation, extremely few but fantastic friends), one thing that I did learn was that every time you apply for a job, it’s not only them who’s making a choice regarding choosing you. You also have to make a choice to choose them.

Coincidentally, I did choose to join the company from where I learned that. And I’m still here until now 🙂

 

 

Ciao Bella!

1 Comment

Filed under iRead, This So-Called Life

19.13: Random Rantings of a Resume-Reader

To You. Yes, Really.

I was recently tasked to go through a not-so-big pile in resumes in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough. The objective of this particular activity was to find suitable candidates for an initial face-to-face interview. 30 minutes into it, my head began to pound (later on you will understand why). Due to an undeniable need for therapeutic release, I have decided to write about it.

Let’s begin with the end. Out of 15 CVs, my good friend AC and I ended up with (drum roll, please!)… 3. Three. Seriously. Three (I cannot get enough of saying this out loud).

Some time between CV #3 and #15, I was making mental notes of what I wanted to say to these people. Since I now know that I will (thankfully) never get to meet around 80% of them, I will write it down instead.

Here goes (in no particular order)

CV #1: You’re overqualified. We’re afraid that you’re going to bore people to death when you talk. No, seriously, you’re overqualified. Take that as a good thing.

CV #2: It was very nice of you to share that you are currently processing your papers for possible employment out of the country. I would, however, rethink this as it only made me wonder if you were planning to flee the RP any time soon. Also, it is best, when sending a horrendously long CV, to have all pages formatted as short or long, not a combination of both.

CV #3: You are very intelligent – your background and extensive career certainly speaks for you. You are, unfortunately, also very old (and when I say old, I mean OLD). I am concerned that you might suddenly keel over and die during class.

CV #4: To be honest, you actually made it to the “maybe” pile. I applaud the very courageous decision to shift from the automotive industry to that of the BPO. I have no doubt that you are very good at what you do right now. However, further screening of your application moved you from the “maybe” pile to the “no” pile. Also, it would be best, when updating your work history, to begin with your most recent employer, not the one you were with two decades ago.

CV #5: Please do not write your cover letter using size-20 font. I may be visually impaired, but I am not blind. Size 12 would have done just fine. Some tips for future endeavors…

1.) When applying for a position, please decide what position you’re actually applying for. This is not the lottery. More entries does not mean more chances of winning.

2.) Do not rely so heavily on MS Word’s spell and grammar check. You may spell all the words correctly, but it does not mean that you make sense. And even if you have skills for running something efficiently and have outgoing personality and professionalism in creating a calm and friendly work environment, I highly doubt that you will be the best asset for my organization.

3.) When you have attached something to an email, it has already been done. Therefore, it should be in the past tense. It’s the tense wherein you put a -d or -ed after the verb. Unless it’s irregular, of course.

CV #6: Bata ka pa. Marami ka pang bigas na kakainin. Next time nalang.

CV #7: It is normally good practice to include tasks and responsibilities for your employment history. Don’t just put the company, your position and how long you were there. Malay ko ba kung ano ginagawa mo dun. I will, however, admit to being in awe of your ability to put a full-body picture in your resume.

CV #8: When listing down tasks and responsibilities of previous and present jobs, please do not write in paragraph form. There are things called bullets. Use it.

CV #9: The position you are applying for is that of a Training Consultant. Please do not write “Application For: Hostes, Receptionist, Captain, F&B” on your resume.

CV #10: (background omitted) ka. Hindi namin kelangan ng (position connected to background omitted). Sana i-check ang qualifications bago mag-apply.

CV #11: Maganda sana ang resume mo… sana yun ang kelangan namin. Isa ka pa – check qualifications before applying. Please? Ako na nagmamakaawa.

CV #12: There are no words. Like seriously. Because of you, I posted “Bakit ang daming galit sa subject-verb agreement and tenses? Maawa naman kayo sa nagbabasa sa sinulat nyo.” on facebook.

*          *          *

So… Three.

Here’s to hoping.

 

 

Dark & Twisted…

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under This So-Called Life