Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It happened not long after I was promoted to supervisory position. We have this malingerer employee who habitually leaves his post and asked other staff to take a look at his assigned duty. He was notorious for being shrewd and would not let an opportunity pass without taking advantage. My predecessors were apparently easy on him since he regularly join the group in their After Six extra-curricular activities. Early morning, he would take a break to have his breakfast at the canteen. Next, he’ll go out to ask for medicine at Medical. Not long after he returned, he’ll leave again to go to Benefits to have his request for trip ticket processed. One time, a representative from Airport Services came and asked for volunteers who will assist their regular staffs at the airport during the coming peak season, i.e. before Christmas and after New year. Overtime duty were privileges of those who have people skills in passengers handling. This requires direct contact with customers. If you don’t have these qualities, you’re not supposed to be there since you’ll be antagonizing customers rather than gaining their patronage and good will. When the list of those who will be given assignment was faxed to us confirming their participation in that special project, he was not among those included. Only those recommended were confirmed. He was fuming mad why he was not among them. Asking me why he was not included, I asked him in return, “Did you submit your name as one of those willing to volunteer for that special project?”, he said “None.”. Instead, he tried to make it appear I failed to do a job I was supposed to do. I simply said, “ I will endorse people I knew will be an asset to a team, not a liability. I can’t endorse people who’re pain in the ass. Recommendations and Endorsement carries with it a high degree of responsibility. I’m not willing to stake it in him.” Waiting for his official complain challenging my judgment call, until now it never came.
A year ago our colleague retired after 28 years of dedicated service. Twice a year he received a perfect attendance award. He received a total of 53 certificates attesting to his commitment to duty, rain or shine five days a week. To him, the show must go on. The only time he was out of office was when he was on sick leave. No typhoon or any other calamity could deter him. Even on holidays when he was given an assignment he reports for duty without complain. Some resented him every time he received an award since it became obvious he was too dedicated and consistent while they were just hoping, envious and sour-graping. On the day of his retirement, his detractors says - his life was monotonous. Day in and day out he reported for duty on time until he retired. Some people can’t appreciate achievement if others did it but if they were the achievers of the same effort, they shouted to high heavens how excellent they were.
Last weekend, a major TV network Senior reporter, her two cameramen and a professor were being held hostages by a still unconfirmed group of muslim rebels. Reportedly, they went there without the knowledge of military and police authorities who has that province in their area of responsibility in Mindanao. Unlike their previous sorties in that war torn province, they kept their mission in secret ostensibly to make an exclusive interview of those rebels expecting to out-scoop their rival network. On the second day of their activity, the news was in the papers, broad sheet and tabloid alike, in tv and radio broadcasts except the reporters own network. Apparently, they want to deny their reporters captivity as much as they could to prevent the exposure of their folly. When this can’t be prevented anymore, they acknowledge the news report and pleaded with other media network not to exploit the situation so as not to jeopardized the safety of their crew. Different opinions were aired by different parties, some were saddened by this unfortunate event, others were joyful since the kidnapped team were staffs of a major power company most consumers hated. Taking an objective view and rendering my own unbiased opinion, I tried my best to remain in the middle. The issue here is not whether I liked or disliked the captive crews but rather the act of hostage-taking and the events that immediately preceded it. First, the reporters desire to bring the news to the people… the rebels grievance against the government, their ideology if any or simply to gain media mileage. Second, did they considered their personal safety, the opinions and support of their families and employers before embarking in their effort? Third, is the trip worth the effort after carefully weighing and considering the dangers they have to go through in getting it? On my first question, there’s no problem with that. They have done that before in pursuance of their desire to bring the NPA’s ideology, grievance against the government and access to media to attain their goal. On the second, a reporter of a major broadsheet revealed she was supposed to be in that team. It’s her personal desire to be included in that team. When she asked her boss’s permission, her boss says, “NO; It’s very risky. The effort is not worth it.”, still she tried hard to go with the team. She told her daughter she’s going. Her daughter refused, telling her just like what her boss said. She insisted, she’s going. When the daughter sensed, mom can’t be prevented from going… she decided to go with her mother. If anything wrong happened to mother, they would at least be together. If mother gonna get killed, she’ll die with her. Then mother Back Off. On my last question and the most disturbing one, I have dissected it in separate levels so objectivity can be served. On the professional side, getting the news and the truth to the people is a noble motive for any media practitioner worth his salt. On a strictly personal level, having achieved where others can only dreamed off is a monumental achievement. I don’t care if others can do it, attempt to do it, nobody does it… I’ll do it because it’s my personal desire and mission to achieve it. “It’s a personal satisfaction to go “where angels fear to thread.” On the economic side, the desire to outperform the competition, assures anyone his/her continues prestige and economic return that goes with it. A very high profile performer in any field of endeavor can command the highest price the market can offer. Having established a lofty reputation only emboldens and raises the level of hunger and thirst for a higher degree of achievement. I would humbly conclude after a logical analysis that what leads to this hostage taking was the result of pushing the envelope too far.
Taking a break from our work is a necessary endeavor to avoid the monotonous routine of our daily existence. All work and no play will make us dull and our activities too mechanical. Some enjoy outing and bonding with the families, friends and even officemates. Picnics and excursion on the beach and trekking mountains are popular outdoor activities. Others prefer going to the malls and spend their time window shopping or simply have their pastime in places not far from home. Families either bond together or in separate groups. Mother and daughters usually watch and see melodramatic movies while father and sons would opt for adventure, action and suspense. All might settle for comedy and light movies. In sports, mother and daughters would prefer ballet and figure/ice-skating while the men pick boxing and basketball. Generally, I’ve spent time with my family both in indoor and outdoor activities especially when we were still in the province and when we moved here in the city we still find time to bond together albeit not as frequent as before. Going to the malls on weekend once in a while is still a favorite activity and most of the weekends, we stayed at home watching tv and home video to be together since everybody is working on weekdays. Alone, I’m preoccupied with reading, chess games analysis and internet research covering subjects I want to deepen my knowledge. While still a student, I spent my vacant time at the school library doing research and once it become a habit it’s difficult to break. Previously, we read our news only through newspapers, listening to radio and tv broadcasts. Not anymore. We can access the different media network through internet. I learned to use the internet less than three years ago. Having learned to use this new medium, I’m like a child who can’t be separated from his toy – even in sleep. There were even times, when my children has to practically beg me to take a break from our PC/internet. They keep on reminding me, my eyesight will be affected by staying too long in front of the computer. Once I take my break from the PC, I listen to mellow music to refresh my mind and falling into sleep, having a well-needed rest, I’m ready for the next day’s activity.
Sooner or later, our children will leave us to live a life of their own. Just like us when we left our parents to build our own home and families, we’ll have to accept the fact that they belong to us only when they’re still dependent on our parental support and under our care. Once our sons begin seriously courting girls and our daughters entertain suitors in preparation for marriage, it becomes our business to remind them so they won’t be committed to married life unprepared. First, they must be through with their studies so they’ll have something to show when they apply for employment. Second, they must be gainfully employed so they’ll have a regular source of income to support their upcoming families. Better yet, the job must be stable so they’re secure in their employment. For our daughters, it’s better if they’re employed as well so they can help their husbands support the family. What if the husband lost his job, his employer closes shop or suddenly dies they must be able to raise their children decently even as a single parent. Although I was able to raise my family as the sole bread winner, things are different now compared to our time when we were raising our family. My wife stopped working after three years of marriage to be a full time mother. Nowadays, it’s preferable if both parents are working to be able to give their children the best education. If there’s only one bread winner, the partner must have at least a small business to augment the family’s income. After courting and finding the prospective lifetime partner, becoming steady sweethearts for a period of time to test if indeed they’re compatible and ready for married life… engagement follows. It is here where I made a set of “Rules of Engagement”. It worked for us then, it would work for them now. Trusted by my would be parents-in-law to strictly follow the code of good morals and proper decorum, we see to it that every time we went out to church and unescorted dates I fetched home my future wife at the expected time she must be home. Sometimes, her youngest sister goes along with us probably as an observer, how we behave and to find out how trustworthy we can be. Second, each partner must give each other space to explore their opportunities both in post-graduate education and better employment opportunities; e.g., overseas job that yields substantial monetary rewards or job that encourage excellence leading to promotions. One must support the other and not an obstacle to the partner’s ambition. Avoid professional jealousy that will pit one against the other in terms in achievement and monetary return. Many engaged couple and would be husband and wife are guilty of pre-marital sex. This I emphasized to my children both boys and girls to avoid this sin. It’s something sacred that must be enjoyed only after they were legally-wedded, and blessed. They have all the time in the world to enjoy the heavenly gift bestowed by the Holy Father. Not one among them protested. I hope and wished to God no one goes astray. Please bless them Lord.
A man entered the confession box and began his ritual. “ Bless me father for I have sinned.”, whispered the man. “Son, what are the sins you have committed?”, asked the prelate. “Father, I have this strong urge to kill anyone who believe in God and later on I regret doing this mortal sin. I’ve killed five people and I don’t know when I can put a stop to this. Can God forgive my beastly act ?”, the sinner asked. “Son, God forgives anyone who sins and asked for his forgiveness.”, the prelate replied. “Father, do you believe in God?”, asked the sinner. After a deep breathe, the prelate said, “Son, I’m too old to believe in fairy tales.”