Monday, April 16, 2012

People are People

One question that was asked to me during my job interview in 2006 was this one, “What if your manager asked you to make a report that requires you to get some data from a colleague. However that colleague refuses to provide the information. What will you do? I was mute for a couple of seconds. And I had to smile to show I’m still interested to answer the question. Sort of giving them a clue, “Wait, give me sometime to think.” And when it seeped into my consciousness that this was not just any ordinary conversation, I answered with a trace of formidability, “Sir, I will report that colleague to you!” And that answer made them mute for a couple of seconds too. On my bus ride going home, I was visually panning each question and answer in that interview and I was trying to rate myself. And then I thought again of the scenario when a colleague will refuse to cooperate. Could it really happen? Can he afford not to? With all these questions lurking all around my head, I became so tired that I dozed off immediately in that very common yellow bus we see everyday!

And now that 5 years and 11 months have passed I realize that interview questions are really tidbits of truth, half-truth, quarter-truth if there is such a word. I have condensed these so-called gathered truths into three equal weights.

Would you agree that, one which is the most difficult to do is the most rewarding? I can hear your yeses. Thank you for confirming. That will lead us to my truth number one: “Walk the talk”. Follow as I say; not as I do is the greatest irony ever created in the English Literature. Preachers are inside the church when they preach; not in the workplace. If you want to preach, please be holy first. If you cant be holy, then don’t preach. People in the workplace like myself, need models. There is much more to learn when we see the things we need to learn than just hearing it. As experts would put it, humans are naturally visual. The same applies in the workplace. We tend to do or follow what we see and observe with the people ahead of us. When the leader says, let’s all jump off from the 14th floor window, he must jump off first, and all the rest will follow.

My Truth number two is all about the Shared goal, Shared reward. We work to live and not live to work. Implication: Work should be something rewarding. “What will I get out of it? Para que? What for? What is in it for me? If people won’t see the benefit, it is very difficult to make them cooperate in the workplace. If kids are happy with lone candies after an accomplished errand, how much more with adults?

My Truth number three states that The workplace is an avenue to build relationships. Obviously we wanted to work with people whom we feel good about. Work is fun when we have good relationships with colleagues. In fact, the opposite of teamwork is bad relationship. And I remember this very striking quote I read sometime ago. “Don’t lighten up the room by leaving it”. I strongly believe that in the future, when we meet somewhere around the Philippines or around the world, we will not talk anymore about Raw Mats Delivery, MAA, CO2 Recovery, Water Treatment, and the like. What we will be talking about are the good relationships we have made while we are here in San Miguel.

How rewarding it is when people will follow you not because you told them to do so but because you have walked the talk, you have shared the reward, and you have built good relationships with them!

Monday, April 2, 2012

No, I am Not Ready to Die Yet!

The Hunger Games movie bit my psyche. I thought it was too gory that I raved about it for a couple of days. And it came to a point when my storytelling became refined and to that effect the continuity and fluidity of words just came out like a waterfall cascading to a river basin. I mastered it by heart. It took me, well 3 days, to rest my mind on thinking and overanalyzing the plot of the movie. If I were probably a tribute, I’ll die not of physical, chemical, or biological cause. I’d die of nervous breakdown.

True enough, I am not ready to face my own death. Oh, let me rephrase that. I am not ready to face my own mortality. That’s better don’t you think?

Last month, there were foolish people at Facebook who posted something about details of their death which became a hit (to my surprise) thus my wall had tons of it.  Is the word morbid not in their dictionary? Where is the fun in seeing your very own tombstone engraved in it, your name, birth year, death year, and the cause of your death? I cringed seeing all of them. To the individual who created that application may I quote the gentle lady from Iloilo, “What on earth were you thinking?”

When I was younger, I think I was in kindergarten then; my whole family was on board MV Don Martin when in the middle of the infinite seas, it tilted to an angle enough to panic all passengers, myself of course included. The ship crew tried to deviate our attention from the panic state so they let Mr. Bean did what he does best. Unfortunately it didn’t work. At least for me. Mama would interrupt me by giving me nuts to eat but no thank you. When I’m paranoid, I closely keep watch of what’s going around. I even made an indomitable effort to balance the ship with my own juvenile weight. Ha! ha! And when I saw a bigger ship following us ready for rescue, it all emptied all the remaining hope in me that we will survive. I have practically gone crazy, until the ship reached the side of the port. That was a huge relief seeing that we have the strong concrete port on our side and seeing the ropes ran as the ship was tied to it. I felt the comfort it did. And the feeling of safety surged in me. Oh God, thank you, I am still alive!

That was the earliest not-so-good experience I had that created a push button -senses alert- when I travel by sea or by air. And that explains my fondness to travel by land. This is my idea of a comfortable, stress-free travel or goes even beyond to being therapeutic to some sort. My travels to Bacolod from Dumaguete and vice-versa are good times for me. Those are joy rides even if it takes 6 to 7 hours.

One air travel I could not forget was in 2005. That was after the board exam. We were bound home to Dumaguete on board a Cebu Pacific plane. While in the terminal, the sky was overcast and the rain started to pour. We were up, up and away in the sky when the aircraft abruptly dropped. Yes, it fell! In Physics it’s called a “free fall”. The passengers looked at each other, faces drawn with fear. And then I heard someone who spoke with authority in his voice that we were in grave danger. The aircraft fell I think three times, distance and duration became longer. I almost wanted to stop breathing. Hope lurked in us when the plane was on its final attempt to descend but failed. Until we flew higher now in a different direction. Then we heard the captain finally broke the stillness inside the aircraft. “We are landing at Mactan International Aiport in Cebu due to some technical problem.” My heart skipped a beat, or maybe two or three. It was erratic until we touched the runway. Then we were all ushered in to another aircraft, umbrella on top, because it was still raining. And I should say, only when I arrived home, that I am convinced I’m still breathing as one piece with my sanity intact, and I felt my heart back to its normal beat.

I almost did not want to ride an airplane again. But then you know very well how this is so impossible.

Travels by air and sea just make me sick. Reasons unfathomed yet. My mind turns dark and imagines unwanted scenarios. It became excessively fertile of possibilities, mostly negative. That explains why I don’t sleep at all when I’m on board a plane or sea vessel. I don’t travel at night if given the choice. I don’t push thru crossing the seas when it’s gloomy outside. It became automatic to stay another day in the hotel, and say, “I can pay for another overnight stay with my own money.” (in case its an official business). Then imagine an evil laugh after.

So yes its true, I am not yet ready to die! And by the way, people say that frequent travelers develop immunity to rough seas, and that they are still composed, oh common, I cross the Bacolod to Iloilo seas many times in a year, but still, it’s not my cup of tea.