The perils of government service

Okay, so I thought it’s about time I write something like this.

The Philippine government has been dominating (yet again, or as always?) national (and some international) headlines as of late.

Janet Napoles and her infamous list
Singing senator
Impeaching chief justice

And then there’s the privileged kin of the corrupt

Jolo Estrada, including his diplomatic passport
Janet Napoles’ daughter and her amazing lifestyle
And let’s not forget the consenting adult

It is also not a secret that more and more citizens are calling for a proper clean up of government offices.  Heck, even a radio jock’s sarcastic banter was taken so personally that these corrupt officials buried themselves in deeper shit.

All of these are frustrating (and entertaining, to a fault) because I work for government.  So when people say those who work in government should burn in hell or die or off themselves, I cannot help but be affected by it.

In the past, if you asked me when I was in college, I would never have dreamed of working for a government institution.  13 months of hardcore management training and a renewed appreciation of good governance, especially for countryside development, changed that.  I have been in government service for almost 5 years now.

And these corrupt fucktards are making me regret my decision.

To be honest, when I see those criticisms posted on my Facebook wall — BY THE BEST OF MY FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES NO LESS — I just ignore them.  I have never stolen or coveted or pocketed a single penny.  But if I will be persecuted by the number of Post It flags that I took home, I will be guilty of it — all 12 of those.

I come to work as early 7:30 in the morning.  I work till 5.  There was an entire year that I would also come in Saturdays, because the work has become so burdensome that it no longer fits the regular 40-hour work week.  And I am the “lazy” one because I have seen my officemates; some of them stay at work for so long, their love and social lives have turned moot and academic.

I diligently observe the No Lunch Break law.  My department makes sure that there’s always someone manning the phones and addressing inquiries.  My boss and I take turns in official travels because there has to be an officer left in our department to handle official matters.  Our small team of 4 handles the ATM network of our bank, all 300+ deployed nationwide, including the hundreds of thousands of cards and the hundreds more ATMs to be deployed within the year.

We made RA 9184 our bible.  We follow it to a T.  We are the mainstayers of the Bids and Awards Committee meetings because our acquisitions are always expensive and high profile.

We love being audited.  How else can we see our errors?  How else can we find ways to correct them?  If there’s no one patient enough to play the role of the devil’s advocate, how can our projections be fair and impartial?

We serve well.  I serve well.  And apparently, I should eat my friend’s shorts, kiss their rear and suck stuff (among others).

I worked ceaselessly for three years to afford a Paris trip and the first thing that welcomes me when I get home is a Facebook message from a (former) friend, asking if I enjoyed burning his taxes in Champs Elysees.

It makes me so angry.  The corrupt politicians are ruining it for all of us!  They’re ruining it for the account officer that deserves that performance bonus.  They’re ruining it for the janitor that stays extra late to clean the halls.  They’re ruining it for the security guard that does not charge his extended hours as he waits for his reliever.

Corruption is ruining it for the employees and other government officials that travel and leave their families — sometimes, for weeks — while they conduct research, close accounts, guide investors, and bring in the money for their institution.

They’re ruining it for the traders, the treasury people that gain the biggest in the stock market and remit 100% of their earnings to the Philippine government.

They’re ruining it for the government institutions that supports scholars, the impoverished, the entrepreneurs, rural banks, schools, highways, farm to market roads, ROROs, and all the other things simple government workers cannot even brag about BECAUSE A HANDFUL STOLE SO MUCH.

It pains to be in the service of people who have become ungrateful.  And you cannot blame the Filipino people for feeling that way.  We feel that way because WE GET TAXED TOO.  THEY STOLE OUR TAX MONEY TOO.  THEY DID US WRONG TOO.  US.  THE ASSISTANT MANAGERS.  THE MANAGERS.  THE RANK AND FILE.  THE JANITOR.  THE MANANG.  THE GUARDS.  THE TELLER.  THE DRIVER.  THEY STOLE FROM US TOO.  THOSE ARE OUR MONEY TOO.

So I guess I’m just venting here.  Because it’s hard to be in government service.  Because they make government service look bad.  So if the time comes when we leave and move on with our lives — migrate, retire, marry and settle down at home — who will replace us?  Who will do the hard work?  Who will do the research?  These people have demonized the posts that we hold at severe rates that NO ONE WOULD WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED BY IT.

Because of the handful corrupt, we are antagonized.  And if we get tired of being the “enemy”, when we get tired of being “thieves” and move out of our offices and into private practice, who do you think will run the paperwork?  The research?  The leg work?

No one.

Because if we won’t do it, who would want to?


To the hater

I don’t have to defend myself to you.  Even if you keep saying I am not qualified for the position I hold.  Even if you mock my past work experiences.  Even when you constantly disparage my character in public, never mind that I am within earshot.  Your insecurity brought you there.

But I won’t pass up the opportunity to nail you solid in that position.

If it wasn’t for my TV show stint, I would not have appreciated actual physical and mental hard work.  Because unlike you, I was cut in half by making 80 cups of coffee in different personal mugs with different sugar/cream requirements.  Unlike you, I was taught that if the utility boy cannot lift that 10k cable to the van for the next shoot location, you have to lift that.  Unlike you, I learned labor.  Actual hard labor.  And rose to the expectation of churning out literature before the 13-hour workday ends.  Unlike you.

Unlike you, I passed one of the country’s most prestigious management training programs.  Because unlike you, that company left their biases and prejudices at the door.  Unlike you, they chose to hone me as an individual who wishes to learn.  Unlike you, I am humble enough to admit I do not know it all.  Unlike you.

If it wasn’t for my religious beliefs, I would have not exerted the effort in understanding your constant need for praise and attention.  I would have recommended a psychiatrist to visit your home as you badly need one.  That on top of Diazepam and a concoction of hypnotics, because I think you just need to rest your mind from the rumors you’ve been spreading.

Thank God I believe in him enough to not worry about your effect on me.  Because you have no effect on me.  Because you do not matter to me.

Unlike me to you.

No More Bullshit

On humility

There have been way too many things happening at work and I have to admit, I have not been handling it well. I’ve been brave enough to divide my time with school, and now, the workload from both aspects are just getting to be too much to handle.

Let’s put it this way: when I’m in school, I think about work. When I’m at work, I think about school. I am neither here nor there, and the office gossip and drama do not really make it any easier.

However, I cannot deny the lessons learned in the past couple of weeks. The implosion of a hot tempered personality has vindicated so many people in our team (and by team, I mean team that knows that personality’s evil ways). I don’t even know how to properly articulate what has been going on in the office without implicating myself.

Is this really the way to work or operate in the office scenario? Always watching your back for people that may stab it? It’s weird, I thought quitting show business had saved me from the drama. Evidently, it is a plague on all houses.

Looking back, there was only one thing lacking between the initiation and the disorderly exit of it all: humility. Once you start walking around as if the world owes you something, you start burning bridges, you begin to demean people, you ignite flames that could have easily been managed in the first place. As a professional — or rather as a human being — humility should never leave your body. After all, whatever it is that you have now, the world gave to you. Sure, hardwork cannot be discounted, but only humble work is rewarded greatly.

With that, I hope to lessen posts of my work dissatisfaction. I have never failed myself at this scale for so long, but at least I have people believing in me, rallying behind me, and a certain kind of faith that never waivers, that always believes in justice, where prayers are always answered.

That seems to be a rock solid foundation I can boost myself up from.

I hope your month is turning out to be better than mine. Past the halfway mark, I hope to catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.


Business ethics: a reminder

There has been a lot of hostility as of late.  It has exceeded even the expectations I’ve set for myself as I entered into government service.  Stumbling upon this infographic, I believe it is high time to remind ourselves of the code values for proper business ethics.

It is always sad when these values are lost as we try to fix things and make status quo better.  However, harsh words, being mean and straight-up disrespect will never get you the results you need in the first place.

Just a thought.  Because we could all use a good reminder.


You knew better.

Dear You,

In all honesty, your two-facedness is something I didn’t quite anticipate.  In 2009, you were the quiet one, the one who reads the Word for lunch, the one who took jokes and jeers in stride.  You were the one who asks if anyone else would like something from McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts, or anything that you can bring back to Manila whenever you’d go home to your hometown.  What you have become is quite unprecedented.

I really didn’t anticipate your backstabbing ways.  But then, I should have known we all have our dark sides.  I should have known that we have two wolves in all of us.  I just didn’t think you would be the kind of person who will feed the bad one.

Is it the smoke up your ass?  Is it their constant fawning over the work you do?  Is it the way they worship your work?  It has to be that right?  After all, you do pick up their slack.  You are the one completing everything that’s supposed to be their workload.  You are the doormat.  So you have to be part of that click.

And a part of it, you have become.  It’s so disappointing.  But then who am I to expect loyalty?  Who am I to expect some semblance of identity?  I just graduated with you, finished the training with you.  We probably studied together once, but that’s it.  I have mocked you endlessly, but then, you have mocked me to my face too.  Our relationship was limited to that.

Was I wrong to assume that you have a sense of fealty?  After all, we went through the same hardships.  I do not expect you to know the inner workings of my twisted mind and harpooned feelings, but at the very least, as someone who went through the same kind of test as you, I just expected you would at least defend me.  Or not add fuel to the fire.  Instead, you contributed to the senseless and baseless babble of my so-called elitism and spoiled-ness.  You contributed to the preconceived notions others had of me, notions that I have always thought you knew was wrong.  You and I met way before all these, after all.  You knew me way before all these.  As it turned out, you are not the ally I thought you were.

I only hope that I am the lone victim of your backstabbing ways.  I still have use to you; I am still your lone link for matters that require his confirmation.  And that’s how I’ve come to be for you — a person who will entertain your bitch-filled lunches, your passes to a click that “accepted” you, your shining example of what not to be.  But you want to know the real sad story here?

Never in a million years would I do the same thing to you.

May you sleep soundly at night, you backstabbing two-faced lying low-level ass kisser.