Transitioning

Finally, it has happened:  I am updating my blog.
I have been MIA for a while and it is for a good reason.  Since moving to the US, the Husband and I were in agreement that I can take the opportunity to start over by taking some time not working.  It has been pretty great, in fact.  Before getting married, we didn’t really have any time to be together-together.  There hasn’t been that much room for dating in person, much more living together.  The past year has been pure bliss of getting to know the Husband better, and while it has it’s ups and downs, I would gladly go through it all over again.
But the thing is… I have not not worked.  You know what I mean?  I’ve always worked.  I am either employed (full-time or as a talent) or doing freelance.  I’ve always been occupied.  So you can only imagine how overwhelmed I was with suddenly having time.

View this post on Instagram

Employee of the year. #cats

A post shared by Carla Shmarlaloo (@carlaloo) on

I tried to stick to a schedule.  Make breakfast everyday, do the laundry twice a week, read a book, catch up on a show — and for a while, I was doing really well.  That is, until I discovered Netflix.  I know that some Americans complain about the quality and speed of the Internet here, but coming from the Philippines, the fact that I can stream shows SEAMLESSLY across three different devices absolutely BLEW MY MIND.  It was the start of my crumbling schedule.
Thankfully, my sister needed help with the kids when she found a job early this year.  That became my preoccupation.  My days were suddenly filled with two girls that either adore or repel each other; there is no middle ground feeling.  It was exhilarating and at the same time, draining.  If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you can see what I’m talking about.  These girls, you either love or hate, and I’m pretty sure you would lean more toward the former.  I was hooked myself.  I’m so crazy about them.

After watching Juliana’s play, Olivia joined her for her morning snack.

Until, a new friend came along.  After a quick exchange over the holidays, and I mean just one day, I must have been so blessed that when there was an opening for her company, she immediately thought of me.  Four weeks after sending my resume and three interviews later, I have a start date.  It was Monday, June 19.
I was unemployed for 1 year, 6 months, and 4 days.  It took me countless applications, MLM interviews, nine months and 12 days from the date I got my visa to find a job.  I pulled all the strings I had then; they can only do so much from afar.  Even the Husband got in the mix of finding me one.  Now, I am three days in and all I can say is this:  it came at the right time.

View this post on Instagram

First day high. #workmodeon

A post shared by Carla Shmarlaloo (@carlaloo) on

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.

PDAF Scam
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?

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.

Humility

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.

ethics1
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.

 

Gossip in the office

Here’s the thing that most fresh grads have the hard time learning:  no matter who your employer is or where you work, office gossip and politics exist.  It’s just that.  Every company is a kingdom on its own, regardless of existing external regulators and other neutralizers that are supposed to keep employers in check.  It’s just there.  Ever present.

And that includes — now, more than ever — government offices.

I have worked for this company in the last three years.  I’m about to mark my fourth year in September.  Before becoming a regular employee, I underwent a 13-month management training program and I survived because my friends are very patient and very good educators.  My mother used to work here.  My aunt used to work here too.  I remember joining the institution’s summer arts program for five years in a row.  I loved this place.  Even before I joined the company, I have heard numerous praise not only for its performance in development finance, but also for its management.

Until recently, drastic changes were made.  From operating at a developmental standpoint, it appears, at least to me, that the gears have shifted to retail banking.  Don’t get me wrong; posting profit absolutely trumps breaking even.  However, it is rapidly starting to feel like this is not the institution I signed up for.

It’s frustrating isn’t it?  I joined the institution because of its developmental mandate.  I fell in love with it because my family never stopped praising its efforts in improving countryside economies.  I was often teased during our management training that I will be a “lifer,” as in someone willing to work for this institution for life.  I think I would have been, but now… well, it is not the same anymore.

What’s even more depressing is the fact that the gossip mutates.  I know it’s not supposed to die, but there has to be a period of silence somehow.  But not here.  As one executive after another is added to an already-full roster of senior rank offices, the gossip just becomes richer.  From utilizing company assets for personal use, to inglorious pay demands, to poorly examined trades, the gossip never ends.  Worse, the people in the circulating white papers are the same people who have the gall and energy to prejudge existing employees without even a semblance of validation.

I read somewhere that you should never judge a person based on someone’s opinion of them.  Lately, this has been the norm here in the office.  It is such a depressing character trait from senior officers.  Or rather disappointing.  I think what seniors often forget is that, as much as they are part of management that ensures the seamless operations and business generation of the company, they are also the primary advocates of their subordinates, not their nemesis.

But then, this is just my opinion.

Susie and Sally