Monthly Archives: August, 2012

hard habit to break

I am a nocturnal mammal and it’s always been my habit to do more things and to feel more alive and awake during the evening (especially in the wee hours of the morning). Name it, I can do heavy stuff during the evening like washing clothes, cleaning and rearranging the furnitures in our house, writing/editing a six-page book review (or just any cerebral activity to compensate for my boring day in the office), or internet surfing from 9pm until 4am.  There were many times that I went straight to work without any sleep because of a lonesome activity that I did that stretched from evening until the following day.  I know it’s not a good lifestyle but I kept doing it over and over again. Involuntarily.

For a nocturnal mammal like me, waking up early is the hardest thing to do.  For twelve years as a working person, in every company I’ve ever worked for, I cannot recall if there was a time that I had a perfect attendance or without any tardiness.  But I do can say outright, out loud that being late has always been my perennial problem.

Though I’m a nocturnal, I don’t feel good being late because of its accompanying inconveniences — the rays of the sun tend to hurt at mid-morning, traffic is more terrible, people are in a haste and grumpy because they’re also late, transportation expenses tend to increase because of taking a taxi just so you could reach your destination fast, hoping against hope that you can still be on time. In short, it feels like I am messing up my life!  Somebody once asked me what is it that I am still desiring for at this stage of my life.  I said two things:  Financial independence and contentment.  Recalling that question at this moment I think I have to add “punctuality” into that list.

To change my life for the better, though no one has told me so and just what I thought is best for me, I will report to work at 7 o’clock in the morning STARTING TOMORROW, which turns out to be the second to the last day of August.

I mean it.  This is a life-or-death situation.

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for that someone

“King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles.

hope springs

“Sometimes to keep the magic, you need to learn a few tricks,” says a line in the movie poster advertised in the newspaper. Hmm, I wonder what those tricks are? And just seeing the faces of  Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell in this movie added more to my curiosity to see it on the big screen.

Hope Springs is a story about a married couple in their 60s whose relationship have grown too comfortable and boring.  After 31 years of being married, with all their children out of the house, living their own lives, what is there to look forward to for a couple who have been together for ages?  How do you keep the romance alive despite all the years that went by, the familiarity that made it… well… stale?  Can love and sex still happen between a wife and a husband over 60?

I have heard that in a relationship, the success lies on the woman.  That it is the woman who “carries” the relationship.  If this is the belief of the writer of this movie, then that must be the reason why the character of Meryl Streep was the one who felt the more neglected and the “heroic” one who took a huge step by putting herself and her husband in an intensive marriage counseling with a doctor they barely knew, using her own savings to pay for a one-week counseling in a place called Great Hope Springs — for the sake of reviving her marriage.

This movie is a no-fuss movie.  There’s not much action going on, no laugh-out-loud moments but still I fell in love with the movie because of its truthfulness when it comes to talking about issues on intimacy and sex and of course, love. I find it uncomfortable yet interesting seeing the “behind closed-door” moments between Meryl and Tommy doing those “sexual” exercises prescribed by their therapist to bring back their intimacy as husband-and-wife. It was bittersweet for in the beginning it was the woman who did all the effort in seduction and the man was quite reluctant each time, obviously indifferent and finding the whole counseling a silly thing.  Which was ironic.  Why is it so difficult to be intimate with someone you love?  Does romance no longer exists between two aging partners?

If there is one big thing that I am scared of, it is marriage.  Unfaithful husband, lazy-good-for-nothing husband, abusive husband, etc., these are the factors that make me wanna lose faith on marriage.  But it is also a thing that fascinates me because despite all the horror stories I’ve heard, there are some that would inspire me to believe in it.

Hope Springs up to this very hour still fascinates me.  As a moviegoer, I think Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones did great as a wife and a husband in the movie, depicting a couple who are seemingly perfect on the outside — children with stable jobs and relationships, living comfortably in a house they own with complete home appliances, still together despite old age, what more could they ask for? — but actually got deep-seated issues which they swept under the rug for a long time and now bothering their present life together as an old couple living alone in a house now too big for them without the kids.

And one doesn’t have to be married and old to get the movie.  If you’ve ever been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, this movie will remind you that having a nice car, nice clothes, a nice job or a pretty or handsome face, or being fun on a date are not the key to a lasting relationship.  Oh, it is so much more than that!

Love without effort is infatuation.  Putting in the effort to keep the fire alive in a relationship is true love!

timeless reminder

I saw this in Edicio dela Torre’s wordpress account.  It’s a quote by Winston Churchill.

tuck andress- man in the mirror

Next to teachers, the people that I admire most are musicians.  Here is Tuck Andress with his own rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.

frank zappa

frank zappa

Got this from Ala Paredes (alas-dos.tumblr.com). And I definitely agree!

less than perfect

A kick-ass song and a really nice music video from Pink.  She rocks!

what’s in a name?

I got the name “theuntouchableone” from a song written by Barbie Almalbis entitled “Untouchable Ones”.  Gusto ko kasi yung melody and the lyrics of that song which was included in the debut album — the only best album — of Barbie’s Cradle.  What I did not know is that there is another song of almost the same title by Tom Cochrane, “The Untouchable One”,  in 1980s.  The lyrics is also nice for it pays tribute to a girl.  I’m a girl so I can’t help but feel that this song was written for me. So that’s the history of the name and I decided to stick with it.

The Untouchable One

See her by the corner
Then she walks on by
Heads turn to meet her
Steely eyed
She`s her own girl
Her own design
She holds her head high
Hides her scars just fine

She makes it work out
Makes me feel
Makes me see
The untouchable one
Look and see
She`s one the outside
She`s with me

She`s been through a lot
You can tell
As hard as it gets baby
She holds it well
Don`t try to change her
No, she will not bend
But if you get close to her
She`ll be your special friend

She walks on by
You know she`s walking with me
The untouchable one
Look and see
She`s on the outside
She`s with me
Make me feel
Make me see

The untouchable one
The untouchable one
She hides her scars real fine
She`s her own design
The untouchable one
The untouchable one

a blogger’s sentiments

I started writing online in 2005 during the peak of the social networking site (the one that started it all), Friendster.  One and a half years later, just out of the blue (and reflecting what I’ve been going through at that moment), I deleted that Friendster account. In that same period, which was in 2007, I rediscovered and joined Multiply.  It became my online journal for the past five years.

It came as a surprise, no, a shock to receive the news that effective December 1, 2012, Multiply will be removing its social networking features (blogs, reviews, photo-sharing etc.) to give way to their business plan of fully concentrating on marketplace online selling, or ecommerce, which has now become their niche.

The news, or the bad news to put it more accurately, actually gave me anxiety attack.  Should I also say, indescribable sadness?  For it felt like somebody broke up with me.  I mean, five years of writing, pouring my heart out in Multiply is no joke!  So it is hard right now to pack my bags and just leave as if nothing happened.

I might, however, just delete many of the articles I wrote there while a few very special ones I will save so it would be easy for me to clean up the contents in that site.  There are things that I have to let go to give way to new memories and experiences to come.

Jeez, this really feels like breaking up with a boyfriend for five years.  And I will have to start all over again.

WordPress is now my new home, a new beginning.  Though it is painful to leave Multiply due to sudden change, I brought with me some of the good memories of my stay there.  Here, in this new home, I posted some of my favorite posts from that old home.  I call it The Best of “Living well is the best revenge” (theuntouchableone.multiply.com).  Just check out the previous posts.

a job hopper’s tips in surviving the workplace

Since I graduated from college in 1999, I’ve been employed in eleven different companies already — and that’s only in the span of 12 years.

I’ve been to a bank, to a publishing company, to an information technology company, to a restaurant business, to an academic institution, to a BPO, again in a publishing company, to a retail company, to a financial institution, to a cement company, to an electrical company.  I know the feeling of being a contractual, of losing a job due to an end in probationary contract, and of resigning from a job.  I’ve worked for bosses in different shapes and forms, from heaven-sent bosses to bosses from hell.

If you’re wondering where I stayed the longest and for how long, that would be in the academic institution where I lasted for four years, followed by almost three years in a financial institution, then two years in… okay, to cut the long story short, my shortest stay in a company was six days.

There is this common misconception that job hoppers have serious psychological problems. The common accusations:  emotionally unstable, difficulty adjusting to new circumstances, immaturity, inability to fit in a group, too idealistic, weak, and so on and so forth.  If you are a Human Resource practitioner and this is immediately your way of thinking because this is what was taught to you in your masteral class, or what was written in your psychology book, then I would have to say that you are quite ignorant about a lot of things.

Though it is true that some have difficulty coping with the pressures and stress in the office which is why people leave their jobs, it is also true that bad companies, bad management exist causing people to leave their jobs.  And what makes you think that those who’ve been working in a company, let’s say, for more than ten years, twenty years are perfectly happy and contented where they are, or, well-adjusted people.  I interviewed some longtime employees and I’ve asked them what made them stay that long in the company.  Most of them said it’s because they already have families to support. If they leave and be a new employee again in a company that offers a higher pay, there is no guarantee that they will be regularized after six months.  So they stay where they are, where they feel they are more secured. For those who aren’t married, though they’ve entertained thoughts about applying in another company they would back out the last minute because they dread adjusting to a new environment, to new colleagues. Because again, they dread that uncertainty, that tension of doubt like what if they wouldn’t be regularized?  What if the next company could be worse?  A long number of years in a company is not a sure sign that that person is an emotionally-stable, secure person. They could be resistant to change.

My point is, people stay in their jobs for a host of other reasons and people leave for a host of other reasons.

So for those who might be having difficulty adjusting to their jobs as new employees, I dedicate this article for you.  Because like you, I am again a new employee.  I worked for the private sector for (almost) 12 years and right now, just this year, I’ve made a big jump to government service so it’s another big adjustment for me. But whether you’re in a private office or in a government office, people you will work with are all the same.  Nag-iiba lang ang mukha, haha!

Being new in a company is the most awkward, uncomfortable stage to be in. People will look at you differently and treat you differently.  The workplace is called a jungle — an unfriendly jungle at that — for a reason. So here are my tips in surviving the workplace:

  • Be the first to reach out.  Be nice.  If they aren’t nice to you, then take comfort with the fact that you’ve done your best to reach out to them then just let them be.  They must be coping with a problem or an issue or an insecurity or something.
  • Seek out allies.  Yes, as a new employee, it is essential to find a few friends in the office that you can trust.  People who would be willing to help you as you adjust in your new environment.
  • Focus on your job.  You are there in the office to work.  Not to be involved in gossips and useless chattering.  Sometimes you will be tempted to participate in such talks for it is human nature but then again, at the end of the day, amid all the conflicts and trials, you must remember that you are there to work.  There are annoyances that you do not need to take personally.
  • Listen more.  There is this common advice that as a new employee you have to be more pakitang-gilas than everybody else around.  I don’t buy this. Displaying my knowledge ascendancy over old employees can be tricky and dangerous.  In your first six months as a new employee, be humble.  It is tempting to show to everyone that you are smart, that you want to prove something to your boss but for now, as a new employee, it is much better to be more of a student, listening more, observing more, sticking to instructions given to you, and asking questions, no matter how stupid, to get to know more about your job.  Take advantage of your first six months because it is the period of learning.  You still have a lot to learn in your new job even if you’ve had previous work experiences.
  • If you’re a subject of gossip and ridicule, ignore them.  I’m like a guy, when someone provokes me, I quickly retaliate.  I fight back. So learn from my mistake.  When you get angry or get emotional, you are letting the other person putting you down win the game. Just ignore them.  Pretend they don’t exist.  Just focus on your job.  Do well with your job. Believe in the law of karma.  Yes, makakarma din sila!
  • If a boss is giving you an unfair treatment and you tell him nicely to stop it and he won’t stop, report him to somebody higher than him.  The purpose here is letting somebody with an authority know that you are being mistreated as a new employee, especially if you are low ranking.  Do not hesitate to ask for help.
  • Be angry when necessary.  I don’t buy this conventional advice that if you feel something is wrong or if someone is mistreating you, you have to tell them nicely about it, without being emotional or getting angry at them.  But sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you have to do the untried and untested and forget about the conventional wisdom of the wise people or what the bestselling books would say (thanks to Robert Greene).  Some people can be mean and abusive. You have to show them that you don’t like what they’re doing to you even if it means showing your ferociousness, even if it means being judged by other people in return.  The workplace is a jungle filled with different kinds of animals and beasts.  And predators are lurking everywhere out to get you or eat you alive.  So show what kind of animal you are and fight back! Showing anger is not that bad.  For it makes the other person be conscious about his wrongdoing.
  • Do not mind co-workers who are bullying you.  Since they’re just rank-and-file employees just as you, their bullying are easy to deal with (although sometimes there is this temptation to punch them in their faces).  Remember what Winnie Monsod said:  “Behind a bully is a coward.”  Naniniwala ako dito.  And if I may add, they are not just cowards, but also miserable.  So cool ka lang and again, someday, makakarma din sila.  Let the universe take care of it.  Or much better, pray for them.  If you ever have the misfortune to find yourself working in a department where people are hostile, less understanding, less compassionate, judgmental, or whatever, don’t feel bad about it.  Take advantage of your situation.  You will learn something from the kind of situation you are in right now.  For this will teach you about patience, showing goodness despite the indignities, and intestinal fortitude.  You will learn more about human relations in this kind of environment.  Ang importante, sumesweldo ka at maayos kang nagtatrabaho.  Tandaan mo ‘yan!
  • Keep going.  It’s a tough world I know especially if you are a new employee.  And no matter how pleasant or nice you are, there will be people who will not like your presence.  Remember that some people will like you and some won’t.  But don’t let it stop you from doing your job efficiently and effectively. If you make a mistake, correct it then keep going.  If you messed up, learn something from it then keep going.

____________

Written on July 29, 2012- The Best of “Living well is the best revenge” (theuntouchableone.multiply.com)