Organized Chaos

Monday, December 13, 2004

what was i thinking?

i've been wanting to write this for a long time now but somehow couldn't find the time to do so. by now i might have forgotten some important details that would make this experience more interesting. heck, i don't even know if i can get this done and posted today. but here goes.

this is my first blog post.

i work in an international organization and i get a couple of oohs and ahhs whenever people ask me where i work. little do they know that bachelor's degree (UP) and MBA (AdMU) degree holder that i am, my job is very menial, and does not necessarily require a 4-year course, much less a postgraduate course.

i am one of a thousand support staff here in the office. support= dirty work. to be specific, i am an administrative assistant. i've been told that the position used to be called 'secretary' but it has been upgraded to aa because the job requires more than secretarial skills. but this has not stopped one of my bosses from calling me his secretary.

i never would have taken the job had they not given me a good package, plus i thought 'if i could just get my foot in the door...' and of course, the bragging rights to say i work here. i had a much satisying job in government but i was always financially challenged (our salaries could get delayed for months!). i stayed for 2 years in government because i wanted to get it over and done with (coming from UP, i thought i could work in government and do my share, yada-yada-yada). and who's to resist the perks? travel every now and then abroad (wherever APEC or ASEAN or WTO felt like having a meeting). but i couldn't take my boss. to my credit, i was the longest-staying staff she ever had. 2 years!

i'd been with my current office for a year when it was announced that we were having a reorganization. i was afraid i might be booted out so i decided to enlist in the subsidized MBA that the office offered. i was thinking they'd have to think twice before they fire me because they would have invested so much in me by the time the reorganization took effect. why would you let go of a staff whom you sent to grad school, right?

i was assigned to a different department--much different from my department before the re-org. did they not want me to stay at the old department so they threw me to the new department? beats me. there were only 2 of us who were not retained. we were assigned to a newly created department, supposed to be the 'creme de la creme' of the whole organization. creme de la creme my foot! am i so good that i was assigned to the new department after only a year in the office? ha! maybe.

i was given 2 bosses, both very senior. one was swede, the other american. but let's get something straight before we go on. i have nothing against americans. half of my relatives live in the states and i love them. but you've heard of the term 'the ugly american', right? this boss i had was one of them ugly americans. oh, he was handsome and tall, and had a very good voice on the phone. but man, was he really ugly inside! he was rude, disorganized, and quite a backstabbing giant. he would be mr. mild-mannered genteman in front of you but once you turn your back, pay attention to the burning sensation at your back. you might have just been stabbed. he was always like this with other people... what's to stop him from doing the same to me? he wanted everything to be done yesterday, as if he were the only person in the entire organization who needed to get anything done. sometimes he would go against protocol and take shortcuts and who's left to clean up after him? yours truly. i remember when the assignments were first handed out, i had a lot of 'oh, poor you...', 'condolences', 'good luck', and 'don't worry, he's retiring soon'.

i worked with him for almost 2 years and then came the much anticipated retirement. happy days! or so i thought. there were lots of personal stuff that needed to get done and he expected me to do it. how the heck should i know how much he gets in pension? how could i have known he has not submitted his receipts for a business trip he took in '94? goodness, i was still in college then! it took a lot of patience to get things done--patience i never thought i had. but finally he left. he'd get it touch with me from time to time to ask for some info or another and he could still intimidate me into getting it done for him. i hate it that i can be intimidated. but at least my current boss (the one who replaced him) hates him, so i have every excuse to not get things done for him. when will he realize he no longer works here?

my bosses both have retired and i have a new set of bosses. 3 of them! good thing is that the other is moving to a different department, so i will be left with 2. one of them is retiring in april (hmmm... my department seems to be a retiree camp), and he's my favorite. he's cool and he's gay (i think). by that time i will be left with one boss (a belgian but i consider him french). you've heard about 'the rude french' haven't you? that's another story. and most likely to replace the american is an indian. i bet you know about the caste system. but no use worrying about that.

it may seem that i have prejudices regarding the different races of my bosses but honestly, i don't. it's just that my bosses are consistent. so far i've had 2 french bosses, both rude. from other officemates' experience, those that come from south asia (india-sri lanka), are the bossiest--imagine asking you to pick up the laundry or arrange for 'bilins' with the maid... kapal talaga! it's always a hit or miss. i've had 3 american bosses, 2 of which have been great to work with. the swede i consider my friend.

but i am starting to be more assertive this time. i want to be. i'm making it my new year's resolution. i've been here 4 years now and i think it's about time i experience something new. i'd have to start thinking of applying for promotion or transfer to another department, at least. i mean it's not the office's fault anymore if i decide to stagnate (which i don't plan on doing)...