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Friday, June 19, 2009

About Time

This post is for the former USAP- Legazpi peeps:

It's been a year, now what? In spite of what they've done, we all manage to survive. Although we're not together in the same office anymore, we're still connected in so many ways. That's what we call as "true friendship beyond the workplace".

I don't know if you'll bother reading this "super-backlog" post. Wrote this almost a year ago, but didn't have the courage to post it way back. So, you think now is the time? Is it really About Time? Have you overcome that feeling already? Me here, I don't know. I still feel that heavy feeling while reading this over. Would you care recalling the scenes as well?

Anyway, I'll let this out of my draft posts now. June 19, 2009 - About Time - publishing now!

Inspired by Homar's Delayed Reaction post, finally my fingers found their way over the keyboard, as if they have a power of their own. Perhaps, after almost two years of blogging, this would be one of the most difficult posts that I will write. Yes, this would be! You see, the words I'm about to write here were actually playing on my mind over and over for the past month, yet I don't know why I couldn't put them into writing. But now, I guess it's about time.

June 19, 2008 - a date that me and the rest of the USAP Legazpi people will never forget. It was a typical work day. (Sorry guys, I have to pause for a while, writing about this is really not easy..and if you think you're not yet ready to read the rest of the entry, you might as well hit the Back button now!) Okay, let's continue. So, it was a typical work day. Everyone came to work with only one thing in mind - to accomplish what they are required to do at the end of the day. That's right, who would have thought otherwise about a "scheduled demolition"? Yes, I call it THE DEMOLITION, while Kuya Ely, Peach, and Ate Razh referred to it as “The Purge”. But if in a typical demolition, the people affected are informed about it, with us, it was different, way too different.

8:50 AM - My arrival at the office. Upon entering the door, I saw this big guy who was rather unfamiliar to me. Then, I remembered it was a Thursday, the expected day for our CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and our CM (Country Manager) to come to our facility, well I thought for some business matters.

9:00 AM - Our OM (Operations Manager) counted from 1-10 while pointing at 10 employees in the cubicle opposite to my work station. Everyone was puzzled as to what's the reason why they were called. Me and my co-supervisor Dex were puzzled as well. Then, one of our groupmates told us that a paper was being handed to each of the ten people called. Dex and I thought that the paper was the new contract since the company has changed its name recently. While some were joking that NFA rice was being given to those 1st ten people.

9:10 AM - Our HR officer, Mam Leany, came to my desk and told me that Marc, our VP for Marketing in Phil., wanted to talk to me. Surprised? Hell, yeah! This was the first time that our Dept. Head came to our facility without informing us. Before seeing him, I dropped by at Dexter's desk and told him that Marc wanted to talk to me. He was surprised as well.

While on my way to see Marc, my mind was swirling and a lot of questions were popping inside my head. Why was he here? Why didn't he inform us that he's coming? What will he tell me?

9:13 AM - There I was, inside the OM office, with Marc in front of me. I said, "Surprise!" He was silent. His face was so serious, I got nervous, scared. Then he said, "bad news!" Well, the last time I heard him say that was when he came last May 15 to talk about the new building. "We're going to shutdown", he continued. You know what, when he said that, I was in denial. I even told him, "Talaga?" ( Really?) I didn't want to believe what I was hearing, my mind didn't want to entertain the word "SHUTDOWN" at all. Then, he handed me a letter. The letter was addressed to me, yeah my name was there. And the only words that I remembered reading were, "end of service effective July 19".

So, it was true!!! F*c@in* true! They're going to shutdown the facility, our facility! The oh-so-deprived facility with malfunctioning aircon for years, computers that go bonkers from time to time, and a pantry that is nothing compared to the pantries of the two bigger facilities. Yes, we were deprived, but we were hoping! We were given hope last February and we were holding on to those words: "Better building for you guys!" So, all these time that we were waiting for a new building, this "demolition" was being cooked instead of a new building, without any one of us knowing.

Going back to my conversation with Marc, he told me that if I accepted that letter, I need to sign it and get the check for my separation pay. The check, yeah the check! The check which was worth my almost 3 years stay in the company. I'd admit, it was not small, but hell, I wasn't thinking about the money that time. I was thinking, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US? Since I did not show interest on that check, Marc then told me that I was given a chance to relocate and showed me the transfer notice with my new rate and my relocation allowance. I felt relieved, at least I had an option. But only for a while. Why? Because when I asked Marc, "yung iba po, pano po sila?" (What about the others?) He just shook his head as his answer, meaning the others had no option.


When I was chosen by him to be a Supervisor last August 2006, I didn't know what to say. I even asked, "Why me?" He said, he believed in me, and that I'll be a good leader. I was scared that time since I had a traumatic experience with my previous foreigner boss. But I didn't want to let him down, so I tried...Tried hard..Worked hard...And worked my way to be as effective as possible in handling the position he entrusted me...But I won't be an effective leader, IF NOT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO COOPERATED AND WORKED WITH ME IN COMPLETING ALL THOSE PROJECTS AND ACHIEVING OUR GROUP'S GOALS! Now, I'm crying, I'm really crying!!!

9:15 AM - After Marc showed me the transfer notice, he told me that I should decide before they leave in the afternoon. As in haller! As if I didn't have kids to consider in the decision-making process. So, I asked him to give me time, at least after 11:00 AM. I told him that I need my baby's father's say about me relocating and leaving our baby for the mean time.

After that talk, I went out of the office with tears in my eyes. I looked for Dex and told him that Marc wanted to see him at the office. Then I just continued walking, as to where I was going, to hide in the CR. To cry and cry until there were no more tears left for me to shed. Those who met me along the way were looking at me with questioning eyes. My friends Nays and Lyn even asked, "what's happening Bhem"? I couldn't answer; I just kept crying and hurried inside the CR. There, I cried so hard. I wanted to scream, "WHY US? WHY THE PEOPLE HERE IN LEGAZPI? WHY TREAT US LIKE THIS?"

Several minutes had passed before I went out of the CR, yet I had no clear answers to give to my co-employees. Again, Nays asked me what was happening. Then Lyn came near me and we just hugged and cried. Yona also hugged me, and was telling me, "Pa'no na kami Ate Phoebz?" (How about us, Ate Phoebz?") I just said, "Dai ko aram, Bhe. Dai ko aram!" ( I don't know..I don't know!) Then Dexter came, and I asked him, "Ano ini, Padi?" (What is this, Padi?) He didn't answer, I guess he himself was too shocked. It must be really hard for him considering that the Content Department here in the Philippines started with him in year 2003. He's everybody's mentor, so if it was difficult for me to leave the people under me, I'm sure it was twice or even thrice as difficult for him. And how about Ate Razh? I was looking for her before and after I talked to Marc but could not find her. She was here in this company long before any of us came, and I was wondering if she already knew.

9:45 AM - After everybody had learned about the "demolition/purge", some of us gathered at the pantry and were asking if who were given the option to relocate. At first, I thought we were many. But, we're not! Imagine, out of the 50 people in our department, only 8 were given the chance, myself included. And you knew what hurt me more, from that 8, there was none from my current group. I didn't know what was their basis in choosing, all I knew was that there were some people under me who also deserved to be given that transfer notice. Again, I couldn't help but cry. Then, Ate Raziel came; I thought she didn't know anything yet. But I was wrong, from us three supervisors, she was the first one that Marc talked to. And the reason why I couldn't find her was because she went out of the office the moment she knew about the bad news. She didn't want the people under her department to see her crying. So, she went to a nearby store that she used to hang out and spent a few minutes or so until she was ready enough to face everyone in the office.

After the "bomb" had been set off, everyone was left shocked, in tears, and in limbo. Not anyone from us had a concrete idea as to where to go from there. Some were thinking about relocating, others were thinking of rejecting their offers, and the rest had no solid clue as to what to do next.

A few suggested having a get together at night in Manhattan, a beach resort in Sto. Domingo, at least to spend some time together before everyone part ways. Who would have thought that the typical day would turn out to be the last day in the office? Meaning, the last day to see everyone in the office, who are not just mere co-workers but also friends. Yes, over the years, we have developed really good friendship with our colleagues, an incomparable bonding on which, I'm sure some people in the other facility will be able to attest.

Okay, fast forward...

11:10 AM - Finally, I saw Ghie (my baby's father) went online. I immediately told him about the bad news, and his initial reaction was, "So, ano plano mo?" (So, what's your plan?) I told him that I was given an option to relocate, with a salary adjustment and relocation allowance at that. But I was thinking more of our baby, so I needed his opinion on that. He said, "Accept mo na 'yan na transfer, iwalat mo muna si baby kay Ma." (Accept the transfer and leave our baby for a while to Ma.) Such a short line, yet enough to make me reach to one decision: RELOCATE!

11:45 AM - I informed Dex about my decision and he said, he was accepting the offer as well. We went to see Marc, asked a few more questions, and told him about our decision – ACCEPT THE RELOCATION OFFER. What followed was the signing of the papers and so there.

It only took me seconds in signing that transfer notice, and less than 3 hours to come up with such decision. But in the next few hours, days, weeks, and months, my life will be changed in so many ways. It may not be forever, but it may either be for good or for bad.

So after signing, I went home to talk to my mother-in-law. She understood my situation and promised me that she'd look after my baby once I leave. Then I looked at my baby, I immediately carried her in my arms and hugged her so tight. I knew that the coming days will be different for both of us. I was crying while holding her in my arms, with her eyes looking at me and seemed to ask, "Why are you crying, Mommy?" I kissed her and just said, "I love you, Baby. Mommy loves you so much!"

After a few hours, I came back to the office to check who were still there. There were still a few people around, including the three security guards who were detailed at the office until everything is moved out. Apparently, the "demolition team" had already left. I was thinking, did they feel relieved after they've said the bad news?

In just a blink of an eye, the "demolition/purge" had changed many people's lives, including mine. I really didn’t have a clue what to do next after that day. Did you?


LeVamp Yigae said...

kaibi man...hehe