I hear you

I’m taking up graduate school, pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration and classes are during Saturdays.

It is a fairly large class, an average headcount of about 30 for the 3 classes. 5 of my colleagues are also (or were) my co-workers in the bank. We all compared our results in the qualifying exam (hey, they started it), wherein I got the highest mark and this irked one of them (hey, they started it, why the hate?) and she then arrogantly declared “Tignan na lang natin sa school mismo” (let’s just see when the actual classes begin). The malice in those words was screaming, she downplayed my (almost perfect) exam score suggesting that when classes start I shall surely fizzle.

Her words have some basis. I am not really the most productive in my former work. Another colleague actually told me “Pumapasok ka ba talaga dito, minsan kasi parang naglalaro ka lang eh” (Do you actually work here? Sometimes it seems to me you’re just playing.) I can understand where their coming from, compared to them I’ve had a fairly comfortable life. The fact is this, I was not motivated in that work (even though I lasted there for four years). I guess the privilege of being a financial analyst specializing in credit risk (credit analyst) was what kept me there. The work is supposed to be stunning, you get to know information about the many blue-chip companies in the country that other people salivate to know but cannot. But the way they ask us to handle it, really got me frustrated.

Think of a factory. According to dictionary.com, a factory is “any place producing a uniform product, without concern for individuality”. As the years have gone by, the concern to produce more reports to cover the increasing bank’s loan portfolio have led to the department revamping the way we made our reports. I cannot really discuss procedure here, but let’s say the changes have sacrificed quality for speed.

What do I mean by that? I asked one of the newer members of the group (she’s been there for more than a year already and can easily make reports quickly) about what she does as her job to which I expected her to answer something in the range of “We interpret data necessary for us to come up with the credit risk rating which quantifies the degree of risk the bank will assume when it releases the commercial loan to the client”. She answered “Gumawa ng report” (To make reports). I followed by asking her for what will her report be used to which she deftly replies “Para sa office” (For the office). To make reports for the office, she’s still correct really but it just shows how little of the actual importance of the job she understands. This can be traced to our lack of proper training, but still. The one that told me that I was just playing? Our boss commented on one her reports, on the part of the industry analysis about why she used some figures in US Dollars to which she spent a huge chunk of the afternoon poring over the problem when she could have simply omitted it (I read her report, it wasn’t really relevant to it) and submitted the final draft.

Back to graduate school. During the first day of every course, the professors explain that participation in the discussion among the class was an integral part of the learning process in MBA. It readies us not only for the eventual case analysis which is the final requirement to get the degree but also for the world after MBA where you expect a revamp of your professional life. Hearing this, I get encouraged about sharing some of my views about the presentations and discussions in the class. I am an opinionated guy (I have a blog) and I believe that my ideas may only be validated or disproved if I let other people, especially professionals who understand my views, know about them. The same girl who said I shall fizzle in class chose to just discuss her ideas to her seat mate. After the professor sided with one of my ideas, saying it was the proper way to construct a statement, she then blurts out “Yun yung sinasabi ko kay Jen kanina” (That was what I was telling Jen, her seat mate, earlier). Whatever woman, your seat mate won’t be the one noting your participation in class. It’s almost the same as when she lifted (read, copied) technical terms in her report once because I was known to use outlandish (well for them) terms in my reports.

Maybe, in retrospect, part of my decision to leave my former work was because of people like these. Insecure. The fact that a guy from a well to-do middle class family who had more talent and potential than them which makes the holes in their “armors” stand out rubs them the wrong way thus they need to make themselves feel that they are better than me to validate their own ego. I don’t care. I’m content to know about what I can do and what I can learn still. I am irritated or intimidated by them, I pity them. If they can make better of their lives so far then good for them, but I surely hope they can outgrow their insecurities. I have left them already, they can continue to live in their own bubble of mediocrity for as long as they like.

Peace 😉

The most egostistical, arrogant, and idiotic thing to say ever! (in the Philippines, in my opinion)

Here in the Philippines, we have this age-old idiom about experience.

in our native language, it sounds like so: “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako” (You have only begun your journey, I am on my way back already). To me this is one of the most egotistical, arrogant, and idiotic things to say ever!

This short statement implies to the person you are telling it to that they are nothing compared to you, that all he knows adds up to nothing compared to you, that he should bow to you because you are his senior, egotistical.

It’s very arrogant since the statement has an air of arrogance. It’s supposed to convey “you still have a long way to go” but “I am better than you, rookie. If you ever want to be anything, be like me” or something like that also tags along.

It’s idiotic because if you are still alive and still talking to me about being “on your way back”, then that only means you have stopped the pursuit of knowledge. If anything globalization and the advancement of technology has taught us, information about a lot of things in this world and beyond it come at a neck-breaking speed. What you have learned today, can be obsolete in a week or even days. If you give that crap statement then I shall laugh at your face. You’re still alive and have already given up on the pursuit of knowledge and experience. I pity you, you started your journey long ago and only coming back now learning a few snippets. What you have learnt in your lifetime, I can have in months.

I acknowledge that the combination of fervor for knowledge and experience are essential for all people, but please. Don’t brandish your experience to anyone, especially those younger than you. I’ve seen it countless of times, the junior outshines the senior in no time and the senior gets kicked to the curb. That statement also connotes insecurity, the main fact that you used that on anyone was because you already felt threatened by that persons potential, and used it to diffuse his confidence and boost your own.

To be fair, that “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako” thing I have not heard in a long time. I guess it was more for the generation of our parents who absolutely were forbidden to go against their elders.

In any case, peace 😉

We are not poor!

Who says Filipinos don’t have money?

I am writing this post while in the middle of a very busy mall. It is father’s day. And I am telling you this place is packed! Everybody’s eating, and everyone’s taking advantage of the free wi-fi service with whatever device they have (that includes me right now).

And this isn’t one of those upscale malls like Glorietta, Greenbelt and whatnot. No. I am here a mall located in the province of Rizal.

Who says we Filipinos don’t have money? We can afford wi-fi capable stuff. We can afford to celebrate father’s day. The parking lot is also packed full, so we can also afford to buy automobiles.

Were not poor. We just love to spend our money first and then think of necessary expenses and (if any) savings. We’re not poor, we just spend too much that when it comes to important stuff (like school, everyday food) we don’t have enough.

Yes the foodcourt is packed with people, but not everyone is eating, and some are eating just snacks. Everyone’s taking advantage of the free wi-fi service simply because not everyone can afford data charges on their handheld devices or to have internet access put-up in their homes. The parking lots are full simply because it’s a small parking lot, and that a significant portion of this has been dedicated for motorcycles (the cheaper alternative to four wheels that we Filipinos prefer nowadays.

In reality, we’re just kidding ourselves.

Peace 😉

 

I have gone to the other side

Yes, I have gone there and am here now. I have bought a netbook and using it to write this post.

Yes, I was one of those who kept saying “why bother buy a small cheap-assed netbook when you can buy a laptop for just some more cash?” Phooh, I admit it, I was wrong. I am sorry.

For the sake of fairness, I didn’t buy just any netbook. I bought Acer’s Aspire One 725, the latest of their outstanding netbook class and the predecessor of their very popular and lauded Aspire One 722. It’s super light (well compared to my clunky dell inspiron) and sleek, and shiny, and sexy, and easy to use, and fast, and clear, and uuuhhhhhh….

Sorry about that. I’m not gonna pretend and really know about the specs (I’m not really sure if the AMD C-60 APU and Radeon(tm) that comes with this thing are really good and powerful. But I am gonna say that I am happy with my purchase. Why? I’m taking up graduate school. I need a device that let’s me create Powerpoint presentations and then easily be able to hook it up a viewing medium for presentation to my peers. I need a portable computer light yet powerful enough to do computations both for work and for school. I need a computer where I can just plop down virtually anywhere (well, anywhere with a wi-fi connection, free more preferably) and update my blog coz ideas just come zooming in this messed up mind of mine. And i need something that I hide easliy considering my very long commute from home, work and school. Oh, gaming capabilitie would be a definite plus. Yeah.

I still keep hearing nay-sayers tell me that the price I had to pay for this thin piece of awesome was too much and that I could have already bought a cheap laptop. Whatever, I have a laptop already (remember my clunky dell inspiron?) and carrying those heavy things on my back or shoulder are hard. I just need a portable computer and I am so much happy with what I got. Definitely. No doubt. Unless it breaks down easily. Hope that doesn’t happen.

Peace 😉

 

 

The great equalizer

Basketball. Yep, good ‘ol pick-up basketball.

After having to deal with various (and painful) wounds in my feet (at the same time!), I finally found myself back in the village’s basketball court to play with my neighbors.

You literally get to see people from all walks of life in the same court. Like today, there was me the bank credit analyst, a graduate of very good private schools in the country, starting my MBA studies in a week. Then there’s the guy who has 3 kids, no stable income, never even got to college. There’s a guy (the biggest of us all) still supposed to be in high school but acts like if he has been a man for about 10 years yet still hides from his mom when he smokes a cigar. Then there’s a guy older than me but has a mind and body structure of a dimwitted teenager (plays like a 10 year old to boot).

We play with each other as equal basketball players, cancelling out our social statuses. Here you forget about the risk ratings you have to render, you forget that you cannot buy milk for you three young kids, you forget that you cannot get into a decent college, you forget that you are already very old. Here a guy that can’t even read properly can call the analyst as “bobo” (stupid in Filipino). Here the dimwitted old guy can make a big shot and be celebrated by his peers. Here the analyst can actually use his size and strength (yeah, I have those too) to get his job done.

You see it everywhere. Not just basketball, but in all of sports. It brings people together.

Peace 😉

(I do not own that picture up top. Those are not us playing ball).