Posted by: minz | February 4, 2009

Pricked?

I have a million things going on today at the office that I surmise work has taken me over.  I’m about to start an investigation involving ten front desk employees of the hotel and by the looks of it, all of them will be jobless by the end of next week. The hotel’s big boss issued a clean-up directive after reports of blatant stealing, self-dealing and putting one over the hotel filled his desk. Of course, my beloved labor department is tasked to guarantee that while the investigation will not be moro-moro, it should produce the desired result. Terminations for those who erred.

One of my bosses asked me yesterday if after 7 months of being a management lawyer, my moral issues been pricked. I readily answered , No. Not yet, at least. Although it hasn’t been a bed of roses, I stand by those terminations I recommended even if they resulted to some people losing their means to provide for their families. This is precisely the reason why they should have cared more for their jobs—their families depended on it. However, that doesn’t mean I am totally unaffected by what I do for a living. On the contrary, sometimes it  consumes me.

Take for example the first case I handled for the company. An on-duty salesboy for the company’s department store was manning his area of responsibility which included food products like native delicacies such as kakanins, biko, kutsinta etc. One of the suppliers went up to the salesboy and asked if he could simply put his product, specifically polvoron , in a more favorable place where customers would get a better glimpse of it. He gave the salesboy 200 pesos as goodwill “tip” which the latter happily pocketed.

Knowing that taking anything of value from clients or suppliers for an “arrangement” is prohibited by the store, salesboy hid the money in the storage area. Luck just wasn’t on his side that day for one of the security personnel saw him stash his loot and reported it immediately to the supervisor.

During the investigation, when I was pretty much convinced that the evidence I had to establish a case is damning and that there’s no way he could exculpate himself, I asked:

ME: How much do you make a month?

Salesboy: 7,000 po mam.

ME: Pinagpalit mo ung 7,000 sa 200. Sana sa susunud mong trabaho wag mo ng gawin ito. Kawawa naman pamilya mo. (You exhanged 7,000 for 200. I hope you’d know better than do this again in your next job. Your family will suffer.)

Salesboy: Opo, ma’m. Nagsisisi po ako. (Yes , Ma’m. I regret it.)

That was my baptismal of fire. I felt so bad after that I rushed to the bathroom and cried. The pain of causing someone to lose his job overwhelmed me. Will he find a new one right away? What will he tell his wife? How many kids does he have? These thoughts swirled in my head and I was so sick of worry that I felt bile rising on my stomach. I threw up.

When I finally got hold of myself, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t guilt that ravaged me. Because if it was, I would be asking myself everyday if I am in the right place doing something I can be proud of. Thankfully, I haven’t asked myself anything close to that, to date. 

Now, more than ever, I must say that not only am I firm on the belief that I should not bite the hand that feeds me but also, it behooves me to do my job in a way that captures how much I care about it. Only then would I have the right to conduct investigations and chastise those in the hot seat for taking theirs for granted.

So, no. Definitely not. My issues, moral or otherwise, are intact, sirs. I love my job and I believe in why I do it. Like Hillary Clinton said, ” Bloom where you are planted.” I will do all my blooming here:)

Although, when I dream, I’m sporting torn jeans and black lipstick, wailing and screaming on a microphone. In my next life-time, I think

I’d be a rockstar:)

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