While everyone else was hunting for new calendars for the incoming new year last December, I had begun hunting for an additional (if not new) source of income. My older brother had just tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend-turned-fiancée and had plans to live on their own like a normal couple; they had been staying in the family compound for a while to save on rent, but they’re moving out of the house and into a place further in the city next year. My brother currently pays for the phone, fiber internet and our half of the compound’s electricity. Once he packs up, the phone bill will be left to my uncle, but the electric and internet bills (which can total to as much as P3,500) will be left with me. My meager income from being a sickly, contractual government employee wasn’t going to cut it. I had been coasting with my job for a while because it paid enough for the bills and I was experiencing some growth, but I could no longer afford to continue sitting on my laurels. Not willing to cut down on rice intake, I decided I needed to find money.

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Before I begin with the intended content of this blog post, I want to share something. It’s funny — well, not really; but is funny to me — because I have a saved draft similar to body of this post. Entitled “The Chaos of Career, I began writing it during my final days at my previous job. In it, I long-windedly detailed my career choices (and several unnecessary segues because of who I am as a person) at the time, and it was a continuing month-long draft of decreasing sense because of the pace of my life, career-wise. At 3,793 words, that’s probably the most words I’ve put in a draft that won’t make it to publishing.

Twenty-five (25) sounds like a lot of drafts to me. But the more seasoned writers probably have hundreds of unfinished drafts just lying around, so I’m just hundreds away from being seasoned.

With that said, I’ve left that in my drafts because a fresh, new chapter in my life deserves a fresh, new canvass.

I’ve left my post in government to join the private sector.

How’s it been so far, you ask?

Magnificent, I must say.

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The last post on this blog was on the 7th of May 2014. That’s — using the very sophisticated, innovative and futuristic method of mental and finger math — 3 years, 3 months and 12 days from today. And it’s good to see that my last post was about a centennial turtle.

I will be blogging again using this platform. This, I promise to the ones and tens of my readers out there. I need a place to document my longest thoughts. I used to have Facebook for my shortest thoughts, but social media is evolving into an entity society tends to associate with one’s identity; which I think is bollocks, but since any potential employer might look into my social media accounts, I’d keep that part of this facade pleasant and filtered. I’ll be using Facebook to spread what I think is useful information.

Also, per the advice of Reddit’s LifeProTips subreddit, I keep a Google Sheet of the good things that happen to me everyday. The actual LPT was to use post-its, but I’d rather not use paper and ink.

So there, I’ll be blogging again when I can. I hope to be able to recap the past few years in order to bridge the gap between this post and the last. That should be exciting. Wish me luck!

1. Out of curiosity earlier, I asked Google, “Why do turtles live so long?”

Turtles and tortoises, if not made into scrumptious meals by sharks or whatever sea-dwelling predator, have a life expectancy of up to 150 years. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS. And to think turtles and tortoises hardly move. Cats, nimble as they are, live up to 15 years, 14 on average. Rabbits, for all their hopping and libido-related metaphors, live up to 12 according to Google. Dogs, man’s best friend in hunting and checking out bitches, live up to 11. Turtles and tortoises, THEY HARDLY EVEN MOVE — and they live up to ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS (I might use this scientific fact for excuses…err, factual…purposes).

I mean look at this guy:

Credits to dizzyshell42 of redbubble.com

Credits to dizzyshell42 of redbubble.com

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1) Near-miss

As part of our preparations for the Pilot Test we’re conducting in Davao, we had to secure 10 biometric devices — 5 pieces each of 2 versions of the machines. The version 1’s were with me, no question. I pulled them from our safe last December to distribute to the teams which went up to mountains for simultaneous activities. The version 2’s were brought down to the Property and Supply Section last October by the IT for turnover of custody. At the time of our preparations, the turnover was still pending, and the last person who borrowed them was me. It was a pair of them circa November 2013 for a simulation conducted within the office. A colleague of mine in the IT (Emer) was sent searching (I couldn’t attend to it because of the data requests on my own table). There was a slight misunderstanding between him and the Supply Section, and I was pinned to the wall because of my signature in the Borrowed Equipment log book.

Shit, those devices are P35,000 each; although I only borrowed two devices, 5 were missing and they were pinning them on me and Emer (that’s P175,000). So we decided to search the Supply Section ourselves. Though I have to admit that the gravity of the situation coupled with the pile of data requests from my own unit was pushing me to the brink. I wasn’t talking, but I was beginning to draft the contents of my resignation letter.

Something along the lines of “I therefore have decided that I will migrate to the Swiss Alps where I intend to rescue lost mountaineers as a St. Bernard.”

As it turns out, the devices WERE there. The Supply Section thought we were looking for the version 1’s.

What a breath of relief. I totally inhaled that mass of oxygen down my lungs. We set off for Davao the following morning without much pain; although I still couldn’t pull through with the data requests. Maybe I’ll just attend to that next week.

 

2) Homesick

We have a new guy. He’s a good person. He takes notes during meetings, documents minutes when he can, and e-mails all participants a summary of what was sat down on. He seems very versed in the language of Excel.

He was hired to take my place in the Cordillera peace table. Our director insists that my priorities are with the documentation and the right-handing duties to a much larger project that spans across all peace tables, not just one. Thus, I was instructed to turnover all data pertaining to the Cordillera peace table over to Data Management. I still have yet to complete this though. We’re taking baby steps.

For reasons I know but am unable to enunciate, I still have a lingering attachment to the data. It wasn’t in my custody at first, but I accepted it with open arms. Slowly, the operations unit entrusted me with their lists, one by one. The transition allowed me to understand its background. It allowed me to see how it was built. And it allowed me to plan the next steps to improve upon it. It took me 3 months (with a lot of help) to harmonize all that information, with the end goal of creating one consolidated list.

Consequently, custody of the data meant that I was responsible for aiding the concerned client units, both in and out of the office. Nearly all of my travels last year (and this year’s February) was to aid operations in the mountains. I’m not sure how they feel, but I felt bonded with my client units. I (really) enjoyed working with them. The positive chemistry I had with them paved the way for motivated hours dedicated to the job. I grew attached both to them and the area of our operations. Being born in Baguio, the cold climate and mild atmosphere of the Cordilleras was very homey. Even the Isabela route (which technically isn’t part of CAR) to Kalinga, Tuguegarao and Apayao was homey. It was the closest I felt to enjoying my work, arguably much more than my internship days with the IT.

Unfortunately, change happened. Now here I am writing this, a month’s delay with the turnover of data because (a) I refuse to pass it on to the new guy with its current flurry of problems (I’m kind-hearted like that); and (b) the duties associated with right-handing the Systems Development tend to slow things a bit. Our pseudo-division head is starting to lose her head over my shortcomings, I imagine.

I have a hard time explaining to them that this transition takes time, and will continue to take time unless they want me to turn it over in its current state. If I do that, I’ll end up being called up again every now and then because there are things inside that database that aren’t self-explanatory; things that will come back to bite me in the ass if I don’t minimize, if not resolve, now.

From time to time, I get random flashbacks of the scenery one sees travelling to the North. Images of the fun, the difficult, the laughing, the yelling, the relaxed and the adrenaline-induced moments get projected in my mind. Last weekend, I found myself browsing my iPod’s photo gallery looking at the pictures and videos I took there; the roads, the venues, the rivers, the landmarks we pass by, etc.

I get homesick. I miss it. I wish I wasn’t pulled out of my duties there.

I have nothing against the new guy. He is a good person. He is probably what they need, what they deserve. I just can’t help but feel a tiny bit (okay, a lot) (an overflowing amount) of envy when I imagine him in the seats I used to sit down on; on the beds I laid my back on, the food I used to eat, the roads I used to see, the people I used to be with, the sound of the engines I used to hear, the laughter I used to enjoy, the stress I used to tolerate, the sleep I used to lose, the anger I used to witness, the smiles I used to see.

I have nothing against the new guy. He is a good person. I am not angry with him. I am just…jealous.

It will probably take me another two month’s work of stabilization to get back on my feet. When I was transferred from the ICTU to the Planning Unit, it took me 3 months. Maybe there’s something in this for me. I just need to have faith.