Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is Quitting My Job Worth It?

I made the irrevocable decision to quit my job last April . I gave myself until end of June to work on tasks and projects that I promised to deliver in the first half of the year. I did this because I truly cared about my work. Until the end, I just could not bring myself to leave something I have grown to care much about.

If I were to answer questions about my reasons for leaving, it would be fairly easy for me to share pain points and grievances. After all, my life in the workplace was not exactly all sun and smiles. There were moments when things did not work out well or in any way I expected them to.

Workplaces are nowhere near perfect anywhere in the world. And neither are employees from all levels. Despite my best efforts to consciously remind myself that it is the same anywhere in the world, I was increasingly becoming unhappy. And allowing myself to slip into that recurring state of unhappiness is a form settling and denial at best.

Truth be told, my leaving the job is all about ME. It is about me constantly feeling that I am not making any significant contribution. My existence is driven by passion so strong I sometimes fear it would consume me. But it drives me anyway. It makes me believe that everything is possible, especially if you mean no harm.

Passion almost always make things easier to bear. To have so much passion without that certainty of contributing something significant is such a waste of time. Every minute of every day is time diminishing in my limited life. I feel that I need to spend my borrowed time on something that is more meaningful than wasting away in a cubicle where I think twice about the wisdom of being who I am.

I believe that there is more to life than endless quests to excel, perform, deliver, conform, and evolve into that much-touted ideal and successful career person. I think not everyone is born for that life. I admire those whose passions are fueled by the corporate environment as much as I am awed by those who spend their lives pursuing their passion in non-traditional paths.

And so in answer to my own question --- Yes! Absolutely. Quitting my job is worth all the sacrifice I have made since the decision was made. I still feel like I am being tossed at sea by a majestic storm. At the end of the day though, I guess it all boils down to pursuing a life of significance and meaning in divergent paths or seas.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's still working

My desk fan just gave up on me. I've had it for more than two years now so it isn't all that bad considering my history of short-term ownerships of its predecessors. Since that time I left home to go to college until today, I've owned a lot of electric fans that I won't even try to count seeing that I probably wouldn't remember most of them.

Being the least domestic person I know who loves staying at home whenever possible is probably one of the many ironies of my life. If only I have at least an ounce of domesticity in me, I'd probably pay closer attention to my appliances and take better care of them. As it is, I don't do much of that until they just conk out on me.

I've been in a state of denial with this one for some time now. I just pushed the thought of it breaking down at the back of my mind. I thought that since I only have a few days left before the big move, the desk fan would somehow last until then. I was wrong though. Tonight, the desk fan's head just fell off and it's obviously staying broken despite my best efforts to put it back together.

The first thing that crossed my mind was how much more could I possibly take on top of everything that's on my mind right now. I certainly don't want to think about the possibility of buying a new one seeing that my budget is unbelievably stretched already. Besides, I don't need a new desk fan because I'll be leaving soon anyway.

But as soon as the cloud of despair started to roll in, I noticed that the desk fan was still working. The head was still separated from the rest of it but it still worked. I think that it hasn't fully given up on me yet. I don't think I've given it much thought until now. Funny how the prospect of completely losing it prompts me to take a much closer look at it.

This one would still be working next week. I'm sure of that. And when I go, I'll be leaving it behind. But I'll always remember this moment when I got to spend time paying close attention to something that I've sadly neglected for so long.


Someday I might be lucky to find some of life's difficult answers. Who knows, right? But for now I'm settling with a slew of unknowns. Experience has taught me that the unknowns are the only constant things especially during difficult times. And speaking of difficult times, crisis is just one of the many things that fall under the category. I've recently stumbled upon Dr. John H. Sklare's take on crisis and I just can't resist re-posting a part of it below:
"When crisis suddenly shows up in your life, you would be well served if you took on the mindset of a samurai jiu-jitsu warrior. In other words, instead of using all of your strength and willpower fighting the crisis, why not find a way to use the energy of the crisis in its own defeat? Every situation is different so it’s a bit tough to be specific, but generally speaking, every crisis offers more than just emotional pain and life interruption. It also offers the opportunity to hone your coping skills, learn more about life and grow as a person. If framed in this manner, you can do more than simply endure a crisis. You can actually use a crisis to find a happier and healthier life if you approach it with the attitude of a samurai warrior and employ crisis jiu-jitsu."

Meaningful, although sometimes very painful, lessons can be learned amidst difficult times. At the end of the day, coming face-to-face with them is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the things I often fail to see. Each lesson, no matter how hard it could sometimes get, puts people and circumstances in that special part of my heart reserved for those that help me grow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here's To Both The Good and The Bad

I noted two random things while I was on my way to the office earlier. First one was when I was along EspaƱa where I saw a policeman receiving and secretly pocketing Php20.00 from a jeepney driver. The flawless execution of that split-second act makes me think that it must not have been the first time it happened. It usually takes a lot of practice to perform something smoothly.

The second one I observed along E. Rodriguez. As soon as it started to rain, two people inside a private vehicle bought all the rags this little girl was hawking in the middle of traffic. There was a certain bounce on the little girl's gait as she walked away.

Free will is a beautiful thing. We always have the luxury of choice. We choose what we acknowledge and recognize. We wear different lenses that afford us the cushions of choosing our reality. But I think optimism and pessimism are overrated. Seeing only the good does not eliminate the bad. Focusing on the bad can never deny the goodness in this world. There is always an invisible scale that balances everything out. It is what we choose to do with what we believe that would make the difference.

(Image found on the Internet)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Sink With An Open Drain

People have this funny way of endearing themselves to us and in equal measure, the potential to ignite intense emotions such as anger and frustration from us. It is always the way it is because, perhaps, that is how we learn about ourselves and our relationships with others.

In Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy there was this episode entitled Enough Is Enough (No More Tears) where two quotes stuck in my head. Both quotes were from Meredith, the first one she addressed to George when she said, "What are you doing with Olivia? You're letting her think you're emotionally available. You're letting her think she has a chance. And there is nothing worse in the world than thinking you have a chance when you really don't." The other one when she told Derek, "I am a sink with an open drain, and anything you say runs straight out."

The line that stuck in my head in the first quote was the part where Meredith said, "...there is nothing worse in the world than thinking you have a chance when you really don't". I dare say that much of what causes this problem is the lack of honesty and candidness in most relationships, be it personal or professional. Being nice is not as simple as it used to be. A person's character may show genuine niceness but in this day and age, it seems that it is personality and not character that takes precedence. Niceness is taking on a whole new dimension and the complexity of it just boggles the mind.

Meredith has a point when she lamented that the worst thing anyone could feel is to think that s/he has a chance when the reality of it points to not really having one. This is where being cruel is better than being nice. If we really think about it, wouldn't it be more humane to hurt people at the onset by being honest and candid to them rather than playing nice?

By playing nice, we could probably get more of what we want from people but where would that leave them? This is where caring comes in. Caring is not just about everything sweet and peaceful, sometimes it may require us to find the courage to hurt because we want what's good and fair for others. There are instances that it is better to make people feel they're valued rather than drowning them in niceness, confusing them with words that may contradict actions.

Honesty and candidness may sound simple but I think it is becoming harder and harder to achieve than it used to be. In most cases, society dictates the rules. Sadly, going off track from what society defines as acceptable behavior is tantamount to inviting trouble and labels. No one is as quick to put labels on people but those who are happily ensconced in the comforts of society's acceptance.

This brings me to Meredith's second statement about being a sink with an open drain. It makes me think about a human being's capacity to absorb things. I believe people are blessed with resilience and patience to take just about anything from any relationship. However, there is always a limit to what people can take. When it reaches that point that things get beyond too much, there is just no way to absorb anything more.

(Image from the Internet)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Idol Guy's Recommended Reading

Natawa para sa sarili at para sa wala lang. Naisip na siguradong pag binasa ko yung buong libro at magpapakatotoo sa sarili eh aamining in my worst days, may Ten Least Wanted moments ako.

Pero dun ako sa maikling kwento about a former navy lieutenant commander na naging investment banker on Wall Street talagang tinamaan. Tagos yung sinabi nitong, "I was an unmitigated failure." Sabagay, mukhang navigation skills-challenged yata talaga ako.

Kaya in times like this, take a break and have a good laugh at myself na lang para masaya ang life.

Read excerpt here.


I don't drive so I don't know how it feels to park a car. I've observed drivers do it and couldn't help but feel impressed by how they manage to make it look easy. I guess since parking is one of those frequent things that a lot of people do everyday, it would be fairly easy to overlook the fact that it's one of those ordinary things that are not so ordinary after all. It's one of those routines that don't get much notice, unless the car gets wrecked in the process.

I'm sort of parking several things I've been "driving" for years now. It's like leaving beloved cars in a parking lot for an undetermined amount of time while I'm off on a trip someplace else. It's like leaving fragments of myself and hope that somewhere along the way, wounds where the parts were ripped off would stop bleeding.

It's sad, actually. As I'm nearing parking time, I couldn't help but wonder when I'll be able to drive them again. There's that IOC-Olympic Solidarity ASMC-MOSO course I've been learning so much from, my position and responsibilities as secretary-general of ARAP, the FISA jury/umpiring tasks and seminars, sports and environment advocacy, team lakay, sanshou training, friends, sisses and brods, and nineteen years worth of life carved where I am now.

Decisive action and tough choices suck. But I believe with all of my heart that I'll be coming back for those that need to be parked. In the meantime, this is like a long, slow goodbye.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Bus Stops Here

I smiled the first time I saw that The Bus Stops Here sign at one of the bus stops I pass everyday on my way to the office. I like the sense of finality those words offer and at the same time, that underlying hint of possibilities. I imagine myself getting off a bus in that exact spot.

Bus stops are fascinating. They're never dead-ends. When you get off on one, it's because you're meant to be somewhere else. Unless you intend to wait out the rest of your life in that bus stop, you wouldn't want to be there long enough to have roots growing out on you.

I remember this one trip I had before. I was traveling with my teammates and we were on our way to Macau for a competition. Like in our previous trip there, we took a flight to Hong Kong and from there would board a ferry to Macau. But unlike our previous trip, the airport was now farther from the city so we had to take the bus going to the ferry terminal.

I could still recall the excitement and how we pretty much enjoyed choosing a double-decker bus because it would be the first time for most of us to ride on one. Of course, almost all of us wanted to be on topside so we climbed up, suitcases and all, and made ourselves thoroughly comfortable throughout the long drive to the city. We became so comfortable that we realized we're nearing our destination barely a minute before the bus rolled to a stop.

Buses in Hong Kong, and in my experience, in most other highly developed countries follow a strict schedule. They don't wait around longer than what is scheduled and they won't certainly stop longer than necessary just so people can get on and off in their own good time. And so it was that despite our best efforts scrambling down, the door was already closing by the time we reached it. Suffice to say, we had to get off the next bus stop and walk a few blocks to where we will board the ferry.

I think that was one of the trips where I learned the value of traveling light. I believe it was after that trip that I began to form this habit of packing and traveling light. I do this especially if I'm anticipating a lot of bus rides thrown in. Although this mind-set don't work for some trips where there's just no workaround with the amount of stuff I need, I still try to stick to the basic idea of it, which is light as light it could get. Somehow, that bus trip taught me that it is much comfortable and interesting to travel with less.

I've seen a lot of different bus stops in my life. I've been to simple, and sometimes, dusty ones in beautiful quiet towns with a view of dirt roads stretching as far as the eyes can see, pink and blue painted ones in busy city streets and simple and efficient ones in quiet Japanese and European streets. I've met and converse people in those many bus stops. And regardless if I got off alone, with someone or with a group of people; I've never stayed far longer than necessary.

People get off buses to move on. This is why a bus stop is a beautiful thing. It's there waiting as some sort of transition point. It offers temporary shelter from heat and rain. I'd hate to travel on long stretches of roads without at least seeing one of those. Knowing that there's one somewhere gives that comforting feeling that when I do decide to get off, I'd have a place to pause and think before I move on.

(Photo found somewhere on the Internet.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009


We discussed Management of Change (a subsection of Chapter 1-Organizing An Olympic Sport Organization), Control of Evaluation (Chapter 2-Managing Strategically), and Developing Skills for Managing Human Resources (Chapter 3-Managing Human Resources) in our last MOSO class before our three-week break. The time off from classroom meetings will be spent working on our respective case studies.

Participants listen to the programme director of the IOC-Olympic Solidarity ASMC/Managing Olympic Sports Organizations

Like in our previous meetings, the topics generated a lot of lively discussion among the participants. Apart from the rich and relevant content of our book, I find the sharing of ideas and insights very enriching. Ironically, the diversity in perspective and sometimes very passionate sharing of ideas or opinions did not strike me as annoying or threatening.

It proves that perspectives are good. We could either be wearing different lenses or looking from different sides of the fence but we all share something. I know it is beginning to sound old but I believe passion is one.

Karen (Sepak Takraw)

Judith (Dragon Boat)

There is also that thing about volunteerism. I guess it is strong in this group. One of our facilitators said that it shows a strong sense of social responsibility. I am not sure about that. It is possible. But personally, it is something that I do not think about. For me, it is just doing what feels right and paying it forward.

Archery and Wrestling

Discussion on Developing Skills for Managing Human Resources

I like it that there are plenty of opportunities to learn from the lively and open exchange of thoughts and ideas. It is not that we agree on everything. Individually we represent organizations that have unique sets of issues and challenges. Each of us have something to learn from each others' depth and length of experiences.

As I think about managing change, evaluating strategic plans and developing the skills to manage human resources, I imagine that those tasks are probably just a few of the many challenges of a leader. Anything that involves people will always have diversity and differences coming into play.

Karen, Len-Len (Canoe Kayak), Gina (Philippine Olympic Committee)

Clockwise: Atty. Saliva (Dance Sport), Gen. Tanchanco (Programme Director), Karen, Mrs. Kiram (Pencak Silat)

I think my experience today taught me that strong convictions and powerful words are not something to be feared. It is up to us how we process it. But at the end of the day, I think it would be a shame to just shut out or shut down someone. I feel that we may be seeing things differently but we care as deeply as the others to what we have committed ourselves to.

Maybe sometimes all it takes to learn and improve is to genuinely embrace diversity and actively listen to differences.

Friday, June 5, 2009


First thing I saw in my personal email inbox this morning was the 2009 Asian Rowing Federation (ARF) Rowing Championships jury nomination form from our president. The event will be held in Yilan, Taipei from November 3-9. I haven't been to Taipei yet - neither for competition nor vacation. I'd love to go, especially since it's an Asian championships and all. I want to hone my jury/umpiring skills there.

Right now though, every tomorrow is like a blurry thing going on in my head. I'm more into the here and now. It's much easier to face whatever life throws at me that way. November is like a haze in my mind. At the moment, all I know is I'll get there somehow. The how part is something that will just fall into place. One small step at a time first. Things can only get better.