smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

sWORDmistress

Beginning Monday, I’ll be writing for a living. YAY! Can you say “restored revenue stream?”

Anyway, awhile back – after I quit my old job – I was approached by this friend who works for a pol. His boss, he tells me, read smoke regularly and wanted to be introduced. It took quite awhile since I really don’t do meetings in meatspace. In fact, when we did meet, it was purely by accident. I saw my friend at the airport where he was dropping his boss off. So there we were, all in one place, and I really had no choice but to say hi. As it turned out, we were on the same plane – all the way to the final destination. *facepalm*

At first, I kept to myself the way I usually do; pulling my slouchy cap over my face and reading a magazine. Funny thing: one of the articles I was reading was about how one of the most common causes for lost laptops is security checks where you have to pull your machine out of your bag so that it goes into the xray all by its lonesome self. I remember chuckling at the stupidity of people.

Several security checks – and gazillions of hours – later, I heard someone calling my name. Bleary-eyed, I turned around and there was this pol, holding a suspiciously familiar looking laptop. OMFG! I did a quick maglalatik body check and d’oh! dragged my sorry ass back to him and sheepishly said thank you for pointing out my stupidity.

He was pretty nice about it, and so I decided to be a little more gracious for the last two hours of the journey.

We talked about a lot of things on the plane (he left his seat to sit next to me) and I got a pretty solid overview of his politics. We disagreed on some points – particularly the need to craft divorce laws (I was pro, he was con) – but mostly mostly saw eye to eye on others. At the end of it, I had his card and he had my email address. He wanted my phone number but I told him I lost my phone. 

By the time I returned to the Philippines, my inbox held several emails from him, ranging from the pa-cutesy (‘hope you still have your laptop, or you won’t be able to read this’) to the blatant (‘will you write my speeches?’). Not that it was the first time he had asked me to come work for him. 

When I got back, my friend called me and asked if I had decided. Maybe he caught me at a bad time, or maybe because I’ve been really itching to find a job already. Whatever it was, I heard myself saying yes, I would take the job. By the time the words were out, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to be chained to an office table or to have to do the research all by myself. I mean, I like research but that old job had me really gunshy about revealing my true gung-ho nature.

Two days later, my friend e-mailed me a punchlist of what it would be like to work for his boss. 

I’d be reporting to the boss directly – no middle managers. Check.
I’d have three staff to do researching and, if I wanted, first drafts. Check. Check.
I’d have an office to myself, with a desktop and a laptop (this one had a smiley next to it – harhar) of my choice. Check.
I didn’t have to punch the clock, except that I would be on-call 24/7. Errr…. well, I liked the no-bundy clause, so I guess I can live with being on-call.
I’d be getting a new cellphone and a wireless modem. Oh, okay. 
My salary would be decent and I’d get various allowances and bonuses. Thank god.

On the downside:

 

There’s a confidentiality clause. I asked about this and I was assured that I get to keep my own opinions and keep on blogging for as long as I don’t reveal who I work for. Otherwise, this would’ve been a deal breaker.
If I have a boyfriend, he can’t come to the office or call me during office hours. I was assured that this rule was fairly porous. 
There’s an exclusivity clause. If my employment is terminated for any reason, I can’t work in the same field for two years. I figured if I ever quit, I’d be so saturated that I wouldn’t want to work in the same field anyway, so okay.
I need to be able to write speeches on the fly. 
I need to dress business style. Blech.

 

And then the ones I’m pretty neutral about:

I get paid monthly
I get a check, not cash. I insisted that the checks not be crossed, and they said ok.
I would not be considered a regular employee; which means I don’t get some benefits, and I don’t get to join the co-op.

Looks ok, doesn’t it? Still, I guess what really matters for me right now is that I have a job. And that I was lucky enough to have the job come looking for me and not the other way around; and that I get to work for a pol who seems decent and whose politics I mostly agree with.

Lessee what happens.

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Jobs

We’ve got a blog carnival going on over at Filipino Voices and the topic for this very first carnival is JOBS. Check it out starting tomorrow.

Filipino Voices will hold a blog carnival every second and fourth Sunday of the month. Each topic will be announced that week and all submissions must be made no later than 12 noon of that Sunday.

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I love my job, I admit it. I’m a happy worker. It’s part-time so I don’t make much, but it’s enough to keep my grad school fund slowly growing. I don’t have a car of my own and I’m not above bumming a ride from friends now and again. My boss isn’t a pain in the neck nor is she my best friend so, we’re colleagues and that’s exactly how I want it to be. I have a good friend in the office, but we’re not bff’s so there’s no pressure to “hang out” – again, exactly how I want it.

My friend (from the apartment building where I live when I’m not being my mother’s daughter) Chick works the graveyard at a call center. I call her Chick because her boyfriend’s name is Ken. I could have called her Barbie but that’s not how my mind works. She loves her job too, because it pays enough for her to have an interesting Friday night out twice a month; because it pays enough to keep her in Greenhills-designer bags and tight-fitting camisoles; because it pays enough that she can afford a mocha frap at Starbucks three days a week; because it pays enough that she can convince herself she can delay taking the CPA board one more year.

I went to a job fair recently, and I was struck by how pretty everyone was. Even the guys. I filled out a couple of forms – nothing serious, really, just wanting to get a feel of how it will be like when I finally get out of school. While I was laying my chicken scratches on the forms, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversations of the hiring people. It was so valley-girl. So hollywood-cliche. Everyone just “loooooooved” the new song, and “ohhhh myyyyy gawd!” wasn’t Paolo so cute? And they were “like, shit PAAAAAAHre! the ride was so sweeeeeeeet!” and  everyone had a “pad” or a “flat.” If this was what new graduates were exposed to at these job fairs, then it’s not surprising that so many kids are flocking to call centers. The bait – although I doubt that the ‘bait’ actually realized that was in the fine print of their HR contracts – was pretty goddamned irresistible. Good thing I read alot when I was a kid; I was no stranger to the house made of candy and cakes that so entranced Hansel and Gretel.

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