Apr 7, 2014

Information age dilemma

Social media and the web have forever transformed the way we communicate, share thoughts, and interact with each other. Reaching out to people has never been the same again.

As you may hint, being in IT - I am a big proponent of the the information age and all that it stands for.

However lately, I've found that despite ideas and interactions being liberally exchanged, people have grown more and more disconnected with each other.

Gone are the days of genuine kinship and other relations, a bond which can only be forged by investing on time spent with the other party. Or pouring over volumes on books prescribed to gain understanding and stimulation of human curiousities...

Friendly repartees gave way to facebook posts and shout-outs. Birthdays and other milestones in life has become meaningless celebratory remarks or a one-liner in your inbox.

Things that you find generally unacceptable (such as public spite and ranting) has become the norm along with everybody expectations on useless clamorings...

Sometimes I felt that people still misses the old days... when one values true friendship and relationships withstood the test of time and distance.

Or the time when knowledge was a by-product of dedication, and pursuit of mastery and not a paraphrase of an article from a google search.

Life is like a box of chocolates

People tend to judge quickly over matters they dont truly understand.

Its also human nature to fear things they do not comprehend. Its a tool that served mankind well... for survival's sake.

However, we have come a long way since the dawn of civilization itself. In the last millenia alone, the human person had transformed himself from a simple stones and spear hunter to a much sophisticated predator, clad with reason and intellect.

Though the 'savannah hunting grounds' have given way to the corporate jungle, the darwinian rule of the game has not changed at all...

It is still a world where only the fittest or the most determined survives!

Does this mean though that people without the necessary coping skills are justified when they lay down their 'gloves' in the fight of their lifetime?

My take on this is surprising conservative. Despite what I preach (either you got-it or you 'end' it dogma), I do emphatize with people who got beat-up by the system. Its never really fair to judge the fight without the judges final tally of the scorecard.

Truth is, tenaciousness doesnt always yield success. However, I still dont feel that giving-up in the face of life's struggle is the way to go.

Humans have evolved and withstood the changing times for a reason... and that is self-preservation. If you are part of the human genome, chances are you had also inherited this trait - though you find it more pronounced with some folks than others.

Fact is, people have the qualities, and necessary 'tools' to combat whatever fate has dealt them. The problem only comes when you discount that hard fact and choose to second-guess yourself, then turn around to shrivel in the face of failure.

If you are reading this post now, this means your ancestors before you have accepted the challenge and have come on top! Do not disrespect them by scurrying away and just give up.

Mar 22, 2014

Full-steam ahead to lazy town

Settling in a laid back corporate life does have its own appeal...

I am slowly accepting that I may actually enjoy a carefree work life...

Its like starting on a diet, you still see the typical 'resistance' from your old habit time to time... I just need to take it one day at a time...

Mar 20, 2014

Life relived?

After a week of artery-popping, nerve wrecking, swear-inducing situation at work, things have finally stabilized well enough for me to reflect over the stuff that really mattered - family.

After some thought, I have chosen to take the advice of friends and just sit back and enjoy the corporate roller coaster ride.

This doesn't mean though that I will not try to rise up from the challenge... after all, there is still a challenge to overcome in this situation - I can aim to be the best "glorified secretary" that everyone has seen...!

Besides, I can always vent and blog about my technical exploits or find other like minded folks to talk about the "real world".

For now, were planning to take the kids for a weekend trip... I'm hoping this will be a good way to start me off to this new unexplored path...

Mar 18, 2014

Glorified Secretary

Corporate life used to be simple...

You know what your role is... your set of responsibilities, and most importantly, you know how to carry them out...

For over a decade and a half I've done my best to ensure that I discharge my duties as efficiently as one can... I have proven and had distinguished myself from the average Joe...

Until now...

Having been told that I am no longer but a "Glorified Secretary" sends me in to a dark place...

Despite my flashy work title and higher pay, I cannot seem to shake-off being disappointed at my new job...

Being in IT all my life, I thought I got everything figured out... I now face an alien juncture in my path... I am forced to either swallow the bitter pill and accept my circumstances, or ship-out and accept defeat...

There is a lot riding into this decision... family, friends, and colleagues from previous work engagements are all cheering me to carry on the fight... but how can one simply say to one's self to forget every damn thing you've worked for and just "enjoy the show"?

I'm sure a lot of people would not have second thoughts and would gladly trade places with mine without second guessing...

A handsome pay for a relatively carefree job does sound really enticing... but only on paper...

Colleagues tell me to vent my technical appetite elsewhere and just enjoy it while it lasts... a fair advise, considering that it is indeed a chance of a lifetime...

Am I out of line when I demand the same level of professionalism and order in ebery workplace I go? Is it really so repulsive to practice and apply the standards and expectations that like I have done so in my entire career?

What do you do then when everybody tells you, "its not your place to do this or that" and when its at their convenience, blame you if their very decisions causes the problem? Pointing the finger like it was your fault for not insisting your case enough that they have no option but to make a choice...

I seriously need to reassess my strategy if I am ever going to be part of this "circus" for the long run...

My superiors tell me not to "over engineer" the matters and just carry on as I was told...

there's just one problem...

I dont know how to do my job any other way... It is really heartbreaking to strip down your work ethics into "bare essentials" for fear of being rejected by a system that has systematically accepted complacency versus professionalism...

*big sigh*

Mar 16, 2014

A regretful yet hope-filled outlook for my posterity...

It has been roughly 6-months now since I decided to again venture overseas to seek better economic circumstances...

It goes without saying that my initial appetite for excitement has now settled down to a textbook case where I am again questioning why I came here in the first place... having all this time to witness the goings-on of locals and similar expat families here, make you confront life's uncertainties on a daily basis.

It was never really about whether I made the better decision or not... the circumstances is never ideal - afterall making a living in a foreign land seems to be the only option for most Filipinos.

As I write this, I am beginning to slowly accept my fate... it has become clear that I will not be able to reign economic security for myself and family if I will stay home... everyday I have to repress all the frustrations I feel for working in a culturally "difficult" professional environment, for the sake of a better future's promise.

But is all the sacrifice worth it in the end, is the million dollar question, isn't it?

Being a 2nd generation migrant worker myself, I know first hand how difficult it is for OFW kids to find success especially if they will be repatriating back to the Philippines later in life for college or work.

I have witnessed some success stories from personal friends and acquaintances, mostly though were stories depicting otherwise...

People begin to understand how things are more difficult for children raised overseas to compete in the cut-throat reality back home. For most expat parents, what was once a vision of high hope for their kids' future, have turned into nightmare and disappointment.

I sincerely hope that when the time comes, my own kids will realize their own dreams despite my own inability to ensure it for them...

I pray that the Lord watch over them in as much that he has watched over me...

Aug 14, 2013

Another little bitter pill

Nearly a quarter to go in to what is one of the most difficult year I've ever had to go through - I find myself psyching-up for an overseas job appointment while barely a month-and-a-half with a new company.

After a very disappointing short stint with a-technical-solution-engineering-company that shall remain nameless, I feel overwhelmingly blessed to find a job which, so far, have given me a privileged working setup and impeccable mentors that are far fetched fantasies for most employees... Indeed, a lot of people I know in the technology industry today, either in this region or elsewhere, would trade their present jobs to be in my shoes right now.

An above average paycheck, flexible hours (you're not required to clock-in 9 hours everyday), telecommute/remote work, respectable benefits package, and an opportunity to contribute in the organizational processes and strategy which will shape a global organization, are the stuff that colleagues in the industry gets to enjoy when they are in their early to late 50s.

However, if there's anything that the first half of this year had taught me is that, my personal circumstances are not what most regular folks have. Or maybe I'm just full of it to think that my case is different from the rest. Being the sole income earner for a family of (five plus 2 people which supports entire households bigger than mine), I already conceded that everything in my life, from this point on, will be excruciatingly difficult than what I have ever faced in my life. It is also damning to know that I myself am still battling personal demons in terms of managing the financial affairs of my own family - being partly responsible for the welfare of an additional two separate families puts additional pressure on everything I do whether I acknowledge them or not.

It is also noteworthy to say that the overseas opportunity is NOT without its share of problems and challenges. Right of the bat, it presented some rather "unique" problems which under normal circumstances, most individuals would not even consider entertaining.

Together with the help of my very supportive family, I chose to persist, and in the wake of about a 2-month long roller coaster of bewilderment, excitement, and horror - I'm about half way there...

Because its still in 50/50-ish situation, I do feel comfortable to consider resigning from my current job barely a month in. After all the disappointments I had this year, I have lost my appetite for any amount of risk, and didn't want leave anything to chance.

I have been working on two plans:


  • Number 1 is  advise my current employer that I would need to work from outside the country due to pressing personal matters for a month or two; fly over there for a look-see, then make a decision which one will be better. 
  • Number 2 would be, I would let my employer know that I would need to relocate out of the country, fly over there, and work with managing 2 jobs, without absolutely letting either one of them know about it. I could make the time difference work to my advantage, since the former is about 7-8 hours behind where I will be based. Again not ideal based on my personal experience, but if it could ease some of the guilt off, then I'd say its worth taking a look.


Obviously, I'm not proud of what I'm about to do for a number of reasons. I feel that my present job is every bit worthy of loyalty, and for very good reasons too. However, I feel that this is something I need to do for the sake of my family.

I do not plan burn bridges with my present employer, so I know I have to also be mindful about delivering the work they expect. I know I've never been a model employee in a lot of respect, but the pressure to secure the immediate welfare of my family is also bearing down on this decision.

The overseas job has the potential to trump anything that I had ever had before, include this latest job I'm holding - except maybe on the job security category. All expatriate workers know that job security is never one of the qualifications they look for when they decide to go overseas for work. Its contract based, and obviously, you're not favored by the locals since you're viewed as someone whose taking away their jobs.

Looking forward, I realize that my situation puts me on a very difficult path where I'll never be sufficiently confident to call any decision as they present themselves to be. I do not know if I'll ever get used of feeling inadequate in as much that I've always prided myself to be a person who have somehow already established himself in a cut-throat industry where second guessing your expertise and decision can ruin global corporations.

Aug 6, 2013

Pursuing Faith

It was always whenever you're down with problems from work, finances, health, and family stuff that a person tends to finally find time to cross examine one's spiritual self.

Whenever I look back in my life, I always somehow feel uncomfortable to discuss my own personal spiritual journey...


SEEDS OF SKEPTICISM

I started of, being born in a typical middle class filipino catholic family. Our family's conservative and somewhat restricted views on religious beliefs did nothing but planted the initial "seedlings" of uncertainty in me as a child.

Maybe its because I'm just a naturally curious kid, but growing up, I already have some dissatisfaction over how some of the basic religious tenets being taught at church or school sometimes just doesn't always make sense to me. I also know that most of the adults in my life were on the same boat that I was in...

I do not exactly remember when it happened, but around the time when I lost my grandma to cancer, despite fervent prayers and my zealot like faith (yes I was a fanatic catholic back then), I've succumb to atheism.

Maybe it was just an immature, hormone laden, teenage renegade phase that I was on at the time, but I remember that I was just impossibly upset and angry at god.

I was so fired up that years of repressed questions over religious dogmas just instantly sprung out , like a tightly wounded coil unraveling in an instant, I felt like a whistling teapot left boiling for an hour, spurting, screaming, and blasting it's lasts load of steam...

I took my atheism quite seriously, even to the point of physically engaging over intellectual discourses that I feel that theists people needed to be rescued from the bondage that is religion

At that time, I was literally convinced that god was simply a figment of our imagination, like unicorns, fairies, santa claus, etc. I was so engorged by anger and helplessness that I've engaged in any intellectual discourse I can afford just to prove and profess the atheistic point-of-view. I even managed to "convert" some of my friends and family over to atheism.

CAJOLING SENSIBILITIES

For years (even after having my own family), I was completely convinced that the realization that a life without a prime mover had set me free --- being absconded by years of rituals, traditions, and reverence that was forced to you soon as you can speak, I felt empowered and respectable.

It has indeed taken a fair length of time before I finally stepped down my high horse and literally "reasoned" my way back to faith.

My views on spirituality and religion at that time was against any type, form, or affiliation. Admittedly though, my arguments were mostly targeted against Catholicism and the judaeo-christian views.

After years of living an altruistic and secularized life though, I finally confounded myself that the real reason that I accepted atheism was because I was lashing out to the God. After that, the fear of rejection simply spring loaded my ego that I since I've been such a proletarian asshole all this years, getting back in God's "good graces" sounded more like a death sentence.

Remembering graphic biblical stories and depiction about how God regularly allow his faithful to be "tested" gave me more reason to hold-on to secular skepticism. I mean, the prospect of penitence from years of blaspheming and the notion that unspeakable horrors of being subjected to "tests" forced me not to reconcile my atheism for a very long time.

Maybe I was too coward or too indisposed from fear that I fear that the idea that once I re-establish my faith, God will go out and test me particularly in areas of my life that I personally know I wouldn't have any chance to pass.... Imagery of horrifying scenarios that has anything to do with my kids or my family is what I feared most (think of the story of Abraham or Lot from the Bible and you'll probably guess what I meant).

Having said that though, in all that time, I felt insecure over a lot of things. For consolation, I would gravitate to the the proposition that everything can be explained and rationalized by the human mind and therefore I don't need divine emancipation, period.

Soon enough though, I found it a constant battle to repress the longing for a greater point-of-view; something with substance or design which can bridge rationale and still satisfy my inert skepticism. An example is why religious people exhibits a certain air of nostalgia and peace despite leading lives permeated in crisis or confronting terrible circumstances beyond any plethora of human rationality. It doesn't make sense to me how in the face of absolutely horrific end, they seem to be accepting and rejoicing the conditions that they were dealt!

The reason I held on to atheism so long is because it offered a point of view that was simply suitable to my situation at the time. Like rationalizing how a new person deserved a promotion more because he was simply more effective or productive, as opposed to choosing a tenured individual who everybody knows is well entrenched and familiar to the inner workings and decision makers in the organization. I feel a sense of betrayal when 5-months after their promotion, people leave to a much higher paying job, without a sense of guilt or loyalty...

Simple things, ideas and events like that which transpired as I progressed in life, lacked the merit that bolstered skepticism and rationalization can offer. Ideas outside of secular religious topics simple doesn't make a suitable topic to apply under atheistic precepts.

RATIONALIZED THEISM

As I grow older, I found it hard not to go back to secular teachings and find enlightenment, where a couple of years earlier, I was completely mocking. It simply just made more sense as years come and went in ways that I can never really understand.

In the end, I found my way back to the Christian fold because of the overwhelming skepticism I had over atheism and its views, which ironically were the same traits that led me to lose my faith in the first place.

So to end this post, I say, go ahead, open yourself up to skepticism and critical reason. Lay your secular beliefs and virtues under rational scrutiny. If your strong enough, and never stop searching for the truth.... I wouldn't be too surprised to find yourself re-acquainted with your faith some time down the line.

Jul 14, 2013

Lightyears away

For a lot of us, success in any area of our lives seemingly looks so remote. So distant, that it its simply impossible to accomplish within our very own lifetime. We pat ourselves in the back, toast whatever average success we earned, and retire to our beds at night hoping and praying that our kids would be our best chance to claim our dream that's just too damn illusive as a 50-peso bill in Edsa during Christmas season!

I bet that's why most of the stories we hear growing up includes anecdotes of how our folks had "almost" made it. These anecdotes typically starts with the transitive verbs: would've, should've, or could've, and  ends with that 19th century appeal to the senses : "if I only did such and such... "

I have always enjoyed listening to stories like this. Maybe because, some where a long the line, I know that there will be a story that you could learn from. Or maybe, because I always thought that they too made several amateur mistakes in their lives. That they don't always do the right things... that they are just like you and me... Or maybe, that they're just making excuses cause they obviously didn't meet the "grade"; or had the "stuff" to get them through.

I feel ashamed now of how I thought back then.

Whenever I failed at something important, I always go back to my dad... some times demanding an audience to spill my own "would/should/could" story.... Some how, seeking my own retribution from him or from a family member....

The tables have indeed turned.

I wonder of what my eldest is thinking whenever my wife and I talk about my "would/should/could" story?

Maybe. like my dad, I would be listening to their own stories soon, when they grow up....

Jul 13, 2013

In everything there, there is a season and reason?

The past few weeks have been really a humbling experience and I'm just glad that I'll be having a chance to finally push forward with new beginnings by next week.

I pray that things finally look up for the better. 

Whatever it is that happened, I have no choice but to pick my self up and push myself once more. I have to. I need to. I just hope that this time, I could make the right decisions, and make the right choices.

The financial textbooks always told us that we should create an emergency cash buffer worth at least 3 to 6 months of expenses to tide us over in the event of a personal crisis --- like, loss of income, health issues, being run over by stampeding ants or being struck by lightning, etc.  

Being the only income earner in a family of 5 (plus 2), I soon realized that whatever "wall of financial" protection I thought I've built up, did not mean squat in the face of "overwhelming" force... 

Domestic issues simply have a way to shred whatever "well-informed preparations" you make like a manic-compulsive kindergarten cutting up card boards with plastic scissors. Also, other people's "circumstantial" crap also tends to compound seemingly in perfect timing, either when you're at the apex in your personal crisis or you're screaming obscenities out in empty space from complete and utter hopelessness.

More often than not, it pushes most people to retreat to whatever protective-ish cocoon they have as their brain goes cold turkey due to the prolonged absence of serotonin in their bloodstream.

Sadly, despite my recent interlude and affair with disproportionate despair, I am still unsure whether I learned anything sensible that I can later on apply... 

It's cruel to think that when we were little, we were always taught that everything happens for a reason. That, if something does not kill you, it only ought to make you stronger.... What a big pile of  horse droppings! Right there with all the useless, medieval mutterings like, " Eatin' ain't cheatin' " or "when life gives you lemons, you make margaritas" or some similar shit like that!

When will we all finally learn that Shit just happens... not for any other reason, but simply because it can happen.... period...!

Maybe were just too naive or too brainwashed to acknowledge that....

As far back as I can remember, I was brainwashed and bleached to this sick, cult-like belief... Even with modern advances in philosophy and science... Parents (including myself) still serve up this nonsense to their kids.... maybe to appease their own ignorance on the "grand scheme" of life...

Let's try to rectify this further... allow me, if you will, to take a proverbial stab at the existential piece of everyday dilemma by invoking good old fashion mathematical logic... where do I start? Hmmm - maybe, we can invoke John Venn's equation of statistical probability to try to put substance and form...

A quick search on the web, and all those "lively", exciting, and energy packed classroom lectures in college came rushing back to me.... Statistical probability, or frequency probability can be written as follows:

 where P(x) is the probability of an event occurring at a given period (t).

If we attempt to postulate the probability that "undefined" possibilities and circumstances can simply snuff out any financial emergency preparations you make (given non-bounded period or time), we arrive with every statistician's frequency probability theory dilemma, which is:  


Like what I said, its never an exact science (or in my case, math).... Despite the grim outlook though, it is still very much preferred to stock pile lots and lots of cash as emergency contingencies might just be around every twist or turn....