Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ayala Boy

And when I close my eyes, I see myself working in some small, but high-paying company at the heart of Makati. One breezy afternoon, I would go out of my new office building to smoke and gaze at the sun's rays reflected on the stained windows of a skyscraper across the street. The day was relatively productive, and day by day, I am becoming more of an asset to the company. Ever since I joined them, I make sure that I am in the forefront of every project they have been involved with.

For I have taught myself to become an achiever; someone who is willing to take all necessary steps just to be ahead of his colleagues.

- Taming the Tikbalang, Secret Blog Entry, February, 2006

I opened my droopy eyes after giving a big yawn, timing that there were no managers in front of me. It was a Friday morning, and with just two hours of sleep, there was little love when I had at last, made the decision to go to the Makati Central Business District. It was a last-minute change of heart, an afterthought, after some team leader from the Raketship included my name on her list. I was to attend a workshop she personally organized, a small group that didn't show up when the company had its summer outing in an island south of the country. Without her persistence, and the realization that I was representing my team, I would rather lay in bed and sleep, than go through another night shift with very little shut-eye.

I arrived late at the venue, as expected. Forced to walk under intense heat from the Makati Medical Center to Greenbelt Mall when the shuttle cut its trip short at the fringes of Ayala and Buendia avenues. Memories of past loves, and even the present one make incursions in the head, as I hasten my steps at the overhead walkway towards my destination. But with thoughts of having an ancient aspiration being accomplished, and the newness of having to set up a mobile workstation in a real office, the matters of the heart turn irrelevant when there is an apparent level-up in my profession.

It would be the first time meeting face-to-face the people at the SEO writing job.

Very little can be said about the event, except the resource persons talked about work issues and new QA processes the business will implement soon. Also mentioned were features that would aid writers like me so our production multiplies, and the quarterly goals achieved. This of course, is corporate chat, a preoccupation I am to make some distance given the job arrangements with the company. And with portal issues keeping us from writing snippets, and animated managers who take breaks to smoke every two hours, there was little doubt about the informality of the meeting.  

And it made me feel at home.

What I can write with more than fleeting descriptions are the modern and minimalist style workspaces, divided into small rooms with floor to ceiling glass walls so that one could see what everyone is doing within. There are spacious common areas too where groups can meet and conceptualize ideas, socialize with colleagues, and relax, as there are swinging benches, Foosball tables, and even a stationary bike in one corner. The raketship has a small office there as well, enough to fit 10 people for brainstorming and roundtable teleconferences with counterparts abroad. I was told the office is seldom occupied, and when it does, only the country director and his team go in to stock items to be given away as motivational trinkets.

I can also tell about the people at the workshop, whose names I no longer recall, except those of Lourdes, the manager of my department, and MM, the country director of the Raketship. What I knew from MM's brief talk was his love of scuba diving, as well as his desire to make everyone as productive - even at the cost of doing more automation to speed up our work. Also remarkable was his decision to use the fire exit stairs from the fifth floor to go down to the lobby. He said it was to save electricity. Everyone of course, followed. Lourdes, meanwhile, was instrumental for my stay in the company. When I found that my pay went to some people I have no contact with. She was there to speak on my behalf, even raising her voice when the representative of the staffing agency showed arrogance when she was being polite about my missing earnings. To this day, I still see Lourdes as an elder sister, someone I'd always remember should a time come I'd have second thoughts leaving the side work.

We parted ways that day with a tight and sincere hug.

I went to the workshop believing I could live the Ayala dream: of finally doing some work-related stuff that would put me alongside the thousands of corporate drones and creative slaves who make up the daytime population of the financial district. The last time I went to Makati other than to meet ex lovers or have dinners with friends was to look for work, and aspire to become a slacks-and-sleeves guy myself. Typing on my laptop as MM speaks about the hours we render work, memories of that one afternoon at Sencor re-emerges, when I used to gaze at the skyscrapers while lamenting how near I was and yet stuck at the bowels of Pasay. I also recall musing the job hunting days, when I was very close to accepting posts that pay very little, but at least, I can boast rubbing elbows with the professional elites. I know, such pipe dream will never be mine anymore, and at a time when relative wealth no longer drives me to shop for workplaces beyond home, there is comfort knowing I can put my illusions to rest knowing that for once, life afforded me a day to be an Ayala boy.

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