Less than 24 hours after posting my sagacious, pa-deep, and optimistic post regarding the lessons that 2015 has imparted to me, 2016 painfully hotstamped a new lesson to me. 2016 LESSON #1: MARAMING TAO ANG INGRATO, WALANG PALABRA DE HONOR, WALANG DELICADEZA. Tagalog na para mas may dating.
Yes, I am angry. Seething. But above all, I am hurt.
Yesterday we were waiting in vain for two of our helpers to return from their New Year’s vacation. When it was already past noon and none of them have arrived and cannot be reached, kinabahan na ako. I checked the Facebook of one of them, and this is what I saw:
This is the same person who said, “Nakaka-touch naman po kayo” when we gave her a Purefoods Fiesta Ham and roasted chicken for her media noche. The same person who expressed so much happiness and gratitude because of the presents she received from different people this Christmas, through the work we gave her. The same person who badmouthed her colleague for being ungrateful and a liar. The same mobile phone-less person who was given a tablet by Randy kasi kawawa naman daw. The same person who assured me that her honesty and integrity will always be intact even if you strip her of everything. If she’s just sick—if she really is sick—she could have just told us! She knows that we even chipped in for the hospital bills of the children of our long-time helpers, on top of the PhilHealth health benefits we provided.
And then let’s talk about the other one. I still hope that she has a good reason for being MIA for two days, because otherwise isa pa ito. When she was jobless, we took her in. Despite being new, we allowed her to get one month’s worth of advance wages for the tuition fee of her daughter. Hindi raw talaga siya aalis, mabuting tao raw siya. When she hinted that she wanted her daughter to transfer to a university in either Los Banos or Sta. Rosa to be near her, we volunteered to take her in to be a working student. Since her daughter’s course is education, the daughter could work part-time as a teacher’s aide and eventually be our teacher when she graduates. This Christmas break, she asked us whether her daughter could spend the holidays here. I said, “Sure!” without batting an eyelash. And now, this.
I do not claim that we are the best employers in town. Work here is no walk in the park, and there could be other households and businesses that give higher wages than we do. But I think we are fair. Or more than fair. When I interview prospective employees, I disclose everything. I even exaggerate their workload so they expect the worst. Even if their contracts say that they are given 2 days off per month, we give them 1 day off per week. When their work is beyond our expectations, we give them a raise right away. Their meals are also our meals; the water that we drink is also the water that they drink. We do not limit their use of our office desktops, and their common room has its own Cignal digital TV. At night, we try very hard to not disturb them because we want them to rest.
Our ever reliable Ate Evelyn, their colleague, is as enraged as I am when I called her and broke the news. She even blames us for being too lax and lenient. I don’t ever want to think that we are “mabait na amo”, lest I feel entitlled and all high and mighty. But in Ate Evelyn’s own words, “Ayan kasi Ma’am masyado kasi kayong mabait kaya inaabuso kayo.” She told me she wouldn’t blame me even if I hurl invectives to these two. And before she put the phone down, Ate Evelyn’s cutting words were, “Marami po talagang mga walang utang na loob, no?”
Last Christmas I was feeling generous. I wanted to give something to everyone. I even regretted not buying more gifts because I wanted to give more. When I was packing away Raviv’s small clothes, I really wanted to give them all to her who said, “Nakaka-touch naman po kayo,” so she could give them to her children . But I held back and gave only a few, because I wanted her to prove herself first. Now, I am glad I held back. And I got angry at Randy for pitying her and giving her our Telpad, that she uses to post stuff like this on her Facebook:
Right now I regret ever trying to be diplomatic to them when they committed mistakes. For feeling their plight. For helping solve their scruples. For wanting to be a part of their pag-asenso. And most of all, for believing that they are good people. Because they are not. It all just boils down to, “Wala akong pera ngayon, kailangan kita. Kailangan maawa ka sa akin kasi kung hindi ka maaawa masama kang tao.” Then when they have recovered a bit, “Kaya ko na sa ngayon. Kailangan intindihin mong sisira ako sa usapan natin, at hindi ko kailangang isipin ang obligasyon ko.”
Noblesse oblige is in; palabra de honor and delicadeza are out.
What I hate the most from this experience is that I no longer want to care about our employees. I just want to think of them as necessary evils. I would look at them and their hardwork thinking that they’re just going through the motions like a machine or a robot. I need them, and they need me. For the meantime. So sue me, Kilusang Mayo Uno. Condemn me and let these people feel entitled and martyred.