Monday, August 11, 2008

Career Shift Part 2

Just when I was about to raise the white flag on my dream of becoming an industrial slave, a company noticed my desperate display of colorful feathers and invited me for an interview. Although the company is admittedly miles away from my preferred companies of milk and honey, I thought its aroma of artificial sweeteners is the closest I can ever get to what I want. So I charged into the thick of the city smog in my borrowed heels that cut deep into my sensitive, rubber shoe-pampered feet to be on time for my appointment with executive intimidation.

In the course of my interview, quite a number of hypothetical questions were thrown in that the executive and I may have hypothetically gotten into each others’ nerves. I’ve been through worse though and thanks to experience, I made sure I did not throw too many barbs at a potential employer. Unfortunately, I did not emerge completely unscathed. The truth, which both my interviewer and I arrived at, got to me.
I’m not referring to the obvious fact that no shoe made for female feet will ever fit mine. I am referring to the fact that 1) high paying HR jobs in Cagayan de Oro are rarer than white elephants; 2) numerous employers continue to flout the most basic labor laws including the rule on minimum wages; and 3) in many companies, the HR department is still viewed as either the department of perpetual help where petitions for better benefits are lodged or the ax committee where difficult and undesirable employees, that is, those that are not really 5’2 and with pleasing personalities, are deposited for elimination. 

The first two realizations are old facts of life in the Philippines but the third one still surprises me and gets my goat. It has already been a couple of decades since Personnel Departments have been renamed Human Resources Departments. That means they are no longer just the company police that are out to get delinquent slackers. The HR department however should not occupy the other end of the spectrum where they follow the general trend of complaining beyond reasonable demand, shying short of putting up pickets too. I still believe the role of HR is in the middle ground (no man’s land where anyone is shot to death?) between management and the work force. HR bears the role of promoting what is fair, right, reasonable and lawful. What is right and fair? The Labor Code and anything above it is fair. 

I can almost hear my old dragon of a boss breathing down my neck like an inebriated call center agent, “It’s all about the people.” It seems though that it all depends on whether you care more for the people above or below. If companies with a skewed perspective of HR management are all I can hope for in my little corner of the world, I seriously wonder if I truly belong in the field of industrial HR management. This might yet again be another sign that it is time for a different calling, unless of course a certain multi billion dollar shipyard investment pushes through in which case I shall risk life and limb for the chance to be enslaved.


  1. you're from cagayan? heheh, been there last summer with my friends. nag-water rafting kami. in fairness naman, okay na cagayan, may SM na nga kayo. heheheh!

  2. hehe. been here for four years pero di ako talaga taga dito. sa totoo lang caca kailangan careful ako sa mga sasabihin ko about cagayan kasi sobrang love ng mga pipol dito ang city nila. pero di ko talaga mai-deny na ang hirap mag hanap ng BIG jobs dito


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