I am currently browsing through my old blog entries. I realize that so much has changed in me through the years. I used to be an emotional person. The years of challenges managed to harden me. Of course, I still have my vulnerabilities. Bad jokes no longer affect me in the same way that I stopped cracking demeaning jokes on someone. I no longer feel the pressure of proving myself to anyone. I let go of toxic people who have nothing good to offer to me or anyone. But I became more loyal to friends and family. I have passed the stage of trying to be cool and relevant. Because being cool and relevant do not require any effort. I stopped thinking about what other people would say. I started thinking about what do I think of these people? I no longer tolerate bullshits and the like— if you see me playing around, take it as a clue that I know your intentions toward me. I now take a compliment as it is and no longer deny myself of it. Nevertheless, it’s no big deal as it was twenty years ago. I have learned to accept criticisms both constructive and not.

People grow in different places and paces. Life is a never-ending learning process. So yes, I’m not gonna delete my old cringe-worthy posts. I am learning from my own mistakes each day.

Typhoon Odette in Surigao Del Norte

Sharing with you the situation of the people in Sani-Sani, Surigao del Norte. 95% lost their homes. Access to food and drinking water is still limited. The people evacuated but most of them underestimated the wrath of the typhoon— they did not bring extra clothes with them. They said that it was the first time in many years that a typhoon of this magnitude happened again.

I am confident that help is coming in the coming days. Food, water and clothing can be shared for the meantime. What I am more concerned with is how these people will rebuild their homes and livelihood in the coming days.

My 8 Bosses

Most people have painful boss stories to tell and I don’t want it to happen to me someday. For the many years that I have been working, I am fortunate to have met good bosses who shaped me into the professional that I am today. Of course, there were also times when our work relationship was not smooth, but being a logical person helped me to get through with all the challenges and criticisms thrown at me. So, without naming names, I’d like to share my experiences with my previous bosses who had different styles and personalities with each other.

Boss #1 is every employee’s dream boss. He was supportive of his department’s career growth and encouraged each one of us to do better each year. He was our cheerleader during project presentations, he made sure that we were comfortable in facing the other bosses. He was fond of teambuilding and out-of-office activities like dining out, badminton, and for the boys’ night out. Boss #1 taught me that being a good leader does not only mean that you’re good at doing your job, you have to have a good relationship with your subordinates as well.

Boss #2 is artistic and imaginative, traits that are not innate in me. I used to view the world in black and white, there’s no in-between and other colors. To put it down literally, she critiqued my first work samples and remarked that I should use more colors to differentiate one process or step from another. She could be feisty and emotional at times and it contradicted my normally cool demeanor. I think that one of the reasons why we hit off later and became friends was our opposite attitude; hot and cold, colorful and black and white. She taught me the value of hard work and patience that I still do now.

Boss #3 proves that even a person as accomplished as him can blend with employees of all ranks and positions. He was a caring boss and the type who would get worried if one of his female staff would go home late because of work-related overtime. His sincerity and empathy earned the admiration and support of most of the people under his management. A natural comedian, meetings were never boring because of him. I learned from him that you could be a well-loved and well-respected boss if you know how to love and respect people in the first place.

Boss #4 is gentle and friendly. He was accommodating especially to the newbies. What I got from him was learning how to work effectively with the other teams by being attentive to their expectations on a given assignment or project.

Boss #5 is a macro manager. It was probably because she came to the time when the culture and system in our department section were already in place. What I loved about her was her efforts to unite the team when some of us were not on good terms with one another. I admired her patience and understanding in dealing with our rants and bickering. Until now, she makes it a point that we communicate as a team once in a while.

Boss #6 is a micromanager. I fully understood his management style because the level of our involvement and commitment to the organization was greater as compared to some. If the other bosses taught me technical skills to do my job, Boss #6’s contribution to me was sharpening my management and decision-making skills. Indirectly, he was the reason why I decided to push through with my MBA because there were a lot of things to be done and accomplished under him. He taught me to be keen on details, be precise with data, and be always prepared when the pieces of information were needed.

Boss #7 is smart and confident. She pushed her subordinates to attend personality development training in a reputable training company. I learned from her that trusting and believing in what your subordinates can do will make a big difference in the improvement of their performance.

Boss #8 gives equal opportunities to deserving people. Being an empath, his concern for the people came off naturally. In return, he was also well-loved and respected. What I learned from him was to never stop learning and to never be complacent. I learned that being mediocre is a disservice to one’s growth and potentials.

I felt good after remembering my past bosses’ contribution to my attitude and career growth. To those who might ask if I change a job very often, the answer is no—the bosses were either rotated or resigned.

Calculator Memories

The most important gadget of an engineering student is his scientific calculator. If I remember it right, my first calculator in college was a simple programmable one. It survived Algebra, Trigonometry, Chemistry, Physics, Differential Calculus, and Integral Calculus. It broke down when I was in my 3rd year and I replaced it with a basic scientific calculator that survived Differential Equations, Statistics, Accounting, Production-Planning-Scheduling and Control, Methods Engineering, Thermodynamics, Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials, Operations Research 1, and Operations Research 2. I hope I did not miss anything!

Back in the day, I could lend anything from notebooks to books except my calculator. My calculator was the most precious thing inside my bag aside from my wallet. The problem with me was unlike most students, I needed to get familiar with something before I become good at using it. There was one instance when a classmate borrowed my calculator and forgot to return it after his class. Therefore, I was forced to borrow a calculator and nearly failed my quiz because it took me time to know the functions.

My most difficult Math subject was Differential Equations. (Hello, L’Hopital’s Rule!). Given how basic my scientific calculator was, it was a challenge solving these long and difficult equations. I had two classmates who had a high-end Casio programmable scientific calculator that could solve equations and show graphs. The first one was my seatmate named Winona and she was generous in lending me her calculator to confirm if my solution was correct. One time, Sir Nacino (our instructor) noticed her super-advanced calculator and called her attention that he does not allow that in class. The other one was a classmate and a neighbor named Jackie. Jackie and I used to do our Differential Equations homework at her house. The struggle for us was finding the correct solution because we already knew the answer since her calculator could compute for that. There was a time when we had to finish a 50-item assignment because he was on leave. Jackie and I started doing it on Saturday afternoon and finished it the following day.
Some instructors allowed us to write down the formulas on the index card while others obliged us to memorize them. Thus, for some cunning students, they took advantage of their calculator’s back portion where they could insert their “kodigo” or cheat sheet on its slot.

I am not sure if schools give suggestions now about the model and capability of a scientific calculator. If you have the means to buy one, do so. Investing in a good calculator would make your college life easier because, in the university, one is on his own. But my stand on this is to make sure that you know how to compute it manually. The calculator or computer would just serve as your guide to keep you on the right track.