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.


When I was still connected to my previous company, they issued a Globe postpaid cellphone to me. Voice and data communication were the least of my worries because I also have my Smart postpaid and wifi connection at home. Looking back to the days when technology was not as complicated as we have now, I was ten years old when we had a telephone.

In my previous blog post, I wrote a bit about Ms. Anita Hipolito, the principal in my grade school. For some strange reasons, I found myself in the company of Almalou going towards the principal’s office. She asked permission from Ms. Hipolito if we could use the phone, and the latter allowed us. I heard her talking with her mother that we needed to bring clay the next day for our Art subject. This gave me an idea to call up my mother at work to tell her about the assignment. Then, I realized that I didn’t know how to dial her office phone number! Hahaha! Almalou seemed puzzled why I wasn’t talking so she asked if everything was okay. Out of embarrassment, I told her that my mother’s office phone was busy. We thanked Ms. Hipolito and continued with our recess.

Months after that, we had our first telephone. It was an ogre yellow and white phone with the receiver on the left side. Our number was 7-3X-XX; those were the days of the 5-digit PLDT number in our province. A telephone in the 80s was a luxury, and true enough, it left a dent in our monthly budget. The challenging part was, our party line was always busy using the phone because they were a commercial establishment. When I learned how to dial a telephone, I became addicted to making calls; serious or prank. It was in the mid-90s when PLDT introduced the caller ID phones in our province. Pranksters had the time of their lives before that.
If I remember it right, dial 109 was meant for domestic operator-assisted calls while it was dial 108 for international-assisted calls. It was in 1992 when I had to tell my Tita Jocy about my great-grandmother’s demise. She was then living in Makati with her family.

“Hello, Operator, I would like to place a long-distance call to Mrs. Jocelyn C. Her number is XXXXXXX,” I said to the operator.
I could hear the other end of the line ringing, the operator successfully connected me to Aunt Jocy’s number; it was up to her if she would accept my call.
“O, Iris, what happened?” it was Tita Jocy.

I told her about the bad news and the next thing I remember was seeing her at the wake.
When Ate Gina’s husband passed away, I was the same bearer of bad news to Tita Jocy.

There were good times, too like talking endlessly with Shellah (my friend since childhood) over the phone. I was a late-bloomer in terms of love so nothing came out of my Friday night calls with some callers. I was just in the process of enjoying my life as a teenager by getting to know more people.

My first relationship was between the expiration of the old technology (analog phones) to the introduction of the new technology (digital/texts). While the world was busy preparing for Y2K (year 2000), we were worried if it was the end of the world! (Don’t laugh, we didn’t realize that Kiribati and Australia were already celebrating their New Year at the time we were so worried about it).

11:59 PM, the phone rang and a familiar voice greeted me.
“We have 60 seconds left. If the world ends after this, I would like you to know how much I love you,” he said.
Of course, the Y2K bug did not happen but the relationship ended five months later. It was May 2000 when I bought my first cellphone. When everybody in the family had our owns cellphones, we decided to terminate the landline contract to save on phone bills.

Trivia, my phone’s ringtone today sounds like a ringing analog phone. I miss the old times but I am happy with the present.

BES(T) Grade School

I got this photo from Poweradio 104.5 FM – Bataan | Facebook. The architecture and style suggest that this building belongs to a public school. This is one of the buildings in Balanga Elementary School. This building holds half of the grade 6 classrooms. The last time I went there was in 2013 when they used some of the classrooms for the 2013 Election.

Since I am heavily involved with my children’s education, I know much about their school: from the foundation day to the school hymn to the founders. Ironically, I could not say the same knowledge about my former schools. I just did not try to find out. Shame on me!

Balanga Elementary School is in Talisay, Balanga City, Bataan. It is a 15-minute walk from our old place. I was six years old when I started going to school by myself. Of course, I’m talking about the 80s when it was safer to allow young children to be that independent. Those were the days when there was zero to very light traffic, when people knew each other, and when minds and actions were unpolluted. The school is big and an ideal place for adventurous kids. My mother always reminded me not to explore the whole school because I might get lost or kidnapped (haha!). We had sections 1 to 9 during my time; the estimated student population was less than 1,900.

Whoever did this volcano-shaped furnace is a genius! In Grade 1, I spent my time watching the top of the volcano emit smoke instead of socializing with my classmates. Of course, there was some humor too, when a snake went out of the crater! The school had several mango trees and plants and had nearby rice fields, making it a perfect habitat for insects and reptiles.

We had buzzers every block to tell us when it was time to start or end the class. Ms. Anita Hipolito, the school principal, only used the bell whenever she saw pupils roaming around the school ground. There was a time when I went to school late. Ms. Hipolito asked for my full name, grade, and section. She smiled when she heard my middle name. I was clueless until I told my grandmother about it. She simply said that they knew each other because they were both from the academe. Afraid of having a second encounter with the good principal, I tried my best never to be late again. (I was never a fan of “I can get away with it).

The school has a World War II Museum on it because it used to be a garrison. My grandmother said that the track and field area used to be the execution area of the Japanese. The urban legend that I heard was the ghosts of the executed Filipinos reenact the scenes. Another urban legend was the ghost of the chained prisoners walked around the school buildings during campings and overnights. I went to the Girl Scout camping twice but never encountered any of them. Not even the ghost that knocks on the door of the Grade 6 restroom.

Would you believe little has been changed on the design since the 1960s? The right side of the building contains half of the Grade 5 classrooms. We had a flag ceremony every Monday. From Grade 3 to Grade 5, my classmate Elizabeth and I used to be part of the flag-raising ceremony. She was in charge of singing the National Anthem while I was in charge of reciting the “Panatang Makabayan” and later, the “Panunumpa sa Watawat.” Frankly, I had a slight stage fright but I was more scared to say no to my Grade 3 teacher. Hahaha!

I was painfully shy in grade school so I was not able to make a lot of friends. I only knew them by their faces. The teachers probably sensed that I was the shy type so they wanted to develop my personality. In Grade 4, Ms. Pruna assigned me and Mary Ann to be Ate Meding’s store assistant during break time. There was nothing special about it except that we got to take our recess longer than usual. The duty was once a week only. I had a hard time dealing with multiple buyers at the same time. It was also around this period when I felt that I was transitioning from being a child to a tween. Somebody asked me who I thought was the most good-looking guy in the school. I answered honestly. My classmate picked it up and made a story about it. It was a harmless crush, an admiration. I was not even in love yet! The 80s was a conservative time and girls were not supposed to tell about their crush/es. I felt very uncomfortable whenever that guy was around because it was never my intention to expose him or my admiration. On the other hand, kids of today are cool about telling who their crushes are and it’s no big deal.

In Grade 6, I wore a gown that my grandmother paid for me. The shoes were bought by my father’s friend. I was excited to go to high school because, in my young mind, I would no longer be tasked to clean the school grounds before and after classes. Private schools don’t ask their students to clean the school premises. Before the pandemic, I learned that one of my children was tasked to clean the school grounds as a penalty for being late. I just brushed it off, there’s nothing wrong with imposing discipline and there is nothing wrong with cleaning. I have been there, I have done that, I survived! I was just too childish then to appreciate the task.

Credit to Poweradio 104.5 FM – Bataan | Facebook for the photos. Thank you, I remember the good old days.