Posted in Beyond Facts

Saying “no” to Unpricipled Acts

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Spreading rumors. Backstabbing. Crab mentality.

These things usually ail the corporate field today. People even those who declare themselves professional or educated, in one way or another engage in mudslinging or let their selfish desires rule over their ability to show respect to each other.

Many might have already been a victim of gossips and unwarranted invectives which were probably brought about by an achievement or a noticeable progress. And many have also tried to retaliate and failed; some have tried their best to ignore the cruel actions of their colleagues toward them and maintain their peace but also failed.

The question is: How can such predicament be avoided in the workplace? I would say that adhering to strong professional ethical standards is imperative. And what does this entail? I want to emphasize two of the things that we should always strive to do.

Let me start with the need to avoid envy. Envy is defined as “the painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, accompanied by a desire to possess the same advantage.” It is but normal and acceptable for a person to notice someone’s accomplishments and nurture the desire to emulate him or her. What isn’t appropriate is when one’s progress has already started to annoy us.

I have read from a magazine that we need to constantly ask ourselves: “Does a peer’s successes delight or deflate me?” Envy pushes one to engage in an unhealthy and hurtful competition with the aim to trample on someone just to emerge victorious. Instead of being irritated when a colleague has been praised for one job well done, we should learn how to be happy for and proud of him. Instead of nurturing the desire to deprecate one’s achievement, we should learn how to commend him.

There is also a need for us to maintain a positive view of ourselves and the people we work with. Any institution or company can be likened to a body. The body has several parts. All of these parts play an integral role, even the smallest of them. And just like the body, a company or an institution we belong to or work for is made up of several individuals who play significant roles. And whether we would agree to this or we won’t, we need each other. The company’s survival and its chances for obtaining its goals depend much not just on a few individuals, but on each of its member.

Each one needs to contribute something good; each one must be viewed as significant. One’s success is the success of all members. One’s defeat is the failure of all members too. Unless we learn to accept this fact, camaraderie among colleagues will always be in danger.

I believe that most of the ethical standards set by a certain company are not just meant to be written on a manual or memorandum. They actually remind us of the basic values we first learned at home under the supervision of our first mentors, our parents. Our parents surely wouldn’t want to see us pulling one person down, saying and spreading injurious words about him so we can be noticed and loved. Our parents would surely throw us a scrutinizing look with their arms crossed if they had known we had tried to mar someone’s reputation just to improve our own. Our parents would have surely expected us to do better than that.

Ethical standards don’t actually encourage establishing selfish pursuits and hurtful schemes. Ethical standards are supposed to inspire us to cultivate love for the company we are working for and the people we are working with. I believe that is something we should always bear in mind. This will not only eliminate unprincipled behaviors in the workplace but will also enable each one of us to maintain his peace and sanity.

Posted in Beyond Facts

Just Saying

I am not a hard-core feminist but I believe that people, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation should be given equal opportunities to succeed in life, be better and be empowered.

Marxist Feminism had emphasized before that men were given greater privileges than women; that men had always dominated the corporate world, that they had been given greater control over the mode of production but women were left at home, doing household chores and fulfilling her responsibilities as a wife and one of these would be to bear a child. Thus men were in-charged with the mode of production and women, expected to do their part in the whole process of reproduction. Capitalism resulted in women being oppressed. Radical feminism though a bit different from Marxist Feminism emphasized the same idea – that women are being oppressed and men are more privileged. This was brought about by the kind of society we have which according to Radical feminism is inherently tied to patriarchy or also known as “the rule of the father”.

Whatever theory on feminism would emerge, they would only try to explain one fact, that the great dichotomy between men and women has been long established and has been strengthened. Men would always be considered stronger, more competent to hold positions, more skilled, more rightful to make decisions and possess all the great qualities which will enable them to become good leaders. And women are just confined in their rigid roles as wives, as mothers – a much weaker vessel, oftentimes moved by her emotions, one who will tend to be indecisive, who should submit to the headship of the man.

Women will inevitably be different from men in various ways. That’s a fact. I believe in the Theory of Creation and I believe men and women were created equal. But the Creator has bestowed men and women with different skills and abilities so each group would be able to impart one unique contribution for the betterment of the whole human society. The problem will now only lie on how men and women would be using these given skills to help themselves and  others.

Taking the lead is nothing but an empty role which will only have its meaning when a man or a woman chooses to take on it. The approach would be different because the skills given to them are different. But the truth is, no approach should be deemed better or stronger or more effective.

Men have long dominated as leaders. And women, because of some constraints set by the society which has the tendency to be unjust, were forced to take the back seat, silently waiting for their turn to impart what they have.This world caters to men and women alike. Thus, each group should be given the right and the opportunity to take the lead and utilize their own God-given skills in taking on that role.Women should not be deprived of that chance.

Power doesn’t only belong to only few or to a selected group. If taking the lead means being in power, then women must be given that chance. And if they have proven themselves worthy of it,then they must be allowed to continue playing that role. Anyway, we only have but one aim and that is to make this world a better place to live in.

Posted in Beyond Facts

The Damage Has Been Done

Communication is and will always be irreversible. Words, once they were uttered can never be taken back. Actions, once they have been taken can never be undone. Thoughts, once they have been acted on will become a part of reality and eliminating them will neither be easy or possible.

Sometimes, we say bad things to someone when we’re mad or hurt. We may apologize afterwards but such will never change the fact that we had already hurled invective or insults at others and that we had hurt them too.

This reminds me of a line from a song written by one of my favorite Filipino songwriters/singers Dong Abay. It says “Hindi ko sasabihin, lahat ng iniisip. Sa halip ay iisipin, lahat ng sasabihin.”

The point is clear. There is nothing wrong in saying the things we want to say or voicing out what we feel. But merely saying everything we have in mind without carefully thinking whether it would also hurt or offend others isn’t wise. It may only cause one trouble and even greater pain.

Posted in Beyond Facts

Stereotyping and What it Does

Stereotyping happens when an individual forms generalized assumptions about groups of people based on their characteristics such as race, ethnic origin, social class, religion, gender or even physical appearance.

If men would always be viewed as stronger, more competent to hold positions, and make wiser and better decisions in any situations,(which oftentimes happen) then they would always be given better and greater opportunities. If women would always be deemed as weaker vessels, not capable of holding positions beyond the confines of their homes and were only created to give birth to a child and to serve their husbands, then women would be forever in the back seat, waiting for directions but will never get the chance to direct.

When stereotypes, especially the negative ones prevail, women and men will never be given equal opportunities to hone their skills, take the lead and hold high positions.Both groups will always be limited and will be forced to curtail their own passions and worse, their rights will even be violated – to be informed, to be educated, to express their ideas and to be who they want to be.

Posted in Beyond Facts

A Challenge for All of Us

Writing is sharing – what you know, what you have.

Those who write for and about others do understand what graciousness really means. That’s what I believe in. No refutations will be entertained.

Writing isn’t easy. Choosing a subject may seem simple, but knowing what to talk about isn’t enough.

The aim of a writer is to create a box where a subject can be encased and make sure that appropriate emotions and reactions will be evoked from the readers the moment they open it. A writer makes sense of experiences, gives a tangible body to anything abstract—pain, fear, suffering or even love. A writer makes it possible for us to see, touch and taste these things.
A writer attempts to explain the unintelligible and simplifies the complexities that usually baffle us. A writer drags our eyes to things we oftentimes choose to ignore. A writer sometimes plants seeds of doubt in our heads so we would dare to ask the questions we are so afraid of voicing out before and start seeking for answers.

A writer will make us notice people worthy of being praised – a young fellow who crosses rivers to get to school, a simple vendor who walks along dark alleys shouting “balut, balut kayo riyan” even on rainy nights so he can feed his family, or a student who was able to finish college despite the financial constraints that almost ripped his dreams. A writer sees the extraordinary on people and things that may seem ordinary, and makes them interesting and relevant. He becomes the voice of those who cannot shout.

A writer says the things we couldn’t say but would want to say if only we were given the chance. And that isn’t easy. There are words that might not work, sentences that might not fit, and writing styles that might not give justice to the beauty of an experience or a thought. But a writer still sits in front of his computer and taps on the keys (some write on the pages of their notebooks) and tries to prepare a meaningful meal for our heads and hearts, put it on a plate and hand it to us, risking his own name and credibility.

Writing isn’t easy. You must have a heart, for the craft and for other people, before you can really write. Conrado de Quiros says writing means articulating thoughts. Romano M. Bulatao says one writes because he knows he will die someday, thus he tries to create something that will render him immortal. And I would say one writes because he is a human being – he sees things, understands them, feels the need to share what he sees and hopes that whatever he shares would make a change in the lives of others.

A writer must have the right motives. Don’t write because you want to be noticed or praised, by your mentors, by your colleagues. Don’t write just because your instructor told you to do so. Don’t write because you want a high grade or you have been dying to see positive comments on your paper. And please don’t write something good and just hide it from the public. That’s selfishness at its best! Remember, good things are meant to be shared. Good works should be read.

This world is already filled with selfish people. Don’t be one of them. I know it’s easy to take after self-centered people, putting your own interest over others’ all the time; but try to do something more challenging – be different, be kind.

Writing is sharing and each one of us has the ability to share. Thus, there is a ‘writer’ in each of us.

So if you see great or appalling things around you, if you encounter something that tears you up inside, if you discover something that badly requires permutation, and they don’t let you sleep at night, or they make you wonder, don’t just shut up. Even if it won’t be easy, grab your “pen” and write.