The In-Betweener

We are currently observing the Holy Week here in the Philippines, and as such, some of us are experiencing a two day holiday before the weekend. For those not in the know, Holy Week is the week before Easter Sunday. Christians observe this special week every year to commemorate the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and the important events that came in between.

I know a lot of people who observe this week, and they have their own ways. I get a lot of comments when I say that I don’t observe the Holy Week since I am kind of an in-betweener, that is, I believe in the possibility of having a greater being but I don’t follow one, single religion. I am not sure if I fit the pattern of an agnostic theist, or a possibilianist.

A lot of religious people have been telling me to try and attend mass services or even camps, which I did, but it did not really satisfy my curiosity, to say the least. I have attended different masses for different religions, because of some people eager to convince me to follow their religion. I attended out of curiosity and the hope of finding a religion suitable for me.  I find it a bit awkward, to be honest, to set foot in any church or religious place, but I tried at least.

I was born under the Roman Catholic membership, by default, since I really cannot make a decision a few seconds after being born. I was also baptized, observing the Roman Catholic tradition, so that makes me a Roman Catholic. I have attended mass religiously as a kid too, but being the early thinker that I am, I have made a few observations that made me re-think following a specific religion.

As a kid, I was told that if I don’t pray, I will be sent to hell or punished or experience hardship. But I soon met a few of my neighbors with different religions. A Muslim, a Buddhist, and some other local religions that I fail to remember. I asked them if they pray to God too (the Roman Catholic God) and if they do it the same way. The answer of course was a negative. I told them that they may go to hell since they were not following our religion, but their answer surprised me: I may also go to hell, perish for a lifetime or some other negative thing may happen to me because I was not following their religion.

This confused me as a kid, so I went and asked my parents about it to settle it. My parents are cool though, they said I should decide on my own and think of ways to answer my own question. They did not try to convince me by answering with a biased answer, they let me figure it out on my own. After this, trips to the church became a voluntary thing. This did not hinder our relationship or skew my belief about good and bad, but it did gave me the opportunity to observe people of different religions.

A few years later, I went to a Chinese school with pre-dominantly Buddhist observers with a mix of Christians and other religions. When someone asks me for my religion, I still was not able to provide them an answer without getting another question, so I decided to use “Buddhist” as an answer, since it is a religion which not everyone is familiar of, and their questions seemed to stop when they hear the term.

I attended a few more services. I have attended a few local religious groups, but I found a few activities that weirded me out, made me uncomfortable or just utterly questionable (morally speaking). I attended one service where they say “celebrities” and “showbiz personalities” or “stars” usually attend, but I felt like it is more of a mini-concert with a speaker rehashing a few speeches that it did not make it worth coming.

I also attended religious camps, but found out that people use as a means to socialize more than the original purpose, to commune. A few people persuaded me to go because they said I will “meet a lot of pretty girls”. The camps were okay, but it looks more like a team-building session rather than a commune with the Gods. And there are also speakers who are not quite convincing for me. They talk about things that I already heard, or already know, like what happens when I do something bad or good, etc.

To this day, I have not found a religion, but I think this is for the better, at least for me. It gives me the freedom to think and use what I have learned from observing a lot of practices to adapt to people with different spiritual backgrounds.

Agnostic Trump Card

Home Schooling for ID-ship

A quick post before I sleep; it’s funny that I get the urge to write/type a post when I am close to snoozing.

I have taken quite an interest in instructional design. Having worked closely with, and having a friend as one, I now find myself reading a lot of books and articles about designing. I am currently nose-deep in Chuck Hodell’s ISD From the Ground Up book, teaching myself a bit about the trade.

I also looked up a few distant schools for a supplementary course for teaching. I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, yet I find myself in the facilitating field. I hated most of my teachers and professors (for various reasons), but I found myself on the same path as them, technically speaking. I realized this when I finished a quick overview of lesson planning. I am planning on enrolling in one of these universities that offer distant learning some time after I get my youngest brother through school (he is on his 3rd year, in college). I have always had the “you don’t have a college degree” monkey on my back and I am itching of getting it off, and get it over with. My achievements are sometimes multiplied by this fact (“You did this without a degree?”) but unfortunately they are darkened a bit with this fact,too (“You did this? You don’t have a degree, right? Um, okay.”). Such a big monkey on my back.

I am also shadowing, or more like stalking, my colleague/friend in the office who is our local learning specialist to learn tricks of her trade, and being a visual-kinesthetic learner that I am, I benefit a lot from the stalking.

I hope to be competent enough pretty soon, but for now I need to sleep.

Manager Problems

The past few days have not been so good, management wise. First off, one of the managers that I look up to has left the company to pursue his dreams of becoming a lawyer. He may not be my direct manager as he is managing a different team, but he has been one of my constant companions, and one of the few people that I can call my mentor (legitimately).He had been working and studying at the same time, which required a lot of effort on his part. The upcoming BAR exams is the main reason why he resigned, saying he needed to rest and focus, so he can pass.

In the chain of events that followed, the company had to assign a temporary replacement. The problem is, the choice of replacement was not the smartest in the world. A manager from another site took over, and automatically ruined the team that I have known for the last three years. We may not be from the same team, but we have been using a single room ever since we started, and for this substitute to ruin all the hard work that they’ve put in makes me start to wonder about the direction the company is heading.

Four people ultimately followed my mentor, and left the company. They did not want to leave, but they had no choice. They did not like how the new manager just took over and became the ‘Yes, man’. Thinking too much of making himself look good, to the expense of his subordinates. Too much stress in too little time during his tenure led to the downfall of the team.

I am sad to see them go, but relieved too since I have seen first hand what they have been through in a short span of time. To think that their temporary manager almost became my manager.

A few days afterwards, I have received another sad news. One of the programs that I am handling has decided to release a great number of people. They are basing it on the performance of these agents, but I have been skeptical of how they collect this data for a while now. Again, new managers are involved. And again, these new managers are too concerned with numbers, too concerned with making themselves look good that “their people” suffer.

One of my former trainees told me that her previous department (Department #1) was overstaffed, and that she was offered to be transferred to the department right across their bays (Department #2). She was offered additional monetary allowance to sweeten the deal. But a few days after the move, she was advised that the allowance was not going to push through, and that she is not allowed to transfer back to Department #1. This is only one of the few horror stories that I have heard. Coaching to improve has been neglected, and managing people out is the new norm, sadly.

These new managers came from within the company. The same company where I came from. I know a lot of more tenured managers and I know how they work. We have made it a point to try and retain the best people in the company, but when these new “managers” came in, with their own culture, it just broke our momentum. I don’t want to lose more people, but my hands are tied, and there is only so much that I can do.

I don’t like the direction we’re going, to be honest. I hope that someone notices the trend here, and bring back something that we lost: employee management.