April 26 to May 2

Office Politics
Solidarity and Goodwill
Small Minds
Freaking Ironic
Resignation Letter
Army of Angels
Never-Ending Saga

Office Politics

March 15, 2014

"Why aren't joining the sports fest?" she asked.

"I can't," I said. "I got a lot of things to do."

"The success of the sports fest is dependent on the number of people who will come," she told me. 

"I just can't," I told her.

"I thought you want to get promoted."

"I've lost all interest."

"Do you want to be an agent forever?"

"No," I said.

"Boss has already spent fifty thousand," she said. "What would you do if you were Boss and you already spent a lot of money on this?" she asked. 

"I wouldn't have organized it in the first place," I said. "I might have taken a survey first to see who would join."

"The majority would join," she told me. "How would you force the minority?"

"First of all, I don't believe in forcing people."

"What if everybody has that kind of thinking?"

"No they don't," I said. "One of the greatest lessons I learned is that it's a waste of time to dwell on hypothetical scenarios."

"What if you were the supervisor, how would you deal with someone like you?"

"I'd be proud to handle independent minded people," I declared. "I'd give them total independence."

"Even sacrificing rules?"

"Especially!" I said firmly. "Morale is more important than rules!"

"You seem to have issues with authority."

I just shrugged.

"By the way," I said, "has my vacation leave been approved?"

"You keep asking too many favors, and we're only asking you to join the sports fest for one day," she said. "You don't even join our company outings."

"I didn't know that going or not going to the sports fest is a factor in approving my leave."

"It is a factor." "So if I don't join, then I wouldn't get my leave?"

"It's not our obligation to give you leaves," she said. "This is a favor we're granting you."

"I won't come."

Solidarity and Goodwill

March 19, 2014 

This is my text to my buddies RG and GD in Luzon, letting them know what I've been up to lately in Cebu

It was do or die. I've finally lost my patience with my power-tripping supervisor.

Last night, I went straight up to the Senior Operations Manager. It was a trending buzz. 

A lot of people were encouraging me. A lot of them are doing it secretly because they're afraid of retaliation and I understand that. I'm humbled by the overwhelming shower of solidarity and goodwill.

Small Minds

March 19, 2014

This is my text reply to my friend CB who asked what happened when I went to Human Resources to ask to be transferred to a different supervisor last night

HR is useless. They are nothing but bureaucrats who only think of rules. I made it very clear that it's a serious issue and they told me to talk to my supervisor. Just like that. As if nothing. I don't think they're even listening to what I've said. Bureaucrats are stupid.

Freaking Ironic

March 19, 2014

Text to JC and NJ

I find it freaking ironic that my two closest friends, whom I love like brothers, are both absent during my most critical moment.

So I'll tell Tony Stark to send you an army of remote-controlled Ironman prototypes unless you treat me for lunch. Jarvis, extra rice! 

Ironman 3

Resignation Letter

I'm glad they didn't accept it. I was ready to leave but I wanted to stay a little longer.

To Whom It May Concern,

I'm resigning because I'm sick and tired of dirty office politics.

I had the misfortune of being assigned to a bureaucratic supervisor who doesn't even have a single iota of leadership.

I can overlook the fact that she plays favorites but I cannot stomach the way she deals with people who don't suck up to her.

My demoralization began about two weeks ago when she called and sent me harsh and accusatory text messages outside office hours about one of my calls which I never even got to listen to. She did that before to one of my colleagues, one of the many who had since left because of her. That person was sick and his girlfriend answered the phone. The supervisor asked too many personal questions in what is a blatant disregard for professional etiquette.

The supervisor needs to be told that she has no right to intrude into other people's personal lives.

Last Friday came the last straw. We had settled that particular issue but she continues to exaggerate her influence. She threatened to block my vacation leave if I don't go to the sports fest. I told her I can't because I have so many other things to do. I didn't give any details because I won't permit her to invade my life outside the office.

She said she grants vacation leaves as a favor and she's not obligated to approve it. She said my refusal to "compromise" is "a factor" in her decision.
This incident alone is enough to push me to leave. She unjustly accused me of asking too many favors. I countered that the only thing I ever asked was to transfered to a different account because I don't want to be under her anymore. She even listed that as a favor even if she blocked it. When I got to the midnight shift when Dhanish asked for volunteers, she said I owed her a favor because she approved the schedule.

With this culture of political patronage, it's clear that merit will not be the basis of promotion of those under her. The supervisor will even have the gall to say that an agent's growth in the company is through her blessings, a favor granted to those who say only what she wants to hear.

Our coaching sessions have been characterized by irrelevant questions and hypothetical nonsense. She asked me how I would handle an agent like me. I declared that I'll be proud to lead independent-minded people. But the fact of the matter is, every person is unique.

Leadership is about bringing out the best in people by giving them the freedom of individual expression, not trying to intimidate them to conform like brainless sheeps. I told her morale is more important than rules, that how her agents feel is more important than what her boss says. She said I have issues with following rules. Be that as it may, I believe that if a person forces others to be submissive, then he or she has no business handling people.

A true leader is on the side of those under him, even in defiance of the superficial whims of those in positions of authority but has no right to be.

There's no reason to stay anymore. Why work in a place where government mandated benefits are treated as personal favors? There's no point in rendering 30 days because the supervisor will block it, anyway, out of spite for this letter. She will find a way to retaliate even if, by some miracle, I get transferred to a different supervisor.

I have challenged the authority of power trippers many times in the past, and I know how vindictive they can be. The atmosphere in the workplace is now poisoned. I want to be clear about this. I hope whoever reads this won't be like that supervisor during coaching: focusing on insignificant details and completely missing the big picture. This is not about vacation leaves, sports fests, surveys, account transfers or even hostile coaching sessions.

It's about abuse of power.

Sincerely Yours,
Jonathan Aquino

Army of Angels

March 19, 2014

This is my text to JC and NJ, my two closest friends in my current job at this point of my journey, working my way around the world

I'm officially out. The Operations Manager said that since they can't transfer me mid-month, I'll report directly to the head of the supervisors for the rest of March. By April, I'll be with a new team. I won because I'm on the side of the Good. An army of angels will protects from witchcraft, revenge and black propaganda.

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Never-Ending Saga

March 20, 2014

My best friend RG in Manila has known me for almost two decades and he's a witness to my never-ending saga against bullies and power tripping authority figures. This is my reply when he texted, "Ayan ka na naman (There you go again.)"

What I did is the trending topic in our office this week. I'm glad it gave others the courage to tell the SOM their pent-up grievances against their own TLs. If only for that, then it was all worth it. The result is I'm now under the TLs' TL whom I really respect and trust, and I got a new station beside a window with a great view of the glittering mountains in the distance.

I've always wanted this set-up. The Law of Attraction really works.  "Do you know The Secret?" I would ask, refering to Rhonda Byrne's book. A lot said no, but they got really tittillated because they thought I was sharing new juicy gossip.

This April, I'll get my new official TL, and chances are, it will be one of my good friends and solid allies here. He's a true leader. I'm not a follower, not by a long shot, although I could be the best team player you could ever have if I'm with the right people. If I were to be under someone, he should have true leadership qualities to earn my respect and loyalty. He's also from Manila, a graduate of the Ateneo like the National Hero, the incumbent President and Chris Tiu. Our joke is that he's Blue Eagle and I'm Red Horse. I want him as my TL and I'm planting the idea in their minds but without any mental tricks.

I will not use my telepathic powers to gain advantage. Besides, 99.99 percent of the time, they don't work, anyway. All I want is peace and quiet in the workplace so I'll still have the energy to pursue the important things in my life outside work. You know me, I don't even have enemies (although plastic people don't like me) and I instantly bond with decent and broadminded people.

When I'm asked how I did it, I just simply say, "Would you let others violate your dignity?" I made it clear that I'm not after my TL's head. I'm not here to teach her a lesson. But I hope she gets jolted out of her complacency. It's a learning experience for all of us too.

Jonathan Aquino's Huggybear Diaries

March 11, 2014

It was sleeting as we drove through Mango Avenue in Cebu.

"Have you heard the news?" my companion asked me.

"Nope," I said.

I don't have any idea of what's going on in the world. It's not because I lost touch, but because I lost interest. A lot of the things that people obsess about, like social climbing, have no meaning for me.

An airliner from Malaysia going to Beijing had mysteriously vanished yesterday, he said. There was no trace. All the passengers are gone.

"An entire plane can't suddenly disappear," I said. There has to be, I told him, a rational explanation.

I looked out. There was a light rain and the city was damp like a flower greeting the first rays of dawn.

"Have you heard of the Bermuda Triangle?" I asked. "Ships, airplanes, even an aircraft carrier, all disappeared," I told him. "Everything is a matter of public record."

He doesn't believe it.

Bermuda Triangle
(A BBC Worldwide Documentary)

"Have you heard of the Philadelphia Experiment?" I asked.

First time he did.

"A warship teleported," I said. "Maybe your Malaysian plane slipped into another dimension."

The Philadelphia Experiment
(A History Channel Documentary)

I have another theory.

"It could have been the work of aliens," I said over his groans of mock protest. "Wait, this scientific! Show me a scientist worth his salt who's absolutely convinced we are alone in the cosmos."


I look out the glass wall of the fastfood chain, watching the outside world. Cars whiz by the Fuente Circle Park across the street. The sight of trees above and beyond them helps me to unwind. The cab I rode going here went through the Waterfront hotel and casino compound and frankly, there's nothing to see. I tried to go there before but the security guards, like a lot of the people in this town, are rude. They think they own the place.

I passed a couple of streets I haven't gone into. It was a nice ride. It made me appreciate the town where I'm presently staying. Funny thing is, the reason I rode in a taxi is to minimize my involvement with the locals. I think I've been traumatized by the overwhelming disregard for common courtesy in the local culture.

I see the irony. But I'm still not finished with what I came here for. So I have to stay a little longer. There's more irony where that came from.

(Phone Notes, Cebu, April 22, 2014, 10:15 a.m., Tuesday)
Just because you are the one who leaves doesn't mean you are not hurting. But both of you are seeing it in different ways. And both of you are too proud to give in. I know I should leave now before I fall deeper into a dead end. My heart just can't accept it. But deep down, I feels it's right. It's just so sad.

(Phone Notes, April 25, 2014 8:50 a.m., Friday)
Photos courtesy of,,,,,,,,
This is from my story A Thousand Summers: "I won’t tell you why, only it’s about peeks at the bright sparks on the verities of existence, sheltered by the arms of nature, under an infinite sky that will outlast our sojourn through eclectic lifetimes."
Huggybear said…

"I'd be proud to handle independent minded people," I declared. "I'd give them total independence."