It's a holiday tomorrow in Pasig City, but the fact that I've done everything to post this thing despite having a dead phone line back home means that, yes, I'll be at work on that day. Such is life when you're at the mercy of the American economy; their holiday is your holiday, too. Then again, my job is closer to the media than I would've bargained for, and thankfully so. And, if you think about it, people in the media don't have holidays.
I'm still trying to make sense of my new biological clock. I'm okay with sleeping at ten in the evening, especially when my body badly wants to sleep, but for some reason it doesn't feel entirely right. I remain stuck in front of a computer for nine hours at the very least, writing celebrity profiles; your head does all the work, while your feet badly want to walk, and your thoughts badly want to get out. And that's the nature of my job. I was asking our office secretary Ate Sanve, and she couldn't have said it more succinctly: "sa sobrang busy, kailangan ng
full concentration sa ginagawa.
I'm the newbie in a group of five. I'm one of only two guys. I'm the only one whose shift starts at nine in the morning and ends nine hours later. And, perhaps to make things a little worse, I do my communicating with my sort-of higher-up Kris - only because she's the expert in these things - via instant messaging
, even if she's just three seats away. It's a little spiffy, considering that this could very well be the future of workplace communication - heck, reporters don't meet their editors eye-to-eye anymore! I chose another adjective, nevertheless: impersonal. Just chilly, I must say, when you're being reminded by the grown-ups to interact.
Full concentration, sure. On my first day I was assigned to write twelve celebrity profiles, and I even started late because my assignment wasn't there on time. In the middle of writing about Patrick Wilson, Kris drops me a line. "Mag-
lunch ka muna,
" she said. "May
pantry kami pero maliit lang siya, palaging puno,
so we usually end up eating at our desks." True enough, I was buying take-out on my first two days, and eating on my desk while thinking about how to write what I have, somewhat wary that the smell of my Chicken McNuggets
would annoy those around me.
We're asked to finish a profile in twenty minutes, as much as possible, although Kris eventually conceded that all the clients want is to get everything done. Perhaps I worried about being able to write something that fast - because, well, I don't do it that fast - but my first day ended with a slightly surprised expression. "Oh my god," she said, surprised that I'm done. "Nag-
lunch ka ba?
" I was already chatting with Samantha
, even; yes, the benefits of free Internet access.
Today, perhaps because of my apparently good performance, my writing assignments were kicked up a notch. Fifteen profiles, plus two program summaries, because the clients were happy, or so said Kris. "Not everyone can complete their assignments in the first day of work," she said. And the pressure is on.
I finished my tasks an hour and a half before my shift ended. And, I was finding a sense of surrealism in the way my progress reports look - eighteen minutes, sixteen minutes, fourteen minutes - combined with Kris' reactions. "Wow," she said, perhaps making me feel like it's school all over again. "Are you done na?
"Yeah, although I was here around 08.30, I started kaagad,
" I answered.
" she replied. "Super fast, ah...
So now, I'm Superman?
Yes, it does feel like school. Not that I'm not challenged or anything - it's hard making sense of people you never really gave much brain space to before - but somehow it's starting to feel, well, slightly easy. Perhaps, it's the nature of my job, the sense that I'm hired to do the things others wouldn't, because they'd be paid low for it. Also, there's the fact that the office looks a bit like a computer room in Gokongwei, only with better airconditioning and unblocked access to YouTube
. (Kris' advice for me to kill time before I can leave: "watch videos muna.
") And, since UA&P
is just nearby, you can buy meals at prices that are similar to what I've been accustomed to. Heck, even The Venue has a branch here. And I still have to find where Munch Alley is.
Since the 10-7 guy was out sick yesterday, and for some reason the 8-5 girls - Kata, Neobie and Kris - ended early, I ended up alone at our corner of the office, chatting with Sam while catching up on my radio gossip
. At least I was able to say goodbye to the three personally, partly because Kris remembered to introduce me to the rest that day, and somehow they didn't have a choice, either. I still remember Neobie's chuckle when I realized that we were the only ones in that row of computers - and my realization that she's on her way out, too. At least that goodbye was personal.
Of course, tomorrow's another day. I'm working on a holiday, I'm typing a boatload of profiles, and I'm meeting the clients. But, of course, I can't tell stories about that, because - you guessed it - I probably wouldn't. Obviously writing about your work in the computer where you work gives a weird feeling, especially in clear sight, and more so if you're just two days into your job. Six more months, Niko. Six more months.