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Do You Have Loyalty to the Workplace? Keep Them From Ruining Your Hard Work
Entering the World of the Diplomats
September 9, 1977 – Security Office, Ramada Hotel
“Here is a letter for you”, Mr. Paras said while seated on a swivel chair, waving his right hand towards Poe’s direction. The former was the Chief Security of the Ramada hotel where Poe served as a House Detective. Poe was one of the few stay-in security detectives in the hotel. Their office was located at the left corner of the hotel ground floor facing the employee’s entrance.
“Oh, Thank you Sir,” he said as he entered the room and received the letter.
“This mail comes from the Embassy”, he whispered smilingly while curiously glancing on the heading.
“You’re about to leave us?” the Chief asked.
“Well, I’m just taking chances,” he answered, reading the content.
“Dear Mr. Poe,” the letter began. “We are pleased to invite you for an interview on September 10, 1977 at 8:00 am at the Embassy Chancery”.
“At last! My job application takes in!” Poe jumped for joy. “I’m so glad I can’t wait till tomorrow!” he exclaimed.
“Hey guys, I’m in for the Embassy interview tomorrow,” he proudly showed it off to his office mates in the room.
“Hey, you’ll be cool out there,” Fred commented in an approving tone.
“Yeah, I can go somewhere,” Poe replied as he cheerfully waved his hand and left the room.
John furtively grunted after he was gone.
“He’s just pushy he thinks he could make it,”
“Oh shit!,” Sofia frowned, apparently annoyed. “Just go to hell, we don’t care,” she muttered without taking away her eyes on her
typewriter. Obviously, nearly every one of his colleagues gave him a cold shoulder the whole day.
“They must be jealous,” Poe surmised.
The Embassy building was majestic in its stately location alongside the shoreline of Manila Bay. Its frontage was easily seen just a few meters away from the thoroughfare although partly covered by old acacia trees on well-maintained blue grasses. It was surrounded by high concrete and iron railings with wide vehicular and pedestrian gates as well as security concrete barriers. The gates were manned by two security guards staunchly standing in blue and white uniforms, with short firearms properly tucked in their black holsters. One of them was holding a metal detector in his right hand, ready to carry out an under chassis inspection whenever the cars check in. There was a large parking space in the medium portion of the facade which was intended for employees and official vehicles alike. Inside the lobby were two sturdy Marines in military coat and tie with brand new piercing caps and guns. A lady Receptionist was inside the booth.
“Can I help you, Sir?” she asked as Poe entered the lobby.
“I’m Mr. Poe,” he replied as he showed the appointment letter.
“Can you tell Mr. Tan I’m here?” he asked.
Mr. Tan was the Personnel Officer of the Embassy who had a hand for his interview.
“Please wait a second,” she dialed.
“Hello, Mr. Tan, Mr. Poe is here at the lobby,” she was apparently talking to Mr. Tan over the phone, her eyes fixed on him.
“Please take your seat and wait for a moment,” the Receptionist said after she hanged up.
While waiting, Poe could not help but to have a quick look at the entire lobby. The Chancery Mail Room was located at the left side near the office of the Cashier. On the right side was a large twin-door leading to the ballroom, with ornamental base and a country flag on its side. There was an expansive stairs at the left corner going to the Personnel Department, where Poe was heading for the interview.
After awhile, Mr. Tan arrived at the lobby through the stairs. He was a Filipino, about 40 years of age, with small body built and sporting a casual look. He was turning his head as if he was looking for someone – and he finally caught sight of him.
“Mr. Poe?” he asked.
“Yes Mr. Tan?” he replied as he stood up.
“Please follow me!”
Poe walked with him to the second floor until they reached the Personnel Office.
“Have a seat,” Mr. Tan began. “I’m going to give you a typing test and written exams.”
Mr. Tan went to a nearby office table and put some coffee in the cup, blended with a small amount of sugar. He also prepared a piece of pancake.
“Before we begin, please take your coffee first,” Mr. Tan said while handing him the cup of coffee and the pancake.
Poe was amazed.
“It’s great I had a coffee break while undergoing my tests,” he was talking to himself.
“I can’t find a good employer like this one!”
The interview and the written tests started on. Mr. Tan asked about Poe’s working experiences and his personal circumstances, paper exams followed.
“You have passed the interviews as well as typing and written tests.” Mr. Tan said smilingly as Poe got through with the given exams after a few hours.
“The next thing for you to do is to undergo physical examination.”
“We will see if you are physically fit to work,” Mr. Tan said as he handed him over the medical referral.
“Please present this letter to the Doctor and I’ll keep you informed with the result!”
“Thank you so much Sir!” Poe replied softly.
He opened his mouth as if to speak further but apparently, he was at a loss for words to express his gratitude.
“I can’t believe I would soon be working with the embassy,” he told himself.
Poe walked down the expansive stairs of the chancery going to the clinic clutching his medical referral. It was located at the backyard of the chancery on the second floor near the Friday club, a place for the marines to linger on during relaxing hours.
Dr. Jude, the lady physician in white uniform was in, seated on the swivel chair facing her table while apparently writing some notes. Her office was complete with medical equipment, from X-ray apparatus to what have you. There was a bed portion for the patient to lie down and to undergo examination, which was covered by a green curtain about an overhead length.
“Good morning Ma’am!” He greeted while presenting the medical referral.
“Alright, let me see.” Dr. Jude stood up and casually accepted the letter to read, while staring at him as if she was gauging his physical condition.
“Mr. Poe, it says here that you’re an applicant for the Treasury?”
“Yes Ma’am,” he replied.
“Okay, let’s start with your physical test,” Doctor Jude said as she extended her right hand towards the medical drawers above her head. She took her stethoscope and began performing all the required physical examination until everything was done.
“You’ll be notified of the result”, Dr. Jude said after Poe’s medical test.
“Thank you again, Ma’am! I’ll see you later”.
He went back to Ramada hotel at his service quarter, apparently with a heavy heart.
“I’m afraid I may not pass the medical exam,” he sighed.
It sounds as if he clings to an impossible hope.
“I have a history of pulmonary ailment when I was still a student.”
“It may be traced in the X-Ray test, I feel demoralized.”
Part 1: The Pain of Rejection
A Dream to Keep on
“It has been six days since I started to pray. For almost a week I have no recourse but to pray, and I prayed really hard again and again,” he said while doing his routine inspection in the hotel.
“I hope I can get the good result.”
“Hey Poe, you got a mail from the embassy!” Fred informed him on the seventh day.
“Thank you Fred, please hand it to me!”
He was really keen to see the report.
“Oh God, please spare me! I need the job! It will change my future!” he silently begged.
He anxiously opened the letter, slowly, his hand shaking, and then he read between the lines.
The information was heartbreaking.
“Your X-Ray finding showed an undetermined activity.”
“We regret to inform you that you are not fit to work,” the letter blew up into his head.
Poe was so startled that his fingers were all thumbs and let fall a cup of coffee from his hand.
“CRASHED!” so went the sound of a broken cup.
He felt as if heaven and earth crashed on him. All along he was earnestly praying that everything would be alright, but now his hope is increasingly coming apart in his heart. He could not understand why his prayer failed.
“Did my weeping fall on deaf ears? Jesus, what shall I do now?” he groaned as he lightly shoved his fist on the table.
At 12 o’clock midnight, Poe went up again to his desired praying place at the penthouse flat.
“I must to talk to God to beseech for reconsideration,” his wits spoke. “Yes, and pigs might fly!” his inner self seemed to insinuate an impossibility.
In the middle of the night where all the lights were turned off in the penthouse, he made the sign of the Cross as he usually did.
He started praying on his knees while slowly moving around, with his arms flatly stretched sideways – eyes closed.
“My God, my Lord, I asked but I failed. Now I’m asking again!” He lamented.
He stayed on the rooftop for about three hours, and he did not refrain from praying – until he felt his hair stood on end. His desire to be heard by God was so intense that he perceived a strange flap of the wings. He was disturbed by the sound.
“Huh?… Must be an angel coming down in front of me!” he guessed. His eyes still closed.
“The angel could be announcing, my prayer has been heard.” He was imagining.
“Oh God, I feel scared I need to go now. I must leave this place at once.”
Instead of looking into the source of the flapping sound, he looked down the floor and rushed back towards downstairs.
“I’m afraid of seeing strange things.
“I’m truly nervous of what I might see.” He cried out.
Poe was not certain of himself if he could manage the sight of whatever was it on that particular time – where he was all alone
in the dim light, on the very top of the building with nothing but the sight of water tank and machinery.
“What could that be?”
“Was it a big bird?”
“Was it actually an Angel, or just a product of my imagination?” he asked himself after he arrived back to his bed quarter.
Probably, he brought this odd experience into a dream.
While sleeping he saw a man coming. With indistinct face and with a low but authoritative voice He said,
“Go find your previous employer and proceed to the Medical Unit.”
“Ask the nurse for your medical history so with whatever you need.”
“Then take it to the Embassy”.
Right after these words, Poe was awakened. He glanced at his wristwatch.
“It’s only 5 a.m. and I just slept for two hours.” He looked bleary-eyed as he fixed his eyes on his bed mates, snoring loudly. “They are deeply sleeping,” he yawned.
A few cocks scantily crowing. “COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!”
It was only him who was fully awake as his dream left a deep mark in his head.
“God has obviously shown me the road to take.”
“I have to go see the company doctor myself!” He jumped on the floor to prepare for an early bath.
Apparently, he was referring to the medical unit of the Deity Motor Corporation, his previous employer. But he knew the medical rules in the company.
“The medical record is always treated confidential. It is hardly given to anyone without due course. And little did I know what’s in store for me out there. But I think trying my best wouldn’t do me any harm,” he surmised.
Poe merely allayed his concern into remembering his dream the preceding night. It was such a divine initiative that he had to undertake once and for all. He was so desperate that he had to beg if that would be the case. He hoped that the company doctor would soon have a change of heart, and he was going to help him after all. He would really ask for all he was worth towards getting his records.
“Whatever happens, I have God’s help to fall back on,” he told himself and he prepared to go.
“So, you are applying for a job in the Embassy,” said Miss Jenny who was the resident nurse of the Deity Motors.
“Yes, Ma’am, and I need my medical records badly for comparison with the Embassy’s latest diagnosis.”
“Okay! No problem. I won’t turn you down,” she said.
“Thank you Ma’am, you’re a big help to me,” he replied.
“Please have a seat and wait till I find your file.”
“Good heavens! I never thought this would be that easy,” Poe expressed contentedly.
“My little sleep last night just turned out right. I feel so light I could fly!”
It was 8 o’clock the following day when Poe knocked at the Embassy’s Medical Office. He was tightly carrying a big brown envelope in his right hand containing his X-Ray film and other data taken from the Deity Medical Unit. Doctor Jude was already in, who opened the door.
“Good morning, doctor!” he began.
“I have here with me my medical history,” he said meekly while slightly vowing his head as a respect.
“I would like to present this to you for your further evaluation, if you please!” He slowly handed over the big brown envelope.
“I, I always go to church and pray, Ma’am.”
Unconsciously, he was trying to edge himself into Dr.Jude’s soft spot. The doctor took the brown envelope into her hand and casually laid it on her desk.
“Okay, I will see what’s in this plate later.” She was apparently referring to Poe’s X-Ray film. So far, he did not encounter any delay in the acceptance of his documents. All the while he was hopeful that the doctor might take his medical history into consideration before finally turning him down, if ever.
“I wish things would be going quite well, by and large,” he said.
At exactly one week after the submission of his medical history, Poe received a letter coming from the Embassy’s Personnel Department. It was a notice of his final medical result.
Part 2: A Break Came into Play
The Miracle of Prayer
“We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the medical examination. Your employment with the Department of the Treasury shall take effect on September 22, 1977 at 7:00 am. Please report to Mr. Richard Meyer for orientation.”
“Good gracious! I’m given a chance to start out!” he exclaimed while jumping for joy. He was more enthusiastic than that of the very first day he got a call-in letter.
“Thank you Lord!” he uttered in relief.
But his sheer jubilation slowly turned into doubt. Another problem suddenly came into his mind which was undeniably true.
For one, it was already Friday afternoon and there were only four days left till Tuesday which was the start of his employment, saving Monday which was a Martial Law Day – an
official holiday. Three days were not enough to prepare for a new environment.
“Where would I stay in the City?”
“Where would I find food for my daily needs?”
“In my detective work in the hotel, I enjoy free board and lodging. I have a free quarter to stay. I could eat regularly as the ration for security personnel were simply provided by the kitchen men.”
“Of course I would have a more decent pay in the Embassy.
But how can I survive during the first month in my new job while I am broke till my first Payday?” he was talking to himself.
Both his conscious and subconscious minds were confused.
“I have nothing to get from my security agency because of so many advances I made during this month.”
“And if ever, the agency would surely hold whatever amount I have the moment they discovered that I would vacate my job for good.”
“What about my kin, my sisters? No!” he cried.
“I can’t get any help from them.”
“I know truly well they would immediately complain about their own needs the moment they sensed that I’m in dire need of money,” he sighed.
“Then where on earth shall I go?” he asked himself while staring at the sky.
Poe, again, found himself scaling his way up to the penthouse of the hotel. Just as he did before, he was crawling around the empty space with his bent knees and open arms as he did his prayer all over again. He repeatedly invoked his newest needs to God.
“Please provide me at least one month sustenance to keep me going, Lord!”
And, again, he did not refrain from praying until he felt his tears ran dry. When he sensed this, he immediately made the sign of the Cross and thereafter went down the ground floor by the stairways.
Below the last step of the stairs, he noticed a small bundle of money on the floor which was partly hidden beside the big ornamental base. It was tightly wrapped with a rubber string.
“Oh, Man! This bundle might have slipped out from the chest pocket of a guest and didn’t notice it,” he presumed as he quickly picked it up. He turned his head around to make sure no one had seen him. Then he casually hid himself in the nearby corner of the floor and curiously untied the bundle of money to count it.
“One hundred fifty nine dollars!” he exclaimed.
“This money’s good enough for my basic needs till I get my first month pay. I can still have spare cash to rent for my bed space.”
But his mind and heart were squabbling.
“Too bad you asked help from God but you were coveting the money which is not yours,” said his conscience.
“God gave me this money,” replied his brain.
“Go back and return the money to the one who owned it!”
“No! I need it to start my life anew.
Poe was confused whether he would surrender the money or keep it for himself. If he would give it back to the real owner, he would also give up his hope for a new world. Indeed, when he chanced upon the hard cash awhile ago and actually had it in his hand, his monetary problem had already been resolved.
“What if I won’t give this up?” Poe was staring at the bundle. “Of course I could go on with my new job in the embassy and chase my dreams. But if so, what would the heavens say to me? Would I be sent to the lakes of fire? I’m really confused,” he breathed.
Part 3: By Leaps and Bounds
Making the Best of it
Then Poe finally decided to keep it for himself.
“God will surely understand,” he guessed.
The following Tuesday Poe arrived at the Treasury office at 6:00 a.m., about an hour ahead of time to report for his orientation. Other employees subsequently came in one by one, and Mr. Meyer, the boss, opened the treasury door at exactly 7:00 am.
“You will perform all the clerical works in the operation and you will assist Cruz in the Mail Section, Mr. Meyer pointed out in his orientation. Poe was keenly listening.
“You will also deliver volumes of checks to the Central Post Office every afternoon,” he added.
“Yes Sir, I’ll do it all with pleasure!” he nodded.
Poe had at last come into his own as an employee of the Department of the Treasury. He knew all the while that such a stepping stone would allow him to bring all his talents into play. And he was not wrong. His diligence and attention to every job details had eventually gotten excellent result.
For the span of eight months he twice got Special Achievement Award from the Treasury Department. Although he was not as extroverted as some of his colleagues he was every bit as professional and dedicated. Indeed, his introverted quiet façade was the perfect cover for his quick, analytic mind.
He was well-loved by his office mates as well as Lora, a 40 year-old married woman who was his immediate supervisor.
“You should apply for the vacancy,” Lora instructed him on one occasion.
“There was a vacant opening for a higher position in the Treasury. Rhodes gave up this job to settle abroad.”
“But Ma’am,” he objected. “Cruz has long been aspiring for Rhodes’s position. He’d resent me if he won’t get hired!”
“You just apply for the position,” Lora stressed.
“I don’t want Cruz to get promoted. I displease his performance in the Mail Room. He’s even arguing me whenever I give him some instructions,” she added.
“But Cruz has longer and better experience than mine,” Poe said.
“Why? Don’t you like the job?” Lora asked.
“I just don’t want him to get hurt,” he explained.
“Don’t you like a two-step salary increase?”
“But I’ll come out a bad guy in Cruz eyes,” he said.
“Never mind it! Just think about the opportunity first. I want you to be there. I can persuade Mr. Meyer to give you the job. I will recommend it to him!”
“Do as I say, and stop annoying me!” she retorted and walked away. Poe was left behind scratching his head.
“Congratulations, Jeffrey Poe!” his co-employees greeted him a week after he got his promotion.
“You are now our treasury’s Check Custodian, well done, Poe,” Mr. Meyer said.
“Oh, thank you Sir. Thank you all!” He said.
“You see? I told you so!” Lora whispered on his ear.
“How about a blowout?” Vicky, the assistant supervisor, teased him while shaking his hand.
“Oh yeah, you should paint the town red!” Florence seconded in jest.
Everyone was pleased of his new position apart from Cruz, who was seated near beside the inserting machine. He was obviously disappointed to hear that his application for the vacant post did not work at all. Even more disappointed that Poe had come out a winner.
“Mr. Meyer didn’t even consider my long working years in this office.” Cruz lamented to Vicky one time.
“I know Lora was behind Poe’s promotion, and to my frustration,” he said.
“How do you say that?” Vicky asked.
“I heard her one time talking to Mr. Meyer, she was discrediting me while she was commending Poe,” Cruz stressed.
“Poe’s a hardworking employee anyway,” Vicky answered.
“And why is that? He only started working last year!” Cruz burst in anger.
“Oh, oh! Come on Cruz, there’s always a chance for everything,” she said.
“That will never happen to me as long as Poe is here!” Cruz retorted.
Poe had just come back from delivering parcels of checks at the central Post office. Unwary about the topic of conversation, he drew near Cruz and Vicky and sat down beside them.
“Hi Cruz, may I borrow the ledger of mails, please?” Poe asked Cruz, but he got an ill-mannered response.
“Better look for yourself!” Apparently, Cruz got on his nerves. He dragged his pen on the table and left Poe and Vicky in the mail room. The two registered a surprised look in their eyes as they both stood up to walk away but Cruz unexpectedly rushed back.
“FUCK YOU!” Cruz suddenly threw a right punch meant to his face.
“HEY! Poe exclaimed.
Impulsively, Poe was able to dodge the blow and thereafter twisted Cruz’s wrist in defense. The two wrestled on the floor. The chairs went flying. The glasses on the table splintered under the heavy scuffle. Volumes of delivery checks tumbled and scattered on the floor. Their office mates were taken aback.
“What the hell!” Lora yelled.
Mr. Meyer’s door burst open and he rushed into the scene. Poe impulsively released his grip and Cruz was able to dash out to the exit, blatantly abandoning the workplace without a word.
“He punched me!” he explained as he saw Mr. Meyer coming.
“I saw Cruz threw him the first punch,” Lora told Mr. Meyer. The employees help picking up the scattered pieces of checks and put back the dented chairs in their original place.
That was the last time Poe saw Cruz in the office as he failed to report for work since then. The last bit of information he heard was that Cruz was working in Saudi Arabia.
While Poe continued his work in the Treasury, he came across with the news that the Consular Section at the ground floor was in need of a new staff, and Mr. Meyer approached him one time.
“The Personnel Department told me that you applied for the Consular job,” he said.
“Yes I did Mr. Meyer.”
“Are you willing to leave your work here?” He asked.
“I’m after the greener pasture, Sir,” he meekly said.
“Well, if you leave you won’t be able to get your Christmas bonus and additional benefits. It will be forfeited and you’ll start all over again.” he warned.
“I’ll risk the possibility, Sir”
And soon Poe became a member of the workforce of the Anti-Fraud Unit, an investigative body within the Consular Department. The office was located at the ground floor of the annex building fronting the corridor and the Visa Section. Inside the carpeted office were cubicles of five investigators in a row, facing the desk of Ivy, the lady Secretary. Two adjacent rooms were occupied by the Chief and his Deputy. There was also a foreign flag in the nearby corner, and a few portrait frames on the wall.
Poe was one of five investigators who conduct office and field investigation and served as Illegal Syndicate Investigator.
He interviews visa applicants and witnesses to establish identification, legitimacy, and/or consanguinity through functioning as Screening Investigator in the Consular.
He also conducts well organized investigation in the metropolitan area and the provinces. He monitors closely a log of cases in order to assure the expeditious handling of referrals and prepares a list of cases and itinerary for provincial assignments. He has at last come to his own as a valued investigator of the consulate and at no time improving his career by leaps and bounds.
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