Just One Empty Cheap Cologne

Declutter. Dispose whatever is not needed. These are rules I’ve been following, or trying to follow, regardless if a stuff is something sentimental or not. I’ve disposed a lot and surprisingly so far I didn’t have any regrets. Must be the effect of reading about minimalism on my Facebook timeline.

If I could walk the talk was once again tested last night. While looking for a tool I found an empty cheap cologne container. There’s nothing special to it if not for how and where it was kept. It was among my valuable keepsakes.

12 years in possession.

By some interesting coincidence, exactly 12 years ago I took this cheap cologne on a special trip. Its scent filled my room each morning while I get ready for the day’s equipment training, it competed with the aroma of strong brewed coffee and fresh breakfast muffins I would hoard from Holiday Inn’s little pantry. The smell reminds me of Watertown, Wisconsin which was my first trip to the US, one that was unexpected. There’s some anxiety but I am now letting go of this cheap cologne. One stuff down, more to go.

***

I was contemplating on getting our cable subscription disconnected as we seldom watch the tube anymore. Every now and then we would but Netflix was tough competition. Plus there’s Marcus who has commandeered our flat TV. 

So wifey had a win-win idea: Transfer the cable connection to our bulky Sony Wega. This got me occupied after dinner last night which led me to finding the cologne bottle ahead of the tools that I really need. Need to declutter more I guess.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Some trivial suffs do keep big memories, don’t they?)

Last Smock

So it’s been eight years since I found myself wearing an antistatic smock. This room in the picture is gone, goner than any structure on Marcus’ Fallout game. Retrenchment breaks buildings apart faster than nukes, huh?

Incidentally, I’m still into my 2008 posts migration and one I’ve already inserted the name Intel which I once held back to be discreet about some topics. Now all those are basically declassified.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Plan B on blood extraction. Cancelling today’s St. Luke’s appointment.)

What is Intel Culture?

My tweet got favorited and it deserves a spot on this blog:

Jobs at Intel favorited your Tweet
23 Nov:

[CrisIs73] Where only the paranoid survive? “@JobsatIntel: “What do you think Intel’s organizational culture is like? #intelculture
***
Not an ordinary Sunday: Someone dropping by later to buy my 3-year old treadmill, Pacman vs. Rios fight, and wifey’s about to be discharged from the hospital. Something in me wishes that she gets out after the boxing match–the room’s got cable TV.

Micro-love

Love can’t be seen but it can be magnified.” — Me (wink wink)

 

Many years ago, I created this and gave it to my girlfriend–now my wife. Can you guess how it’s made?

The original copy is currently posted on our cabinet’s door and it was only now that I noticed it was made exactly 16 years ago. We were young, ‘slimmer’,  and so in love then. Ha-ha.

***

Did you know that there’s such thing as microchip art? Click here.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Marcus has no class. So this is how it will be like for him this summer.)

Ending work on a Monday

“Tell me why I don’t like Mondays” – Bob Gelfof and Johnny Fingers

“I hate Mondays” – Garfield

Yesterday was the weirdest Monday that I can recall so far. The following are the reasons why:

On my way to work the discussion over the radio was about an episode of the Oprah show where she approved of her guest’s suggestion of introducing teenage girls to vibrators-–and to mention that several Filipina girls called agreeing to the idea.

***

The parking lot was already full when I arrived. If my memory serves me right, it’s been months since it has become one of the most deserted places in our company. For a moment I actually thought that our company isn’t closing after all. Wishful thinking.

***

I am starting my first day of the week listening to one of my most hated things to do: selling (outbound call center account) but for some weird reasons I ended up enjoying the simulation activity. Isn’t that great? So does this mean that I might have the potential to sell?

***

Lastly, after reading one farewell email coming after the other, it has finally dawned on me that this is my last week at work, together with other identified employees. It now feels I’m starting to be sucked into the deep void of the bumhood’s black hole and conceding to the fact that this is really it, I had to excuse myself from our call center training just to compose my own farewell message.

Here’s what I wrote in haste:

Friends and co-workers,

This is my last week at and I’d like to say the following: Thank you, Sorry and Goodbye.

Thanks. For the wonderful years I had with every people I work with.Thanks to my past and present mentors, colleagues and subordinates. Rest assured that every encounter I had with each and every one of you gave me experience and knowledge, and it has made me a better person than I was years ago. Of course, I would like to thank my very recent group who welcomed me like I was already one of the experienced engineers—I really appreciate it. Thanks for the opportunity.

Sorry. I apologize to those whom I might have offended in one way or the other; it’s just some times the word constructive doesn’t come together with confrontation. And while I’m at it I’d like to say to those who have offended me (or at least they thought so) as well that I won’t be leaving with any hard feelings.

Goodbye. I’d like to say goodbye those who are yet to leave—whether they like it or not. And lastly, I’d like to say good luck to everyone whether you’re continuing to Vietnam or be pursuing a different life after Intel.

Keep in touch. See you around folks.

Although I hate the fact that it isn’t a resignation letter (I haven’t written one in my entire career), I sent it out of course to almost everyone I’ve worked with; but like one lit up fuse flickering slowly towards a barrel of explosives, I became somewhat sentimental about the whole thing only when I was on my way home.

All of a sudden I find it ironic that at the start of this week is the beginning of the end of the long years working for what I’ve known as a great place to work. Hasta la vista Intel folks.

***

I have figured out later in the day that the reason why the parking lot was full is because some of my co-workers are already processing their clearances and some brought their car along with them. There is also a job opportunity expo participated by a number of companies and probably the representatives parked their vehicles ahead of some of the employees like me. This is one thing that will be missed by most because if there’s one company that doesn’t have reserved parking slots, it would be Intel. It is only here that ”sorry boss, you’re late…go park somewhere” applies.

***

The sight and feel of yesterday’s job opportunity expo was unexpectedly great – maybe because there isn’t much crowd unlike in the malls. The   participating companies range from several business franchisors to cater to those who have finally decided to be entrepreneurs; the ever familiar semiconductors were also present for those who haven’t gotten enough of the manufacturing environment; and of course there were call center companies which lately have become one of my interests. Well, isn’t that great?

***

Mood: 4/10 Honks!

Relearning English the Call Center Way

In my quest to learn English I started attending a call center training that will go on for one week. Although I prepared myself to be corrected, all that mind setting did little to help suppress the shock I got the moment I heard our trainer speak. I haven’t heard such good and fluent English spoken in person for a long while.

The fluency of our trainer got me humbled and speechless. It made me feel that I was totally ignorant of this language the whole time and this may be because even if I have been blogging a lot for a couple of years already, I never had regular English conversation and if ever I had such chance to speak with someone at work, the quality did not come any near to what I am hearing inside this class. I am not saying that there is none in our current company who can speak English impressively but it is just that there is a very big difference compared with the call center standard. And it has something to do with what is called the “American thwang.”

According to our trainer, learning the American accent or pronunciation—funny that even this word is hard to pronounce—will be the majority of our training on top of my favorite grammar discussions. We also practiced listening skills and yesterday, we did tongue twisters that by the end of the class my tongue was just as tired as my mind.

Our trainer also suggested that we evaluate our typing skills by downloading Typing Master—I discovered can still do a decent 50 wpm with 95% accuracy for English words.

There will be three more sessions to go and I am eager to learn more. As painful and embarrassing as it may seem, I will open my mind to what is being taught, for this week I am relearning English. I kill me.

What The Foos Is All About

What do you do when you have really nothing more to do? The dreaded question that I had to ask myself today. I finally got tired of staring at the interactive online training and as much as I’d like to attend an instructor-led session, most of it has reached its walk-in participants limit. Now,  I was among those left inside our cold gray cubicles facing chances of catching colds, boredom, carpal tunnel syndrome or drowsiness at the very least.

There must be something else out there that would keep me occupied until the end of our working hours. Well, I checked and re-checked emails; refilled my coffee mug for the nth time; got myself exhausted with cubicle hopping with the hope of getting someone to talk to; and have listened to every Journey mp3 songs in my laptop’s hard drive. If I have to repeat the whole process again I’d be so damned and lonely. The long line of cubicles in my area is so empty that someone opening a trash can several columns away can be easily heard.

As desperation sinks in while I sit in my ergo chair watching my wrist- watch’s second hand tick by, it was when I heard the most redeeming invitation of the day. “Cris, laro tayo foosball.” Hmm, the last word sounds familiar yet so foreign. But who cares, when there’s no more work to do what else is next? Yes, play is next.

Moments later I found myself in front of the table with a recessed center and small plastic red and blue men appearing at first to be skewered to stainless rods and with its handles protruding on each sides of the table. I was elbow to elbow with another colleague while we try to push, pull and twist the rods to flick some miniature white soccer ball against those from the other team. I was the slowest but I think I was the happiest player that time. It was my first time to play with the most popular table in our company nowadays—the foosball table.

foos
(Image from Flickr)

The foosball table was introduced last year and was first placed in one of the activity rooms along with the billiards table. Since then, several employees have filled their curiosity and have even snuck out during work hours just to play it. It didn’t take long for them to get hooked and when management noticed about the missing headcount inside the production floor, it was later transferred in front of the canteen area to deter employees from just hanging around. Even then, it didn’t fail to attract more fans. Consequently, it got an infamous reputation from most managers—I was one back then.

After watching the expert players intently as before and having played two games (despite being terrible and awkward) already, I now know why it has such following. I discovered that it isn’t like just any child’s play that one aimlessly hits the ball until it passes the stiff goalie. This game requires strategy between partners. It likewise involves skillful ball handling, which to my surprise my partner and our opponent possess. Today I become a fan of this game.

My realization about enjoying this game may be too late already. But with the current business condition wherein work has significantly slowed down and we’ve got nothing more than time, I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of those skewered plastic men in the next days ahead. I still have less than two more months to go and I might as well enjoy it and spend some time learning the back and wrist-breaking game of foosball. If only I could patiently wait behind the long queue of eager players.

Picture credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

A Week of Everything But Work

This must be the longest week I ever had. This week felt like it was 24 X 7 plus 1. I don’t exactly know if so many things have happened or it’s just so much time has slipped by.  Either way it’s a shame that both of it have been mostly done in front of the IBM’s flat LCD and inside the cold gray cube.

That’s the problem when there is imbalance between time and tasks. It is during these conditions that nothing productive gets done:

Condition 1: Having less (or the feeling of it) time but with multiple tasks is confusing or alarming.

Condition 2: Having more time but with little or no task on queue at all is just pathetic. If you ask me, I prefer Condition 1.

Since being idle nowadays is as predictable as sunset, this is when having an initiative and a bit of creativeness sets one person one step ahead of the other. It also helps to do at least a short time planning just to preserve self-worth on a daily basis. It’s just what I’ve done so fa, so far.

The good thing is that in spite of lull in workloads, the resources at work remain abundant. It’s both a good a good and a bad thing, like staring at an apple in the Garden of Eden while wondering if God will ever snooze–the temptation to cross the fine line is always there.

For starters, the internet connection is always on (and to mention that it’s way faster than outside) and the printers are functional and readily full of papers. Now if that doesn’t get your mind immediately full of wild ideas, then something is wrong with you. I know that google-heads are green with envy by now.

Times like this good judgment and work ethics come handy. In my case I try to kill time by taking online training. I likewise try to be involved in activities that the company offers.

Skillsoft Books24X7

I have never appreciated the availability of this site more than now. Although I’ve used it years before for my researches and book references when I continued my schooling, since weeks ago I started using it again. This week my usage got more frequent than ever.

My search for MBA tags brought me to results other than books. I find that there are online courses, learning guides and assessments available. What made it even more interesting was that I’ve read and learned about lots of good stuffs with regards to writing. I’m excited to share it soon as this was once my problem when I made my thesis – or I just didn’t have enough time to research then.

Financial readiness seminar

I can’t exactly remember when I attended this one but I was once again among those inside the packed training room. It was estimated that there were at least 300 attendees who listened to the Colayco foundation’s Executive Director, Mr. Bengco. He spoke a lot of things which half I dismissed and half I noted. Part of the things I got so interested about was when he discussed about ways to get rich. It contained only five key items. The crowd’s excitement of knowing what the five ways are immediately died down when most of us realized that the first four isn’t just possible.

Inherit it.

Marry it.

Steal it.

Win it.

Earn it.

A reminder of a bedtime story

There’s a problem  with forgetting very basic bedtime stories–you become a recipient of the moral lesson it teaches. The story of the rabbit and the turtle stung me this time.

It happened during our company’s Smashing Couples badminton match. After I saw the line up where my partner and I were included, I had high hopes that we do have the chance to reach the finals. What inspired me more was when I learned who will be our first match. “We’ve beaten these guys before, we can do it again,” I confidently said to my partner.

The high ego was short-lived. After piling up some points ahead on the first set our opponents consistently capitalized on our unforced errors and soon enough confidence was on their side. The first set reached deuce but the next set was crushing to the rabbits.

I came out of the badminton tournament with the line “and the moral of the story is…” echoing in my mind. Damn turtles. Hahaha. Just kidding.

Congrats Richmond and Arlene.

Everything that flies and crashes

This is another anticipated week for the flying community. Even if I won’t be able to attend the 13th Philippine Hot Air Balloonfest I know that hundreds of people are either already at Clark or just on their way enjoying the SCTEX drive.

Unfortunately, while everyone at Clark enjoys the breathtaking sight of balloons, skydivers, airplane exhibitions, and everything that flies, two places abroad experienced separate plane crashes. One was in Buffalo, New York that claimed 50 lives when a commuter plane went down, initially due to icing, hitting one house. Another plane crash landed at a London airport which thankfully just had minor injuries to its passengers.

It’s a pity that Capt. Sully’s heroic Hudson River landing a couple of weeks ago is negated by two succeeding crashes. It could be disappointing if further investigation on these accidents would point to poor maintenance as the root cause and it could even be more disappointing if it was due to recession. It’s a stretch, but hey, it’s not that unlikely.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Role Models Do Get Tired

The current situation at work as caused by the declining and imminent depletion of products to be delivered is undoubtedly testing each and everyone from the lowest rank and file up to the upper levels of management.

What I find more frustrating than the thought of eventually losing our jobs in few more months is the fact that no matter how I set my mind to make the most of my time, it’s only father time that is so available. After a couple of hours from the start of the working day, there’s no more work to be done no matter how I look for it.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to figure out what others might be doing as well after staring at the empty Outlook inbox. It is as if email doesn’t exist anymore. Whether people agree or not, this isn’t the workplace aura I used to know in my 12 years here. I can now really say that gone are the days when the cubes are buzzing with activity, when keyboards are tapped because of white papers to finish and not of multiple internet chat mates; when phone lines are loaded because of virtual meetings and not because someone is selling anything but company products; when people forget lunch because of deadlines and not because they have dozed off due to inactivity; and when managers are going to the cubes to check if everyone is on track and not because he’s got nothing to do as well.

Years ago, this setting is unimaginable. Someone getting idle is as taboo as committing mortal sin. But now, even the best have their own share of work void. It’s unavoidable but on the next days ahead those people I look up to will have lots of slack. I have come to accept it now that role models do get tired.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Kids Do Say the Darndest Things

whencominghome.jpg

I remember several years ago, one of the TV programs I enjoy the most is the one hosted by Bill Cosby, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Several American kids appear as guest and are all seated side by side in front of the camera with the comedian host and they are asked about their opinions on mostly adult matters. The answers are often funny and sometimes so interesting that I’d wonder how at that early age they would have had learned such things. Well, I’m hearing the kids speak once again, this time they’re thinking out loud about the recession.

This morning during our staff meeting our boss started with the usual ice breaker when he flashed through the electronic projector someone else’s doodling. Soon after the bulb warmed up, the intensity of the projection revealed a comics strip personally drawn by his daughter who was just a 3rd grader.

The strip has six frames of colorful drawings telling a short story of their family and their plans during this recession period. Surprisingly, the innocence of his small kid did not fail to capture what has been blasted on TV over and over again in the news reports since our company’s closure was delivered to all of its Philippine manufacturing plant’s employees. His kid even drew a close resemblance of the company’s logo.

Although this is my first time to see a kid’s personal expression of what is currently going on, this isn’t my first time to hear stories coming from colleagues and friends about what their young children said when they learned that their mom or dad will be out of work in the next few months.

One peer told us that when she called her parents to inform them about the retrenchment her young son grabbed the phone and blurted, ”Lola, mawawalan na ng trabaho si mommy at daddy, tulungan mo po kami ha (grandma, mommy and daddy will lose their jobs, please help us)!”

Another heard a different tone from his children, “Tehey, lagi na kaming makakapaglaro kay daddy (We will be able to play a lot with daddy now)!” This joyful welcome of the bad news must have been the most common I’ve heard from other co-employees’ stories. And I can’t blame their kids, really.

Intel’s working environment is so competitive that raising the bar to be at par if not exceed the level of performance (and indicators) of the rest of Intel plants worldwide requires each of its employees to be at their best almost all the time. And to be able to meet that expectation, every employee is at least expected to be at work and leave work on schedule. During the busy years, rendering overtime was often a must. Unfortunately, this is when someone at every employee’s home is deprioritized or worse, ignored – kids. Some will say wives, but that’s a different story.

Therefore it’s really not that impossible if during this recession and global financial crisis, while every parent is worrying about almost everything, there will be innocent kids smiling and rejoicing that sooner or later this year they’ll be one happy family again with their jobless mom or dad just around them ready for 24X7 playtimes.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!