Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Introduction to Life's Politics

Obviously lacking some political skills - no one cared enough to show up ;)

One theorist, Harold Lasswell, has defined politics as "who gets what, when, and how.”It is everywhere– government, offices and our day-to-day interactions with people.
I suck at politics. I never like the idea of being forced to make someone a friend just because that particular someone can make things happen for me and my family.
I never liked personal favors. I hated interdependence. I believe in fairness. I abhor discrimination.  Cliché as it goes, “Everybody is fair in love and war.” But then I think I have interpreted it the very wrong way or I just simply hated the way it used to be (maybe still is) back home which made me swear that I will not be part of that belief.
Hailing from small village of a far out town, I was led to believe that I could never amount to anything. That I would eventually get knocked up and settle in the village like the rest of them. (Well, I did get knocked up but that will be a completely different blog!)
Graduating top of the class high school academically (like politics, I suck at extracurricular activities) from a state university, I was offered a scholarship by a so-called “foundation” of a very rich woman, Donya something (I would write her name, but I honestly can’t remember so let’s stick with Donya). Together with a classmate, we were given tremendous benefits as freshman college students.  We even lived in one of the prestigious subdivisions in the South metropolitan area. We even got a housekeeper.

Manang, as we call the housekeeper, turned out to be more “political” than we are. We were told bluntly that it’s not her job to take care of us but to report to Donya, who happens to be residing in USA. It was perfectly alright. We were bullied in the house by Manang and her son because we do not want to be “reported” to Donya. We want her to tell us good things about us. We got really scared of what she will be reporting that we almost subdued to all her requests.
Almost end of the first semester, the Donya came from US to visit. We didn’t even pick her up at the airport and we didn’t even socialize with her thinking of what Manang will think. Dumb actions, right?
I vaguely remember one time she asked me to go to shopping with her and I politely said no because I still have to do house chores for Manang. Well, it may looks pretty stupid now, but it made a lot of sense to be then.
Due to unknown reasons, Donya fired Manang! I concluded that she’s a full b%^&tch anyways and not nearly competent. The effect:  since we didn’t build a rapport with her without Manang, Donya also decided to stop our scholarships. Just like that.
Of course, there are reasons why our scholarships were stopped. Mine is my below average grade in Drawing 101 despite my above average academic performance. Apparently, getting a grade of 3.0 in class card is an immediate disqualification as dean’s list and in my case, a cause to lose my scholarship. But really thinking about it now: there were no clear scholarships guidelines set and agreed upon.
Lesson of the story? We need to build relationship with people. Not just the people surrounding us everyday, not just our immediate boss. We need to build effective relationships with people who may indirectly influence our day-to-day tasks and overall vision in life.
If I were to do it over again, I would definitely keep the communication open between us and Donya , and keep the relationship with Manang positively but the priority is to get direct feedback from Donya and act considering her satisfaction. She was the rightful boss anyways.
My story however, was a  happily ever after. I am now a chemical engineer and my classmate a doctor both graduating from the same university we started. There is no bitterness now. But then again, exciting as it became, it was never an easy road to take. I became a self supporting student and never really understand chemical engineering principles because I was mainly sleeping in classrooms (sshhh!)
This big boo boo is the first but definitely not the last. I have lots of dumb decisions arising from my lack of politicking a.k.a  relationship management. Most of the time, I am too stubborn for my own good. But deep inside, I am not really worried, that little voice guiding me to make that decision is happy anyways.
So for every body’s sake, are you building effective relationships with the right people who will be able to get things done for you?

1 comment:

  1. We learn from our own mistakes. If we do learn we become stronger and meet later struggles with more insights. And your life is a proof and perhaps mine too.


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