This is an article I wrote for the website of COSCA, the Diocesan school I’m connected with in Dumaguete. I just want to repost the contents here. I think my insights here are helpful even for us, published writers, who aspiring novelists look up to. 😉
I had the good fortune to attend a convention (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines) last January 2009 in Batangas City. One of the speakers was Mr. JV Tence, VP for Human Resources for giant fast food chain Jollibee Foods Corp.
In his talk, he told the story of how he came to be employed at Jollibee. Like many of us, Mr. Tence went through the rigors of a battery of exams and several interviews. His final interview was with the owner himself, Mr. Tony Tan Caktiong. When asked if he would accept the position, he said he wanted to first give a chance to an interview with another prospective employer – Ayala Land.
With the interview at Ayala done, he went back to the Jollibee office to, shall we say, get a feel on things. Mr. Tence asked Mr. Tan Caktiong’s assistant, “What do you think? Will I get the job?”
The assistant told him, “You know, JV, right after your interview, I asked my boss how it went. He told me, ‘I’m worried. Do you think I will be a good enough boss for him?’”
Do you think I will be a good enough boss for him?
As superiors who have the power to hire or fire, or as in the case of the academe, to pass or fail a student, we always evaluate our subordinates/students. They undergo entrance exams, diagnostic tests, interviews, and all other intellectual / emotional / psychological measuring tools to see if they fit the bill. If they are good enough.
At any point in time, did we ever ask: Are we going to be good enough superiors for them? Yes, we have the age and experience to be a superior. Some of us even have the intimidating appendages to our names – MD, PhD, MA, DMD, Atty., Arch. – to indicate how much time and effort we spent studying to become an expert in our profession.
Do those letter appendages afford us the honor and respect that are usually associated with the status that goes with it? Do those letters also mean we are, without a doubt, smarter, more intelligent, and therefore worthy of taking into our hands the well-being and interests of our subordinate-students?
I will go so far as to admit how much of a snob I was and still am. I have very little or no tolerance at all for people who high-handedly sing their own praises about how good they are at speaking, or singing, or teaching but are clearly not much more intelligent, talented or skilled as I. I was that much of a snob as a student, so much more now that I’m a professional because I’ve also become very critical. (I’m sure, the tech-savvy, smart-mouthed students of today are even more so.)
During my school years in a private school, later on in my career in public relations, marketing, and now in the academe, I have met and heard people speak highly of themselves and their abilities but have not the experience nor even the proper speech to show for it.
There’s a term for this in Tagalog – nagmamaganda. Or more colloquially, ume-epal.
Let me give you some examples.
There are those who call themselves writers but when you read their piece, you find more than one grammatically incorrect sentence let alone a whole cohesive, comprehensive paragraph. Priests and nuns moralize at the pulpit but live lives that are less than decent than those they condemn. School administrators believe they are making things easy for the students but all they accomplish is to make things easy for themselves leaving the students as ignorant as they were on the first day of school.
One of the most hilarious I’ve come to encounter most recently are the English teachers who can’t speak well, spell correctly, nor use their knowledge of the proper usage of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs…. and wonder why their graduating high school students can’t even spell. Or wonder why the Korean youth who come to Dumaguete to seek education would rather employ the services of unlicensed underground tutors. They rebuke the capabilities of these tutors and blame all the other government agencies that are supposed to put these undesirable entities under control.
Well, duh? Did we ever think that we are not at all qualified and therefore do not deserve to be called ‘teachers’ which is why no one comes to us for education?
Do you think I will be a good enough boss for him?
Remember that when you point a finger, there are three others pointing at yourself. Maybe it’s about time we heed that overused cliché. That instead of finding faults in others just to be able to extol oneself, one should instead check up on one’s own credibility, wise up, and re-educate where it’s needed.
I am not an expert in anything. I don’t have those letter appendages stuck to my name to indicate such. But I do know what I’m good at, and I do know and acknowledge that there are so much more who are better than I. And that what makes me better than most of these self-proclaimed experts – I recognize my shortfalls, and I know I can only blame myself for it. With that recognition, I also know that if I need to get better, I should spend time, effort and money so I can be better.
Think about it. Maybe you should be getting on with some training for yourself too. Maybe next semester, you’ll also be better at your craft and you’ll have the license then to claim, “I am definitely a good enough boss for this person.”