Working in Cebu aka Culture Shock

Since December last year, I’ve started working in our Cebu office. If I complained before that nothing much is happening in my life, well now I can truly say: Be careful what you wish for.

It’s been around 4 months that I’ve started working here, yet I still have to fully settle. To call it culture shock underestimates what I’ve been through, and still going through actually. It’s still an adjustment phase for me, one that I feel will stretch for quite some time.

The adjustment involves dealing with a different way of doing things, or a certain way of not doing things. More people, more challenging personalities, more (impossible, ahem) tasks, more sleepless nights. The stress level has been so high I feel like my feet has yet to touch ground.

To thicken the plot, the tables have been turned and I’m  now a manager. (I got that promotion I was talking about in my blog post here) You know how bosses are always portrayed as the monsters in TV and movies, like in Horrible Bosses? Being a new boss, I don’t want to come across as pushy and mean, but I also don’t want my staff to see me as weak and insipid. (Although if I looked like Jennifer Aniston, I’d probably get away with it!) It’s a tricky balancing act that I haven’t fully grasped yet. My mentality is still that of a worker bee, not the queen bee.

To be put in an environment like this far from your support group of family and friends is agonizing. Although some co-workers have been quite understanding and sympathetic, it’s really not enough. I find myself counting down to Friday, desperate for the haven of home in Dumaguete despite the 5-hour travel back and forth. Friday can’t come fast enough. I now dread Sundays, the day I have to travel back to Cebu.

I know it’s only been four months, but looking back I can already tick off several harrowing mini-storms that I’ve survived for my baptism of fire. Plus, there’s the upcoming 48-hour coverage for the Philippine elections. I shudder just thinking about it.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve faced many fears already: fear of hosting, of delegating tasks to other people, of making executive decisions, the list can go on. But things are looking better now, actually. My Dad was right: the first time is always the hardest.

(Photo: That’s me on the left co-hosting a Kapihan forum.)

I wish there was a honeymoon period for me. What I got instead is a babe-in-the-woods, sink or swim experience. There was no mentoring period, the switch from staff to boss was quite abrupt. There was no time for me to test out the new cap and find a comfortable fit. But this is how dogs learn how to swim, right? Just throw them into the water, and they’ll eventually learn how to paddle.

Like I said, sink or swim. Right now, I’m somewhere in between.

4 thoughts on “Working in Cebu aka Culture Shock

  1. this is random, but I saw your old blogger and it has an awesome theme, but I cant find where do download it anywhere (the website hosting it closed). I was wondering if you knew, or had an .xml template still lying around that I could use?

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