263 – On A Midyear Pandemic Update

It has been more than two weeks since I last published an entry, back when Manila was put under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18. The downgrading to a more stringent quarantine came after calls from medical frontliners who feared that the country’s medical capacity would be overwhelmed by the rise of COVID-19 cases.

Fortunately, the Philippine capital was restored to the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) after that fortnight. However, establishments implemented stricter measures – which included quarantine passes, face shields (which the government also made mandatory) and contact tracing forms upon entry.

A lot of things have also happened on my end in that short span of time, so I’ll let this post talk more about those. I’ll divide it into two main sections.

Out with the old, in with the new

Remember the new job I was proud of mentioning in this post from April? You guessed it right—I left that place. Out of the frying pan into the fire, to put it succinctly. Three major factors led me to leaving that job after only five months.

The cabin fever caused by the work-from-home setup affected me in multiple ways, as someone used to commuting. Filipino psychologist Dr. Randy Dellosa explained that the difficulty in working from home sometimes stems from the fact that working time and family time is blurred. I’m inclined to believe Dr. Dellosa’s explanation as he used to be the resident psychologist of the local Big Brother franchise here in the Philippines. If there’s anyone who has the credentials to talk about people locked at home for long period, it’s definitely him.

Another factor would be the job mismatch. My skills have been mainly focused on writing long-form content, editing for ESL, and proofreading. However, I did not know that the post required some degree of knowledge in Google Ads, Google Analytics and SEO – and I only have a rudimentary idea of SEO from my previous jobs. The only things that matched my skill set would be blog writing and project coordination – and I even had to familiarize myself with British English for the latter. It took some time for me to learn the ropes but it was smooth sailing once I did.

Lastly, I’m dedicating a rather long section to the third factor: culture clashes with my manager. Let me ask you a question. What do you do when you have a manager that clearly plays favorites, gets mad at you for their errors, and always makes it a point to insult you every day in the guise of “Australian humor”? You run for the hills.

A lot of articles about job attrition talk about people leaving managers instead of jobs, and it definitely proved true in my case. I don’t mind the lack of urgency, but the habit of pushing people and demanding deliverables at the last minute is something I take offense with. The damage this manager caused was so intense that I started having anxiety attacks midway. Regardless of that, I’m glad that I no longer have to deal with this manager. My animosity by the time I left was so intense – that I chose not to send that manager a parting email after initially planning to send a strongly-worded one.

Even my last day from the job was cancelled, as I was unable to visit the office to turn over my company-issued laptop and peripherals. It so happened that the building where my office was located had a COVID-19 case, prompting a lockdown and disinfection. The HR officer then booked a Grab motorcycle to pick up the company laptop at my place and deliver it to the person taking over me. Once everything was packed up and sealed, I gave it to the Grab rider and took some pictures for documentation. A text message from the recipient confirming that the laptop was delivered, and all was well.

I must admit that looking for work in this time of pandemic was difficult. But the persistence paid off and I managed to land a new job – and it’s a few blocks away from the French company I worked before! As of this typing, I’m two weeks into my new job and still working from home – albeit from my own laptop. My outputs get trimmed by the editors but I don’t mind at all. I hope I stay here for at least a year so I can finally pursue graduate studies!

New normal, new formats, new approaches

Now that we’ve set the job-related sharing aside, it’s time for me to proceed with some of my plans for this blog in light of the current situation.

Let’s face it – this pandemic changed the way people eat. A lot of establishments have closed down or readjusted their operations entirely. Limited seating capacity, physical distancing, restricted movement for people, and prohibited mass gatherings are affecting the food and beverage sector. Food delivery apps are proving to be the disruptors in this pandemic as more and more people stay home.

With this change, I’m also changing how I create new entries here. No more restaurant reviews for the time being, given that the Philippine government is restricting the unnecessary movement of people to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Instead, I’ll be debuting a new post format harnessing the take-away system some restaurants have (tapau as the Singaporeans call it.) There might be significantly long delays in between posts as my current work from home setup does not allow me to simply leave the house and review food spots.

I still get the occasional flood-likes from random non-Asian foreigners – Caucasians, Arabs, Blacks, and what-have-you – trying to get my attention, but I guess we can’t change that. Equally worse are the content sites with their clickbait titles trying to get my attention – which they did, alright…but not in a positive way. Likes are likes so we have to milk ‘em for what they’re worth! Although it still puzzles me up to this day: why are these annoying gweilos trying to get my attention when I clearly write for an Asian audience? I actually appreciate the commenters (regardless of race) who actually take their time to think of a decent comment before pressing the Submit button, but they’re few and far in between.

Since WordPress doesn’t address them, and getting a geoblocker plug-in requires a premium account – I’ll just have to live with them for a while. But if the spamming doesn’t stop and the message still isn’t received…I’ll be forced to rain fire. One just got a verbal shakedown.

Until the next post!

8 thoughts on “263 – On A Midyear Pandemic Update

  1. Congrats on finding a new job! If simply going to work every day is that stressful, it’s a clear sign to leave. Look forward to your takeaway reviews 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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