Monday, July 31, 2006

Get up and go back

A recent acquaintance sent me an email: "I really didn't like the last minute planning and the poor scheduling of my job, including 2 last minute travels. That was not a part of what I was told before coming here. So now I've gone back to (insert country of residence here)."

The person in question was recently sent here to work, and then upped and left within 5 weeks. I'm sure there was more to it than the sentence above, but it seems that the action was taken without much preamble. Leaves a few questions in my mind, the first being, would I ever do that? Just turn around and walk away from a job? And if I were being posted overseas, pack my bags and fly home?

I can understand not agreeing with the job description, or feeling conflicted with the way things are being handled. But I would probably negotiate the terms first and find a way to come to some amicable solution. Perhaps I'm just a peaceable kind of gal. Try not to rock the boat till it's absolutely certain things aren't going to work. Then I'd leave. After a 15 day notice. Tidy my things, make sure my fish tank was ready for the move.

In my first post back in Manila, I worked with Ann, she was a consultant for our program and had been living in Manila so long she knew the jeepney routes better than most Pinoys. I believe her husband was also working for a USAID project, so they had been settled for sometime, but with the knowledge that one day they'd have to leave. Ann kept a couple of guppies in her fishtank, and over the two years I worked with her they stayed healthy and happy. She told me it was the combination of the fresh aquatic plants and the snails (yes, live snails) that would clean the tank walls. No need for an oxygen filtration system. All organic.

When Ann's husband's contract was over, she, too, followed suit. But what to do with the fish and the tank? As I was the only one who seemed to have any interest in taking care of the thing, she passed it on to me. 6 years later, the guppies are long gone, as are 8 other fish who lived and died in that tank. The longest lasting fish was a male orange fish (I assume it was male as was told to me by the fish store), who, living on his own, was accused by my work mates and friends of being seriously deprived of female companionship. Rather they accused me of depriving him of a life. Well, it seemed to give him longevity. He lasted 4 years swimming solo.

My fishtank is currently occupied by the plants and the snails, sans fish. I've been meaning to replace my orange fish, but as he had kept me company, silent though he was, I feel it might be traitorous to plop a new fish in so soon. At least a year's mourning would be proper form in memory of fish.

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