Support Arm: Extending our Service to the CommunityEmployee Journals
“Having to give back during the pandemic is a privilege that everyone does not have and must be done by those who are given such opportunity.”
This statement has been engraved in my mind ever since the country was placed under lockdown last March 2020.
I’ve been working for RareJob for almost 7 years in the Operations Department as a supervisor for two teams. One team handles disputes and concerns from students and our Tokyo counterparts, while the other deals with concerns and requests from tutors 20 hours per day, 7 days a week, holidays included. With this, I could say my teams are the “front-liners” of the company and must represent RareJob to our clients at their best at all times.
When the lockdown was implemented, we were very fortunate to be one of the first teams to be given the work-from-home benefit of the company despite limited manpower. It was a difficult adjustment as my leadership style is more personal and requires face to face communication. I had to check both the tutor operations and all my staff’s well-being at all times.
The first few months were exhausting; the lack of sleep and limited interaction from the outside world affected everyone’s mentality. Together, with the help of our manager and my team members, we managed to adapt, one step at a time. We introduced and placed internal guidelines, daily touch base, Kamustahan, and buddy sessions. We also took every opportunity to join online company-initiated activities such as events and contests.
Aside from the working style and management, we had to adjust our mindsets. Despite feeling the work pressure, we always go back to the thought that we are part of the lucky few who were able to keep sustainable jobs and continuously provide for ourselves and our families – a luxury that should not be taken for granted during these times. One of my members even said that we now started to appreciate the smaller things like the free lunch provided by the company, or even just being able to personally see and bond with our officemates.
Having this mindset, we started to plan on how we can give back to the community. Simultaneously, HR announced the resumption of our company activities, albeit online. We decided to conceptualize our entries and how we can win these contests starting with the Halloween Costume Contest, and a video competition, from which we bagged first place.
The next plan was to win the Year-end party talent contest as it had a bigger prize. We had simple ideas which we believed were impactful, especially with the ongoing pandemic. Although we only won the consolation prize as there were so many good entries, we were still able to save from the previous contest prizes and proceed with our initiative.
With the prize money plus the monthly representation allowance we received from the company, we were able to purchase necessities for the Social Development Center in Caloocan. This center is specifically for kids and elderly who have no families to support them. At first, we wanted to help the communities affected by Rolly, but we realized that the center needed our help more as they have no means to provide for themselves, and are sometimes overlooked since more charities were focused on the typhoon victims.
I talked to our manager and the first thing he said is to guarantee the safety of our staff and ensure that protocols are strictly observed. We coordinated with a social worker, and for the welfare of everyone involved, we were only allowed to give the donations in the reception area to reduce the risk exposure. It was a good thing that we pushed through with it, as the social worker mentioned that there were only a few people who sent donations ever since the pandemic started.
With my two team members, Marikit and Krizza, we drove to Caloocan. Upon arrival, we weren’t actually expecting to see any children, but we saw two being dropped off at the center. Seeing those children broke our hearts. At first you would think, “How can a parent be so heartless and leave their kid to someone else?” However, these people might have been put in a situation wherein they needed to give their children up because they envisioned a better life for them. We shouldn’t judge those decisions and actions as we are not in their position.
Overall, this experience showed that no matter how busy we are at work, coupled with the fact that we are not physically working together, it is still possible to conduct such activities that empower us to be kinder to those less fortunate and give back to the community. Our company is all about giving chances and opportunities to everyone – that is something that we should always take to heart.
My goal as a supervisor is to develop my staff in terms of their growth in the company, and at the same time, make them more socially aware and responsible individuals. I know that some of their actions, decisions, and learnings acquired under my leadership will forever impact their lives. They are, after all, giving part of their lives to work with me, and and with RareJob.
And so, whether or not they stay in the company or seek better opportunities in another, I’m proud to say that I’ve shared necessary skills and values any company would want its employees to have. That, I think, is the best experience and learning I’ll forever cherish throughout this lifetime.
A Virtual Hug: Keeping Employees Involved
When I was still planning for college, I honestly did not see myself working as an HR professional because I had other plans in mind. It was my mom’s idea that I pursue a BS Degree in Psychology and go into the Human Resources field, which she believed was the most suitable job for me. I did not understand what she meant at first, but I chose to go for it. As years passed, I came to realize that she was right – I am actually happy with where I am now.
Far From Home: Conquering Distance as a Family
With plenty of opportunities available in NCR, quite a few job seekers from the province find themselves entering the market in the metro. This does not come without its own cons, however; most of the time, people end up moving away from their families, only being able to visit them a few times a month. After the onset of the pandemic, we can only imagine how much more challenging this has become.