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Finally, after being jobless for 1 ½ years after my graduation, I now have a good job in a good company.  I say it is a good job because it fits my qualifications, e.g. my college degree, my interests and my needs.  I say good company because its compensation package is good and the people (my boss and colleagues) are all nice to me.


I want to stay in this company.  Will you give me some tips that will help me become a good employee so that I will retain my job and even progress in my career?  Am I an “eager beaver”?


Mr. Eager Beaver



Congratulations for wanting to be successful in your first job and desiring to build your career in your company!  You are the first person who has written me who is not seeking advice on a work/career issue.  Your great desire is to be good in your job, so that you can keep it, the company can keep you and you can advance in your career.

In my book Managing Work and Career (New Day publishers, 2003) I wrote a chapter on “Get a New Start in your New Job” and another on “How to Keep Your Job” from which I’ll be quoting pertinent portions.

Most likely you will be on probation for six months during which you are going to be closely observed by how well and how fast you learn how to do your job according to the standards of your supervisor, by your work behaviors (such as punctuality on time and on submission of work) and by your work attitudes .  The high quality and timeliness of your work, your ability to get along with your supervisor and peers, your teachability, your continuous efforts to improve yourself and what you do, etc. — all these are observed and evaluated.


To be successful in your job requires the following things:

  • Knowing the duties and responsibilities of your job and doing them well.
  • Knowing the required competencies required to do these duties and responsibilities and making sure that you acquire these competencies.
  • Knowing and appreciating your company: its mission, vision and core values and how these values are to be expressed in behaviors, attitudes and performance.
  • Having a good and positive interpersonal relationship with your team leader/supervisor and co-team members.
  • Participating actively during meetings.
  •  Having an attitude of continuous improvement of your outputs and the process you use to produce them.
  • Fast tracking your own development.


Do Excellent Work.  Clarify with your team leader/manager your understanding of the duties and responsibilities of your position, the standards of performance, timetables, and the like.  These standards are used to evaluate your work outputs.  Ask your leader how  he/she wants a task to be done, what are the results expected of you, and by when, in quantitative and qualitative terms.  In fact, it’s not enough to meet the current standards.  You have to exceed these standards.  An example: if you are in sales, ‘making two more calls”, exceeding the monthly quota by 50%, giving a complete report a week before it is due, and the like.  You do not merely satisfy your customer; you must delight them; make them your “raving fans” — jargons that we have barrowed from the US corporate world.


Required Competencies.  When you develop competencies required to perform your job according to the standards of your internal customers, you are also developing yourself and acquiring personal mastery that results in your feeling self-empowered.  You will be appraised by the level you have progressed on these competencies on a continuum.


Know and Appreciate your Company.    Know and understand the mission, vision and core values of your company.  Know its products and services.  If you are working in a consumer company, be sure that you use and patronize its products and services and not those of its competitors. Market your company’s products and services among members of your family, relatives and friends.

The core values are what make one company different from another.  They affect all aspects of the business – from the quality of products produced or what kind of service is given external customers, to how employees (internal customers) are treated.  They determine what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.  A new employee must be sensitive to what behaviors are approved of or censured, and listen to his team leader/manager and the senior team members on  what “should” or “should not” be done.


Good and Positive Interpersonal Relationships.   You must be sensitive to how you affect others.  Understand how your work responsibilities and outputs affect your team leader/manager and your peers, and how their work, in turn, affects you.  Your team leader/manager is your No.1 Customer; it is his/her standards that prevail.  So you must frequently seek his/her feedback on how he/she evaluates your work and seek his/her suggestions on how to improve it. Be a team player. Be helpful to your co-team members so that they, in turn, will help you when you need their help.  The quality (accuracy, completeness, etc.) of your work and your dependability in meeting deadlines will make them trust you.  Doing a re-work or repeat job is expensive.


Active Participation During Meetings.  Add your value to every meeting that you attend by active participation.  Be  prepared for meetings  by knowing the agenda so that you can do your research and contribute useful opinions and researched data.  No-no’s during meetings include: texting or making calls thru your cellphone, bringing your work and doing it while the meeting is on-going, holding another meeting with others, or looking bored and yawning. These are negative behaviors that show disrespect for the one conducting the meeting and for those who are participating.


An Attitude of Continuous Improvement.   If you do your job mechanically, that’s the start of boredom.  There are senior employees who do the same things year in and year out because they are settled in their “comfort zone”.  Continue to improve your output and your process.  Never be contented with the “bahala na”, “ok na ‘yan”, “pwede n’yan”, and the like kind of output.  Seek the opinions and suggestions of your external and internal customers on how you can improve.  Ask your team leader how your work can be improved.  Challenge yourself to build lasting relationship with your external customers so that they continue to prescribe your products and be loyal customers.


Fast-track Your Development.  Having a career goal towards which you focus your learning and development will help you see opportunities when you recognize them.  The notion of career advancement as “moving up “is no longer possible in today’s “lean and mean” organizations.  Promotion to the next step in the ladder is hard to come by.  Career moves are often lateral and this is advantageous because you will be acquiring additional competencies.  Welcome multiple tasking as a way of acquiring more and varied skills.  Being multi-tasked, multi-skilled or using your multiple talents will increase your career options.  If you have a good relationship with your boss because you are helping him/her meet his/her team goals, you can ask him/her to coach you in areas where you can still improve.  Cross-functional teams being the way projects are now done will expose you to varied work environments and to interact with a diversity of people.


Doing your work excellently according to the standards of your internal and external customers, enjoyment of your work, and continuously improving it, will get you off to a good start in your new job.


No, you are not an eager beaver.  You re an enthusiastic beginner ready and willing to conquer the world!  Do not be disillusioned though if things do not go as you expect them.  Continue to be self-motivated in doing the above suggestions.  You will eventually reap the fruits of your proactivity.


God bless you.

I’ve just been regularized and I’m very happy about this because  I like the company I’m working for and the people I’m working with, including our supervisor.  My problem is:  our supervisor and our manager hardly speak to each other.  Our supervisor feels very hurt that our department manager got the promotion to her present position when in fact she, our supervisor, had been made to believe she should have been the one promoted, being more senior and more capable.

Our department manager goes directly to us to ask questions or seek clarification and sometimes gives us tasks to do without going through our supervisor.  Our supervisor resents our manager going directly to us bypassing her.  The problem is we, the rank-and-file, are in a difficult situation.  What should we do?  I am one of those to whom our supervisor complains about our manager going directly to us.  I don’t know how to react to her when she complains about our manager, and to our manager when she comes to me for information or clarification, and especially when she tells me to do some work for her.  Who of them should I follow?  Is this what is called “office politics”?  What shall I do?

Miss Very Confused


I can understand your and your colleagues’ dilemma about the situation you are all in.  You report directly to your immediate supervisor and she is the one who gives you assignments and tasks to do, evaluates and appraises your performance. If your department manager asks for information or clarification from you and you are in a position to give this information, you should do so.  If the manager asks you to do some tasks for her, you have to do them for, after all, she is the manager of the entire department.   But always keep your supervisor informed about her requests.  If your supervisor resents your accommodating the requests of your manager, then ask your supervisor how she would want you to respond in a polite manner, “Ma’am, what should I have done?” you can ask.   I suggest you open up to your supervisor about the difficult situation you are in and ask her what she wants you to do because you are confused.

When your supervisor complains to you about her manager, you can just listen to her, look at her directly in the eye, and just nod your head.  Then you can simply respond with “I understand how you feel, Ma’am”.  It’s obvious that she wants sympathy from you and assurance that you are on her side.  But stay out of the conflict.

When your peers talk against one or another superior, don’t participate, not even listen to them.  Politely excuse yourself.

Yes, this is a form of office politics when people show who has more power than the other and expect their respective employees to take sides.

In empowered organizations, employees work together as a team, setting aside or working out differences openly to achieve common objectives that bring the desired results. Sadly, the conflict between your superiors prevent your department from being empowering and working as a team.

God bless you.


Josie O.  Santamaria is a professional psychologist, certified life coach, a career coach and management consultant.  She is the president of Career Systems, Inc., a management and human resource training and consulting company, operating for the past 30 years.   For more information about her and Career Systems, Inc., log on to www.careersystems.com.ph. She can be reached for advice on work/career issues thru her email address: josantamaria@careersystems.com.ph 

Can you blame me if I feel hurt that the high potential person (HPP) that I had coached and mentored no longer gives me credit for my role in training and developing him?  Pete (not his real name) had been one of the HPPs assigned to me to develop and prepare for a future responsible position.  I took personal interest in him, sharing with him all that I knew thereby developing not only his competencies but also his attitudes, work ethics and personality. I also let him in on the corporate culture, and the unwritten dos and don’ts in our organization.  On his part, he absorbed what was taught to him and was a very fast learner.

As he rose in his career in our company he would sometimes point to me as the one who taught him most of the things he knew. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for him [pointing to me]” I felt so proud of myself and of him.

Years later came the shock of my life:  I was moved over to a less central role in the organization and Pete was promoted to replace me!  Perhaps he sensed my deep hurt so he was apologetic.  Since I couldn’t afford to resign because by then I was already in my 50s, I accepted the “bitter pill”.  Pete’s star continued to shine and lately he is preparing himself for assignment to our global head quarters in the USA, a dream of mine that was never realized.

But the most devastating part is that since he was promoted to my position and has taken over my department, he had not given me credit as the one who had developed him as he had done in his earlier years with our company.

I don’t know how to handle myself.  Please help me.

                                                                                                Mr. Waning Star

You want Pete to give credit to you for his fast-track career which includes being promoted to your position and garnering an international assignment which you had failed to achieve. Your need for recognition is heightened all the more as you see your stature slowly diminishing in your organization.

How to handle yourself?  Handle yourself with dignity.  Be happy! How?

Consider the following things that should change your attitudes towards yourself, the mentoring role and towards the people you mentored.  With paradigm shift, should come a better appreciation of yourself, of the role of mentors, and of your expectation from people you had mentored.  In this way, you’ll preserve your integrity and dignity and be happy.

First, accept the reality of corporate life.  What’s important for an organization to thrive is to have the kind of people that will bring it to success in a dynamic and highly competitive business environment.  The nature of the competencies required to steer an organization to success changes.  See your mentoring of Pete as your having prepared him to succeed you.  Every manager must prepare for his succession.  Instead of thinking of Pete as the one who replaced you, think of him as having succeeded you, and that you prepared him for this succession.

Second. What you did to and for Pete was what the organization wanted you to do.  You could not have done otherwise.  That you were given a mentoring role to develop future leaders of your organization was recognition of your expertise in your profession or functional area.  You were compensated for the time you spent with Pete and other HPPs that you had mentored.  That you took the assignment of mentoring seriously because you gave it your all was a credit to you.  Perhaps this was reflected in your boss’ appraisal of you.

Third.  While you were developing the young HPPs, you were also developing yourself, enhancing your own IQ and EQ competencies as well as your technical skills.  So mentoring was mutually beneficial. You honed your technical skills and you communicated them effectively to the HPP.  If Pete is no longer pointing to you as having mentored him, perhaps he thinks he had already done this in the past as you yourself wrote.

Fourth.  The role of mentor is very important to an organization’s growth and survival because a mentor contributes to the retention of HPPs who desire growth and development. One of the reasons why promising employees leave the company is the lack of opportunity for their growth and development.  A mentor also shapes the mind and heart of a promising employee according to the culture of the company. Mentors ensure the growth of their profession, the organization and talented newcomers.

Your talents and skills come from God who expects you to share them with those who need and can benefit from them.  Being a mentor has enabled you to exercise your stewardship of the gifts God has given you. So welcome and be grateful when you are given mentoring assignments.

Fifth, perform the best you can in your new role since you yourself said you can’t afford to quit.  Be thankful that you have a job to do.  Therefore, do it the best you can so you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, be happy, feel good and be proud of yourself that you have contributed to the growth of Pete, to the growth of your profession, to the growth and stability of your organization.

Don’t expect any award or formal recognition from the company and from the HPPs that you were assigned to mentor. Give yourself a pat on your back for your contribution to the growth and stability of your company and the retention of its precious human assets.

God bless you.



Josie O.  Santamaria is a professional psychologist, certified life coach, a career coach and management consultant.  She is the president of Career Systems, Inc., a management and human resource training and consulting company, operating for the past 30 years.   For more information about her and Career Systems, Inc., log on to www.careersystems.com.ph. She can be reached for work/career issues thru her email address: josantamaria@careersystems.com.ph 

I have recently been promoted to head a division as its manager, and I have charge over three supervisors and 10 associates reporting to them.  All of us, including myself, are technical people. I am both happy and anxious about this career advancement because, to tell you the truth, I don’t like responsibility over people.  When my superior told me about my promotion, I told him that I preferred a promotion to a technical position as I admitted I had neither skills nor inclination to work with people.  I can not be passionate about work that includes important aspects not related to my preferred interest.  However, my boss assured me I can learn if I put my heart into it.  He also told me that he would make me take leadership and management seminars to help me.  Can I really learn?  Is it just a matter of the heart? How? Will taking a training program change me?

                                                                                                Mr. Skeptic

I agree with your superior.  You can learn to like doing management functions if you put your heart into it. I can think of three ways to do this. First, start with a paradigm shift; change the way you think.  Replace the negative thought of “I don’t like to handle people”, with the positive, “I can work with people and I will like doing it.”  How do you bring about this paradigm shift?  It is very important that you see the benefits to you, to your company and to your subordinates in performing a management role.  In a technical job, you do the tasks by yourself; in a manager’s role, your associates do the tasks so that you can deliver the results that you are accountable for. To accomplish this, you develop, coach and motivate them to do these tasks according to standards that you communicate to them assertively.

In his book How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor wrote:  “If you want to help other people, be a manager of people.  If done  well, management is among the most noble of professions.”  Indeed it is!

Benefits to your subordinates/associates.  A manager with responsibility over people (one can be a manager with no one reporting to him/her) has the responsibility, the opportunity and the satisfaction of contributing to the growth and development of people.  You coach them to do tasks better, can observe how they grow in their levels of competence, can detect those with potentials for future management roles in the organizations, and contribute to their career advancement.  You promote their work engagement and contribute to successful completion of tasks.  You help them experience job/career satisfaction and motivate them to continue being productive and be assets to your company.   One of the important factors that disillusion talented employees and make them leave the company is the lack of opportunities for growth and development and for career advancement.

Benefits to your organization.  A feature article on Ms. Fatima de Vera Francisco, the only female and first Asian to hold the position of Global VP for Sales and Marketing of Global Proctor and Gamble, quoted her as saying that:  “The most important role of a leader is handpicking the right talent, giving them challenging roles and continually investing in their development so they become future leaders of the company”. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday, October 9, 2011, B1)

By mentoring your direct reports whom you consider to be high potentials, you not only develop the competencies required for future positions, but also shape their attitudes and values in line with the culture of the company.  After coaching and mentoring your direct reports, you have the opportunity to follow-through to see if they have acquired the competencies and have grown in the process.   Through your own role modeling and the skillful use of positive reinforcement, you are able to develop good and positive habits that become the foundation of  a good character.

Benefits to you.  By increasing the value of your employees, you benefit as well.  By developing your employees, you empower them to contribute to your own success and to your own career advancement.  As you see them grow and develop, you experience a sense of pride, achievement and fulfilment which enhances your self-esteem and self-empowerment. Very important, you perform your stewardship accountability by sharing with them your God-given talents to increase their value to your organization.  You can not experience this intrinsic satisfaction and joy by working with data and things.

Second. Just do it.  Talk with your employees while looking at them eyeball-to-eyeball, and listen to them attentively when they speak to you.  Compliment them sincerely for doing the right things.  Give recognition for successful task accomplishments.  You will learn effective communication skills, giving of positive and corrective feedback, giving them different types of recognition, etc. by applying the skills you learn from leadership and management training programs that you attend diligently and seriously.  The practice of leadership and management skills such as those of communication can be one of your daily work objectives leading to your own professional growth. .

Third, give yourself a pat on your back when you have pleasant interactions with your associates.  Proof of pleasant interactions is that they approach you, ask you for your opinions and suggestions, and feel comfortable in your presence.  As you observe these approach behaviors on their part, you will feel good about yourself and about them.

Sounds simple?  It is if you make things happen.

God bless you as He gives you the grace you need to shepherd the people your company gives to you.


Josie O.  Santamaria is a professional psychologist, certified life coach, a career coach and management consultant.  She is the president of Career Systems, Inc., a management and human resource training and consulting company, operating for the past 29 years.   For more information about her and Career Systems, Inc., log on to www.careersystems.com.ph. She can be reached for work/career issues thru her email address josantamaria@careersystems.com.ph 

Can you ever imagine that in this day and age there is a “prima donna” in our company? People in our office, and this includes me, tolerate her abrasive behaviors—shouting and yelling at people when she is angry or frustrated. People in our company talk against her behind her back but nobody, not even her boss and our President, can talk to her about her temper outbursts.  The President of our company, a kind gentleman, just smiles and shakes his head.


She thinks she is our company’s most valuable asset because she is a genius in marketing. Our company is also losing other assets, particularly some of our sales supervisors who left our company because of her.  In fact, two of my productive sales supervisors had resigned because she yelled at them in front of their sales representatives and store personnel.  I report to her sales counterpart and we implement her and her group’s marketing strategies.


I don’t want to leave the company because of her.  But I just don’t know how to deal with her.  I’m angry at myself for putting up with her but I don’t know how else to react in the situations when I was the victim of her fury.   It frustrates me no end that she just gets her way by being abrasive.


By the way, she is still single at 38 yrs. of age.


Mr. Helpless


Your and others’ silence only serves to reinforce her temper outbursts and abrasive behaviors. She doesn’t seem to notice what your silence means, nor does she care about how others feel because of the way they are treated.  Does she know that she caused the resignation of some sales supervisors including your own?  Is she referred to as a “most valuable asset” or is that how she perceives herself because she can get away with her aggressive behaviors?  Should you continue to ignore her abrasive behaviors and pretend you are not bothered by it?  This is what all of you have been doing.


Your “by the way”, indicates that she must be suffering from “emotional deficit” i.e., feeling rejected and unloved.  But we are not here to delve into her past.  What’s important is what you can do to influence her to stop her aggressive behaviors towards you, since you are bothered enough to seek help.


A few years ago, the president of a company referred to me for executive coaching a member of his management team, a woman who was head of one department and directly reporting to him.  The impetus was the result of a 3800 feedback survey which shocked the lady boss.  She couldn’t believe the low ratings and comments she received from her own boss (the president himself), her peers, her subordinates and some external customers.  Her self-image was shattered.  So when she was asked if she needed help in handling her emotions and behaviors, she was open to it.  I worked with her for almost two months and involved the president, some of her peers, and direct reports in the change process.  The project was successful because she was willing to change and to ask help.


You appear helpless in handling your working relationship with her.  You can, however, do two things proactively so that you shall have done some things that might yield a positive result, rather than doing nothing and agonizing about your helplessness.  If the present condition persists, you will continue to suffer; this will affect your mental and emotional health and eventually your physical health.


I would suggest for you to use a combination of both direct and indirect approaches:


  1. Direct approach.  I believe in prayer since only God can change people. So pray first.  Make an appointment and talk to her one-on-one.  Describe her behaviors to you in specific situations and how you felt.  Do not speak about how others feel and react. Just speak for yourself.


In coaching seminars that I conduct to address performance deficiencies, I introduce a method of giving constructive feedback.  It follows the acronym DESC.

D – escribe the negative behavior of the person to you and in what situation.  Do not judge or evaluate the person.

E – express how you felt about  this negative behavior

S – pecify how the person could have behaved instead

C – ite the positive consequences to you and to the person of the latter had behaved as in S above


As an example – say the following to her in as calm a manner as you can:


D – “In our meeting this morning you asked me for the source of my data.  When I could not immediately reply, you raised your voice and said “There you go again! You are never prepared with your source.  Could you be inventing only what you are telling us?”


E – “I felt so humiliated! That was only the second time that I couldn’t cite my source as soon as you asked for it.  And for you to say that I could be inventing only what I was telling you was even more humiliating.  I do have my source but couldn’t immediately recall it as fast as you wanted it.  To tell you the truth, I feel nervous and tense when you raise your voice at me.”


S – “I wish you would avoid shouting at me during meetings and accusing me of inventing my data.”


C – “If you had expressed your disappointment to me in private, I would not have been embarrassed and it would have been easy for me to accept my shortcoming and apologized for it.  In this way, I would feel that you respect me.”


The DESC should be given in this sequence and as soon as possible.  It must be given in private


To be able to say the above DESC requires self-control of your emotions.  Writing down a script of what you will say enables you to collect your thoughts, edit what you have written and feel emotionally relieved after you’ve written it.


If she interrupts you while you are delivering it, stop and listen to her.  Then you continue your delivery until you finish your C.  Thank her for listening to you.  Then leave her office quietly.  Give yourself a pat on your back for having told her what was in your heart.


  1. Indirect approach.  Talk to her boss and describe your experience with her and your observation of her behaviors to you and to the others in your sales team.  Cite specific instances of what made your two direct reports resign from the company because of her.


The company has spent a big sum of money in recruiting qualified people, developing and training them, only to lose them because of the way they are treated.


The boss is the only one who has authority over her.  If her boss does not do anything but continues to tolerate her, then you just have to manage your “pain” if you choose to stay in the company.  Its just like a terminal illness where no medicine can remove the pain of the patient.  The patient’s doctor just prescribes pain management.


May God bless your efforts to become His agent of change.


Josie O.  Santamaria is a professional psychologist, a certified life coach, a career coach and management consultant.  She is the president of Career Systems, Inc., a management and human resource training and consulting company, operating for the past 29 years.   For more information about her and Career Systems, Inc., log on to www.careersystems.com.ph. She can be reached for work/career issues thru her email address josantamaria@careersystems.com.ph 

I like the company where I’m now working for more than a year.  The compensation is OK;  I’m single and so it’s adequate.  However, I don’t think I fit and I’m unhappy.  My boss is distant to me and so are the other members of our unit.  I know I do excellent work (modesty aside) and I’m a hard worker but my boss never compliments me.   I don’t know if I have hurt him when I did what he asked us, his team, to do:  to read his report to the management committee before submitting it, to make improvements in it and to give him suggestions.  I made a lot of corrections, using red ink.  Instead of thanking me, he was again silent.  When I had a chance to see his final report, I saw that he incorporated many of my corrections and suggestions.  Is he insecure?

During our weekly unit meetings, when I report or express my opinions when I’m called or when I volunteer, my boss and colleagues don’t say anything.  In fact I see some exchange glances.  I feel I’m just wasting my time during these meetings.  I don’t know what to do.

                                                                                    Mr. Unhappy and Confused


You want recognition from your boss for what you do so that you would know whether you are doing right and if he approves of it; instead, you only get silence.  You want a “pat on the back” for the “excellent work” you do; again, silence.  You want to have a sense of belonging to your team; instead they respond with indifference.

How about reflecting on your attitudes and the actions that they convey to the people with whom you work?  You perceive yourself to be doing excellent work and are a hard worker.  With this self-image, you probably feel superior and show this non-verbally through your facial expression (which you don’t see), your gestures and body language, some of which you are unaware of.  You may think you are hiding your feelings but everybody knows them from your behaviors.  Attitudes of arrogance and resentment that we bring to our work are never under wraps; they are reflected in everything we do or don’t do, in everything we say or don’t say.  They are seen and heard by others who give meaning to them.

Your attitudes (such as “I feel I’m just wasting my time during these meetings.”) are written all over your face, proclaiming to the world what you think and feel about you, about them (your boss and your colleagues), about your and their work contributions.  When someone makes a mistake or something someone does goes wrong, how you react reveals much about you. Attitudes are always seen in everything you do: how you walk and talk, greet or don’t greet others, smile or don’t smile, listen attentively when someone is speaking or not, etc.  These negative attitudes and behaviors will get you ignored at best or fired at worst.  In fact, they will derail your career in the company.

The attitudes of your boss and your colleagues towards you are shown in their silence and in their exchange of glances.  No matter how talented and hard-working you think you are, your attitudes towards and interpersonal relationship with the people you work with play a great part in how you are perceived.  Many of these are rated in your performance appraisal.  Take a look at the performance appraisal form and read the items there.  Evaluate yourself realistically on each item.

I suggest that you take a proactive stance and initiate interactions with your boss and with your colleagues.  Remove from your mind that your boss is “distant” and that he never compliments you. Change your paradigm of him; think of him as someone who is simply busy and that he would make time to see you if you make an appointment since you are a part of his team.

Make an appointment with your boss.  If he asks you for what reason, reply with:  “I want to ask your suggestions, Sir, on how I can further improve my work and my ways.”  Be prepared by looking and reviewing the items in the performance appraisal form. On scheduled appointment, look happy, express your thanks to him for making time for you, express yourself assertively, and attentively listen to him when he speaks.

For an opener, I suggest you say. “I want to ask you, Sir, how I can improve my work so that you can depend on my outputs.” If he did his homework, he’ll tell you many things.  Even if you disagree with his feedback, accept them for that is how he sees you. Take down notes so you won’t forget.  Then summarize his suggestions to you.

As for wanting positive feedback for the work you think you did well but about which you are not getting any compliment, I suggest you do the following proactive ways:

  • Ask how he found your work (example: your report, your presentation, corrections if he invited his team to do this.)  Thank him.
  • If he and your colleagues don’t say anything positive, accept them for what they are.  Feel good about yourself and give yourself “a pat” on your back. Say to yourself, “I feel great for having done/said that”.  This is self-affirmation.
  • Give your colleagues sincere positive feedback when it is their turn to present, to give an opinion, etc.  Express sincere appreciation even if you don’t get any from them.
  • Give your boss sincere positive feedback, such as: “Thank you Sir, for listening to me”, or “Your explanation, Sir, of – - – was very clear to me.  Thank you, Sir.”

Be friendly to your colleagues.  Make a list of friendly responses like: smiling at them, greeting them with a smile, offering to help them, taking snacks with them in the pantry, engaging them in small talk, showing interest in their family (if you see a family picture on their table), etc.  Continue doing these even if initially you don’t get friendly reactions from them.  They are still trying to have paradigm shifts about you.


God bless you.



Josie O.  Santamaria

I thought I was in the right career.  I worked hard doing all the things expected of me and enjoyed doing them.  Because of my good performance, I got promoted twice and now at age 34, I’m a supervisor.  But I find that handling my subordinates and motivating them to work as hard as I do is draining me.  So I find myself doing the things that they should be doing and these on top of my work as supervisor.  I find myself drained of energy and zest.  I no longer find enjoyment in my work.  I’m no longer a good mother to two kids who look forward to my arrival at the end of the day so I could help them with their homework and play with them.  I often bring work home which frustrates me no end.

I have only three direct reports.  One of them is older than me and more senior.  He tends to question some of the things I ask him to do.  Sometimes he doesn’t do them at all.  The other one always finishes his work hurriedly so he can do other things that he likes to do such as the internet.  Yet his work does not meet quality standards.  The third subordinate is new and makes mistakes.  But I have no time to develop her as I have many things to do.

I want to change my career to my current strong interest which is to be a chef.  I look forward to weekends when I can prepare delicious meals for my family, read cookbooks and try out new recipes, experiment on new recipes, etc.   The problem is I can not pursue this career because I need my job and the regular pay and the benefits I get.  Changing career will require my time and energy to study culinary arts and gaining mastery to be recognized as a chef.  I can not afford to make this career shift now.

What shall I do in my present job?  Shall I change my career path?

Mrs. Drained Out


You are in the right career but not in the right career path.  You can, however, learn leadership skills for a management career path if only you have the self-motivation.  Withdrawing from your leading role will not help you develop self-confidence and enhance your emotional intelligence.

You are in a management career path which involves delivering your objectives through and with people.  On the other hand, a professional/technical path which you can explore with your superior and with the HR head of your company, requires mastery of skills related to particular tasks in a functional area.  This requires you also to be a coach and mentor by sharing these skills with others in the company or dealing with teams that need your service.   So whether you are in a management or in a professional path, you work or interface with people.

Right now, what you need to do is to develop your assertive communication skills.  Have a one-on-one talk with your senior direct report and ask him what his objection is to doing the tasks you are asking him to do and how he plans to do it, if he has his way.  Be open to his suggestion.  If you like it, let him do it.  If he does it well and delivers it on time, express your appreciation.  Obviously he needs recognition.  As for the second person who hurriedly does his work, you need to call his attention to this habit and tell him that doing the internet during office hours is a no-no.  Give him a list of tasks to be done according to the requirements of his position and the due date of each.  Obviously he is a fast worker and requires more challenging assignments.  Ask him what additional things he can do well.  Give him credit for doing them.  He is a talent that you need to nurture and keep for the company’s talent pool.  As for your third employee who is new, you need to coach her, observe her work performance, give positive feedback for performance according to agreed-on standards, to build her self-confidence and motivation to improve, and give negative feedback to correct wrong work behaviors before she develops bad habits.  By doing this, you make her productive and a contributing member of your team.  You can not just leave her alone, justifying your negligence because you “have many things to do”.  Developing her is your important duty.


Doing the tasks of your employees is not helping them grow and develop and not helping you either.  You are not developing your leadership skills.  This is the reason why you feel exhausted, burned out and drained because you have added their tasks to yours.  Your heavy work load makes you dissatisfied with your work so that you are now thinking of cop-out by changing your career path and even your career.


Being a good supervisor and enjoying it requires a stewardship mindset in which you see that your important  leadership role is developing and enhancing  the knowledge, capabilities and skills of your employees by coaching them and giving them useful feedback on what they do well and correcting them for errors or below-standard performance.  Being able to do this will also make them respect you.  As you develop their skills and enhance their knowledge, your work load will ease up and you will have time to do the things that only you can do.  You can also have time for your family.


It is important though that you see your supervisory role as a privilege given you to contribute to the success of your company by developing its human assets.  Be open to learn the important leadership tool of coaching your direct reports, learning assertive communication skills, assessing the performance of your direct reports and giving positive reinforcement to maintain productivity at a high level and giving negative feedback to correct behaviors and attitudes.  This can all be learned and when applied on the job consistently, you can see positive results which will enhance your job satisfaction and increase your emotional intelligence as well.


Your inclination towards a career in culinary arts because of your interest, aptitude and skills in cooking and creating recipes, entails substantial time investment which no doubt you have already considered.  With your interest, skills and creativity in cooking, you could be a caterer on week-ends by preparing and marketing your specialty dishes among your neighbors and friends.  As satisfied customers spread your name, your reputation will grow and perhaps this is the time to consider a career change.  But again being a caterer could also be very challenging.  I suggest you interview some caterers and chefs about this possible career option before you seriously consider a career change.


God bless you.



Josie O.  Santamaria


Even before I graduated from college last month with the degree of BSBA major in Marketing, I was already worried about whether I’ll be able to get the right job for me what with thousands of college graduates also looking for jobs.  I know that I should not just get any job but get the right job.  The advertisements for job openings are mostly from call centers but I don’t want to work in a call center company.

How shall I go about looking for the right job?  Please advise me.

Ms. Anxious Job-Seeker


I’m glad that you are aiming to get the right job and not just any job.   Getting the wrong job which is not in line with the course that you took, assuming that marketing is the right career for you, can derail your getting the right job and starting your career.


The right job in your chosen career is one where there is a fit between the requirements of the job on one hand, and your interest, aptitudes, personality and the skills you easily learned and enjoy using, on the other hand.  For example, in marketing the most common entry jobs are market research and sales.   From either of these two entry jobs, your work experience can very well set you off on a marketing career.


To do a successful job hunt, here are my suggestions for you to remove your anxiety and maximize your chance to get the right job:


  1. Develop a network – A network consists of people you know who can furnish you the information you need or refer you to people who can give you the desired information.  Initially, your network consists of your professors in your major subject, your parents, uncles and aunts and their  friends who can refer you  further to their friends and relatives who can give you information on

-           Entry level jobs in your chosen career

-           What these jobs require

-           Where to apply for these jobs i.e., what companies you can apply to and in what industry


Information about the industry is important for you to know the working conditions e.g., working hours, reward system, physical environment, location, etc., which are important for job satisfaction.  Perhaps your dislike to work in a call center is based on information about working conditions.


  1.  Make a list of these entry-level jobs that you gathered from your network, in what companies and industries can these be found.  Scan the advertised job positions that will use the technical skills of your major subject.


  1. Advertise yourself.  Tell people in your network that you are seeking the job positions you have identified.  There may be no job vacancies now but there might be vacancies later as people are moved laterally, resign or are retired.


  1. Look for companies that offer these entry-level jobs.  List down these companies and what industries.  Sources of information: (1) your network,         (2) advertised job vacancies in newspapers, (3) the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in your city government or municipality, (4) job fairs usually held in shopping malls, (5) the internet such as Jobstreet and the PESO’s Phil-job.net.  You register in the latter when you log on to it and you get a list of vacancies; in what companies in the region, city or municipality have these vacancies and whom to contact.  (6) alumni office of your school, etc.  Both your ears and your eyes must be tuned in to information like these.


  1. Make your 1-page Resumé. Prepare a good and attractive Resumé.

There are tips on how to make a Resumé on-line or borrow a book where you can see a format to copy.  A brief Resumé has the following parts.

-       Your picture in the upper right hand corner

-       At the middle of the page your full name, address and contact number(s)

-       Career objective.  This should state your goal for the next five years specifying the position and function and why.  Ex.: In five years I see myself as a sales supervisor in a consumer company, leading a sales team that contributes to the revenue and profitability of our company.

-       Key achievements in school.  List down the organizations of which you were a member, your position in each, and what contributions you made

-       Key competencies.  List down your skills which you learned from formal classes, laboratory, workshops, apprenticeship, on-the-job training, volunteer work, or summer jobs. Include your computer and communication skills.  Examples:  conducting interviews house-to-house, collating and organizing data, summarizing and making reports; speaking to a group with self-confidence; working well with people; etc.

-       Work experience.  List down your apprenticeships, or on-the-job training, summer jobs, etc.  Cite the company, duration, tasks performed and skills learned.


Since you are applying for entry-level positions, there is no need to vary or to tweak the data in your Resumé to fit a certain company or industry you are applying to.


Make sure that your Resumé is pleasing to the eye.  Invest on good 81/2” x 11” paper with your 2×2 picture.  A good Resumé will not get you a job but it will open the door for an interview.


Have copies of your Resumé to give out to those who ask for it.  Write down the names and contact numbers of those to whom you have given your Resumé and do a follow-up on each of them every week or two.  Do this during their break time and respectfully without intruding into their work or rest.


  1. Prepare yourself for a successful interview.  In fact, when you visit a PESO or go to a job fair, be prepared with your Resumé and for the possibility of being interviewed.  Prepare your answers to frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) such as:
  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “What are your strengths “
  • “What are your weaknesses”
  • “Why should we hire you.”


You can look up the internet or books that contain tips to give you an idea on how to answer these and other questions likely to be asked.  My workbook, Career Planning Workbook 5th Edition, sold at National Bookstores, contains a chapter on preparing a Resumé and another chapter, for an interview.


Role play with a friend or sibling how you answer this FAQs so that you will gain the skill and self-confidence to answer them when asked.


Wearing a business attire when you go to a PESO or to a job fair is suggested.  A good rule of thumb for a business attire is this:  for males: slacks, leather shoes with socks, short barong or short-sleeved shirt tucked inside your pants.  Females: slacks, blouse with sleeves and medium heeled shoes.  No-no to denims, jeans and rubber shoes.


  1. Take note of other requirements to get the job you want.  In a study done by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) years ago, recruitment managers cited three factors that led to the failure of college graduates to get entry level positions they applied for.  These are:  (1) lack of, or inadequate, basic entry technical skills; (2) poor impact (i.e., lack of self-confidence as shown in over-all bearing and poise, personality and appearance) and (3) poor communication skills (i.e., difficulty in expressing one’s self in conversational English.


With this in mind, you can boost your employability by practicing and refining your (1) communication skills by speaking and writing in grammatically correct English, reading with comprehension, listening and understanding what the other person is saying, etc; and (2)  computer skills such as Microsoft office (MSWord, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, etc.)  Becoming proficient on these skills is your competitive advantage.


Doing all these will considerably remove or at least minimize your fear of not getting the right job.  The unemployment picture in our country does not really look that grim what with our economy perking up.  The published vacancies on line and in print are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many more job vacancies to be filled by qualified applicants.  Be optimistic that you will get the right job.  Keep faith in God.


God bless you.



Josie O. Santamaria

I hesitated to ask your advice about my problem because it is partly personal.  My husband and I have put up a financial investment consulting service two years ago after we retired from our respective corporate jobs in senior management positions.

We’re both in our late 50s and have two children who are both employed.  We had looked forward to fulfilling our dream and ambition to have our own business in the area of our expertise and enjoy freedom and autonomy from having to report to demanding bosses.  However, we find ourselves clashing on issues ever so often that I am tempted to leave him to our business and go back to corporate life as a consultant.  We both have strong personalities.  Sometimes we have shouting matches in the office and we end up not speaking to each other on our way home and at home.  Our children sense this growing tension in our relationship.  Instead of drawing us closer together, our business relationship is pulling us apart.  Frankly speaking, my last position was higher than that of my husband but we both agreed that he would be president of our company and I the managing director.

Since I learned that you and your husband work together, I hope you can share with us some useful tips on what we can do to strengthen our husband-wife relationship as we work together to grow our business and make it successful.  Please help us.

                                                                                    Distraught Wife


The pressure to survive and grow your own business have put strain and stress in your relationship with your husband that you now want out. Let me assure you that successful husband-wife business partnership and a strong marriage can go together but this can only be achieved through mutual efforts to remove the sources of stress and to be clear about your priority i.e., which is more important  to each of you:  your relationship or your business?


When husband and wife work together for 40 hrs. a week, individual differences become marked and these are bound to produce conflicts unless one is submissive to the partner with a strong personality.   You write that both of you have strong personalities and this leads to competition and conflicts. Since you had a higher position than your husband, this can unconsciously affect your manner of communicating with him through your words, your tone of voice, facial expression and body language.


Twelve years ago, I interviewed six couples who were very successful in their businesses.  All of them went through a rough time making their respective businesses grow and succeed.  At that time, the number of years they worked together in their businesses ranged from 12-23 years.  These couples recounted the many challenges they faced and the struggles they experienced because of the differences in their perceptions, in their decision-making styles and in personality and character.  The interviews I had of them and the experience of my husband and myself were published in a series of articles in the People at Work Section of the Sunday Inquirer in October 2000.  Later, these articles and several others published in the Sunday Inquirer were published in book form with the title, Managing Work and Career by New Day Publishers in 2003.


My husband and I both have strong personalities, too;  we’ve been working together for the past 27 years to continue to grow our HR training and consulting business.  The advice we and the six couples mentioned above, now give you in the form of tips did not come from business books or learned from a business school but from the “school of hard knocks” i.e., from our sweat and tears, laughter and joys to make both business partnership and marriage succeed and grow.    To paraphrase the priest officiating a wedding ceremony as he exhorts a couple contracting marriage – “only love can make things easy; only perfect love can make these a joy”.


When a husband and wife are able to harness their combined strengths and are able to work out their weaknesses, they have what is known as “couple power”.  As one author puts it;  “Joys shared are doubled, problems shared are halved”  when there is a successful union of two persons united in love.


Spouses who work together and share the same vision for the future share common victories that couples who don’t work together don’t experience.  They experience the exhilarating feeling of “We did it together!” when they get a contract signed or have conducted a successful seminar, or the bottom line shows a profitable operation.  They experience a greater sense of oneness and unity.


How to Make H–W Partnership Work and Succeed.   Here are some thoughts for you and your husband to reflect and tips to ponder on:

  1. Be sure that you are in a business which both of you believe in, are passionate about, and can do together.  This business must fully utilize the skills and experience of both of you.  If one has the technical skills, the other should have the skills needed to provide support.  If both of you bring your respective technical skills into your business decide what functional area is each one’s domain.
  2. Delineate your responsibilities.  Agree on the roles of each one.  Who has responsibility for what, and who has the final decision on what matters.  Give each other total responsibility in your respective area of expertise.
  3. Have a shared vision and mission for your business.  Agree on the values that will shape how your business will be conducted and define these values.  Which is priority: profit or customer satisfaction?  Speed or quality?
  4. Always plan together.  Agree on your goal or objective for the year or quarter.  Agree on strategies to achieve your goal and brainstorm on action plans.  This way you are walking along the same direction.
  5. Trust that your spouse is performing his/her role competently.  This promotes professionalism in your business relationship
  6. Open communication.  Openly express your thoughts and feelings.  And listen when the other does the same.  Listening must be done non-judgementally.  Look at the situation from the perspective of the other person.  If you disagree, don’t just keep silent or give your spouse the cold shoulder.  And do not shout, particularly in front of your staff.   This only arouses the defensiveness of the other.  Anger and resentment build up.  Remain calm and cool.  Do deep breathing, drink water or go away for a while then return to resume the communication in a calm manner.
  7. Respecting each other is very important in both marriage and business partnerships.  Love can’t make up for a lack of mutual respect.  Respect each other’s opinions, judgements and decisions.  Respect is shown in the following ways.
  • Attentive listening and putting one’s self in the other spouse’s place.  Listen to understand your spouse.  Avoid making judgements and confronting your spouse.
  • Never disparage or criticize your spouse in front of your staff or your client or supplier
  • Never criticise your spouse’s decision, or change or overrule it.  Support your spouse’s decision even if you don’t agree with it.  Bring up your disagreement in private, and then let your spouse be the one to change the decision he/she had previously made.  If not possible, let it be and learn from the mistakes and grow in wisdom together.
  • When one is working on and focused on something, or having a meeting with an employee or a client, do not just barge into the room or meeting and interrupt to talk with him/her or with the person he/she is talking to.  A good technique is to call the spouse by mobile phone or landline even if you are in the same office, to ask if you can ask/tell him/her something important.
  • Respect your individual differences.  See and be convinced how your differences complement each other.  For example, one makes quick decisions while the other is slow and deliberate.  See how this difference can be beneficial  to a good decision  with a time line.  Allow your spouse to work in his/her own style.
  • Respect your spouse’s need for privacy or to be by him/herself.
  1. Acknowledge your spouse’s expertise in his/her field of experience.  Let your spouse shine in his/her field of competence.  Don’t compete for the limelight.  Give affirmation and recognition to your spouse before your staff and your clients.
  2. Your organization should have only one head even if both of you put up your business together.   If a body has two heads, it will be a monster.  The head makes the final decision, after discussion with and agreement with the other spouse.

Your employees know where the buck ends.  Strive for unity in decision-making.  If there is unity, the direction comes from God.

  1.  Don’t mix your regular dialogue on personal and family concerns and your business meeting.  Do them separately.  Don’t neglect your children.  It is a mistake to make your work, your boss or even your god.   Continue to give your family quality time.  The practice of husband having a night out with their son or the wife with their daughter and focusing the conversation on the child’s interest and concerns is a good bonding practice and enhances family closeness .
  2.  When not attending business lunch or dinner meetings, take your meals together.  Take vacations together just to be by yourselves.  Don’t take the business with you.  Just enjoy.

Above all, make God your partner in your business just as He is a part and parcel of your marriage and family.  Pray before you do your yearly and/or quarterly planning.  Pray together everyday.  Thank God together at the end of the day, regardless of how the day had turned out to be.  Have faith in God, faith in yourself, faith in and deep love for your spouse, and be willing to accept your mistakes and to change accordingly.

God bless you.



Josie O. Santamaria

I’m female, 29 years old and still single.  I have never had any serious boyfriend;  this has been my serious concern.  I don’t think I’m plain looking.  It’s just that I have so many things to do;  multitasking is the rule in our office.  I report to three bosses, all of whom have their priorities.  “Rush ‘yan” is all I hear.  One of them requires me to put on my cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  As a result of my busyness, I’m seen by my officemates as unfriendly and a loner and that I don’t want to socialize.  So they don’t invite me to join them.  I have no time to go to the beauty parlor to have a new hairstyle or to see a dermatologist for a few acne on my face.  I have no time to fix myself in the office.  I even munch a sandwhich while working during lunch time.  My officemates who are also multi-tasked, are able to spend time in cafes and bistros on Friday nights to have fun and to unwind.  I just have so many things to do that I go home late and exhausted.  I want to look good and change my image this new year.  What shall I do?

Miss Harassed


The answer to your problem of no time lies in your hands.  You allow external stressors such as the rush demands of your bosses to stress you so much you have become a slave to work.  You do have time if only you make the right choice of a response in a situation and practice assertiveness.


Multi-tasking is a fact of corporate life that employees of all levels need to accept.  However, employees like yourself, must learn to “work smart” i.e., to be creative and resourceful so that they are able to do things that need doing at a given time.   Even though you have bosses, you can still manage a stressful situation so you don’t get unnecessarily harassed.  Complaining to yourself and to others how stressed you are with so much work will only add to your stress.  Chronically stressed employee become ineffective; they may accomplish the tasks given to them but they become irritable and impatient with employees of lower status and even with external customers.  So the antidote to this is to accept the situation and feel grateful that you are needed by your three bosses and that you have a job.  This will make you happy. This will make you smile.


Here are five suggestions to help you develop a new image in the office and elsewhere:


First;  Be assertive with your bosses.  By assertiveness is meant that you ask respectfully for what you want.  List down all the rush jobs your bosses give you.  Show these to them and request them to prioritize them for you.  In this way, you remove the stress of  you  having to make the decision on what to do first yourself.  Make sure that you come to the office on time.  Request if you can stop your work by 7 pm or thereabouts so that you can go home and join your family for meals on weekdays, and on Friday evenings to join your office mates to unwind and relax.  However, you tell them that if the task can’t wait until the following day, you are willing to finish it.  When you say these things, look at them in the eye with a smile on your face.


Do not assume that your assertiveness will make your bosses angry at you.  Think positive.  Assume that they will be reasonable, that they will understand that you, just like them, have your own personal needs and wants, and that you satisfy these on your personal time.


Second, take the much needed breaks, no matter what your work load is.  Take the 15-minute morning break by getting away from your desk. Perhaps you can go to the pantry or to the office library and take a breather as you drink coffee/tea.  Do the same for the 15-minute afternoon break.  Take a 15-minute break again at 5:30 pm before you start your overtime (which may be paid or unpaid).  You have one hour for lunch.  Use it for lunch time with your officemates.  Don’t use lunch time for work.  If your bosses give you work to do during lunch time, ask, “May I do it after lunch?”  And smile.


Third, you do have time on week-ends to go to the beauty parlor or visit a good dermatologist.  Invest on a new hairstyle and have yourself made-up that is appropriate for office.  Buy a make-up set that looks good on you and that you can use daily.  Wake up 30 minutes earlier so you can fix your face and hair.  Invest on a new and attractive office wardrobe.  There are so many affordable and smart office attire that you can get off the rack.  There is absolutely no reason for any woman nowadays not to look good.  There are many beauty aids and beauty experts to help you bring out the beauty in you that God has given you when He created you.  Looking good will make you feel good.  This is part of what you wear every day.


Fourth;   Do not wait for your officemates to invite you to join them at meal times or to go out jamming.  Take the initiative to invite yourself.  When having conversations with them during mealtimes or during night outs, show genuine interest by listening to them when they speak.  Share your own experiences, your thoughts and opinions on the topic at hand.   Don’t think of work when it is unwinding and relaxing time.  Don’t feel guilty.  Your bosses should be the one to feel guilty if they deprive you of your private time to do work that may not be really urgent and can wait for the next day.

Fifth, know the birthdays and anniversaries of people you know ¾ relatives, officemates and friends.  Send text messages of greetings.  If it is your birthday, invest in finger food you can afford such as ensaymada or pizza, to treat your office mates.


In summary, the ONLY way   to change your image to your officemates is to change your attitudes and behaviors.  Look friendly;  be friendly.


There are other things you can do to improve your physical appearance,  your personality and your character.


Buy women’s magazines to give you tips on how to improve your face, body, posture, wearing of clothes, etc.  Get yourself also a time management book or research in the internet on this topic.


Read self-help books on how to improve your personality and character.  Invest one hour a day to read a chapter from such classics as Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” for a start.


May 2012 bring out real efforts on your part, not half-hearted ones, to be positively different, to look and feel good, to appreciate and love yourself because this is what God wants of you.  The new you may just make you attractive to someone who can be a serious boyfriend.


God bless you.



Josie O. Santamaria