I’m getting old. Met briefly with former students and student assistants earlier this evening after a movie date with the eldert sister. I was bribed with a chocolate bar and a rose in exchange for a recommendation letter due next week and a few bits of gossip 🙂

I see them, the students who frequented Rm. 210B, settling into their post-college lives and I cannot help but feel old – in a nice way. It warms the heart to see the subtle changes in them. They have more confident demeanor, formal clothing, and tax complaints. And yes, they have more harsh comments for you.

I’m getting all sentimental this week. I see a some of last year’s graduates returning to Los Baños for this week’s February Fair.

I thought one needed to be really old to appreciate to appreciate seeing former students. I guess not.  That, or  I’m really old.

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an unusual case

After more than seven years of teaching, it’s quite difficult to be surprised with anything student related. One has developed a rather realistic perspective of things as well as expectations.

Every semester, I find myself working with students who I have accepted are too busy projecting a meaningful life in their respective online accounts to appreciate the effort and time teachers put into designing class activities and exercises. This I have accepted is the norm.

At around four in the afternoon, one of the newly hired student assistants approached me and handed me a ribboned brown package. A Valentine’s Day present for the supervisor she said. The student requested that I open the package after she has timed out for the day and has left the room. I could sense her embarrassment for the crumpled wrapping and the value of the gift. She said mumbled an apology for the gift. It’s what we could afford, she said. She and the other student assigned to me shared the expenses for the gift. They haven’t even received their first late pay yet. And I haven’t given even them anything for Valentine’s Day.

A pleasant surprise :)
A pleasant surprise 🙂

Minutes after she left the room, I found myself still staring at the gift. I sent them my thanks. The gift was a nice gesture. I need not unwrap the package. I just stared at it and realized how a nice gesture can be such a pleasant surprise.

When the years have trained you to expect a high sense of entitlement and self-centeredness by default from all the students you encounter, you forget how to respond to a few exceptions. I can finally add one positive entry about work.

It’s a go!

Got the call. It’s confirmed. We’re set for a release of a new product hopefully this Friday. I’m so excited!

The contact from the printing press has been silent for a week, uncertain whether they could pull off the job specifications. A few seconds ago, they confirmed that they can do it – and that they deliver (hopefully on Friday) before the start of classes.

20150112_123424This is what’s been keeping me busy – and awake for the past four days.

The labor for first set of planners and notebooks was a much needed break from the previous semester’s brain processing. It was something I welcomed.

Now that I’m doing the cutting for possible profit, the standards are higher and I more critical (meaning, there’s a lot of wasted printed drafts). At two in the morning I find myself asking why I even bother to do all the cutting and binding when I’m not even sure if people will buy it. I slip into a troubled sleep and wake up with the muscles complaining with every movement. My right arm feels like it’s about to fall off. I look at the stack of unfinished drafts at the work station and I’m disheartened. All weekend, I’ve worked and I haven’t even started binding at this point.

This is the impatient me. I haven’t seen one complete notebook in the past week and it’s killing me. I wallow in self-doubt after not being able to complete the tasks I have set for the weekend. My first official transaction is tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. I know I can meet the deadline. I just hope the client likes what she pays for.

The delivery of the dry seal helped lift my spirits. Maybe, just maybe, there is something to this new interest. I’ll just have to go through it and we’ll see how it goes. As for product quality, I’m clinging to what my stepfather said years back when I talked about maybe starting a small business and the worry that people may not like it. Carl said  that I should just get it out there and wait. No need to fuss over something that hasn’t happened yet.  Just focus on the task at hand.

 

Took a loan to help fund this new project. Worst case would be me being stuck at my job for the next two years as I settle the loan.

The good part of taking the risk would be managing to profit a little and have something to look forward to in the next two years. The dread would still be there but at least I have something to look forward to.

On a more serious note, I finally accepted that I’ll never have the enough money to buy a house if I rely on this job alone. While transferring to another job is an option, I have to make the most of what is existing. And if I am to stay, at least I’ll have something to take my mind of the negativities from the workplace.

So far, it’s been very effective. This past week, I felt so guilty thinking about the side job while at work that I didn’t utter one complaint. Still, it does feel odd having shifted the focus from work – the only focus I had before – to the side job.

This is what the side job looks like.20150109_233658

I was lucky that the mother was out of town for a week. That’s one week’s worth of working in peace! – in an air-conditioned space! -for free!

Okay, I was finishing up on the latest draft of the (supposedly) monthly publication we were to release next week. I wanted to finish the revisions so I could send the files to the press and I can make notebooks free of guilt.

I just wish there was a 7Eleven nearby so I could gulp on coffee while working on the notebooks.

Here’s to a weekend of (working in) peace!

This evening, I faced two of my toughest product critics – the nieces, a college freshman and a junior. Their reaction to the notebooks samples (doubling as late Christmas gifts -I’m that cheap) would be reflective of how my the my most immediate market  – college students – would react to the product. They look quite pleased with their denim notebooks over dinner. I’m just not sure if it’s because the notebooks were really nice – or if it’s because it was free 😐 I did earn two endorsers 😀

Stocked up on the raw materials I’d be using for the first set of items for sale. I need to complete the 2015 planners on or before the middle January. Found myself dragging heavy chipboards along Lopez Avenue at noon to get to the jeepney stop. Thankfully, the passengers helped me load and unload the thing. I may painted such a sorry scene on my way back to work that the college driver offered to carry the boards up the next floor to the office. Gave him a notebook as thanks 🙂

I’m going to set up camp at the mother’s place these weekend and use her printer – and to save on meals 😀

So far, I’ve been receiving the help I need and I am thankful. There was one depressing moment when I found out that the printers were acting up but I eventually managed to make it work. I have no clue what I did that made them finally print.

You get the help that you  need whether you ask for it or not. There are just too many people who want to see you do what you want. This isn’t something you would notice during moments of wallowing in negativity – which is most of the time. This realization slips in a few bit of seconds when you wonder how you managed to get that much done in between focusing on completing a task and thinking about the next thing to deal with.

So with all the preparations for producing the first batch of for sale stocks, I thought it’d be nice to have something to call this chipboard-lugging, sleep-depriving, account-draining, and anxiety-building thing I’ve been consumed with.

I’m looking forward to welcoming everyone to The Bindery when it “opens” next week 😀

Indulging your jotter fix