the swarovski stones, the whistle blower, and the company that drowned

yesterday, i learned that my team (staff) at my previous company has finally receive offers at reputable companies, one of which even has the option to choose between two really interesting offers. to say that i was pleased was an understatement. although i have not really tried being jobless even for a day (the transition between my new job and my old one always overlapped each other), i nevertheless can feel their relief, pride and excitement of being chosen among the candidates.

i did tell one of them that in a way, the company’s downfall turned out to be a blessing in disguise. not that i would like to justify why i blew the whistle (though as far as i was concern, there really was no other better way than do that) but the way things were moving then could only mean the days were numbered.

there’s really no escaping with finance. sooner or later, the dirt on the windows and the original colour of the curtain will show.

it did.

there were things that happened from the time i passed my resignation in jan2006 until i finally lost contact with the company at end of that year that i did not understand. there were those “supposedly secret off-office meetings over coffee at the fort” that sounded so logical and hopeful but never materialized. i am particularly not the most incorruptible professional around but i do know where to draw the line. this is so, perhaps because of two reasons. one, i have the tendency to always save my ass first. and, inspite of my being branded as a risk-taker, i do not have the guts to taunt the law.

looking back at it, i saw reality flashing back at me. the corporate official who is to blame for what disaster was brought upon the company got away with it. sure, he suffered bruises and scratches but he still retain his expatriate status and his glorified position in another company and he still has prestigious golf membership, a prestigious chauffered-driven car, and an extravagant company-rented house in a posh neighbourhood. on the sideways, no one really knows how many of the thousands of employees laid off found the job they really wanted (not the job they have to take because the next electricity bill will soon be due) or if they have found any job at all.

there were others. yes, there were others, too. and though i credit all these to business politics now i cannot still help but sometimes wonder if it was all worth it.

i still look at the swarovski-stoned chain at times. i remember the “good guy”‘s face when he handed it to me and my boss. he is the highest finance official of the company’s major stockholder’s subsidiary business abroad who was assigned to look into the whole mess. he said it was a “pasalubong” and we told him as much as we want to help the company get back on its feet, we got tired of waiting. we do have careers to consider. i remember how his face looked like then but i refused to give meaning to it.

“sounds like a consolation gift, chica.” dani chuckled.

it was a consolation gift. we didn’t ask for it but perhaps, he gave it to us because he has the need to. after all, we didn’t offer ourselves in exchange for anything; in fact, we did choose to stay silent until they knocked on the door and took our statements. we did not solicit for promises; they gave it to us.

later on, i did receive an offer to stay from the other camp, which i seriously think was suicide on my part. ive handled the financials, if there was something to go back to, it would be for momentary gains not permanent career. i declined. less than six months later, they liquidated the company.

i still look at the swarovski-stoned chain sometimes. i still would like to think of “the good guy” as the good guy. one could only lie straight-faced for so long. for whatever its worth, i learned a corporate lesson well:

there’s always business politics, more so at the higher level than the lower ones. and some people get away with it, and some don’t. and its up to us non-executives when to keep on treading or when to start swimming to the shore and find another ocean.

always take charge of your career.


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