Monday, December 14, 2015

Loving the Boss

   Beth got her first job in 1971.  She was given a two hour product knowledge lecture and sample sales pitches.  She was required to dress nicely, wear makeup and do cold canvasing.  She was to sell membership to a discount card.  It looked like a credit card except that it granted no credit.  The card holder got 10% discount on every purchase from associate merchants.  The minimum wage at that time was a whopping Php120. a month, she received Php60. every two weeks, which was perfectly feasible since the jeepney minimum fare was 30 centavos.

   She was 19 but looked 16 because of her petite frame and small face.  She was not even asked for her marital status.  Her boss, Vicky assumed she was single.  She was actually a college dropout, still reeling from a fast track marriage and a quickie divorce Philippine style (no papers to sign, just a simple verbal agreement between the two parties).  The job may seem insignificant and the pay paltry but companies were not hiring teens with no employment record before food chains like McDonald's arrived.  

   Beth looked so young and innocent so that boss Vicky and her office mates warned each other that a kid is present when making jokes and conversation with sexual content.  Until one day Beth blurted out how it can be done sitting on the toilet sink.  The ladies all looked at each other and burst out laughing.  From there on Vicky and Beth hit it off.  It turned out Vicky was also separated.  She showed Beth her condo where she lived alone.  They talked about men mostly.  After a year Beth found a new ‘husband’ and quit her job.  They never saw each other again.  Beth never forgot Vicky.

   Beth's second 'marriage' went south after three years.  She got a job as a saleslady at a photo finishing service and camera sales store.   That was before cameras went digital.  She had a bad crush on her boss but she wasn’t his type.  He was dating another saleslady, the one who danced the Hula during the office party.  The Philippines did not have sexual harassment law.  Beth left the company after 18 months.

   Her third job was with a trade magazine as Media Sales Representative.  It was a small operation.  The office was on the ground floor of her boss’ home.  The copies were given away free.  They printed just enough copies to be visible then claimed an exaggerated amount of circulation to advertising clients to justify the advertising cost.  It was a rip-off but her boss was a nice guy.  However shady, this job got Beth her foot on the door of the advertising industry.

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