My “Baby Dinosaur” Boss: For Paola Claire Reyes

My name is Erica Ang. After college, I started working as an HR Administrator at an International Telecommunications Company. This is where I met my baby dinosaur (because her apetite is so big despite being petite..and well, I’m afraid of dinosaurs) – boss Paola.

I would say it was a really tough start for my career. I didn’t really understand how she arrived with her decisions or when she’d call my attention for the littlest of things. She is a perfectionist; when at work, I really felt very uneasy around her. Fast forward – almost a year at work, I decided I wanted to quit because I could no longer stand her but I always found other reasons to stay: my batchmates, the participants I work with, the culture of the company, etc. Then, we had a business trip together to Stockholm, Sweden for a month. I was super excited to do the first trip of my life but half of me didn’t really want to because that meant spending more time with her. I still went and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life because aside from being able to visit Stockholm and meet our participants and counterparts, I was able to know more about her: that she was very close to her family, she cooked really well, she’s a great navigator, her dogs are adorable, and so much more. My best memory is when I told her I was craving for Sinigang and I was surprised to go home (in our hotel) from work with sinigang as our dinner. Magic! Then, I thought it would change the way we worked together but it didn’t. Too early to say!

Fast forward to more months of me listening to her criticizing my work. I was at my lowest. I was so ready to drop everything and just go. I already spent 3 years of blood, sweat and tears – I had enough. Then I got promoted. This was the point where I realized that despite everything, she saw my potential and more importantly, she didn’t give up on me. I used to think she never valued the work that I do because she often had things to say like how she didn’t like my output or I could’ve done it differently or if I missed to reply. I remember saving all her emails when she’d thank me or say I did my work correctly. Since the promotion, I told myself that I will work harder and I won’t give up on her too. I became more understanding; I learned to accept and provide feedback to her as well and it changed our relationship. We were more in sync at work. I also realized that after all, I really did improve a lot more at work.

We parted ways a year ago but I can truly say that I wouldn’t be where I am right now without her. I learned that after all the times she asked if I can do better translates to “I know you can do better than this.” I went out of my comfort zone and realized that I could conquer greater heights with all the things I learned from her. It makes me feel like there’s nothing I can’t do!

I am very fortunate to have the kind of manager that she is. It was a pleasure being in a journey of growth personally and professionally with her. And, hand in my heart, I’ll say: if I will be given a chance to go back in time and choose my first boss, I’ll choose her everytime.

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