One of my favorite female characters is the character Lady Éowyn of Rohan from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She’s a beautiful woman of a royal blood but with a bad-ass fighting spirit that she ended up killing one of the baddest creatures in the story. One night she was asked by Aragorn what she fears and she answered:
“A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall and desire”
The lady wasn’t referring to a literal cage but was pointing to the kind of gender discrimination keeping her from engaging in battles. The norms have always been “Men fights the armies of Sauron, women stay behind”. She wants to fight but to make things worse she’s a princess. Her moves are limited, her presence venerated, guarded and there’s not much she can do but to stay behind unable to do what her heart’s desire, unable to fight for what is right.
I can relate to her situation, although at a different level. I fear a cage, to feel deprived of doing things you love, and to feel left out when you knew there’s a world out there to explore. I have a problem with my job, the hours of work is too long. Working with 12 hours a day, six days a week schedule I am fortunate my job isn’t so demanding and not much pressure. Aside from the hours I seem to blend in perfectly with the whole hotel operations.
But there will be a time when I start to question… WTF am I doing here? Where’s the fun here when I’m stuck in the office day-in and day-out? Where’s my time for doing my laundries? Will I still learn how to paint like those artists are doing in Lonely Planet? Where in the heck am I going to find some time to run, to worship and to socialize with the foreigners? When can I swim on the beach? Where’s my love life… sexual life?
I am just happy that my co-workers fromCebuwho are doing a special 3-week assignment here in Boracay are sympathetic to understand the disadvantages of a 12 hour work week. Extended working hours beyond the normal 8-9 hours can decrease and employee’s effectiveness and focus at work. Just because one is working longer hours doesn’t mean higher quality of work. Another is its not everyday there’s a lot things to do, there will always be lean seasons at work but the problem is whether you are doing something or not doing at all you have to find a way to consume that 12 hours. It can lower the moral of the employee. Those daily extra three hours might have been a short period of time, but now I realized how precious it can be. The shift is just too long in my line of work, it feels like I am wasting precious hours of my youth doing nothing when those hours should have been spent with the family or learning new things and experiencing the life outside.
I am not writing this post to complain about my job because I love what I am doing and I respect the hotel policy regarding the hours of work. The real issues I want to express are the undesirable effects it has on me. Six months in and I am still yet to come to terms with the 12-hour shift. I am still struggling and the worse thing is it brings out the very worst in me. I am becoming an irritable person, pissed off at the slightest mistake. I am suddenly the nagger complaining on everything. Insensitive, as I observed I am no longer careful with my words or the way I deliver it that affects the feeling of others. I don’t know but I am allowing too much hate, anger and frustration on my heart than what I could handle. I just don’t know myself anymore.
I swear I am not much of an ass before I arrived here in the island. Perhaps it’s because I’m just tired always, or the lack of either social interaction outside, limited inspiration or I am just f***ing pissed-off because I don’t have time to do personal things and practice my passions outside. Whatever the reason it is maddening, and if this continues I am on the right track to becoming a monster.
Now that I’ve said that I hope I won’t turn into something in between an orc and Gollum. That’s pakensyit!