I think I figured out why it was so difficult to take former president Noynoy Aquino seriously when he decided to call us the Filipino people his boss.
It is because most of us are never serious when we use the term “boss” or “bossing.” It is just among the many silly ways we call friends, colleagues, security guards and delivery guys. Sir, boss, chief, pare, partner, and mam ser mean nothing because the people we call as such are never really superiors, kumpares or partners. We conveniently just use those terms when we forget names.
So when PNoy called us his boss, a part of us thought he was simply trying to be more relate-able by being informal with us. We never thought that he was really serious about it until he passed away and we started reflecting on his life and what made him tick that we began to appreciate his unadvertised achievements. It turned out that unlike most politicians who provide only lip service, PNoy actually meant what he said when he referred to us as his bosses.
The term “boss” made me wonder what kind of bosses we are.
First of all, did we ever agree with PNoy that we are the boss? As the boss, we get to fire or hire our employees, whether they be janitors or CEOs. Just because we have to wait 3 or 6 years to get rid of the bad employees who are doing more harm than good to our collective enterprise, it doesn’t mean we should forget that they are in charge of the country because of us. Every time we offer the 6-year employee contract for our country’s CEO, we should take our job seriously and scrutinize their qualifications, capabilities and personalities instead of asking them to dance to “Baby Shark” or accepting their bribe to get the job. The reason why our country is in such dire straits these days is that enough of us got scammed when we never really took our role as the boss seriously.
It would seem that we are mostly ignorant and apathetic bosses who would rather be bossed around instead of being the boss. We have extremely low standards and expectations because we not only picked the less qualified applicant, some of us are even defending years of unfulfilled promises and piss-poor performance. If you come to think of it, it’s been five long years and yet so many Filipinos are still acting like mindless cult members instead of being the demanding and discerning bosses that our Constitution empowered us to be.
Perhaps, we are not yet ready to be bosses. We’d rather be little children looking for a tatay, tito, or lolo who will boss us around. That guy who will protect us and lead our household doesn’t have to be qualified or competent, he just has to be scary because we prefer intimidation over performance. We want a joker, a womanizer, a cursing loudmouth who makes us think he can stand up to the bullies but unfortunately disappears or takes the side of the bullies when they do come over.
Maybe that’s the mindset we need to change. We have to look at our country as an enterprise that is competing in the world stage instead of a household in a small town. We need to see ourselves as bosses instead of children. An enterprise is a complicated organization that needs a qualified leader to compete and succeed. A household of small minds and even smaller dreams just needs the basic needs to survive. It is ok when a tatay can promise his kids a Chicken Joy dinner but fails to deliver because he lost the money on a game of tong-its but it is unforgivable to the bosses of a CEO who fails to lead the company to successive quarters of growth. You cannot get rid of a terrible tatay easily, but you can fire a non performing CEO who tricked you into hiring him.
We admit that the late PNoy was right. It may not seem like it anymore, but we are still the boss in this country. We have the power to choose who runs it and we should expect whoever we choose, to do a good job. We can complain. We can even curse them if they are doing a terrible job because we are the boss of them. We pay the taxes that they manage. It is our police, our military, our economy. They are just in charge for a fixed period and their employment contract depends on how pleased their bosses are.
Contract renewal is coming up soon. What kind of bosses are we and what are we going to do about our employees?*