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The Officer’s P.A. – Uncut

February 11, 2010

He introduces himself in what appears to be a coded message in a military operation. ‘This is the PA to the OSD of ICT to the PS to the CM speaking.’

You are inconsequential in his world if you don’t know what that means. It implies he is second only to the person of paramount importance, the Supreme Being whose title just preceded his, the lion whose lair he closely guards – the officer he personally assists. You must be thick to not have immediately grasped that, to not have been instantly hit by the weight of his words and to not have solemnly bowed to this declaration of power. After some very serious sounding scrutiny of schedules, his ever-responsible self hesitates to ponder whether you’re worthy of an audience withhis premier. At this point it is advisable to be ready with – if you have one – or invent – a title of your own. Needless to say, it should be one that carries at least a fraction of the weight as the one that he rubbed on you.

If you’re fortunate enough to take part in the theatrics in person, he shall usher you in with smugness otherwise common to mall security guards who let you pass only after checking if the zipper of your bag works.

Nonetheless, it’d be hypocritical of me to say that I don’t identify. I was once lucky enough to become the Class Rep  in elementary school. The ‘CR’ had huge responsibility unlike the lowly monitors. I was after all answerable to the final authority – the class teacher of my section. No room to slip. I know that his job is no child’s play indeed. I see that his constant vigil irons out all the creases that arise in a system of complex functionalities. That he’s not a public servant but a personal savior. That he solely upholds the decorum of his institution. To belittle his position is to undermine his institution. He IS the institution. No Sir, he’s not just the P.A. to the Officer. He’s the entrusted Custodian of the Office itself and the honorable Curator of all that exists inside it. It is only proper he take a call on matters of prime importance – the level of air-conditioning, the placement of the fax machine, the selection of the tea vendor or the number of times you get to use the stapler.

You see, the manifested differences between him and the officer – such as that of status,remuneration, scope of influence – are but a handicap caused by the short-sightedness of policymakers. They only exist in theory. Practically, he is nothing less than Batman’s Robin or Dr. Watson if you please. To make a move without his knowledge is criminal. To make a move with hisco-operation is…well…optimistic. To question his views is sacrilege – you only need to see the incredulous look on his face to know that, yet he insists on explaining with forced patience. It usually starts with an ‘As a rule…’ or ‘the way we do it is…’ or my favorite reminiscent of primary school – ‘Sir said…’ Of course, what follows is either a brainchild of his imagination or a product of the many delusions that he enjoys or yet another certified request resulting from approvals being put forward during hours post lunch, when the boss is struggling to stay up and which he absently nods to without listening – something that comes to him with ease and years of practice.

All said and done, the P.A. to the Officer has indeed much to be admired for.

Despite the many insecurities that seem to weigh him down, he keeps his shoulders squared and his head high.

Despite the superficial sense of self that blinds him, he starts each day with a clarity of purpose that only few manage to discover. The purpose itself is not mine to judge.

Despite the few rewards thrown his way, he manages motivation to do his job as meticulously as he can aspire to. When he doesn’t find it, he creates it. Either way, he makes sure he has a good day…a fruitful day…an ‘important’ day.

Yes. We have much to learn from him.

One Comment leave one →
  1. joshua permalink
    February 12, 2010 2:08 PM

    i was wondering when he’d show up =)

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