COO. Child Of the Owner.
A term I learned from frisbee teammates making fun of what I was to become then. Now that I have started working for my mom, I am beginning to understand what it means and all the changes it has brought and will be bringing.
I spent high school in Manila, did university in Quezon City, and got invited to teach in the same institution until recently when I resigned. In those sixteen years, I was barely home. Even in high school, I only went home to sleep. Most of my time was spent in the daily commute and studying. When I started working and renting my own space, I was only home for the weekends and holidays.
But now, all I have to do is wake up, wash up, dress up, eat breakfast, cross the threshold, and voila! I’m in my office. I’ll explain how our house and my mom’s school has mutated together in another post, but for now, working in my hometown right beside our house is one of the biggest changes. No daily commute, no fares, no people watching. It seems more peaceful now. It’s like I’m working from home, but no really working from home.
By the time I wake up, my sister, brother, and dad would have all gone to their offices, which leaves me and my mom quietly (and groggily) preparing. I have plans to fix this, maybe eat breakfast with my mom in the future, however right now, there is that peace that I do not have to beat traffic and I don’t even have to see people and cars rushing. It’s just I preparing to go to work. The work itself isn’t easy as I am now handling multigrade, then again teaching was never easy to begin with. But for the first time in six years, since I started working, I seem to have more control of small, but important things, in my life–including time. The picture above is me doing cooking and photography–two things I love but didn’t have time to pursue.
Ironically, the second change I am adjusting to, are the rules. Despite being a COO, I have to follow rules now more than ever. Of course I can’t be a bad example to the other employees. This, sadly, includes wearing a uniform. I was never a fan of uniforms, but apparently, having a uniform saves a lot of time. Now, I only have to think of what pants and shoes to match the polo shirts with. It’s Blue, Yellow, Red, and Green for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively (for now, I get a Fridays-off perk to focus on MA!).
The biggest change however, is the gravity of having to work for you mom, the immense responsibility of learning about the business, and the seriousness of the possibility that I might be running the business in the future. I was really agitated at first. I even locked my keys inside the car once because of worrying. The worrywart in me sees so many ways this business could go wrong, and how I can be the reason it goes wrong. Reading Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things didn’t help. When one of the characters, Chako, an Oxford graduate, with brilliantly grand ideas, took over his mom’s business, it was the start of the business’ downfall (and the story’s denouement).
- What if I fail to anticipate?
- What if fail to bring change and progress?
- What if the school gets left behind in technology and trends under my watch?
- What if people would stop sending their kids to our school because the COO is gay?
The latter being the greatest fear I have, which, again, will be for another post.
I can think of many things that can go wrong; but to be fair, I have also thought of things that could go my way. Top of the list is me, learning a lot about not just my craft, but also of running a business, dealing with people, procurement, marketing, archiving and records, streamlining, and finance among others. Not to mention, the maturity I can gain which I know I lack tremendously.
So there. COO. It’s scary. It has only been three weeks. Three weeks are nothing to what may be in store for me.
COO reminds me of babies cooing, all swaddled in blankets, fed and loved and kissed and hugged, reminding me of feelings that would make you want to just lie in soft blankets and sheets, and pillows, and sleep all day.
But that isn’t this COO. This COO is something you begin to be and you hopefully end up deserving to be.
I wonder if I’ll be a good COO.