Everyone with at least a working knowledge of pop psychology is familiar with the concepts of the Id, Ego, and Superego. In a nutshell, the Id is a person’s pleasure-seeking instinct, that which drives one to seek happiness in its many forms. The Superego is the consciousness of societal norms, an understanding of the rules we have to live by simply because other beings exist. Actions initiated by the Id are often governed by the Superego in order to make one’s behavior socially acceptable. This mediation between the Id and Superego is handled by the Ego, the conscious aspect of the decision-making process. A healthy Ego allows the Id to work within the Superego’s guidelines, ensuring that no inter-relational lines are crossed in the pursuit of happiness.
In short, the Id is what makes a person want to fiddle with his genitals. The Superego tells him that fiddling with his genitals, though an excellent activity indeed, isn’t quite acceptable in the office, at the grocery, or in any other generally-public area. The Ego is the part of his consciousness that decides to save the genital-fiddling for the bedroom, preferably with a generous amount of tissue with which to clean things up after.
The 30 short hours Marco, Lauren, and Rica spent in Cebu were Id-oriented, particularly in relation to the pleasure one derives from consuming mass amount of food. Shortly after the trio had settled into their hotel, they set out to meet a friend who would be taking them to where the best baby back ribs in Cebu were. This friend was Kaith who, incidentally, Marco had fleetingly met back in Manila over food at a small tapa restaurant one semi-drunken night a few months ago.
The hype for the ribs was immense. Lauren had been to Cebu a couple of months before this trip, and had similarly met up with Kaith for said ribs. Since then, any mention of Cebu coming from Lauren’s lips would more often than not include two particular truisms: 1) That Lauren was not, in any way, a “ribs person”; and 2) That the ribs she had had with Kaith were the softest, juiciest, and most mind-blowingly delicious ribs she had ever had the privilege of tasting. In contrast to Lauren, Marco was very much a ribs person, and so it was only natural that his excitement was at an all-time high.
Kaith drove the three friends to the joint, which was smaller than Marco expected. There were just four tables in the restaurant, one of which was positioned outside. The space couldn’t have fit more than fifteen people. The menu was equally-small, with a handful of dishes available in an assortment of sizes. This was a very good thing, according to Marco’s Law of Restaurant Sizes.
Marco’s Law of Restaurant Sizes, in its short form, reads as follows: The quality of food at a restaurant is often proportional to the size of both its dining space and its selection of viands, with smaller sizes meaning higher quality. Smaller restaurant size usually means that the restaurant’s management prefers to invest more in its staff and ingredients than ambience, which is notorious for disguising shockingly bland food as a gourmand’s delight. A limited selection of dishes on the menu, on the other hand, signifies that the restaurant serves only its specialty dishes, and is unencumbered by the bothersome need to cater to a wide variety of tastes. Though the Law is more often than not applicable to most restaurants, there will always be a few exceptions: a run-down shanty with a sign reading “HATDOGZ”, for instance, is more likely to impart upon its diners a case of hepatitis than good gustatory memories.
The restaurant to which Kaith had taken Marco and his friends followed the Law to the letter, much to everyone’s delight. Joined by Kaith’s two friends, the group ordered a feast consisting of a full slab of baby back ribs, two bowls of ground chorizo, tortellini with shrimp and tomato sauce, garlic rice, and a magnificent creation in salsa rice. The ribs were exactly as Lauren described: meat falling off the bone, every moist bite was a smoky-sweet barbecued indulgence. They had lived up to the hype, so much so that Marco briefly considered getting romantically involved with the dish.
Dinner was topped off with dessert at a French bistro a few minutes away. Rica pointed out an irresistible item on the menu: a crepe with salted butter fudge and chocolate syrup. Stuffed from the night’s main courses, she shared the crepe with Marco and Lauren, who had each ordered the best macaron they had ever had. Kaith ordered a scoop of sinful chocolate ice cream garnished with a tiny umbrella that seemed to fascinate Lauren and Rica in its functionality.
Before the night ended, Kaith agreed to meet with the three Manileños for lunch the next day. “Lunch”, it turned out, meant lechon in the proper Cebuano way. Marco, Lauren, and Rica originally intended to try out the lechon all the tourists raved about, only to have it scoffed at by Kaith’s friend. It wasn’t proper lechon, he insisted, saying that it was far too dry to be considered a real Cebu delicacy. Upon sampling the exquisitely-soft meat and flavorful skin at lunch, the three were convinced that this was the only proper way to cook a pig. They quickly devoured an entire kilo of the succulent pork, patted themselves on the back for another delicious betrayal of their diets, and binged on chocolate at a nearby dessert café.
The lull between lunch and the flight back to Manila gave the three friends time to digest and ruminate. It was at this point that Marco began to realize just how dissatisfied he was with his current job. His Work Id, the part of him that finds enjoyment in work, seemed to be in direct contrast with the Company Superego, the way management wanted him to go about his business. Marco had originally signed on to work as an editor and lead a team of writers in developing web content for the company’s many sites. He focused primarily on developing both rapport with and the skill of his team, and this turned out rather well in the beginning. He had developed a good working relationship with the writers, and the team saw steady improvement in their output.
A change in management came along, and with that, so did a change in expectations in relation to Marco’s role in the company. The work had become much more numbers-oriented; quantity and speed began to take greater precedence over quality. Quotas increased and deadlines shortened. Evaluations became more dependent on how many articles were written in how many hours.
It was becoming evident to Marco that he was a poor fit for the company in its current structure. The administrative tasks he performed to ensure his team ran as a well-oiled and cohesive team were deemed not to be adding much value to the business. The volume of the team’s output became the key concern. If Marco were to continue being successful in his leadership role, he would have to think less of his team and more of his own quotas.
It was more rigid and corporate, and Marco wasn’t exactly the rigid and corporate type. He was, as Lauren would put it, a “happy touchy-feely” type of person, which was more in accordance with the company’s personality when he first came aboard. It felt like a relationship in which one partner forces the other to buy seven pieces of underwear, label them from “Monday” to “Sunday”, and then wear them in strict adherence to the schedule – the structure was admirable, but it just didn’t feel right.
In the end, Marco could no longer find anything enjoyable about the job. He loved training his team and putting together helpful guides for them, but this apparently didn’t add value to the company. He enjoyed writing and proofreading the company’s more creative projects, but now he was required to have thousands of product descriptions ready for publishing within a month’s time. He even liked having weekly chats with his manager, but those devolved from rapport-building activities to straight-up reports about numbers. Worse still, he found it difficult to even try to find an angle to make any of it enjoyable. The Work Id was dead.
So, while Lauren spent the remainder of the afternoon catching up on work, Marco looked for another job.