"Sabi niya po sa akin okay lang daw." The agent was referring to me. "Lahat po ng sagot ko pinapakita ko sa kanya."
I pleaded not guilty to his accusations.
"Pero yung mga pinapakita mong mga replies hindi ganyan." I tapped on my keyboard. "I would have corrected you if I found something wrong."
"Pero sir, pinapakita ko nga po sa inyo lahat..."
Confession time. I didn't pay much attention when he showed me his replies. My mind was set to doing other things (such as blogging) instead of being nosy of his work. Part of the reason for letting him "play in the sandbox" was because of some earlier instruction to "let him produce" more. Changing his style means a lot of revision and in doing so waste time.
"Do you remember our first chat session? These were your replies."
From the piles of letters in my inbox came the e-mail about the agent's progress. I was lucky to document the training to show that something was being done. The hastily written email was my only defense to cover up for my negligence and while tables were turned against me, it was the only assurance that I won't be pinned under the table's weight.
"Look, I was already confident of your replies. I didn't expect you to perform poorly like this because I thought you already know."
Assumptions make heads roll.
It was my superior who cut the dispute dismissing it as rather circuitous. He asked the agent to return to work while confronting me with a single question that lead me to admit the truth.
"One question, did you tell him to be casual when speaking to clients or not?"
"Say it Baabaa," my partner whose arms tightly hugged my waist urged me to say what really took place. He was in my room while the conference was ongoing.
"And I take responsibility for my actions."
"End of discussion." She said.
The superior saw the depth of my failure. The chat transcript of our training revealed that I too, failed to spot the error in my subordinate's replies. My mind wanted to ask why she didn't see it when I showed her the transcript. But the answer came as swift as I had conceived the question.
The superior spoke her mind like a true mentor.
"I was confident that you know what you're doing. That's why I didn't bother checking it." Suddenly, the imaginary gun pointed at my head fired.
"I was wrong."
Our conversation ended after thanking my superior (for knocking my head) and assuring her that the mistake won't happen again. Emerging illumined from the showdown, I sent a message to the agent admitting my fault. During the course of our chat, he confessed that he was shaking the whole time we were grilled. Consoling him, I tried to make light of our situation by telling him that everything will be okay.
"Relax ka lang... kasama mo ako."
But enough is enough. Behind the false hopes of a reprieve, the agent's fate was already written. Only last week, he made the gravest error of not coming to the office when help was desperately needed. Though he was working elsewhere, his long wait times when the queue was up irked the officer-in-charge.
Too bad, it was the superior.
As soon as his replacement was handpicked, the agent's days were already numbered. Retraining the newcomer commenced the next day - still by me - but holding on to my promise, I sent a more detailed report of the subjects we covered.
The successor is seen as hard-headed, but his experience makes him better suited for the job. The director may have his doubts, but with the superior enjoying his trust, it was easy to convince him that the replacement would do just fine.
All it took was a ten-second phone call to cut the connection:
"Pahinga ka muna, there are changes happening at the office..." It was the superior who delivered the message. Blood bonds require a more delicate approach.
Much as it pains me to admit that I have added immensely to the agent's demise, there is nothing to do but accept the consequence. Pleading would never get us anywhere, since I was the first to bring up the observation that the agent was misbehaving. And while I tried my best to warn him that he is close to the firing line, he tempted fate by showing how flawed his grammar was.
The coming days will be full of doubts as I try my best to do a my own soul-searching. Meanwhile, steps will be taken so no head other than mine will roll the next time I get into trouble. The unfinished business, I had with the agent may linger for sometime.
But a promise is a promise.
"Relax ka lang... kasama mo ako..."
I'm determined to keep my word once the opportunity presents itself.