On-The-Job Beach Holiday and More

As the famous quote goes… “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  – Mark Twain

Don’t we all aim for this? Don’t we all want to have our al-fresco lunch break at a hilltop resort overlooking the blue and calm ocean on a summer a day? Don’t we all want to have a quick trip to the spa after a normal day at work just because we can? How about waking up at midday on a workday and starting to work in your house-clothes at the comfort of your home? Not to mention a weekend break at the beach or strolling around famous European landmarks while on work assignment. These and many more.

Imagine this as your view while having al-fresco lunch

Of course these all sound amazing but nothing comes free of undesirable consequences these days. This is not for everyone. You may be working as a consultant that allows you to travel around and enjoy the perks that come with the job or you are allowed to work from home or anywhere else. These kind of working arrangement is not applicable to all. Some professionals don’t want to travel for work especially if they have families with small children. Some don’t want to work on-site as the job tends to be more demanding and stressful when you’re working on-site.  As for me, I love having flexible working hours/days. I like being on-site, having new business and personal acquaintances. I like seeing new places and experiencing new cultures. I like spending weekends on the beach or having a shopping trip to the outlet stores while on work assignment.

Imagine this area as you work place or lounging area while taking your coffee break

Enjoying what you do is not all about the extra hours or amazing perks that come with the job. Some people are happy being stuck in the office doing repetitive tasks every single day. Some people are happy being in the job that don’t make them feel stressed every single day. A job that don’t keep them awake at night or keep them mentally occupied every at dinner time or weekends and holidays.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes us happy. Some people prefer having a handsome pay check in exchange of quality time with family while others prefer the opposite.  One thing is for sure, we cannot have it all…. but it does not mean that we will stop aiming for something better to improve our lives and those that rely on us.  Whatever you do, give your best and you will feel good about yourself. If you think you are stuck and you’re not happy doing your job then you need to think about it and start assessing your situation. There is always an option, sometimes the first step is to get out of our comfort zone. With all the hard work, smart work, and perseverance… everything will fall into place.

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Unprofessional HR People Make Job Hunting even Tougher

This is what I learned in the last couple of months…. Job market is tough when you are in a Senior Managerial or Leadership role compared to when you are in associate or junior management level and armed only with not so extensive knowledge and experience. Well, this is based on personal experience.

It all started last month when I received a LinkedIn message from an in-house recruiter inviting me explore the opportunities in her firm. At first, I didn’t finish reading the message as I was not into job searching that time but when I opened the LinkedIn app again, I opened the message and read it again. There, it said that I was referred to them by an executive that I know and used to work with in the past. So, I replied to the message then she invited me to visit their office so I can explore the opportunity they are considering me for. She even told me that the General Manage wanted to talk to me also.

So, the day came and I showed up early in their office. One HR staff approached me at the waiting area and informed me that my contact person was not available yet but she will be with me once she’s out of the meeting. I was handed two pieces of paper to accomplish. They were literally two sheets of photocopied forms with text that are almost not legible, no folder or envelope at all. It was like handing a grocery list to your maid. The person who contacted me (which I learned after I got back home, is the Recruitment Assistant Manager) approached me after like 20 mins. So, out of curiosity, I asked her how she knew this executive who referred me to them. She then told me that it was the GM who knows this executive and it was the GM who asked her to find me and get in touch with me. Well, she’s lucky to find me online. Thanks to LinkedIn.

Anyway to cut the long story short, I had a good chat with the GM, I called it chat because it was not like a super serious job interview but we were able cover all the necessary details. Maybe because we both know and worked with some people in the industry where I belong. The way I saw it , it was very positive, I was even told that out of the candidates they had, I am the one he liked the most. He even told me that he will ask HR to schedule the suitability assessment for me that when I come back, he will have the HR and Finance people with him to make sure he will not miss some important details. He also said that he wanted to fast track the hiring process as he will go on holiday. With all those details, I left the building feeling positive and sent a thank you message to the person who referred me to them. I waited impatiently to hear from the HR again but after five working days, there was not a single message. So, the right thing to do is send a follow up email knowing the fact that the GM wanted to fast track the hiring process. I received the reply after three days, informing me that she was on leave and just got back in the office that’s why she was not able to reply.  I was like, “don’t you have a centralized recruitment messaging system so anyone in the team can reply to the applicant’s message?” But of course, I didn’t tell her that.  I was also inform that she will get back to me the following week since they have other candidates lined up for evaluation.   Two weeks passed by and there was not a word from them. I sent another follow up email and there was no reply again. A week past by and there was no reply so I sent another email combined with a LinkedIn message.  On that same day, I got a reply from another email address, apparently the recruitment group’s email account but it’s a gmail account) telling that I didn’t get the job. So out of curiosity again, I replied to the email and requested to let me know why I didn’t get the job. To my full disappointment, they ignored my message again.  What kind of HR people are they? To me, they are very unprofessional. Letting the candidate wait longer than what is necessary and ignoring the follow up emails and messages is just plain unprofessionalism. Sometimes, I still ask myself if I got the wrong the message during the interview or maybe I just expected too much. Nevertheless, the HR should have been more professional in dealing with their candidates. To be honest, I am both mad at HR’s unprofessionalism and kind of disappointed for not getting the job but at the end of the day, I tell myself that they are not the kind of people I want to work with, except for the GM who seemed to be really nice and kind.

To date, the search is still on and still not getting response to numerous applications I sent.  I understand it if they think I didn’t meet the qualifications set for the role but the recruitment staff should at least inform the applicant. That, to me is being an HR professional.

Having all these negative experiences in the job market, sometimes, I ask myself if I really want to continue searching for that very elusive job and go back to the corporate world or start looking for an Angel to rebuild the startup that I founded a few years ago and closed just recently. I can’t say that the closure was due to the failure to lift the business off the ground. It was actually due the lack of enough efforts and hard work poured into it due to other priorities that came along the way. If I will do it again, I’m sure I will give my 100 percent to make it work. This is my dream and I want to see it fly.

No One is a Corporate Slave

Do you have friends and/or colleagues who oftentimes say NO to a simple get-together just because they need to work late or work even on weekends because they claim to be corporate slaves? The thing is, nobody is a corporate slave. If you declare yourself to be one then it’s all on you. You are not chained to your desk. You will not be punished if you leave work on-time. You will not be stoned for not working on weekends.

So let’s get down to the bottom of it. You are worried to leave work when the clock hits 6PM because you are NOT done with your task yet. You are worried that your boss will get mad at you for the delays and that this delay will hurt your performance evaluation ratings. You are thinking that staying late in the office would impress your superiors and that you will get favorable ratings during performance evaluation. You are thinking that staying late is equivalent to productivity.

So, what were you doing the whole day? Why didn’t you finish your task on-time? Is it really a difficult one? Does it require more physical work ? Does it require more mental work? if so, what was your approach to tackle those difficulties? Were you focused on your task or distracted by social media? Maybe the amount of work assigned to you is way above what you can handle. If so, did you discuss it with your superior? Did you try to ask for guidance or assistance? Asking for occasional help on some really difficult task is not a crime. It will not diminish your credibility. For me, it’s better when my staff ask me for occasional help on some complicated tasks. It means we will not suffer from the consequences caused by the delays. It works for me and my team all the time.

You see, we don’t need to work hard. We only need to work SMART! At the end of the day, we are still the employees who are still dispensable no matter how much effort we exerted and how many hours we spent in the office everyday. Always remember that no one is and will be a corporate slave if only we will work smart and be smart enough to stand up and speak for ourselves. So, if you call yourself a corporate slave then it means you have accepted the idea of being one. You are the one making yourself a corporate slave. So, don’t hate your job nor your boss. Stop blaming your job for not being able to achieve that work-life balance we are all dreaming of. Always remember that we work to live, it’s not the other way around.

Browsing My Facebook Feeds Makes Me Gain Weight

Have you ever experienced having an instant craving for food or instant urge to buy something after going through your Facebook feeds? I guess Facebook Ad is really effective.

About a couple of weeks ago, I came across a Facebook ad about a popular Korean restaurant opening its first branch in my city; a grill-your-own-food kind of place. I must admit it was a really effective ad; unlimited shrimp, pork belly,  beef, chicken, iced tea, Korean soup, rice, and lettuce plus a single serving of Korean ice cream for dessert. Everything for approximately USD12 only. I was already craving for that grilled shrimp and beef even before I finished reading the details.  Even with the strong cravings, I was convincing myself not to fall for another Facebook Ad again but as days go by, the photo of the appetizing spread keeps on coming back to me. So, to make the long story short, I finally gave in last night and decided to try this place for dinner.

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They are not so generous with appetizer though but it’s alright, I am not a big fan Korean appetizers anyway.

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They come in small servings; the rule is finish it first before asking for another round. I guess it’s just proper so they can avoid wasting food. Some people tend to get too many food from the buffet table then leave their plate almost untouched.

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I like the fact that the meat and shrimp are not seasoned at all. It gives you freedom to season your food based on your preferences.

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Yes, I like grilling!

On My 45th… I Wish My Father Could Still Call To Greet Me

Most kids get too excited about upcoming birthdays. They always look forward to birthday parties, the generous gifts, the favors, and the expression of unconditional love from their parents. That “I am the star and the center of the universe feeling” even for just a day is something to look forward to.

Growing up, I never experienced fancy birthday parties. As far as I can remember, my mother would always prepare something simple for our family to share with to celebrate my special day. We kept this tradition almost every year especially when my father retired from work and stayed home for good. My parents would always cook something even after I moved out of the house. They liked celebrating my birthday even if I was living hundreds of miles away. They just liked preparing simple meals to share with friends and relatives in celebration of their only child’s birthday. My father would always call me or send me message to greet me “happy birthday” early morning on my birthday. I remember him and my mother teasing me about my age and the fact that I was still single. I remember that one particular birthday when he exerted a lot of effort to prepare something to surprise me when I come home from work. He was calling and asking me what time I would come home but I said I was going to be late. In fact I chose to go out to dinner with the guy I was going out with that time. So when I came home late that night, there were still food and cake on the table, my birthday cake was still untouched. They were sleeping already but he got up to tell me that they couldn’t wait for me anymore and they ate already. I felt so guilty and I wanted to turn back time so I could choose to come home rather than go out with this guy. The worst part was when my mother told me that my father was really waiting for me and that surprised birthday treat was his idea since it was a rare opportunity that he was home for my birthday.

Since I was small child, my father was always not home due to the nature of his job. We only got to be together, for a few days, once a month or once every two months that’s why he wanted to take advantage of every chance he got when he was home during special occasions such as birthdays or school recognition days. He missed all of my graduation days because he was out of town working and could not come home. Well, with the nature of his job, it was not an option for him to go home to be on stage with her only child on her school recognition day. I accepted that fact, it was normal for me back then. My mother was always with me so I didn’t complain about it especially when my father always made extra effort when he was home.

So, why I am I recounting all of these now? Well, today is the day when I terribly miss my father. My biggest supporter, my biggest fan, my biggest protector, and the only person who was ready to kill anything and anyone just to protect me. I was not able to tell him that and I am not sure if he knew how I felt about him. I used to nag to at him when he refused to see his doctor or when he was trying to make excuses for not taking his medications seriously. I always wanted him to be healthy and to live longer so he could see me happy with my own family one day. I wanted him to live healthy and longer so he could spend more time with my mother since they lost so many times when he was always away for work. I did what I could to save his life but I guess it was not my call anymore to keep him with me us. It’s been almost 20 months now since he left us but I’m still in denial until now, especially on this particular day. The person who was always happy and always made people around him laugh at his corny jokes, the most loving father and husband, the most hardworking and generous person in the world, the person who was loved and respected by many, the  person whose death left a huge hole in our hearths… that was my father!

I miss you so bad Tatay… I will see you in heaven when it’s my time already. Until then, I guess I will just have to endure these heavy emotions when I’m missing you real bad. We will still celebrate my birthdays and you can still give me my birthday cake in heaven when we are both there already. Today, I will light a candle for you and maybe you could also light a birthday candle for me up there 😊

Don’t worry I will be better soon!

On Living My Life For The Present

As I was going through my Facebook feeds this morning, I came across one video post that talks about living for the present. It struck me once again that life is so short and sometimes we don’t even have control over our own lives.

I always remember telling myself that I want to live for the moment because no matter what, I can’t buy back yesterday. I also don’t even know if I’m still well and healthy when I wake up tomorrow to enjoy my breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being pessimistic here, in fact I’m an optimistic person but I’m also a realistic one. Come to think of it, a lot of things can happen to us in span of hours or even minutes. Every time I fly, I can’t help but think “what it the plane crashes during take-off or landing, will I survive and still able to enjoy my life after the incident or survive with broken limbs and not being able to stand up and walk again?” Even if the insurance company can cover the medical expenses and the government can give me a handsome pension amount, it still won’t make up for the days that someone is tied down on a wheel chair every single day. Can you imagine yourself watching the world goes by before your eyes and being able to be a part of it? I guess it’s only during those times that you will realize the family holiday trips and the random shopping trips with friends that you let go of because you were so busy making a living. You will remember those expensive items that you purchased but kept inside the cabinet because you were waiting for that special occasion. You will realize at that instance that you were so stressed and busy making a living and in the process, you forgot to how live a joyous life.

At this point in my life, all I want is a happy and not-so-stressed everyday living. Based on previous experiences, I have learned that no matter how hard I work and how much effort I exert to make a better living, I still cannot get that state of contentment and happiness that I want and that fact made me more stressed. We all know that life cannot be smooth and perfect all the time but we can set that state of contentment that we’re happy about. At this point, I may not able to impulsively book an international flight 6 hours before the actual flight or buy a designer leather handbag at an instant like I used to but I can use that handbag any day now no matter where I’m going, even if it’s a trip to weekend market, a night food bazaar, or a short afternoon visit to a friend’s house. Some friends say that using a designer handbag on a regular day at the wet market is a bit crazy but I tell them that I bought that handbag with the money I earned from hard work and I want to be able to use and enjoy it anytime and anywhere I want. I don’t need special occasions to use my designer handbags. Being able to go out anytime I want and having a flexible working hours is already a special occasion in itself. This job and work arrangement that I have now may not be as lucrative as before when I was still working full time in the corporate world and being deadly stressed everyday but I like it. It gives me a sense of freedom, contentment, and happiness over simple things.

While others are busy making a living and trying to save for overseas holiday trips and shopping for designer items, I am busy juggling my time between home-based jobs and doing things that I love. Things that I was not able to do before because I spent most of my time confined in the four walls of my office. These days, I can enjoy doing abstract paintings anytime of the day while taking a break from my laptop’s screen and I can literally enjoy the scent of freshly cut grass in my front yard. I can stop for a few minutes to admire the white and pinkish young leaves of our tree at the front yard. I can get out of bed at midday and still enjoy my homemade smoked bacon and ham for breakfast at noontime. I can do my job at the comfort of my home while baking brownies. I can do my job while the washing machine is working and enjoying the scent of my favorite freshly baked French bread. I don’t deny that sometimes I miss the impulsive holiday trips and shopping but at the end of the day, I realize one thing… been there, done that.

This is my new chapter now, it’s not perfect and there are still challenges in every page but I can manage it with grace. The important thing is, I like it this way. So far, so good. I am the captain of my boat, I can always adjust the sail anytime I want depending on the direction of the wind.

Every single day should be an exciting day!

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