Category Archives: The Self
Today, I spent the day reacquainting myself with international relations and political theory because of the recent Malaysian Airlines incident. I spent the afternoon reading up on two geopolitical issues: the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict and the Ukraine-Russia conflict. As with any armed political conflict, civilians are caught in between and unfortunately become collateral damage. For the former, three Israeli teenagers and four Palestinian boys were killed a month apart. For the latter, almost 300 foreign nationals were killed after Ukrainian separatist rebels shot down the plane they were on with a missile. This evening, I found myself looking at Communist propaganda posters after seeing a photo of Communist supporters carrying posters of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
While most of my college education was devoted to analyzing political theories and discussing international relations, I realized that I never really got around to using the bulk of my education practically.
I had volunteered for, blogged and continue to blog about, worked and continue to work in the other fields which my political science course catered to – Philippine politics and governance, social development and law. I spent about a month learning about and lobbying for the Freedom of Information Bill under a local non-government organization promoting transparency and accountability. I spent a little over a year working for an education-related non-government organization and then three years in a social marketing agency. Now I am working for a law firm and are learning about some intricacies of transactional and litigious legal work as well as matters pertaining to intellectual property and employment.
Now with my realization, I think I must start reading up more about international relations so that none of my education will go to waste and all of it will be put into good use.
When you rise over a challenge, you grow.
I just want to take this opportunity to share the happiness and fulfillment I felt after I overcame a few challenges the past several months and few weeks:
Challenge: Sticking to a routine.
The only routine I had before was to rise in the morning, have breakfast, take a bath and start working. The breakfast, bath and work parts used to interchange until I read that routine boosts productivity and contributes to success. It has almost been a year since I adopted a more streamlined morning routine and now I’ve incorporated a exercising which has boosted my productivity even further. It takes me longer now to prepare for work, but now I’m more focused on it, making tasks easier to accomplish.
Challenge: Being more organized.
I’ve utilized planners over the past couple of years and I vouch for their usefulness, especially for a left-brained person like me who is happy with wandering and whimsical thoughts. Aside from having a routine, having and actually using a hard-copy written really helps me get my job done. But I found organization for work hard beyond the planner. So actually being able to work with a bunch of lists now and not panicking is an accomplishment for me. I’m sure others who are reading my blog can relate. I’ve still yet to learn to really organize people, but I am learning. And I’m looking forward to when I can really manage and organize lists and people.
Challenge: Thinking on my feet.
That’s something that I’ve started learning. I’ve still a lot of work to do in this category, but I’m also confident that I can think faster. Being at the moment is really key for thinking on one’s feet.
There are a lot more challenges that I’ve yet to overcome and experiences I’ll grow from. And I’m excited to jump over these hurdles.
Thanks for reading my blog! How about you? What are the challenges you hurdled that made you feel really fulfilled?
I was blessed to be part of this year’s Barangay Elections as a candidate’s poll watcher.
I’ve been interested in participating in the elections as a poll watcher since I was in college. Unfortunately, all the training sessions were scheduled during school and work hours so I was never actually able to be one until now.
The Barangay is the smallest administrative unit in the Philippines. In English, Barangay means ‘village’. It is governed by a Barangay Captain and a Barangay Council composed of 7 Kagawads, who are assigned to develop and implement projects under various committees. The populations of barangays range from two thousand up to two hundred thousand. Thankfully, we reside is a small barangay, so there weren’t much people. The teachers who assist in the voting and counting, members of the police force and volunteers from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) actually felt relaxed during the voting hours.
The excitement came when voting was closed and vote-counting commenced. Unlike the national elections wherein voting is done manually, but tallied through a machine, both voting and tallying are done manually during Barangay elections. I guess this is because there is a large multitude of Barangays and it would be too costly for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to distribute or ship PCOS machines again, collect the names of candidates, lay them out and print ballots for each of them.
As this was the case, the teachers posted a large tally sheet on a white board (Tally Sheet 1) – with one tally sheet per precinct. The tally sheets had a long box on the left for the candidates’ names, and had boxes to its left for the vote tallies. The boxes were enough to fit five tally lines.
We had three precincts, so there were three counting paper sheets. Another tally sheet was prepared on a table adjacent to the precinct’s ballot boxes and white board (Tally Sheet 2). Then they listed the names of the candidates down on the tally sheets with a black marker. One teacher was assigned to read the votes, another one was assigned to tally the votes on Tally Sheet 1 and another was assigned to tally the votes on Tally Sheet 2. Prior to the counting, PPCRV and the candidates’ poll watchers were also made to sign documents to validate their participation.
Each poll watcher was required to bring his or her own tally sheet. Before the official tallying began, I wrote down the names of the candidates on my own tally sheets.
The tallying soon started after I wrote all the candidates’ names down. The teacher assigned to read the votes in the precinct I volunteered for read the votes at a fairly steady pace so I was able to count along with them. For each 100 ballots, we tallied the partial results before proceeding onto the next hundred. After about an hour, vote tallying was done and the total for each candidate was written down on the official tally sheets and validating documents were signed. Soon after, the winners were proclaimed.
During the vote tally, voters are free to go to the polling place and watch the process. I wasn’t aware of how many watched the tally until it was over. I was delightfully surprised to see many people there. The Barangay is the smallest unit – and for some – the most useless. But I am thankful that people in our community continue to see its value.
I want to thank the COMELEC and DepEd’s teachers for the smooth voting and tallying processes. I would like to especially salute the teachers who were assigned in larger barangays – I am more proud of our public school teachers than ever! With that experience, I hope to participate again as a poll watcher for the coming 2016 elections.
I am very happy to say that the candidate I volunteered for won. As part of the team, I was very nervous, even as I was counting. I could not imagine how that person must have felt! Thank God for the win, now we can all rest and look forward to a new chapter for our community!
When we are uncomfortable with thoughts, words and actions inconsistent to our beliefs, it’s either we choose to keep our thoughts to ourselves, or we voice out our disagreements until our throats become sore.
I’m the type that would voice my own opinion, rather than keep it to myself. I also made the mistake of thinking that being opinionated means being correct. So many times did I think that shoving my beliefs on politics, gender equality, racial equality and acceptance of various faiths down others’ minds was correct. If someone thought otherwise, I felt like I had the moral obligation to correct them in a strong, determined voice, and rid the world of every type of oppression. If they disagreed, I immediately thought that their thinking was the reason why humanity has failed to be human.
I have always thought that if everyone was politically correct and liberal in thinking, then life would be a lot better. I hold true to that belief. Yet I have also learned to not fight it out every time until someone concedes to my side. I have learned to keep quiet, understand another person’s history and reasons for holding onto such beliefs, respect their preferences, and am finding ways to engage them better for the good of all.
It’s a challenge, but through choosing the battles I wish to fight, and by learning to engage people in the conflicts I chose, it has made me feel more relaxed, calm and well, happy. I’ve also learned how great this has been to me in terms of maintaining good relationships. Overall it’s a good thing for me.
How about you? Did picking battles work for you?
Thanks again for reading my post! Hope you’re having a great weekend!
As in anything in life, organizations go through ups and downs. And what makes an organization strong, and what makes it leadership work is the organization and its people’s capability to withstand major challenges and rise up from difficulties.
Numerous books, articles and talks have discussed the power of positive thinking in helping organizations and businesses reach success. Thinking positively and moving progressively is most important after going through certain setbacks, let’s say, incurring losses after a failed business deal, product recalls and legal crisis. To start, it is important to ask questions that lead to forward movement, such as, “What lessons have we learned from this experience?” and “How are we to apply these lessons?”
The first question reflects the bright side of even the worst types of setbacks. It tells us that setbacks don’t render ourselves, our people or our organization hopeless. It can make us better. A setback could just be the rubber string on a slingshot pointed upward, that pulls us back a bit, but then propels us to greater heights. I also believe that setbacks don’t just happen because of operational or organizational mistakes. There’s a deeper reason for the occurrence of setbacks, and personally, I ultimately believe it’s that Being (in my case, the Christian God), putting us through them to make us into better creations.
The second question reflects our ability to become better by following through and living out the lessons learned. It tells us that we can make the most out of anything, and move with considerable and logical speed to bring ourselves and/or our organizations to greater heights that where we were, complete with wisdom.
Where we land and stabilize ourselves is up to how much we fix ourselves to become a better organization, or person. With the help of God, of course.
What setbacks have helped you and/or your organization become so much better? I’d be glad to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my blog!
I’ve never thought of myself as a risk-taker because I don’t gamble nor engage in extreme sports like bungee-jumping or scuba-diving. It was only until a few days ago, when a personal experience lead me to examine myself further. I have realized that I am somewhat adventurous when it comes to making career-building decisions, and this characteristic of mine lead me to many opportunities, of which I am happy to have. I’m also adventurous when it comes to food choices and exploring different places.
Now this lead me to ask myself: “Are risk-taking, success and happiness correlated?” Yes, according to WebMD and Psychology Today. In the Psychology Today article entitled “Happiness is a Risky Business”, writer Angie Levan advocates healthy risk-taking. She says, “risk-taking is essential to learning what your limits are, to growing as an individual and to cultivating a thriving life. Risk is something to be fully embraced and celebrated! Without taking risks, it’s impossible to learn the skills that enable you to thrive in life, like learning to manage emotions in uncertain circumstances – which life is full of.”
For every risk, there is an inevitable loss, and that’s what scares people away. On the other hand, for every risk, there is something good to gain, which makes risk-taking very important for business, as risk-taking is organic for any good entrepreneur out there. A study by Mckinsey shows how businesses that are more inclined to reallocating their resources and changing their strategies every three years are more successful than those that retain the same business strategy for a longer time. Based on the Mckinsey report, it seems like these organizations’ leaders are more adventurous than others. And personally, I think good leaders – whether they be in the private industry, the nonprofit industry or public governance – are smart risk-takers.
Earlier on, I mentioned that I’m somewhat of a risk-taker when it comes to work and career opportunities. How about you? Are you a risk-taker? What kind of a risk-taker are you?
Hope you can share with me your thoughts. Thanks for reading my blog!
As I lay to sleep on my bed last night, I thanked God for the many awesome things happening around me and the world and the meaningful content I get from media, from our current projects to the developments in the Catholic community to the many thought-provoking articles on Relevant, Inc., and Linkedin I’ve read in the past months. I slept after reading through a few inspirational materials. I noticed that whenever I think or read about good thoughts, I wake up a lot better.
Thinking about and talking about the positive experiences you have and will get and new knowledge you’ve acquired begets more excitement in life. The more you are excited about life, the more life will give you reasons to be excited and the higher the chances are to be happy. I remember how my excitement over 2 projects almost a month ago lead to the acquisition of more clients. This is something that I’ve personally experienced also with friends. When we talk about the good things, then our conversations turn better and more great things happen to us.
So for whatever good that is coming to your life now, get excited and for sure, many greater things will happen!
Work forms a large part of life, and so it is a really great thing when you have passion for what you are doing professionally. Here are some indicators that you love your job:
You share to people about the great things that happened at work. Big or small, you recount your positive experiences to your friends, family and even co-workers. Whether it be having 5 pitches in a week, closing a deal successfully with a new client, implementing a project for a cause that you feel strongly about, interviewing your childhood idol, or getting more hits than you expected on your blog or website, you share them to those who are close to you. There is always a cause for celebration.
You are happy with the people and the work environment. In one of my earlier blog posts, I wrote about having less gossip when one is working from home. To not gossip is even more challenging in a “traditional” office, and so you know that you are enjoying your job when foregoing gossiping about others comes easy to you. You don’t even to suppress it, it just doesn’t happen.
You find ways to learn more and make it better. Online journal or magazine articles, books, training sessions and seminars, and further studies are some of the ways that a person can learn more about what he or she is doing, and how he or she can improve himself or herself. If you find yourself reading materials or signing up for training seminars even without your superiors telling you to do so, then you are on the right track. You are allowing yourself to grow and that is always awesome.
You work towards goals and create solutions rather than complain. A person happy with his or her work is a goal-oriented person, and this goal stretches beyond his or herself. You know you’re happy with your job when you try to reach that goal, rather than whine about the little details that form the bigger picture. And this is most true when things aren’t going the way things have been planned. You are calm rather than panicky. You assess and try to find ways to solve the issues at hand until things are ironed out. You also seek help when it is needed. You do everything to make things at work, well work.
You think more about the organization and its goals, rather than about yourself. You honestly think more about what the company will get as a whole. You think more about your team. It’s not that you forget about yourself but rather you think that as you accomplish your goals as a team, you can achieve your own personal career goals in the process.
You feel fulfilled. You may come home tired from the day’s work (especially after commuting on the streets of Metro Manila or via the LRT/MRT, but you don’t feel drained. You still feel great and thankful.
To everyone who’s reading and who can relate, congratulations for doing something you love! And to those can’t yet – seek for a job you’ll love and I’m sure you’ll find it.
Thanks for reading my post!
To live a Christian way of life, is to live a life of discipline, responsibility and desire.
There’s something really remarkable about the current Catholic pope, Pope Francis. For many, his words and actions may seem revolutionary due to the largely elitist history of the Catholic Church. Many people have returned to the Catholic faith because of him. Evangelicals, people from other faiths and even agnostics and atheists have new found respect for Catholics because of him. Jesus Christ is truly working through him and his disciplined and largely responsible way of living.
Living one’s faith is not constrained to the attendance of masses or Sunday services, the recital of certain prayers or complete memorization of the Bible. Praying religiously, attending masses and reading the Bible are important. But what is more important is that we truly understand the meaning of God’s Word, and consciously desire and act on that desire to live out His messages to us, most especially His message of Love, which requires so much discipline and responsibility.
I remember the day that I ceased putting images in my room, and ceased venerating saints. I realized that I had not cultivated a real faith-based spiritual relationship with the God that I worship, but the vessels used to “get to Him”, so I stored them away so I could concentrate on building my relationship with God without them. What remains with me are Bibles.
From then on, I realized that living the Christian faith requires responsibility. It requires constant self-examination, and a constant desire to be the bigger person in all situations by being more understanding and loving toward other people. It ultimately requires one to be humble and admit that he or she is a sinner, and only through Jesus Christ can he or she be strengthened to live beyond sin. For example, it is only through Christ I can find the strength to not judge and accept and love people whose beliefs I strongly disagree with.
Living the Christian faith requires so much discipline as well. To be constantly responsible, one must remain disciplined enough to keep being open and engaged, and not fall back to our old ways and prejudices. To be constantly trusting in God, one must remain disciplined and patient, and constant in expressing gratitude and their praise, even in times of hardship and seeming hopelessness. The desire to live the Christian faith is fueled by one’s relationship with God, and even before that, the grace that God gave us. Because God loves us, we are driven to be good people to others, as much as He loves us.
I am not in any way active in any ministry, nor a student of Christian and Catholic theology. Rather, what I have written above are based on my reading of the Bible, my reading of the Doctrine of Justification, as well as messages from Catholic leaders like Pope Francis and Jesuits, as I am a graduate of a Jesuit university. I’m a simple liberal Filipino Catholic, and this is my humble belief, which I understand will be disagreed upon by others.
But this is how my eyes see my faith, and this is how I will live it.
When I was a child, I would watch MTV almost the whole day, and I would form alternate concepts for music videos I didn’t like.
A decade ago, a college friend asked me, “What do you want to be after college?” I told him, “an eventologist”. Eventologist was the term coined by media for known event managers at that time. Both of us wanted to organize events because the event management was new and had some kind of sophistication at that time. And being in college, all I wanted to really do was party and “be seen”.
I tried out for the marketing and advertising organizations. I didn’t get through, but I helped implement a few events in the organization that I got in. I also directed an event for the organization I had my internship in. After college, I still participated in events, specifically for my second job. Despite having a social science degree and a political orientation in my thinking, God (or for others, “the Universe”, especially for adherents of Law of Attraction and The Secret) seemed to hear clearly what I had said ten years ago, and is still leading me into a profession that still involves events. I may not have gotten into my university’s marketing and advertising organizations, but I am now working for a marketing and communications agency, and many of our projects involve event management and video production.
Your dreams can be reality. But in order to keep on living your dream as you had wished it to be, you have to really work at it. Some people want to work for marketing, communications and advertising because of the money, the high life and partying. Yes, people in these industries party hard, but they work hard first. My not-so-great stint in account management actually lead me to write these, so I could help account managers-to-be, and account managers in general to be better than me and achieve success in what they do, especially in jobs that involve marketing, communications or advertising, and enjoy the life they want!
Account management is largely coordination in nature, and so it requires a person to be really organized. To-do lists and a checklist of requirements are needed. Don’t rely on your ability to remember things, even if you’re very good in keeping this in mind because they are bound to get cluttered. Have a notebook and actually write on it (I LOVE notebooks). Put up a whiteboard on your desk. Use your mobile phone’s native calendar and note-taking apps to keep the requirements and appointments in mind. These two lists are needed, especially since you may get to handle more than one account.
Thinking on your feet is another requirement for account management. The cliche, “expect the unexpected” is true for any project, be it events, video production, creatives or even strategy. The event’s emcee suddenly catches an illness, the equipment for the shoot gets delayed, client changes their mind on what their material should look like, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Always have a back-up plans.
Nowadays account management is not just about getting things done for the project , it’s also about managing relationships. As an account manager, a person has to have excellent communication skills and intuition, in order for him or her to communicate well to know and understand what the client thinks or needs, and communicate these thoughts or needs to staff or suppliers. An account manager’s listening and responding skills are important for his or her company’s reputation and success. Also, having a great, friendly attitude counts a lot!
Transactions within a project have to be documented. Some people prefer business transactions over e-mail or SMS (at least here in the Philippines) because of the trail. Other people, like me, prefer business transactions over the phone. In any case, every discussion has to be documented through contact reports, and has to be sent to everyone who should be looped in.
Breathe. Pace yourself. With the flurry of tasks on your list, there is a possibility for you to want to respond to everyone at the same time. Again, breathe and pace yourself. After listening to your clients, and talking to your staff and suppliers, take time to recollect before moving again.
Always strive to deliver excellent work.
Initially, this blog post was supposed to be about creating the perfect checklist of account management. I realized just how much more it is than being organized, hence the longer more detailed post.
Thanks for reading my blog post. Hope it helped!
There are three things that I gave up this year that allowed me to work better. I’ll list them down here and if you find what I’ve done doable, then you can follow what I’ve done.
The three things I gave up were multi-tasking, making long and unrealistic to-do lists and finally, working at a pace unfit for me.
Let’s start with multi-tasking. I would do a lot at the same time before, thinking that was the right way to accomplish as much as I can. I was wrong. I would be creating documents, perform administrative tasks and looking for prospect leads all at the same time. Also I allowed myself to end my work hours late, just so I could finish everything. I never really got anything substantially done, and would feel stress and tired at the end of the day. I allowed myself to get in that stressful cycle that many people allow themselves to get into, based on the notion that it is the norm in the business of marketing and communications.
The reason why I multi-tasked was because of the second thing I gave up: the long and unrealistic to-do lists. Ever since my first job, I loved seeing my calendar packed with tasks. Again, it was because of that “big-city-busy” mindset that I had. If there was something non-urgent pending, I would put it there, even if other heavier tasks were on hand. Those non-urgent tasks pended for a long time, with some left unattended to completely.
Because of trying to do things at a fast work pace, I sacrificed the quality of my work before. In addition, I was always panicky and disorganized. Having a to-do list and multi-tasking so much just to check off everything on that list left me more disorganized than organized. I thought something was really wrong with me since I couldn’t cope. Then I started reading a slew of articles on productivity and success a little earlier this year and that’s when I realized that the two things I had been doing – multi-tasking and having long to-do lists weren’t exactly right, even if they seemed normal in terms of business practices. Also, having a slower pace wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
The first thing I stopped was multi-tasking. I still had a long to-do list, but I performed the tasks there one by one. When a colleague or client would text, call, e-mail to request something from me, I would finish the task at hand before responding. For my colleagues, I would inform them that I was doing something, and that I would get back to them when I’m done.
The next thing I did was learn to create shorter to-do lists. I’m still in the learning process, but the shorter lists have gotten me more work done. They have helped me regain focus, especially on the bigger things that our organization is striving for. In addition, I numbered the tasks according to priority.
The last thing, which I just started doing, was to move at a pace that fits me, with no feelings of insecurity or guilt. I can say that the work I have done are substantially better, because of my focus on the tasks at hand. And oh, my work table looks remarkably neater now!
There are still times when I have to work past the prescribed work hours or work faster than the pace I have. But being more focused in my work management has lead me to cope with these instances better. While this has worked for me, others might like working at a fast pace, with more tasks. To each his/her own. It just so happened that the above things I changed worked for me.
Thanks for reading my blog!