Lessons From Outside The Comfort Zone

I have been working for 20 years. Two days from graduation, I trudged through the doorways of my first job and I haven’t stopped ever since. I love working. In fact, a lot of people used to say I was a workaholic and that it was my priority in life. True and I didn’t deny it. Work gave me a sense of fulfillment, not to mention financial gratification. I just love being busy and productive.

A few months ago, my husband and I decided that I should take a break from my corporate life. There were many reasons behind it. Most people would probably say, “That’s awesome!” but it wasn’t an easy decision for me. You won’t believe how many motivational quotes I had saved on my phone just to push me to do it and get perceived fears out of my head. I can keep painting but what else would I do, right? What a dilemma.

I just told myself that I will just allow God to surprise me.

I did it anyway, and had my last day of work a couple of weeks ago. It has been an extremely busy 2 weeks filled with, you got it right, surprises!

Busy And Productive Outside The Four Walls Of An Office

img_20160820_203612My friend has been asking me to help her with the events business and I wanted to do something fun, so I did. I’ve been doing corporate events all my working life anyway. It was one flurry of corporate events after another and I had worked and met with wonderful people – the production teams, clients, talents and suppliers. I have missed the adrenaline rush of running a show and being part of a good team. I even got to meet up with friends in Cebu (yes, I ended up in Cebu for a day).img_20160831_204924

Getting to know my neighbors is something I have been missing all these years as well. I never really did get a chance to meet or interact with my neighbors. I’ve never been a social animal and my schedule has always been terrible so I actually do get a chance to talk to them and know more about them.

Being out of an 8-5 job has its perks. I finally get to be part of special events and milestones in the lives of good friends. I never would have been able to do this if I had work.

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Because I just had to take this picture.

Last August 17, Cecil a.k.a. Chuvaness launched the ChuvanessXNBS line. It’s a must get line of products not just for the quirky, cute and adorable design but the quality of the products. It’s still available at National Bookstore and hoard now because they would be great gifts in the future and I don’t know if it will be a limited edition thing. Cecil is one of the most talented, warm, thoughtful and generous people I know. She has always been ready to help and there at my lowest. I look forward to her “Zee, how are you?” calls or messages (in the sweetest and most distinct malambing tone). I love her and her style to bits!

 

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Available at selected National Bookstores!
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Know more about Daphne through CHIC

Last week, another friend also had a milestone and I’m glad I didn’t miss that too. Daphne Osena-Paez launched her new book entitled CHIC. She has been working on this book the whole year and I know she worked so hard on it. I just couldn’t miss it as well and I didn’t. I had the time. Daphne has always been one to push the envelope, from her linens, furniture, jewelry, Daphne.ph, endorsements, hosting, now her book. She’s quite an admirable entrepreneur and silly to boot. She makes me laugh so hard and face palm as we exchange mundane issues in life.

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These two are inspiring people and very different from each other. I am lucky to have been part of their milestones. They are both very encouraging and give good advice all the time. They are supportive and encourage me to keep pursuing my art and writing. They hustle and work as hard as anyone in the corporate world. It’s heartwarming to get support from people you admire.

My take out from the last two weeks is that it’s not easy to be an artist/stay at home mom/entrepreneur. You have to work twice as hard, search for opportunities, motivate yourself daily. You have no set KRA’s that guide you or a company mission-vision to follow. You create your own on a daily, weekly basis. Your mission-vision is for yourself and your family – to be a better person, mom, wife, sister, daughter. This is a challenge for me. Heck, choosing the dinner menu is a challenge for me.  I can’t hide behind a desk, my schedule and my laptop anymore. I am exposed to the world and the wonderful people around it.

The good thing is that despite its being hard, I can be myself, I can wear what I want and can freely think and create.

I’ll make most out of this opportunity, just have God surprise me some more and yes, write about it. Maybe one day, it will be useful to someone going through the same thing.

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Zee

 

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Empty Calling Card, Full Heart

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There are just some things that are more important than work. Admittedly, it took a while for me to learn all this. I was independent from my family in my early twenties (in the Philippines, that’s pretty early or unimaginable) and have been stressing about household bills and surviving for around 16 years. I guess working my ass off to have food to eat and save for my future was hard-wired into my system. Things changed when I had my daughter and my second marriage. Work didn’t seem to be THE priority. Whatever joy I derived from work just didn’t seem to compare to the joy I had at home. This actually confused me. For many years, I latched on to my work and it slowly ate me away – my body, personality and my joy. It turned into an addiction and just like any addiction, difficult to manage.

I stopped working for a few months this year. Dropped everything and stopped working. For the first time in 19 years, there was no company name attached to mine. Questions such as, “What are you doing now?” or “Where are you connected now?” was something I dreaded. I came out with a blank. I had no calling card.

For the months of September and October, I decided to just recuperate and re- align myself. I focused on family, friends, painting and resting. Things and people I love. In a span of a couple of months, the addiction called work melted away.

My husband and I had a long talk about our situation. My choices in the next few months were crucial. If I were make a wrong choice when get back into the rat race, all would have been wasted. At this point, I told my husband that I wanted to step back at work, paint, write more and support him. The decision came with huge sacrifices but we feel that it’s all worth it.

I’m back at work now. Everything has been working well so far. It’s so hard to consciously pull back but I know that it is needed and a decision made. I apply my “Decide, Do, No Looking Back” motto again.

Some question my decision of taking a few steps backward career-wise but you know, when we die, our tombstone won’t have a company logo, credentials and a position title. So yeah, get over it.

There is nothing is more important than being happy. There is nothing more important than family.

Zee

Summer At Loserville

I have missed posting for a couple of weeks. I blame it on work and Farm Heroes Saga. More on the latter,actually. I don’t really play games but when I do, I get hooked. I’m still at it.

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Anyway, I would like to talk about summer. It’s here, right now, burning through my skin. I have friends posting Boracay pictures and it pains me as I am inside an air conditioned building trying to work. I want to be at the beach so badly, I can see fish swimming on my monitor. I have a new bikini I haven’t used at home and my fear is that the elastic would turn crisp and make that crunchy sound by the time I get to use it. Darn. I want to use that swimsuit. It had pink flamingos on it. Flamingos.

As they put on their sunnies to protect them from the summer sun, I wince at the UV rays emanating from my laptop and the stark fluorescent light. They are cool while I am cold from the air-conditioning.

Instead of the sound of the waves, I hear the beeping of the photocopier and grinding of the printer. While people are sipping on cocktails and shakes, I gulp on coffee to keep me awake. Cheers. Let’s drink to all this.

Boo.

Not A Perfect Mom, Just A Mom Who Tries Her Best & keeps SMART Family Ties

I’m a working mom. I work hard and spend a lot of time at the office, traveling for work and trying to excel at work. I also have no relatives here in Manila. Ergo, if I get asked “Who watches over your child while you’re at work?” A constant question, by the way. I answer “The yaya.” (yaya = nanny)

*insert judgmental look or statement here:_______________.

Slide4I also try to be as hand on as I can and communicate with my daughter regularly throughout the day because again, I am always away at work. We use our smart phones and chat constantly everyday.

I also do not have a tutor. I tutor my child as soon as I get home after a day at work. There are days that I can’t make it on time and I tutor her by remote, through chat.

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Being connected to my daughter and husband is such an important thing to me. I cannot be with them all the time and I know I can’t make up for it but I try my best to answer and reply right away when they need me. Yes, I’m not an ideal mother but no one is, really. I can’t give a lot of motherhood advice or be an expert because I really just try to make most out of everyday with my daughter and this is what works for us.

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I don’t try to be a perfect or best mom, I just want to be the mom who tries her best.

Yesterday, I discovered the SMART Family Ties Plan and it’s exactly what I need. The plan allows me to have postpaid plan at such a reasonable price of PhP900 or PhP1800 with 3 handsets, Unli call and text to family members, Unli text to SMART, 200 All Net Text, 100MB of data per member. Unli call for homework and instructions for what type of paper she needs for her school projects.

When I get the plan, I plan to give one to our nanny for work use a.k.a the daily question I get and dread at around 4:00 p.m. “Ate, ano lulutuin ko pang hapunan?” (What will I cook for dinner?) and will alleviate the stressful “Hindi po ako maka reply, wala ako load.” ( I couldn’t reply, I don’t have load). After all, our nanny is part of our family.

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To know more about the SMART Family Ties Plan:

Don’t stop trying to keep your family together. You don’t have to be the perfect mom, no one is. Be the mom who just keeps on trying her best. It’s what matters to those who matter.

Zee

 

 

10 Reasons Not To Use Microsoft Word Art At Work

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Last week, I received a 31 slide presentation that basically used Microsoft Word Art for each and every text used. I unfortunately had the sad role of collating all the presentations sent out and it included this monstrosity. I had to double check if the sender was a child because in my head, only a child would send such a cringe- worthy thing. I mean, really. It didn’t make sense that a 40 year old would use this much Word Art. The bendy, fat, colorful letters and the clip arts that are just meant to annoy people have no place in a corporate presentation. So, I conclude that person secretly hates me. She must hate the fact that I keep microwaving popcorn in the pantry and fill the air with buttery popcorn scents at work. She must have thought:

” For every corn you pop, I’ll give you a faux drop shadow, bevel and emboss.”

“You pop some more and I bend this letter until you can’t understand it.”

” You chose cheese flavor this time..you deserve a multi-colored, gradient-filled extravaganza!”

*Bwahahahaha! Evil laugh*

In my opinion, Word Art was added by the devil in Microsoft to make people have a false sense of creativity. I cannot convince everyone to  not use Word Art but I will try. I will make it my life’s work, I will make it my mission.

10 REASONS NOT TO USE MICROSOFT WORD ART AT WORK

  1. Word Art died together with acid washed jeans. Do not bring it to life.
  2. Do you know that once you turn text into Word Art, it’s Word Art forever? You can’t turn it back into normal text. You have doomed that poor text’s life forever! (and normal people have to retype the document) You want to make sure something isn’t copied? Turn it into Word Art, not a PDF file.
  3. If your boss or God forbid Human Resources uses Word Art, it might catch on and create a culture of oompa-loompas, Bananas in Pajamas and Barney at its worst. Imagine Sales Reports in Word Art.
  4. Unless your mind is bent, don’t bend the words.
  5. Word Art is not creative. It’s just plain lazy.
  6. Color is tolerated. An entire Crayola box of colors (64 color box with the sharpener at the back) is not even close to appropriate.
  7. It might ignite office mates to bring in semi- automatic guns to work and just do a shooting spree. It just messes up the mind, you know?
  8. Word Art + Clip arts is a lie from the devil. I’m sure it’s in the Bible somewhere.
  9. Focus on the content and not annoying people.
  10.   Studies show that people who use Word Art are doomed to have less sex.

I am close to drafting a petition for Microsoft to abolish Word Art. Please support me.

Zee