2011 Wrap-Up!

When 2011 began, Feng Shui and Chinese astrology enthusiasts claimed that it was going to be a bad year for Strong Metal Rabbits, which, according to my birth date, is what I am.

I respect astrology in general, and I take note of the warnings, but I refused to let that dictate how my year was going to go. The two previous years were already bad enough, there is no way I was going to let 2011 be as bad.

Surprisingly enough, 2011 has been one of the best years of my 24-year-old existence.

If 2009 was Breakup Year, and 2010 was my Wildchild Year, 2011 is the Career Year. For the first time ever, I finally felt like my life had direction and purpose. Majority of the note-worthy events that happened the past year was work-related. I suppose I was just hell-bent on proving to everyone that I made the right choice when I decided to forego being a professional nurse and try my luck with something else that made my first year in the corporate world a rather exciting one. (At least, for me.)

Why my 2011 was a blast? Let me count the ways.

I joined the corporate world.

– Being a licensed nurse, everyone who knew me expected me to fly abroad and get rich off of nursing. I was a pretty decent nurse (I think?) but a few months of practicing the profession made it clear that being good at something didn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be happy doing it.

From RN to Sales & Marketing

I didn’t exactly plan on seeking a new career, nor did I actively look for a different path, but the opportunity for change landed on my lap (thank you Karmela Dua and Stella Alamil), and I was smart enough to take it. There’s room for improvement, sure, but overall I am now happier in my professional life than I ever thought I’d be.

I got regularized in three months. 

– Fuckyeah. If that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is.

Best letter I've ever received.

I managed a band.

– I am not a musician, but I do love music and I think I know a good song when I hear one. I’ve never really “managed” anything before this either, so when I got the offer, I was rather hesitant to do it.

I did it anyway. Unfortunately, we recently lost two members (one from health reasons, and another from family reasons), crippling the band entirely. The remaining members decided to go on hiatus in the meantime while we searched for worthy replacements.

Band-ing around

BUT, I just might resume this role soon. Good things await the band this 2012, stay tuned. 😉

I got inked.

– I had a fear of permanence, probably rooted to being afraid of long-term commitment. I thought I’d get a nose ring first before I’d get a tattoo (and mind you, I hate facial piercings), since I can easily get rid of piercings if I didn’t want them anymore. But…well. Things change, don’t they?

I’m rather happy with my first tattoo though, even if nobody can seem to tell that it’s a fox at first glance.

It's a fox, not a gumamela.

I got the first bill under my own name.

– Huzzah for one further step into independence and adulthood! I subscribed to a Globe post-paid plan, landing a purple Blackberry along with it. That’s one thing off the The Great Splurge List  too.

Say hello to Halle Blackberry

I finally got my iTouch.

–  I don’t fracking care if everyone’s getting psyched over Siri, I’ve never been much of an iPhone fan. Helena, my six-year-old 5th Gen iPod Video’s 30GB is no longer enough to contain all the new music I’ve accumulated in the past few years.

This is yet another thing off The Great Splurge List. Thank you, 13th month pay.

And this one here is Anna Molly

I [kinda] tried an extreme sport.

 I attempted to ride a longboard. It was just once,  and I didn’t do much, but I didn’t die so that’s still an achievement for me.

Pretentious lang ako

I organized a corporate event. 

– This damned event defined my whole September, the most stressful, albeit most productive month of my year. I learned Photoshop, PR skills, and organizational techniques in a span of four weeks, all for this one, day-long event.

My stress alopecia acted up during the planning phase of this thing, but it was all worth it in the end. And hey, the company CEO commended us for our good work so all’s well that ends well.

He knows my naaaame T_T

I flew domestic for the first time ever.

– I’ve been to Canada and back, but I’ve never traveled domestically outside of Luzon. I’ve always wanted to, but I never had the resources to do so.

Last October, I flew to Davao for a business trip, and I’ll be going back there this January. Flight and accommodation all paid for by ze company.

And people expect me to go back to nursing? HAH.

Aaaand lastly….

I went from open dating to exclusivity.

Some time ago I wrote about an Unexpected Kiss. I thought that wouldn’t result into anything, because he never followed-through.

Several months later though…

Da who ang boylalou?

Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into? Hahaha!

So cheers, to the year of taking chances and leaping before looking. May 2012 be as exciting as its predecessor. I’m looking forward to a whole lot of things this 2012…but that’s for a different post.

Happy New Year, y’all! ^o^V

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Kaizen!

“Why do they insist on calling it “team building” when its really just an excuse for officemates to go out of town, swim and get drunk?” is what one of my girlfriends said when I told them I will be out of town for the weekend for the company team building.

Where I work however, when they said team building, they actually meant it. I’m talking conferences, mental games and a makeshift amazing race kind of thing.

This year’s theme: Kaizen. From what I understood it basically means taking what you have and stepping it up a notch. The change doesn’t have to be huge, just as long as it’s for the better. It’s minimizing wastes, and maximizing productivity, and taking the initiative to improve oneself.

Sounds like some cheesy corporate pep talk I know (which, it is actually), but I like the idea. I have some pretty ambitious dreams for this new road that I chose to take, and I’ll do whatever it takes to move forward, no matter how cheesy and cliché those techniques are.

We held the team building in Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. You must’ve heard of the place before, it’s a popular choice for celebrity weddings.

Accommodations were simple, nothing too fancy. The bathrooms could use some work also but overall, I’d still like to go back there.

What is so remarkable about Balai Isabel is the scenery. No wonder that it’s a favorite among high-end weddings; Balai Isabel has so many picturesque spots that are perfect for those occasions. Seems like a good place for personal retreats too. If I can afford it, I can see myself going there alone or with a small intimate group, just to detox from the many stresses of the city.

A view of Taal Volcano

But I digress.

The activities included a conference, a few games, a couple of dinners and an Amazing Race. I reckon that the Amazing Race was the main event, as it is a whole day affair and it involved the most team work (pun slightly intended).

Corporate Jargon woop!

Of course SOME drinking was involved.

Let it be said that this is the first team building that I’ve been to. I didn’t get to experience anything like this during my hospital days. The last event that I’ve been to that was even remotely similar to this one was a leadership training during my senior year in college. Thus, I have no point of comparison as to whether this event went well or not. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the activities thoroughly; they were all built to test wits, guts and physical prowess.

The only activity we managed to take photos of

Most memorable for me were all the heights-related challenges. You see, I kinda have a fear of heights. I don’t mind being on planes, but being strapped onto a swing with a few flimsy ribbons? Climbing the side of the building using a swaying rope ladder? Yeah, really not too keen on that.

BUT, I had to do what I had to do, so I did all the challenges given to me. I may have screamed myself hoarse and punctured a few eardrums in the process, but in the end, what matters is that we were able to complete most of the tasks, and even ended up snagging second place.

Too bad everyone was so into the Amazing Race that nobody thought of bringing a camera along. We had some pretty memorable experiences with the challenges that would’ve been great if caught on film.

The event ended that weekend, but the Kaizen mindset has just begun. I’ve already started by taking a crash course on Photoshop, and I’m planning on learning so much more than that.

Huzzah for initiative!

Musings While Listening to Muse

I went on a catch-up date with a friend yesterday.

While I was waiting in the nurse’s station for her to finish her shift, I just observed quietly the environment that I left. Not much has changed really.

I couldn’t help but feel, more than ever, how blessed I am. All the choices that I’ve made so far have been for the better.

By day, I work for a company that really takes care of its employees. My boss is a brilliant woman, and is appreciative of my talents and efforts. More importantly, she gives credit where it’s due. I’m currently working with one of my best friends just a cubicle away from me. The rest of my colleagues are some of the smartest, most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and it makes working everyday easier. I see none of the dirty politics and needless, destructive gossip that I used to have to endure.

By night, I manage bands. Pro-bono most of the time for now, but I really don’t mind. I get to move around the industry, discover new music, meet people and go to events when I’m not managing one.

I’m learning so much, from business, to people, to music, to technology and everything in between. So many new experiences, so many opportunities.

Oh, and the clincher here is that I actually have the TIME and energy, not to mention the money to do all this, and still be able to chillax with my friends and loved ones after a hard day’s work.

The only hurdle now is to make my parents see that this IS the right path for me. Once I convince them that everything I’m doing has a point, and that I’m not just wasting my time, everything will be golden.

I am going places. It’s just different from where I initially planned on going, but this new destination will be so worth it.

I.B.A Reborn as Source of the Force

I once mentioned that I’m sidelining as a road manager for a couple of bands. One band is Stories of Now, which I like to refer to as the kuya band. They just recently got into The Jack Daniels Set’s final seven, and will be touring with six other bands. All in all, I’d say their career is pretty smooth sailing (fingers crossed!) so far.

Their little sister band is what I’m actively handling. I.B.A is an electro-pop-punk band that’s been on hiatus for some time. They recently got a new drummer, a new guitarist, and pretty much a whole new sound so we all thought it was only right to debut as a brand new band. After much debate and consideration, we finally decided on naming the new band “Source of the Force”. Yes I know, we like our geekery. Shut up.

The re-launch of IBA as Source of the Force happened last Friday, May 6,2011 at Casa Nami.

Poster courtesy of G Protacio. Clicky on photo to visit his blog.

I’d say the debut/re-launch was a success! They played a six-song opening set before Stories of Now, featuring covers from bands like Panic! at the Disco, No Doubt, Muse and Paramore. It was a pretty short set, but you can expect more to come on future gigs, they’ll be adding more covers and tightening up their original songs.

A very proud stage-ate I was. The set wasn’t perfect, I know, but the glitches were minimal and everyone, both the band and the audience alike seemed like they were having a really good time. That’s all that matters, really.

Can’t wait for the next!

To watch out for other gigs, Like the Source of the Force Facebook page by clicking here.

A Fork in the Road

Remember when I said I am trying to venture out of the whole Nursing loop?

Well. One of my best friends, who also happened to be a classmate of mine in Nursing school, is now working for a shipping company. There is an opening in the company, they’re looking for an inside sales executive,  so of course she proceeded to give me an extensive list of reasons why I should apply and why I’m going to really enjoy it there.

I had my reservations with the job (my lack of non-nursing experience for instance), but I thought, what the hell, let’s just see what happens. So I sent in my resume, took the written exam and went to the interview.

I should probably tell you that I already had my fair share of rejections from corporate companies who didn’t want to risk hiring Nursing grads for fear of them leaving for the States. Disappointing experiences, those were. So for this particular interview, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

I got a call today.

And….well. I think should go shopping for corporate clothes. 😀

Backtrack post: I’ve got a side-job!

(Written December 12 2010)

I have been named road manager today.

Well, I’m still undergoing training, and I have to wait until the current road manager leaves for the US to be officially called such, but still. I can’t tell why, but the offer to become road manager left me grinning like a giddy idiot. I’ve always been a music lover and working in the industry (in a matter of speaking) is like a dream. For now, it pays little, if at all, but I’m not counting on this job alone to feed me or anything. It’s more of a hobby that gives me extra pocket money, so yay!

Currently I’m learning how to set up equipment. Yes, yes I know, that’s a roadie’s job, but we don’t have roadies yet, so I’ll have to take over that job too. I don’t mind, really. Besides, if we do ever get roadies, at least I’d know what I’m talking about when I make ’em do stuff.

I hope to one day learn how to operate the sound board. Tita Che, the main manager of the band, says it will take a while to train the ear, but I’m willing to stick around until I master it. Right now, my short term goal is to master which wires go where and which plugs go into which sockets and not blow anything up. Those effects pads are hella expensive.

This must not happen on my watch 😡

It’s been fun so far!