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

“The Godpapu” Bags 4-peat Award for MCC

In the company I work for, the Christmas party is the most anticipated event of the year. Every year the event organizers come up with a theme, and a competition that goes along with it. All three business units come up with a presentation aligned with the theme, and they compete for the ultimate prize.

Now, what you must understand is that there is a certain amount of pressure to win the presentation. Our BU has won the competition for three consecutive years, making them undefeated champions of the annual Christmas parties.

This year’s theme: Oscars Film Awards Night. The competition: a short film.

It took several brainstorming sessions, coming up with spoofs for romantic comedies, horror flicks and even Memoirs of a Geisha. We scrapped all the ideas we came up with, thinking none of them were award-winning at all. I proposed the idea of using The Godfather, with our big boss (whom we fondly called “Papu”) playing the Don, but sadly, none of the original members of the committee were too psyched with that idea either, so we scrapped that too.

And then, just when we already made the consensus NOT to join at all, the big boss heard of The Godfather idea and was all for it. Apparently, he’s a HUGE fan of the iconic classic. Very much so that he agreed to playing our version Don Corleone, as long as he didn’t have to memorize lines. He didn’t even object when he found out we’ve been calling him “Papu” behind his back all this time. He came up with the main “plot” of the short film as well, offered his place for the shoot  itself and even tweaked the script a little as we went along.

Our official poster. We have an Italian version too, entitled "Il Papudrino"

It was a last-minute project, involving a day-long shoot and several days worth of sleepless nights of editing. Several shots of Jack had to be consumed for our cast to get the Italian accent right.

Confidence boosters!

Admittedly, it was rather rushed, so none of us really expected to win. We had a blast making it though and we made a load of hilarious memories in the process. It was something of a bonding experience for us, being the first time we “hung out” with our big boss in his own territory, and caught a glimpse of his non-work personality.

The Consiglieri, The Don and The Pet

Dramatic shots courtesy of Melabear, and Leme Cam

We spent a huge chunk of the shoot giggling at the idea that The Godpapu’s pet is a wooden elephant.

Say hello to Dumbo

TOO FUNNY OMG

Win or lose, we all agreed that this project held a special place in our hearts.

BUT it seems that our attempts at being artsy were well-appreciated by the competition’s judges. We bagged four awards for our short film, including Best Trailer, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and the grand prize for Best Picture.

Congratulations to the Familia!

Pressure’s on for next year, then. The tradition lives on! Congratulations to the team!

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!

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!

End of (Fixed) Term

So my five months working as a staff nurse in UST Hospital is almost up.

Admittedly, I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of working as a nurse. With the unpredictable schedules, meager pay and a variety of people to get along with and serve, I don’t think you can blame me for wanting to find a better alternative. But a job’s a job, it’s only for five months and hey, it makes my parents happy to know that I’m working as a nurse, so I gave it a try anyway.

I’m a beginner nurse working with highly demanding VIPs. Obviously, my first few weeks were riddled with booboos. There were days when I dreaded going to duty, times when my self-esteem was less than zero and I had to drag myself out of bed to face our clients, moments that I was this close to wanting to lock myself in the bathroom and cry out my frustration. My closest friends and family knew how miserable I was with the job when I first started out.

Five months later, here I am, with less than 10 days to go, and I think I’m already missing it. I’ve learned to love most of my co-workers, even though I don’t really show it much. I am a relatively quiet co-staff to work with, and I have a tendency to get suplada when I’m stressed, so don’t think I made that much of an impression on everyone else. I am pretty sure I would not be missed the way they’d miss fashion maven Jel or bubbly, talkative Lauren, but I’m pretty sure I will miss them. I picked up so many lessons just by watching them work, and they had my back when I needed it.

Just a small part of the Del Rosario family

I’ve learned to work with difficult people, to suck it up, to tuck my pride away in a drawer, grit my teeth and smile, even though I desperately wanted to throw a tantrum. Now this is one life lesson that I am extremely proud of.

Most importantly, however, is that I’ve learned to love the work itself, putting the theoretical knowledge to use, serving the sick, no matter how lowly others think this job is or how “dirty” my hands get. There may be people who look at us like we’re no different from common househelp and show no gratitude at all, but most of the time, there are those who spare a few seconds to smile and say thank you, just to show that our efforts and hard work were appreciated. Those are the moments that make all the sweat and tears and unpaid OT hours worth it.

What am I doing after my contract ends? I might take foreign licensure exams. I could enroll for MA classes. I could try applying in other hospitals, or I could try and work as a private duty nurse again. I could go back to my first love and try out for writing gigs again. I could give up nursing altogether and find a new calling. I really have no idea yet.

For now, this is Staff Nurse Chen signing off.

Can you recommend career suggestions/job opportunities/rackets for me? E-mail me! silverwing015@yahoo.com