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To Corporate or not to Corporate

Many people crave to be free from the shackles of the corporate world. A 9-6 job (which in reality is actually equivalent to 6-8 if you count your commute) can be pretty tiring. Office politics is a pain in the neck and the work just never ends (or so we make it).

But no matter what I do, I just can’t shake off this nagging feeling of breaking from my corporate hiatus and go back to climbing the corporate ladder. Again. The truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, I miss it all. I really am a workaholic. I love the rat race and it loved me.

I consider myself very lucky when it comes to my career. I rose from the ranks (as they say) in a considerably short amount of time and I loved what I did – as a management trainee to when I was a marketing assistant in URC to the time I was heading the camera marketing department of Canon and down to my last stint as the Corporate Communications Head. I really loved it. When you are paid to do what you love, luck seems to be on your side.

But priorities change. And when you have to choose between family and career, you don’t think twice about it, right? I made a hard decision because of the want to build a family. In the hopes that, you know, now that I am slowing down, I could finally have that little bundle of joy that we have been praying for.

And months passed by so quickly – six months to be exact and nothing is still happening and this impatient person begins to wonder. Oh yes, I know patience is a virtue but I am not a patient person. I admit that. Six months for an impatient person? I think that’s a long shot. Maybe I need the stress. I don’t know. Maybe I need the distraction of work so that I do not pore on the passing of hours every day. Gaahhhh!

It doesn’t  help my plight that over the past few months, there were several headhunters who called me if I am interested to go back to corporate already. What a joke!

So as always, I have to attack this situation in the most rational way and here’s what I have come up with —

iamcorporatejunkie reasons

 

So to expound on my points –

1. Finances, benefits and all the works. A friend asked me, are you bordering on poverty lines already that you are itching to go to work? The answer is no. I am so blessed to have a husband who selflessly supports me, I have some copywriting and social media management gigs that I do from home. Don’t get me wrong. If I could get the salary I am getting when I was in corporate by just writing, I would totally just want to write all my life.  But looking at it at a practical view, is it enough? For now, yes. But once we go through another set of immunotherapy sessions (in case I still won’t get pregnant before it expires by June), it’s another story. It is not cheap to be inflicted with this disorder. You have to prepare for it not only physically (which is the reason why I am at home now anyway), but also emotionally and financially.

2. Social Interaction. Look, I am an ENFJIt has been six months of isolation and it is making me crazy. ENFJs are people-focused persons. More than the love I have for my job, I love working with my team and my colleagues. It is the social interaction that I miss the most. Some people would love to be left alone, but not me. Sighs. If only Sachi can talk.

3. Freedom. Perhaps the one thing that I love the most with my situation now is the freedom that it gives me. I can work whenever and wherever I want to as long as I am submitting what is needed of me. I don’t have to brave the horrible traffic every day and I have lull times to do the things I want like read a book or bake or play with Sachi.

So you see, it is a dilemma that I have not solved just yet. Do I close the doors on the opportunities that knock? Do I just create my own windows by looking for more clients, enjoy my freedom and endure the stillness of working at home?

Or maybe I should just sleep on it. Again. Until I am bothered to the brink again. So help me God.

x,

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 22.28.06

 

5 Tips On How To Survive A Virtual Job

I have been slacking on the blog for the past week and it really frustrates me. I have been very busy and still adjusting to my new VA role. Anyway, it’s Friday once again and time for another #FridaysFive!

It has been more than two months since I have quit corporate, and yes, I am still counting. Well, not that often now but…

I have taken on some part-time jobs just to pass the time off – some writing stints, a part-time virtual assistance for an offshore client and some marketing consultancy on the side.

I have realized that the world has become so technologically advanced that there are a lot of things that you could do despite not being in the realm of cable wires, servers and other things you have to deal with when you are in a traditional office setting.

However, there are some things that you also need to do to make things easier as you take on a virtual job. Here is a little rundown of the five things I have learned on how to survive a virtual job.


1. Equip yourself with the basic tools – good internet connection, good laptop, an email account, office software and so on. 

Have a credible email address for your clients to contact you. You might want to get rid of that akoayseksi@blahmail.com. Most clients would require an internet speed of 1.5mbps and would usually require a speed test profile. Also, make sure your laptop is reliable so it does not conk out in the middle of doing your work.

2. Update yourself with the latest apps or software that could possibly make your life easier. 

Before I go on, can I just say that Google is awesome!? There is a wide variety of business tools that one can use to make a virtual office as efficient as it can be. Google Drive with all the Google documents that you need, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts for video-conferencing! Everything! It is sooo uhh-mayy-zing!


I just recently discovered Canva and I use it everyday. Now, I don’t have to open Photoshop and do my layouts there all the time unless it needs to be a high-resolution file or something more complicated. Canva is so easy to use and gives you some inspiration on how to create interesting images for your online requirements may it be a blog post or a social media feed.

3. Manage your emails well. 

 

Back when I was in corporate, I drowned in the number of emails that I received per day. It followed the Pareto Principle still. Only 20% of those emails were really for me, while 80% were just for my information or where I was only copy furnished. Sometimes, I missed more important emails just because of the sheer volume of the other emails that I was receiving.

What I learned recently is to let go of my chronic email checking. It is so easy to fall into the trap of waiting for emails from your clients. This creates unnecessary stress — the wait and the immediate need to reply.

I have set two time slots per day to check my emails — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I have also set up an autoresponder (Yes, you can do this in Google!) to inform the people who email me that I cannot respond immediately and should there be any urgent concerns, they can contact me through my mobile.

4. Take breaks every hour.


Working at home is actually more engrossing than working at the office. Why? Because you are at your comfort zone. No one calling you for a meeting. No one popping inside your cubicle for something. No unnecessary telephone calls.

I have read though that for one to be most efficient, you need to work in spurts. Take a mandatory break (I set an alarm for it) and go take your dog for a walk.

5. Plan your time. 

Every day, I still create my to-do list. The good thing about virtual assistance and these other online jobs is that the projects are results-oriented and are time-bound. There are no rush items (at least, not yet) and you are usually given a lead time (the minimum I had was at four days). This gives you ample time to prioritize and plan your days and weeks ahead.

So there! All of these are still new to me and these are my own learning from the new role I have started on just two weeks ago.

How about you, loves? Can you share any other tips to a noob like me? 

xx,
Balot

5 Things I Love With My New Work-At-Home Role

I keep on asking myself if I miss my corporate life. During my first month, the answer of course was a resounding YES. But now, that desire is becoming a little fainter.

If there is one thing I miss most working in the office, it is the unlimited interaction with a lot of people. To some, this could be a burden, especially for anti-social people. Those who know me though, know that I am a social butterfly. I love talking to friends in the office, conversing during office breaks, even talking to my team about a project or to my boss about a great vision. This is was my way of learning. Of course, I cannot do that now at home when all I have with me is Sachi and her eyes can only implore. I really wish she could talk. Haha. I try to compensate it though by bugging all my friends over Viber.

While I miss working in corporate, I am having a new-found love working at home. It has been two months (already!) since I have quit work and so far, so good.

Since I started staying at home, I was able to increase my shop‘s sales because I finally had the time to focus on it. I was also able to land several writing jobs (which I love, by the way) and it comes almost every week. I have a marketing consultancy work which I attend to once a week and just this week, I landed a virtual assistant job for an awesome Australian company (which I got from a network of awesome work-at-home moms in Facebook, thank you sooo much!)

So yes, I AM BUSY 🙂

While it may not look that stable for me yet, working at home looks quite promising. One things that gives me a lot of confidence is when I hear stories of many WAHMs (work-at-home moms) who have been very successful in providing for their family without having to join the rat race.

So without further ado, these are my five reasons while I love my new work-at-home role:

1. I spend my time more productively and more efficiently.

Time Flies by Robert Couse-Baker
Creative Commons License 2.0

I don’t have to pretend that my mind is working when it is still dozing off. As of the moment, I am required to do four hours of work each day for my role as a virtual assistant. Everything that I do is results-driven without the burden of doing it at a specific time of the day. I was told that I could do things on the time of the day that I am most productive. As long as I deliver what is required, everything is okay.

Isn’t that awesome?!

For me, this has been the most liberating and more daunting task. Liberating since you don’t have to do the usual time-in and time-out but it is daunting because you have to be accountable for everything that you do.

At the end of the day,  your integrity plays a major role because offshore clients trust that you are doing your job during the times that you said you were.

2. I learn new things every day. 

Learning by Anne Davis
Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0

I thought my world would end when I quit corporate. My fear was for my mind to become senile. No more spreadsheets, no more presentations. But alas, there are many new things that I learn. Every day.

Learning is everywhere.

It does not need to be contained in the office. Now that my work is based online, I get to expand my horizons more. I have discovered the amazing world of Google apps. All awesome social networking tools.

What’s more, I get to upskill myself even in the areas not related to work but to my role as a wife – homemaking 🙂

3. I have three additional hours per day and because of that, I can do more. 


What I hated most when I was working (as I am sure, with everyone else who has to endure the same) was the traffic. It took me around an hour to get to the office in the morning and it was just thirteen kilometers away!!! The worse part was the drive home — almost two hours.

By the time I arrived at home, I was already deadpan tired.

Now, I have saved three hours just because of that — enough time to be able to cook for my husband and play with my Sachi.

And yes, an additional hour for a little stretching or reading a chapter of a new book is not bad, too.

4. I get to rest. 

I can definitely say that I have slowed down which was my doctor’s requirement when she asked me to quit. Whenever I feel tired, I take some power naps. I still maintain my 6:30 AM waking hour though. But I think the naps really help and this set-up, really, is causing me less stress.

5. I actually save more because I spend less. 

Save Money by 401 (K) 2012
CC BY-SA 2.0

It is quite ironic that I get to save more now with a fifth of my previous salary. But staying at home means no expenses at all. No expensive lunch outs. No gas money. No toll fees. No office clothes, high-heeled shoes or makeup to buy.

It has been a short while so I really do not know where the roads will take me yet. I am not closing any doors and I am always open to opportunity. However, for those who are forced into this stay-at-home situation for whatever reasons, there is so much things that you can do. It is not the end of the world. This I have learned.

It is all a matter of maximizing the skills that you have. What would be nicer is to do the things now that you are most passionate about since you have the option to choose what road to take. In my case, I am grateful that I am able to write again and even get paid for it.

Quitting corporate is not bad. Not bad at all.

xx,
Balot

Tanzan ATBP: From Trash to Treasures

I am sure that everyone of you who has heard this saying — one’s man trash is another man’s treasure. Today, I am telling you a story of a work-at-home mom who has made this the core of her home business. 
I met Sheryl through the community of WAHMs (work-at-home-moms) that I recently joined. She offered to send me a sample of her product and I gladly accepted after learning how ingenious her idea is. 
Sheryl makes keychains, bracelets and other accessories out of tanzans (or bottlecaps). Most people would just throw these away but with lots of creativity, Sheryl was able to make this a very unique product to offer to people. 

Asked about what her inspiration is, Sheryl answered:

“Everytime i see things na patapon na. Laging may nagpa-pop sa isip ko to make something new about it. At dun nga pumapasok ang “may pera sa basura”. I love creating things out of the box and as a mom pag naglalaro kami ng baby ko, dun lumalabas ang pagiging bata at creative ko. My daughter usually helps me put up some of the ideas na nilalgay ko sa mga tansan and hindi lang sa tansan, pati sa packaging nito.”

Over the past few days that I have become a work-at-home wife, I have a new-found respect for those who juggle everything at home, their kids and still try to create the best situation while at home. While many opportunities have sprouted to pave way for moms to be able to generate income while at home – through writing and other online jobs such as online tutoring, social media management and the like –  it is a totally different monster to start building a business. You put your heart and soul in it because the risks involved are all your own, all to provide for a family that you promised to take care of. And I salute those who do have the courage because it is so hard. I should know! *wink*
PS. please do check out Tanzan Atbp Facebook and Instagram page to know more about this innovative product. 
xx,
Balot

Dough-It-All By Myself

 

I woke up at the wrong side of the bed this morning. I was supposed to fix some business requirements for my shop, transfer my BIR RDO, go to the City Hall and meet a friend but I just didn’t have the energy to do so. I am taking a medication which totally effs up my hormones (and probably my brain) – another immunosuppressant for my APAS condition and its side effects are driving me crazy.
I had a little emotional breakdown. This is not to be melodramatic or whatsoever. I think it just comes to a point when you second-guess yourself on a major decision you have made (read: corporate junkie turned housewife).

What have I done? I threw all of my career away. When is my baby going to come? What the hell am I supposed to do the whole day? 

I know all about positivity. I am an advocate for it but sometimes, it just gets you off-guard. Especially when you are all alone. It also does not help that Sachi cannot talk back to me *sigh*.
I try to keep myself busy but there is a limited variety of things to do at home. I do not like watching television the whole day. I couldn’t even concentrate on the book I was reading! Desperate situations needed desperate measures so, I went to my helpline and called a friend.
So Carla, who is back in Bacolod (this is the thing I hate most because I could not just see my closest friends or my family when I need them), told me to do something to pass the time. Do anything to divert my state of mind. She told me that maybe I should already start on my baking project, which I have been wanting to do for a while.
Of course, obedient as I always am *snicker*, and with nothing to do, I drove to this place which was introduced to me by my another friend, Sarah, who owns Pateacherie. Several months ago, I was looking for some supplies for my accessory shop and she brought me here.
So… the place which took away some of my woes today — introducing Dough-It-All (pretty punny, right?)
Dough-It-All is located at C. Palanca Street in BF Homes in Paranaque and it carries the whole thingamajig for baking – from pans to cutters to liners and ingredients. It is a one-stop shop for anyone who just wants to bake!
Photo from Dough-It-All Facebook Page.
Entrance to a baker’s heaven.

They have all kinds of these cute candy cups and cupcake liners. They are all equally nice and fun to collect.

Cupcake liners. In cute designs and colors.

They have pans and trays – plastic, aluminum, big, small, round, square – anything, you name it!

Pans and Trays.

And soon, if I am able to bake a cake — I should probably get this.

Cake bases. Or whatever that is called. Haha!

All the baking supplies you need at less the cost than the ones in malls!

 

 

Boxes for all types of pastries.

 

Lovely.

So, this is what I got for my little baking project this afternoon and I spent around  PHP1000 for all these supplies. I think it wasn’t bad although I wouldn’t really know. Any tips for me, baker friends? 🙂 

This is the itemized list of what I purchased. I had at home the other dry ingredients like the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Item Description  Qty  Unit Cost  Total
Grease Paper 1 pack or 10 sheets of 24×36 in 1                65.00          65.00
2 oz Cupcake Liners 200 pcs per tube 3                54.00       162.00
Aluminum Tray 18″ 2                35.00          70.00
Muffin Pan 12s 1              230.00       230.00
Bensdorp Cocoa per kilo 1              238.50       238.50
Icing Set With Spatula, measuring spoons and icing tube 1                65.00          65.00
Baking Pan 7x7x2.75 1                58.00          58.00
Baking Pan 9x10x2 1                80.00          80.00
Total       968.50

So for my first baking experiment, I came across this site, Bake Happy by Aikko. She said that her recipe for a Perfect Moist Chocolate Cupcake is foolproof. Magic word there! Unfortunately, I just had to skip that part when it said that I had to fill up the pan with 1/4 cup of the batter. I missed the “cup” so I poured the batter on the pan up to 1/4 of its level. Hahaha. Geez!

Quarter-full of batter. Haha. Fail!
After getting these babies out of the oven, I re-read the recipe and yes. That “cup” word. I missed that. So I made the adjustments on the second batch and this is the result!
 I did not want to do the frosting yet as it’s just too much sweetness for me for today. So there goes my first attempt at baking.
My first ever cupcake! Yey!
So there. I was able to take off my mind off my little low today. I am just following the advice of a friend to re-focus myself first on other things such as cooking (because God knows I still suck at it, hehe) and baking.
How about you, loves? How do you distract yourself from the things you worry about? Come on! Share something with me and let me feel I am, at the very least, still normal.
And to my baker friends who got this thing all figured out, what do you think? What else do I need? Any awesome recipes you can share with me? Hit me up!
xx,
Balot
PS. This is the shop information:
Dough-It-All (Baker’s Supply Center)
C. Palanca St., BF Homes, Paranaque
Monday to Sunday 5:00 am to 7:00 pm
PPS. I heard from the shop attendant that they have already opened branches in Baguio and in SM Aura. Awesome!
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