Sunday, September 19, 2010

Viva La Vida

There are certain songs that we associate with specific events in our lives. Somehow I kept singing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida in the long, drawn-out period that was my resignation from my previous company. It sounded particularly ominous, with the first lines alone: ‘I used to rule the world. Seas would rise when I gave the word. Now in the morning I sleep alone. Sweep the streets I used to own …”

I guess not a very encouraging song to be mumbling all the time when you’re in the middle of switching from an established conglomerate to a lesser known private corporation. Ha ha ha.

And then, a few months into my new job, I got the connection. It’s all in the chorus: ‘I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing. Roman Cavalry choirs are singing. Be my mirror, my sword and shield. My missionaries in a foreign field. For some reason I can't explain. I know Saint Peter won't call my name. Never an honest word. But that was when I ruled the world…’

People have interpreted this to mean many things – French Revolution, World War 2, even Vietnam War. But, hello, if you grew up Catholic you have no right to miss the clues. Jerusalem, missionaries, Saint Peter, and John the Baptist’s head on a platter in another line. Clearly the song is talking about faith. And faith just happens to be the number one value in my new office’s mission/vision/values statement. Hahaha.

It turned out to be like a battle between good and … not-so-good, actually – the whole choice between my old company and the new one. In my new office, my boss and the CEO each sat down with me to give me feedback at the end of my first month. As early as July (barely a month since I joined), my boss decided to send me to Singapore for a training, and the CEO is sharing his special projects budget with me for this purpose. When my boss found out a booboo from IT, he himself gave the IT head a way out. He also never fails to ask me about my weekend, my family, whether my workload is still manageable, or whether I’m being sufficiently challenged in my projects. One time we were at a meeting, and it took a while before I realized he adjusted the aircon every time I put on or took off my blazer.

The CEO (whose office is next to mine) regularly pops his head into my room to crack a joke when he leaves at 6 or so and I’m still working (/pretending to work). He even emails me via Blackberry to tell me I should go to sleep already. Not a week goes by that he doesn't thank me for being quick and responsive or for doing a good job (and I don't even do anything spectacular like win million-peso lawsuits for the company or something).

My secretary jokes with the No. 2 executive on a daily basis. I could joke with the presidents of the subsidiaries as early as my second week. The staff call me Monterey (bcoz I'm always pigging out) and Imelda (somebody apparently spread the rumor that I had 150 pairs of shoes). When I went on a five-day training with the other executives and some managers, people were cheering everyone else on, or just blatantly making fun of others, without any tension or malice or any hint of politicking. (And there were a lot of people in that training who were really brilliant, too. Miles better than the highly overrated executives of my previous office.) The owners (even the ones based abroad) reply to my pro forma emails just to say thank you. The Chairman pats me on the shoulders in the same gesture that he gives his kids. (And he's a genius, too. I always have to pick my jaw off the floor when I attend meetings with him.) And I found out that the HR head emailed nice stuff about me without even copying me.

In my old office, well, let’s just say none of the above is even imaginable. Hahaha. (Except maybe the last bit, but then the HR head there was like my best friend, so that would be more a friendship thing than a work-related one. Haha.)

The down side is the workload, especially in the past month when our other lawyer had to be on bed rest and then gave birth two weeks ahead of schedule. And then the other lawyer who was supposed to be helping me out at this time changed his mind about a month after he accepted our offer. (Grrr. I’m leaving his fate to karma.) So then we had to go and look for another lawyer and thankfully found one quickly and I’m hopeful she’ll start on October 1.

To be fair, my boss has given me free rein to pass on work to our external counsels. I’m just trying to be cautious bcoz I also don’t want to abuse their kindness, plus I don’t wanna be seen as wilting under pressure, this early in the relationship. So I guess I just have to endure and miss my previous slacker lifestyle a little while longer, at least until we get our full complement of lawyers.

Still, I’m always good to go when Ches picks me up at 6ish or before 7 at the latest. No one bothers me about work at night or on weekends or holidays. No one has made me feel like I had to prove myself or that I had to justify why I was given an executive position when I’m younger than anyone else in this level. I have never felt left out even when I'm still so new. Everyone has been very welcoming and supportive. Best of all, jeans are allowed on Fridays. And the canteen serves yummy food. And Trinoma is just five minutes away. (So, of course, I’m already on first-names basis with the Ate manager in the Hello Kitty shop. Haha.)

This is what I've been telling my friends from my old office. When you work there, people can't get past the name and look up to you like you're some goddess coming to mingle with mere mortals, and don't even have to open your mouth to prove anything. But that's the extent of your happinesss there. That, and staring at your payslip. Here, you get to go home everyday and you may be tired, but you're happy - even if you do have to open your mouth all the time and explain what business Pascual is in, and no, it's not Pascual Liners na nagkalat sa Edsa. (Hahaha.)

So, yes, it has been viva la vida, so far. Thank you, Lord, for letting me make the right choice, and thanks to my friends who saw me thru that whole dilemma of choosing between two jobs. It turned out to be a no-brainer, after all.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Any color as long as it's pink

I wanted to get a new camera to remember my SM last pay by. I don't know the first thing about these gadgets (or any other gadgets, for that matter). All I knew was that I didn't wanna ride the SLR bandwagon. I found the thing too bulky, anyway, and I figured by the time I fix the flash or some other complicated contraption my hyper-active kids would have moved on to the next block or so.

So Thom suggested either Lumix or Nex5 for me. He did an in-depth research on the subject and we had a poll among our other photography enthusiast friends (Rommel, Beavis, Dex). From out of the techie stuff that they fed me, what I gathered was that the Nex5 was supposed to be lighter and more user-friendly. Hence, it should have been ideal for me. But then Lumix came in pink (and Nex5 was only in black and some other boring color). Beavis voted Lumix precisely for this reason - so that I would love it more bcoz it's pink. (He knows me well.)

At Yoshi's party Thom used my Lumix and someone (Regie, I think) commented: Kay Jewel yan, no? Pink e. Ha ha. It's one of the joys of being an adult, now that I think about it. To be able to have the one color you really love. Not like when I was a little girl and Ate got all the pink bcoz she was older and I had to settle for yellow or red. (Hahaha.) Now Ate and I are grown-up enough to share one favorite color. A lot of my pink stuff came from her, actually. (Thanks, Ate.)

I took these pix of random pink stuff I found in the house, courtesy of my new pink Lumix.