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Category: Career

The Over-Committed Person’s Guide to Streamlining Commitments & Simplifying Life

She turned from me and wiped her eyes as the train sped away from the platform of Bambang LRT Station. Tears fell from her eyes, I’m sure of it. And my chest constricted. I looked up the ceiling of the station, trying hard to prevent tears from falling.

It must have been my wife’s monthly appointment with her OB-GYN. It’s the fourth month of the baby in her tummy.

And I could not be with her…

At the start of 2013, right before my son was born, I took a long, hard look at my pursuits and my priorities. I made the decision to streamline my commitments, simplify my life, and drop the ‘good commitments’ that prevent me from pursuing great ones.

I thought it would take me a few weeks to do it. But I was wrong. It took me more than 2 years to really do it. From time to time, I also had an over-commitment relapse. But thankfully, I have a wife who reminds me of what truly matters in my life.

I Said I Won’t Go Abroad to Work, but I was Wrong…

Going abroad for work didn’t appeal to me at all. It might have been some vague nationalist-idealistic bug that bit me in College. After graduation, I even thought that I’ll go back to our province and stay there for the greater good.

Neither did I entertain the prospect of working for a “mere call center” as I derisively called it on my graduation day in April 2003. As I told in a blog post, I ended up eating my words and worked for a call center between 2005 and 2006. It seems that wasn’t the last time I was wrong.

This May 2015, I will join the throng of almost 12 Million Filipinos working abroad. I’m going to Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States.

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You could say that an opportunity presented itself and I just couldn’t resist but apply for the position. You see, I’ve been working as the Philippine Staff of Young People’s Ministries, a United Methodist Church agency, which is based in Nashville. But I loved my job! It allowed me to serve a lot of young people within our church and even in the society. I got to interact with awesome youth and young adult leaders, plus youth workers all over the Philippines. I also made several friends as a result of the ministries I pursued.

Raket Machine: The Pinoy Yuppie’s Guide to Online Freelancing

Following our Podcast Series on Freelancing, I collected the best tips from there and put it into this freelancing guide for the Pinoy Yuppie. This is pretty long guide, clocking in at more than 2,500 words. Read it. Listen to the podcast episodes mentioned, and more importantly, DO SOMETHING! If you like this guide, then please share it to your friends who would like to learn more about freelancing.

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R A K E T M A C H I N E

Introduction

Do you remember your teachers in Elementary or High School who sold Tocino, Ice Candy, or vinegar? They were trying to make ends meet and found their own “raket” to supplement their income.

Thankfully, in the 21st century, you don’t need to sell tocino or ice candy to earn extra income. All you need is a functioning computer, decent connection to the Internet and a set of good, marketable skills in this knowledge economy.

Based on estimates made by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Information and Communication Technology Office, the number of online freelancers in the Philippines is close to a million! That’s a lot of online freelancers who are trying to find a living online.
SOURCE: InterAksyon.com

Elance.com and oDesk.com, which merged in 2013 to become the world’s largest freelance marketplace affirm the DOST estimate. The two websites have over 8 million users all over the world and a full 1/8 of this number hail from the Philippines. SOURCE: TechinAsia.com

The level of income is also huge! It’s significantly huge! Here’s the report from Elance-oDesk, presented at the TechinAsia article:

Elance-oDesk freelancers generated more than US$750 million worldwide in 2013, of which US$76 million (3.3 billion PhP) was produced in the Philippines. From January 2010 to April 2014, the country’s freelancers have earned more than US$207 million (9 billion PhP).

In 2013, Elance-oDesk’s top performing city was Metro Manila, which is the country’s financial capital and most populous region. Freelancers in Metro Manila earned US$29.9 million (1.3 billion Php) for the year. The next top earning cities were Illigan at US$7.8 million (342 million PhP), Bacolod at US$5 million (221 million PhP), and Davao at US$4 million (174 million PhP).

The potential to earn a LOT is there. The market is here. The world recognizes the power of the Filipino freelancer.

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Are you excited? Pressured?

Okay, before you hyperventilate and go crazy in looking for online jobs, take a deep breath and read this article. It will show you how to get started in your freelance career. If you’re doing great in your 8-5 job, fine, you can stop reading now and listen to our podcast for employees instead.

But if you want to try this path for yourself, read on. I can’t possibly cover every single thing that needs to be covered. But I will point you in the right direction.

Guide to Getting a Promotion at Work

Aah… promotion. Some people just seem to know the secret to it while you may have been floundering in your current position for the longest time. Do you remember Randy from Episode 005 of the Happy Yuppie Podcast? He got promoted several times, he didn’t even complete a four-year course.

Here are several tips on how you could get a promotion at work.

How can you get a promotion at work?

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image credit: Martin Barraud via GettyImages

Be excellent. Always.

Go the extra mile. Don’t just settle for average performance. Don’t just aim for the minimum requirements. If you go over and above what’s required from you, the people in your organization will come to know you as an excellent worker who will accept nothing but the best performance in yourself. That will also mean that you will expect the best from the people who will be working under you when you get promoted.

Cultivate relationships.

Sometimes, the problem of “office politics” boils down to the cultivation and effective management of relationships. Don’t be a snob. But don’t be too familiar, either. Instead, cultivate good working relationships with your colleagues and if you have a chance, develop friendships, or at least acquaintances, outside of work.

How to Survive Your First Week at Work

You’ve gone through the job hunt; negotiated your salary; went through the final interview and voila! You’ve just signed the contract. Welcome aboard!

How do you go through the first few days in the office? Follow these simple tips to get you started.

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Attend the on-boarding training. Even if you’re a veteran employee, it wouldn’t hurt to attend the on-boarding training. Through this, you can learn about the organizational culture, the dos and don’ts of the company as well as the various requirements of your job. The on-boarding training allows you to get an overview of the company you’ve just signed up for. Along the way, you may come to understand if you’ve made a mistake in signing up with them or not.

5 Steps to Prepare for the Job Hunt

In the Philippines and even in other countries, getting a job is always a big challenge. It is easier for some people to land a job while others find it difficult. If you’re freshly out of college, or you’ve just resigned and looking forward to applying for another job, you gotta prepare for the job hunt!

job_huntResearch. Look for the right job for you. Do what you are passionate about! If you apply at a job that you hardly care about, then you will just end up becoming a mediocre performer. Discover your passion, your gifts, your skills and your talents—these could help you land at your dream job!

Mindset. Job hunt is a highly competitive process. Prepare your mind for action! Other people are also out to get the job you are applying for. If you do not outprepare and out-perform them, you lose! So get on the champion mindset and start telling yourself you’re the greatest professional in the world!

Still Five More Life Lessons I learned after College Graduation

This is the last installment of the Life Lessons I Learned after college Graduation series. Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here. It’s not quite easy to put these down on paper. But I sure hope you pick up a lesson or two. Or maybe all 25! 🙂

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And if you also have some life lessons after College, do share them in the comments below. 🙂

I need milestones for my life. One of my favorite poems is “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. There’s a line in that poem that says: “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”. Since I love coffee so much, then that line might as well be my mantra. If I use coffee spoons as the measure of my life, then I am a very rich man indeed because I drink coffee (home made and not some expensive coffee from a shop that starts with S.) at least twice a day. 😀

But really, I need milestones (or KM posts) for my life. A way to measure my journey through life. And yes, I’m glad to say that I know what I want to do with my life, and I know how to measure my life.

Choose ONE Major Pursuit. My interests are very diverse. Just take a look at my bookshelves and you’ll see works by sociologists such as Erich Fromm, business books, a guitar book manual, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and a couple of religious books. That pretty much shows my diverse interests. Although I haven’t fully learned this lesson yet, it really pays to choose ONE major pursuit, instead of multi-tasking several different ones.

Highest Paying Jobs for Fresh Graduates

You wanna know what the highest paid jobs in the Philippines are? Jobstreet.com, which is perhaps the number 1 jobs website in the country today, released five sets of infographics back in June 2013. This set of statistics may be a little old as things online tend to be, but it’s still a good indication of the stronger industries in the country today.

Jobstreet has access to the level of salary of every single job being uploaded in its database, these averages are reliable. They are a good indication of what you can expect from the market.

Take these numbers as one of your considerations in building your career. As I said in my book, Start-up, money should not be the primary goal of a worker, rather it is in offering services and making the world a better place.

Highest Paying Jobs For Fresh Graduates

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Ten Life Lessons I Learned After College Graduation

I started working right after my College graduation in 2003. So many things have happened since then. I used to have a Nokia 3210 phone. (Ugh, remember those simple yet sturdy phones that just won’t die no matter how many times you drop ’em?)

Ten years. Wow. I feel old. But a little wiser, at least. Here are ten life lessons I learned after College graduation. Let these lessons guide you as you start or go on with your career and life.

career-mistakesGrades do matter. But not by much.

I should know, because my grades in College were colorful. By colorful, I mean to say that I have had all sorts of grades—1, 1.5, 3, INC, and even the failing 5! I had to take Math 17 (Trigonometry and Algebra) twice. I also had to take Introduction to Calculus twice! But I didn’t let that deter me from getting a good job from Citibank and IBM Business Services, two of the top multinationals in the Philippines.

Education doesn’t stop after graduation.

A lot of young people feel that graduation is the end of education. WRONG! It is but a start. That’s why graduation is called “Commencement Exercises.” You commence a new kind of learning in the University of Life. What I love about graduating from the University of the Philippines though, is the training I received in terms of researching, confidence in my analytical abilities, and of course, the ability to establish networks and contacts.