Friday, November 6, 2009

Lessons in life learned while playing Bejeweled Deluxe 2

Most people do their thinking while in the shower. Mine's the opposite. Realizations come into my mind while I'm already pre-occupied doing something.

The following comparisons about being an employee vs being an Entrepreneur occured into my mind while I was busy trying out the Classic and Action (Timed) version of Bejeweled Deluxe 2:

(This one for me, represents the world of the employment)

1) This game starts at a very low score compared to the timed version

realization: Usually, a newly graduate or newly employed person starts out at the bottom and works his/her way up the corporate ladder.

2) To get advance into the game; you need to proceed to the next level

realization: In job, you have to be promoted in order to climb into the corporate ladder.

3) Bonus points is good but is still small in amount

realization: You received bonuses and benefits while working in a company but, it's still minimal compared to the rewards you will get if, you become successful in enterprising.

4) Since this is an untimed version, you can hang on while playing without necessarily pressing the "pause" button

realization: you can put some work on hold if you are already stressed out; specially if the deadline for that work is still far.

5) Hypercube (this is a unique gem in the game which when use properly to swap with another gem can help you eliminate all of the same type of gems)

realization: This is pure luck...a once in a lifetime chance or opportunity that elevates your career to it's highest level.

6) No More moves sign / Loose turn

realization: for me, this represents employee burn out and more often than not, signifies the dead end or stagnation of your career....time for you to try new things out.

(This one for me represents the world of Entrepreneurship)

1) The starting score is relatively high compared to the classic version

realization: In the world of Entrepreneurship, the stakes or risk are often high, especially when you are starting out; yet the results vary depending on your effort to make the most out of it.

2) Since this is a timed version, you will have to press the "pause" button to put the game on hold

realization: If the marketing strategy that you have is not working properly; you have to put everything in halt, to come up with a better plan to increase your revenue. Otherwise you will be beaten by the competition if you remain stagnant. This also means that you have to think and act fast to seize up every opportunity for innovation; or else your competitor might outwitted you.

3) Bonus points is high and strategies to improve your score are plenty

realization: In the world of enterprising, once you have mastered the game, boundless opportunities manifest in front of you to help you improve your earning potential.

4) As you advance into the next level; you also advance into the finish line

realization: In the world of entrepreneurship; as you advance into the next level, you are also meet up with new challenges and excitement as you watch your business and efforts being recognized and your profits going up.

5) Hypercube (this is a unique gem in the game which when used properly to swap with another gem can help you eliminate all of the same type of gems.)

realization: This is a once in a blue moon contract or opportunity that makes your business known and sets you apart from the competition; a certain kind of trade mark that only you can possess.

6) Time Bar gets thinner and shorter as you don't make a move / Time Bar gets thicker and longer everytime you make a move

realization: as you take more challenges (through innovations) and calculated risks; your business has a high chance of staying afloat; but when you stay in the routinary path; you face stagnation.

7) No more moves / Time is Up

realization: It means that you have already reached the peak of your business and it can either face stagnation (if you don't innovate) or a new beginning (if you are up to the next challenge).

so there you go...take your pick as to which path would you like to try out (mine's Entrepreneurship in the future).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Leap of Faith

Tuesday of the previous week...One of my productive and talented colleagues send an emotional farewell message to us; as it is her last day for Work. Starting next week she'll be having a new job and we won't be seeing her that much. A majority of my colleagues were sad...I do too...but I was more excited that she'll be embarking in a new challenge on her life. I remember when I was her age (I'm a few years her senior) I often found myself doing the same thing. The previous employment that I have and this present one are the jobs where I spent the most years. Often it would just last for a few months until a year. This is my fifth job, by the way.

Leaving your present job to start with a new one is not always an easy decision to make. Especially if you have already spent a few years working there and have already befriended a lot of your colleagues and had learned how to love the job itself. But as always; there is a lot of reasons entailed to reach that hard decision.

I too, had a fair share of colorful experiences regarding Job Hopping. Below are the reasons behind it:

***The Pay was not that Good

It may sound cliche'; but back when I was still in college; there was a time that my Father can no longer afford to send us to school; not willing to stop our sisters and I looked for a job. And so...we became "working" students - landing menial jobs like being a canteen helper (for my older sister), service crew (my younger sister) and data encoder (me) while on vacation, during weekends and holidays. Since these jobs are done only on a part time basis (to avoid conflict with school); the pay was not enough. So...after graduating from college; I finally experienced how it is to have a full time job:

***Monotonous Routine / There is no room for Growth

When you are a newly graduate; don't expect that you will be able to immediately land the kind of career or job you were always dreaming of. I for one, started out as a toll operator - connecting long distance and overseas calls. I only spent two months on that kind of work and then left; to learn more about office stuffs and improve my computer skills (office applications were relatively new at that time); which landed me to my third job:

***Harsh / Toxic Environment

I did get what I wanted. I worked as a clerk on a contractual basis of employment (under a human resource agency) and was assigned to the Accounting Department. There; I learned how to use the photocopying, printer and fax machine (don't laugh...I weren't given a chance to learn how to use them on my previous jobs, remember?); I was able to re-learn stuffs about accountancy....unfortunately, since I made a very serious mistake of throwing out cancelled invoices in the thrash can (so stupid of me); I became the subject of cruel jokes in that department. Because of that, I was de-motivated and no longer find enthusiasm towards my work there. And so...again, I resigned and find my fourth job:

***Office Politics / Unhappiness

Again; I worked as a Data Encoder (although the HR Officer thought I was overqualified - having earned enough experiences from my previous jobs and passed the Professional Civil service Examinations). I learned a lot while being assigned on their Engineering Department. I did multi-tasking; I handled customer calls, dispatch technicians towards their service destination, help out on customer relations officer and supervisor's weekly and monthly reports and a lot more. The monthly salary was minimal (considering I was doing a lot of work outside of my normal job description). But the benefits far outweigh them. They had paid sick leaves (just half of what you left unused); Salary bonus (equivalent to midyear bonus); Profit Sharing (employee's share from a percentage of the company's annual profits) and 14th month pay (equivalent to what you received from the mandatory 13th month). I gained lots of friends while on this job. Unfortunately, since they did not fulfill their promise of promoting me to a higher position (despite of the additional workloads - without additional pay) and because some of my colleagues started mud slinging (to promote themselves); I became unhappy....and so again....

Here I am. on my fifth job (and hopefully the last one); where I met the productive and talented colleague of mine whom I mentioned above. Before she resigned; we were sharing a lot of stories, dreams and aspirations.

As you have read above; when I was younger, jumping from one job towards another was easy for me to do - in order to find what I can't have from the previous one that I have. But as I read books, articles and blog entries pertaining to personal finance, I realized that Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) was right; hopping from one job to another would just make you feel restless and would always give you the same results.

That's why I promised myself that if ever I would resign from my present employment; I would like to permanently, if not irrevocably remain self employed...or ambitious as it may sound - be an Entrepreneur myself.

That way, I would be able to use what I studied in college and take charge of my destiny instead of just allowing myself to follow the "employment" path like everyone else does.

I pray that hopefully; someday...this dream of mine materializes.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Last September 26, our country was devastated by the typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). The Greater part of the eastern metropolis such as Quezon City , Pasig , Marikina and Rizal suffered mostly. Even our City (Pasay ) did not escape from it. We also suffered from waist deep muddy flood.

During that time, I realized valuable lessons in life:

1) If you can detached yourself from material things, it would be easy for you to let go when it’s time to let go…no matter how much those tangible things mean to you.

As I watch the flood swiftly entered our house in a matter of 3-4 hours, my mind went blank. My husband’s motorcycle was submerged on the water, so does our Refrigerator and Washing Machine. The material things he worked hard for while he is abroad.

2) Our Life is really borrowed. If it’s your time to go….no amount of money can spare you from the inevitable.

I prayed the rosary twice on that fateful Saturday while Ondoy was throwing lots and lots of rains. I asked God to make it stop so as to spare us; yet it didn’t. So I realized I was not praying right. Then I prayed again and said to God “Thy Will be done.”

3) A person’s life is not defined by the material things he or she possesses.

Hubby called around eight in the evening while the Heavy Downpour from Ondoy’s wrath is damaging the metropolis. I told him about my worries - that some of our major appliances are submerged in the flood and it would definitely cost us that much to have it repaired. He was so calm when he told me “Don’t worry about it; it’s just a material thing, what’s important now is that you’re safe.”

4) Each Natural Calamity really serves as a Great Equalizer.

I was watching the news about the other victims of this typhoon and my heart was really broken. I was actually trying to control my tears to fall. In the town of Marikina , where most of the victims lived in an exclusive subdivision or village, a great deal of their material possessions are damaged. My in-laws who lived in Cainta where victims too (they lived in a subdivision); they lost most of their possessions. Even Actors and Actresses we saw on the television where victims too. When natural disasters like this struck, we are all equals. There’s no rich or poor – we are both victims.

5) When you are blessed – then you should be a Blessing to others too.

I realized that my family and I (my in-laws and relatives included) are indeed blessed; Despite of the damages the flood cause in our possessions, our lives are still spared. I was deeply sad when I saw the dead people whose lives were not spared from the flood. Whatever help I can provide for those victims I should give now while I still can. So, despite of the fact that hubby and I spent a lot for repairs and helping my in-laws (financially) for their lost; I devote time to do whatever help I can do...even if it's small like donating my old clothes and shoes and slippers I no longer used.

God and Nature really had a way to teach us valuable lessons in Life.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moving Forward - The Day I Lost my Champ

C.H.A.M.P. - Champion in Attendance Maintenance Program

For five years and eight months, I was a Champ. Our company even recognized my effort for maintaining a perfect attendance for all of those years.

Today, is the day I lost my Champ....much as I want to feel sorry for myself...I know sooner or later that I have to let it go.

Why? Because I realized that the more I cling into it; the more I take for granted the other opportunities that are manifesting in my very eyes...

I was liked a horse whose eyes are partially covered - I keep on aiming on what my visions can see....even if it's the same thing over and over again.

It's over now and I just have to let it go...otherwise, it would eat up my whole system. A lot of my co-pioneers used to be so desperate to be in my position when I was still a champ....Yet, today, if you look at them; you will notice that by letting go of that feverish desire; they have achieved more than they can dream of....

I wish to be like them...

And so....for one last time, I look back at what my being a champ gave me - a Digital Camera, a trip to Palawan, a trip to Hongkong, trip to Bohol and a DVD Player plus thousands of pesos accumulated from each month that I have completed a perfect attendance. Perfect attendance for being a champ means no lates; no overbreaks, no emergency leaves, no sick leaves and no undertimes.

I also earn the adulation of other employees and yes....the envy of some of them....including the people who I thought where my friends.

Tough as it may seem to accept; I mentally list down what might I gain for letting go of my champ...

My time will now be more flexible and not tied by rules; I can now call in for sick leave and not pretend to be okay when I knew I'm not, If something important came up, I can ask for an undertime or an emergency leave, I will now have more attention towards fulfilling my other dreams and looking for other opportunities outside of my job - such as pursuing my graduate studies and researching for some timely and appropriate small business.

I also realized that since I lost my Champ; I had to be more focused on where I spent my money now...for almost six years...I did not save any of the cash incentives I got for maintaining my perfect attendance. I just spent them as I pleased.

It also dawn on me that I can actually buy for myself those things that my champ can give me....If only I can learn to better manage my finances (since I am still supporting my family) - I can have trips abroad, trips on local tourist spots and even the gadgets.

By also watching carefully over my finances; I also learned that I have more than enough to compensate for what I lost (Php 1,000 every month) and just have enough to save for the rainy days.

In short; no matter how hard it may be to accept (for me) that by letting go of one thing that binds me to my work seriously; My visions were cleared to better see the vast opportunities that awaits me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Parents and their Kids

This Entry is about my Father. Ever since I was a kid, my mother would always say that I am 90% of my Father when it comes to my attitude.

He is a disciplinarian - so do I. Although he really mellowed down and became a lenient one when we were growing up and me? I just became the spoiler - at least when it comes to my nephews.

He takes care of this things (especially clothes) very well and he doesn't want anyone to "mess" up or "meddle"with his stuffs. Especially when you didn't ask for his permission - if you are borrowing his things. I was very much like him and as I grew up, we both tried very hard not to be "over ruled" by the stuffs that we own.

He is temperamental - This, according to my mother is the most significant trait that I have inherited from him. How true, Although I worked so hard to calm down and teach myself to relax, there are still days that I find it easier to adopt to a challenging task than to be sensitive enough to handle my emotions against those people who pisses me off.

When I was younger, I was always in denial of the last trait that I got from him. Maybe because I know in my heart that it's a negative one and that it is the most overwhelming attitude that I got from him.

However, when I was growing up and already employed, I also learned that I possess the following admirable traits from him:

Diligence - My father always believe in working hard. No short cuts. If you love your work, in return, it will love you too.

Punctuality - Even though my Father is a compulsive drinker and always finds reasons to get drunk whenever he and his pals (and sometimes relatives) are together; he still makes it a point that no matter how sick he was (from hang over) he would still see to it that he is up for work next morning. He still does the same thing nowadays even if he is no longer employed and operates his own jeepney (courtesy of his big sister). It is because of this trait of his that I inherited that I was able to received recognition from our company as the only employee in five consecutive years who was able to achieve a perfect attendance.

Honesty - As a child, he clearly made a point that he would be gentle with us if we confess and tell the truth about the mistakes or sins we have commit. This attitude however, sometimes put me into trouble. Whenever my sister would conspire with me to hide something from our parents, especially our mother, they would still find a way to know the truth - just by asking me. Which in turn, makes my siblings annoyed at me.

So you see, we do have a lot in common. But since no individuals are the same (as the word clearly suggests); we do have differences from one another, which sometimes...causes the two of us to clash:

Forgiving Heart - My father doesn't hold grudge. He maybe rough or mean at times when somebody pushes him to the limits. Still, at the end of the day, he would always forgive. I, meanwhile, learned that if a person betrayed me or caused me a heartache, expect that I'll be distant towards that person. And sometimes, it would take time before I finally forgive and forget what that person did to me before.

Too trusting - When it comes to luck, my father was presented with a hundred fold of opportunities to elevate himself through entrepreneurship. He, however, chooses to entrust his small businesses to the care of those persons who in return only cheated him.
I may not have my own business yet, but when it comes to money, I do my own assignment. I choose to have my affairs monitored time to time just to avoid any issues that I won't be able to handle later on.

As I walk to this journey of life, I learned about myself through him. He is a living example of whom I should be and should be not. Ranging from his frustrations (better life for us and nice retirement for him), realized ambitions (having his own house & lot - courtesy of my sister) and secret wishes that are yet to be fulfilled (travel around thru airplane).

This similarities and differences that we both have just made me realized the feeling that I thought I lost a long time ago...when I learned to be cynical - that no matter how much I proved to the world that I am strong and independent; inside me is a child that truly is my father's daughter....who up to now, even though she is already grown up....still looks up to her father.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aging Parents & Bleak Retirement Days

We filipinos are family oriented. Most of the time, even if we are already married, we still choose to stay in our parent's custody.

Maybe out of respect to them or because of the dependency we have from them or vice versa. In western countries, if a child reaches the right age, he/she has a choice to leave his parent's custody and strike out on his own.

In our country, this practice is often times deemed "modern". While a child can leave his/her parent's custody once she/he strikes out on his own, there are still times that we ask for their help financially or the other way around.

Investment for the education is quite expensive, most of the parents expect their kids to "return the favor" to them after the kid has finished studying.

The sacrifices they endure to send us to universities is really admirable. Most of the time, they choose to prioritize our welfare instead of thinking for their retirement.

Thus, majority of them are presented with the worries of how they would faced their sunset days once their kids got married. With nothing left for them after decades of working hard for their kid's sake.

Resentment and Bitterness always accompany them whenever this worries for their retirement days manifest.

Although it is acceptable not to help them once we have a family of our own, we still have to think of the consequences. Karmic effect, if I may say.

They've done everything to give us good education and provide a good life for us - which some of them didn't experience in the first place from their own parents.

They say that once you become a parent, only then you will understand what your parents has gone through for you.

So, if we believe in the "mirrorring effect" of the universe, we should do our best to thank our parents for what they did for us. And even if they are not asking for it, we should be sensitive enough to offer help to them as a form of "debt of gratitude".

In this way, we are also serving as a good example to our kids (once we have our own) for them to emulate when time comes that we are on our own "sunset days".

Planning ahead of time, living a frugal life and prioritizing needs over wants would greatly help us achieve the kind of retirement we dream of.

Living a frugal life, teaches us to want and love what we already have and gives us a lesson to make do with the little that we have. It also teaches us to value our resources well.

By prioritizing needs over wants, we slowly learn how to fight the temptation of splurging on things that we don't really need.

Planning ahead of time ensures that we won't be having the hard life our parents had endure for us. Although nothing really prepares us for the unexpected; it will still served as a good "cushion" for us if ever we accidentally "bump" into the unknown.

This also lessens the burden of having to deal with a bleak retirement days.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Being passionate about the things that we do is important. It gives us the drive or "kick" that we need to turn our dreams into reality.

I have been through a lot of frustrations in my life. When I was younger, I used to be so passionate about the things that I do. That's why people around me would always say that I am artistic and creative.

Somewhere along my growing up years, I learned the harsh truth that life is not always full of roses. If it is, I would always find myself hurt by the torns after enjoying the roses.

In my search to fulfill my ambitions and dreams, I learned to lessen my expectations and to be realistic. My Idealism has slowly deserted me after practicality has been the name of my game.

Recently, my older sister has subscribed to Avon Direct Selling. What cause here to enter this world of marketing? her lack of money - this drives her to pursue selling products through her sisters - us.

Before, she would just be contented with her earnings from her job and save the rest of their (my brother in law included) money in savings. As circumstances beyond her control (they need to support the college education of her husband's younger brother) would occur, this made her decide to try her luck in direct selling. I must say that she is a good salesman - she can sell products everytime a new brochure of avon arrives.

Her passion to earn from another form of income separated from her job made her pursue direct selling. Ah...passion, what really is passion? It is the kick or drive that pushes us to turn dreams into reality. To work hard despite of numerous obstacles to have our ambitions materialize.

The other day, I was watching Go Negosyo hosted by Gladys Reyes - Sommeareaux; before she ended the program, she advised the televiewers to identify their passion and pursue the things they were passionate about.

I then wonder if she was passionate about skin care maintenance; as she is like Lucy Torres Gomez - flawless. Gladys now owns KSA Magic Soap that is distributed to some drug stores, malls and Beauty & Wellness boutiques.

As I wonder about this thought, I admired her and ask myself what am I really passionate about. Nothing particular came into my mind. Except my wishful thinking that hubby and I would spend each days together and that he no longer needed to work abroad just for the two of us.

I then asked myself how would I be able to turn this wish into reality (except of course by the help of some fairy godmother) and an answer came into my mind:

Try Enterprising - selling products to your colleagues and friends. But then, that would mean I would compete with my sister (whom I am helping to sell her products) and my other colleagues who are already selling their items to our officemates. Besides, I have observed that their sales (from the products) inside the office is really not that good because most of our colleagues are frugal.

then I heard from one of my best pal (who now lives in the province) that apart from having her two owned tricycles operated, managing her small store with animal feeds, she is also into baking! I was suprised, glad and a little envious (at least I'm not hypocrite) of her achievement.

I was wowed by her new feat; she told me that it was hard to earn money but it was so easy to spent it. How she needed to be like what she is today because she's sending her two kids to school. Mind you, her husband is also an OFW, and he earns a lot compared to my husband...because he is already an officer. This friend of mine is a stay at home mom which gives her a lot of opportunities to explore things she would later learn she is so good at - Enterprising.

Somehow, I wish that I was like her. My husband earns only enough for us. We are supporting his father with his monthly allowance. And my family still needs my help to pay some of their utility bills - even if I already have my own to pay with.

Then, I asked myself and God if there is still a way for me to pursue my dreams - to turn them into reality. The answer was BE PASSIONATE.

Slowly, I learned that striking at every opportunity that you meet is not always the answer but rather by carefully analyzing if accepting that challenge or opportunity that knocks on your door would made you a step closer to your goal.

Sometimes, we were driven by greed, envy and jealousy that what we see in our neighbours - we also wanted to achieve.

As I journey through this life, I learned that our destiny is shaped by how we react towards that things that happen everyday, how we value what we believe in and how we fight and work hard to make our dreams come true.

I just hope that as soon as I can, I would be able to pursue my passion (regardless of all the obstacles and hardships that I'm facing - which only spiced up my life anyway) and turn it into reality. That way, I would be able to glorify GOD for properly using the talents that he gave me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Case of a Vanishing Friend (after borrowing Money)

This is the first time that I'll be writing my views on personal finance inside a blog. It may come from a naive mind but it's base on experience. It has been my long time dream to share my ideas and thoughts about personal finance. Feel free to drop in your comments.

Yesterday, after doing my grocery shopping, I had my snack (merienda) at McDonald's Glorietta. On the table next to mine sat three college students (all girls) wearing uniforms in a white dress. I overheard one of the girls sharing her stories regarding one of her friends. How that friend borrowed Php1,000 from her to buy herself a new dress she'll be using in a party. After that, she borrowed Php800 again from her to buy a pair of shoes to complement her dress. After the said borrowings, the said friend of her slowly dissapears and she never heard from her again. After hearing her story, I thought why she let the said friend of hers abuse her generosity? Doesn't she have any ways to confront her friend? Or maybe the said friend really doesn't have any plans to pay her at all. I looked the said girl and wonder if she doesn't have any financial problems at all? (as most students do, since their expenses are often shouldered by their parents). I may sound harsh and bitter here, but back then when i was still a student, I was more lenient towards spending money, until I tried how it is to be a "working" student.

Yes, I tried working during daytime and attend school at night. I first worked as a trimmer on one of a garments factory near our school. I get paid 50 cents for trimming excess threads on a child's jacket. The finish product after going through Quality Assurance or Q.A. are shipped to Germany. It's only on a consignment basis. So, there were days, even months, that I don't have work if they don't have any orders coming for the said product. Since most of my classmates are working student, I asked for their help to find me a job. I landed as a data encoder, this help me honed my typing skills, but the pay is based on each documents you typed. sometimes, we get paid 1 peso per document, most of the time, we only get a few cents for each documents we typed.

Looking back, I really appreciate where I came from. When I was newly employed, (after graduating from college) I had the same experience with one of my colleague, but it was only Php200 that she borrowed from me, and she called me to apologize since she wasn't able to pay me. After that, I never heard from her again, Cellphones where a privilege back then and I don't have any other ways to contact her, so I just let it go. I learned from that experience. Today, I still have friends - but only few or selected ones whom I can trust and who have the same values such as mine when it comes to money.

I just hope that girl that I overheard talking about her experience from her abusive friend would learn her lesson one day - once she starts working on her own and earn her income.