On selling out (or life in a corporate world)

This article is inspired by this nice musing by a former colleague Rica Facundo.

Several days ago, I was out with friends and ex-colleagues. Most of them are working as freelancers, which means they don’t need to clock-in every day to an office; they don’t have to “dress the part;” and they don’t have a boss.

What struck me was their idea of fulfilment. To them, it was using your God-given talent for something more meaningful and NOT wasting it away in some 9-to-5 job.

This got me thinking, “Does my job suck?”

A wiseman once said the best job that you have right now is the job that you HAVE RIGHT NOW. For me, when people tell you your life sucks because they feel you’re comfortable and you get to go home early and spend the evening with your kids and wife, I would politely tell them to f&&*^ o*(.

Life sucks when you don’t have a job. Life sucks when you’re always chasing the next meal. Life sucks when your kids, partner or even family are wondering why you’re always working late, but everything around you remains the same.

I am resilient. But I’m also NOT refusing every opportunity that is thrown at me. At my age, I take stock at things. I weigh them and think of my family over my own. I muse a lot these days. I think of the days when I was younger, when life was simple.

Does a corporate job suck at this time? No.

As Rica wrote in her blog, it’s all about mindset and culture. Of course, the people are quite important. People leave their jobs because of people (i.e. they hate their boss). People stay because of people.

Perhaps the next time my friends ask me if I should consider life outside of this corporate life, I would tell them it doesn’t matter what job you are doing right now, as long as you’re happy, and your NOT neglecting any people who matter to you in life.

Life is what you make it, as they say. It’s a bunch of decisions with consequences. There will be trade-offs. You choose which ones you’re willing to give up. This time, I’m happy where I am NOT because I’m working for a corporation. I am here because I’m learning from the best people who know great things that I don’t know.

Sounds cheesy, but that’s the truth. It’s just a job. It’s up to you to make it FUN and fulfilling.

Why hunting for a high-paying job will frustrate you

Saw this story on GMA News and one thing struck me: Fresh graduates expecting to land high-paying jobs. There is nothing wrong with that. But if this is how our younger generation is being molded, I feel frustrated (to put it mildly).

I may sound old, but when my generation left College, we went through a lot of trouble landing a job –not necessarily a high-paying one. As the executive in that website that was quoted by this report said, it’s not about the money. It’s about the learning, the experience and the career you want to build. Another thing: jumping from one job to another to get a bump in salary is also a bad strategy for young graduates. I use to hire people for jobs in my previous work in Yahoo! When I see a person staying for only a few months or a year in a job, that’s a red flag.

Incidentally, I’m now reading a book called “Startup Nation,” which digs deep into a nation that has produced the most number of new businesses for a country in the world. That country is Israel. Amid constant threats from its Arab neighbors, this country has developed a hub of highly motivated, assertive, and innovative youth. Add to this is their military training that includes tough educational requirements. Their youth aim to enter the military elite. The result: By age 23, most Israelis have gained experience, exposure, mental toughness, and maturity to make it in the real world. Most of them graduate to becoming successful entrepreneurs.

Now, back to the report. I’ve had this conversation with some friends this week, which revolved around today’s youth. As an educator, I feel that I have this duty to mold them to become better students of life –not just in journalism. But changing the behavior is a daunting task if this generation is growing in an environment of too much information (excessive, sometimes), less introspection, and little patience.

Let’s take the Facebook example. Kids today are immersed in so much information on social networks. Once they like something, they make it known to everyone. What is troubling (and this may go down the philosophical lane) is that how many of these young kids do stop and think whenever they share quotes, or like pages or a status messages on Facebook. Very few (based on anecdotal evidence). Also, in the process of doing this, their opinions are formed around these fleeting information that often lacks context or history. In short, they like something because their friends did. That’s enough “context” to dictate the response of most of our youth.

I have observed this phenomenon as I watch my kids and other people’s kids. They re-post photos or memes that use language they usually don’t understand or even speak. It is frustrating but that’s how it works these days. Often times, I remind my kids to never like anything or re-post content that doesn’t represent them–or at least tells the world who they are.

Why am I concerned? Kids expecting high-paying jobs after graduation is a symptom of the values that they have these days. As communicators, teachers, and journalists–even entrepreneurs alike–the biggest lesson that we should be teaching our youth is patience and purpose. With that comes hard work and a clear understanding of who they want to be–and what purpose should they serve as they grow up. Of course, failures in life will come. If they’re values are not solid, we will see a lot of frustrated youth looking for quick solutions. Again, I am not here to preach. I just want to my kids to have a better future where values like honesty, honor, integrity, patience, and hard-work are still common.

Don’t you?

‘Too old for that s@#$%’ (Why 20-year-olds are ruling the world)

From the Millenials Tumblr website
From the Millenials Tumblr website

I read this New York Times’ magazine article, Kid These Days, with one nagging question hovering. What makes this generation different from ours?

A lot!

What drives them to excel? What motivates them? What’s their media habit? Do they still sleep? Are they really disconnected?

Much of the creative juices happen when we’re in our 20s, this Times’ article notes. Of course, it names Mark Zuckerberg. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. They were all in their 20s when they created companies that made a dent in our universe 2o years later.

So what is it about that youthful decade after those awkward teenage years that inspires such shoot-for-the-moon success? Does age really have something to do with it?

It does. And that leaves the rest of us — even those of us just a little older — at a bit of a disadvantage.

The conventional wisdom is that young people bring fresh eyes and a new perspective to confronting problems and challenges that others have given up on.

It’s hard not to argue against this, especially for older fogies like me. Wisdom comes with age, they say. Younger people may have fresher eyes. But jaded aside, they also say life begins at 40.

But that’s just me, me, me.

The New York Times’ magazine article reminds me of another one: Time magazine’s “Millenials: The Me, Me, Me Generation.” The article looks at a recent research that labeled young adults as “lazy, and entitled narcissists.” (But are we not all like this at some point in our young lives?)

I will not go further into the debate of what makes this generation different from ours. Each generation is different. When I was in my 20s, it was the dot-com boom and bust. It was the closing of an era of spandex pants, MTV, Sony Walkmans, Michael Jackson, and more. Internet as you know it, back then, was non-existent. We only dreamed of having our Letters to the Editor published in a local paper.

We, however, had more time to stroll around. To connect to people physically. Colored TV and remote controls were scant. Music shifted from loud to raw. Kurt Kobain committed suicide.

My main source of news was radio. Cable TV was a luxury. We had our taste of real democracy in 1986 after years of Martial Law.

Oh, when we were in our 20s, we also wore tight jeans and leather jackets. And we were in rock bands too. We were angry too, and we expressed that in arts, music, and writing.

Kids These Days may be right in telling us the biggest difference today’s generation and mine. My purpose and motivation back then was: finish school, land a job (and keep playing music, if you still have time).

Today, this has changed a lot. I see more young adults traveling. I see them creating content (e.g. #selfies and #ootd). I see them write. They still consume news, but differently. You’ll be surprised that they sometimes know more than we do. Life for them is about making their mark early. They have more tools, more canvass to play with. They have more friends they even have not met physically.

In the Philippines, young adults make more money that I do when I was their age.

Digital technology has changed the way we perceive the world.

Imagine having no Facebook, mobile phones and Tumblr. My kids cannot fathom the idea of having no wi-fi at home or in a restaurant. When I was at a family reunion last year in a far-flung area in Bacolod, the kids were all looking for Internet connection. Amusing? Just go to South Korea and see how a wired world looks like.

Both New York Times and the Time magazine articles are looking at a generation of young Americans. But they both offer some global insights that may apply to Filipino Millenials.

Today, I hope to find that out.  It is my first day in class and I’m teaching newswriting to a group of Millenials. Do they still care about news? How do they define news? What’s news to them? Do they still go to news websites to read up on the latest news on Senator Juan Ponce Enrile resigning as Senate President? Let me find out and will tell you more about it.



I was with a couple friend last night. They were full of energy, passion and love. (I always see them together in photos on my facebook profile).  I was also with old, new friends, colleagues that day. They smiled, laughed and cried. I wished I could read minds. I wonder what they were thinking. Soon, my brothers and sisters.

Reading nice things that people were saying about you was a surreal ending to a journey.

The world opens up. You surrender to the times. You look up, down, side to side. More opportunities waiting. I’ve heard words like courage, honor, respect, and integrity — big words that were meant for heroes, super heroes.

I’m almost 40 and as they say, it begins now–life.





Where do big ideas come from?

From 17-year-olds who have the capacity to learn, the time, and the Internet as their playground. I bought a book called Digital Disruption: Unleashing the next wave of innovation from Amazon several weeks ago. It starts with a story of a boy named Thomas Suarez. Let him tell his story.

Imagine, there will be more of these kids creating the future. We should all be wary because they will create the next Facebook.