Viewing: job hunt


ako ang trabahong iniaalok kay deepa. 

ako ay may kinalaman sa isa sa mga naging trabaho niya.

ang kontrata ko ay may mga clause ukol sa pagraket, pagharap sa publiko, pagmomodelo, at pagtanggap ng pera o regalo. 

ano ako?

On the job front

things are getting really exciting. i don’t know where to start! something new just happens everyday, and i find myself in a few situations that i’ve never been in before. these include:

  • being offered a position and salary higher than what i applied for
  • … and seeing that there’s more to choosing a job than that
  • making human resources wait for my decision (four days and counting)
  • … and being nothing but completely honest to get that much-needed time
  • working for a company that i told myself at the start of the year i would work for (this on  monday as i begin a three-week full-time contract with BDA)
  • really making a choice based on long-term career plans (a true first!)
  • considering things like love, ownership, responsibility, opportunity, work-life balance
  • being made to feel that my being a foreigner was not a disadvantage
  • hearing my three key buzzwords (fun, passion, inspiring) used to describe a job
  • knowing that i have time and i can choose
i see now that the past six months of just keeping at it has not just netted me an offer (or two…), but all of these. and you know what? it’s worth it.


now that my prospective employers have been alerted to the existence of my blog, this means i’m really, reallygoing to have to keep my interview outfit top-secret! lol.

i wonder why i’m not dying of embarrassment yet. maybe there’s nothing to be embarrassed about? after all, i survived the andrew wolff situation, which is like the pinnacle of embarrassment, right? who would have known that beefcake could be so integral to character-building?
i’m preparing a seoul roundup, by the way, since i realized that it’s been officially a week since i got back and at the rate i’m back-blogging, i will be writing about seoul for the next six weeks. the scanner is on the fritz so i can’t scan the paper goodies i got from artbox and mmmg, so pictures will have to do.

In love again

i can’t wipe the smile off my face.

after trolling the job sites for weeks and applying to either purely editorial roles or advertising positions, i found a job posting that just grabbed me. a job for a company that bridges multiple creative disciplines and fosters creative collaboration. a job that requires me to love design (which i do) without having to actually design anything (which i don’t!), but just immerse myself in it and write well (which i do). a job that is just so me, and combines the worlds of ideas, design and writing, which i grew to love in gma. 
aaaieeee! i cannot bear it! **throws self at TPTB’s* feet, writhing with lust**
i took a hatchet to my resume last night in order to produce the perfect lure for this tempting creature called designTAXI. i threw my old resume format down the garbage chute and finally solved one of the niggling flaws of my resume — how to present my extensive, overlapping freelance experience without confusing would-be employers. i finally confronted the fact that it was a flaw after the third job interview where i had been asked to mark up my resume for better reading. eep.
and… it worked! in record time no less! a mere two hours after i sent in my application, i got an email from the designTAXI editor inviting me to an interview! my heart started pounding, and a foppish smile — the same smile that’s still plastered on my face to this very minute — sprouted and took root.
you know how you read way too much into every little detail at the beginning of a grand infatuation? well it happens with jobs, too — especially if you’ve been looking for just the right one for quite some time.
when i asked the editor (i still can’t figure out if it’s a he or a she — s/he has the most perplexing name!) what i should bring, this was the reply i got.
Yes, please bring along your resume and writing samples, 
plus a big smile would be nice. See you then.
swoon. don’t we all love a sense of humor — especially when we least expect one, like in an email from a prospective employer? i couldn’t resist; i replied:
Will commence working on my smile. 
Thanks and looking forward to meeting you!
i’m in love with a job! help me!
*TPTB – the powers that be

"…And world peace."

maybe i’ve been watching too much gossip girl, but i just feel like i came from an interview for the position of usher to the dartmouth representative. scratch that, i feel like i just came from a panel interview for yale cross-pollinated with a miss universe question-and-answer portion. and this is the mental equivalent of me wondering whether i should have said something about world peace.

there were times when i wondered whether i should be saying what i was saying, but then i told myself long ago that i’m through being a people-pleasing chameleon just to be hired — it’s all about finding the right fit. i may have shot myself in the foot with one of my answers, but i’m pretty confident i didn’t pull a janina san miguel. 
speaking of answers, it’s the first time i’ve heard an employer describe themselves as “task oriented” versus “results oriented.” iiiiinteresting. i wonder what the difference is. i kind of like “results oriented” more; people can just get so caught up in processes sometimes.
i became aware of two things about myself during this particular interview. one is, i have an internal smile barometer: i use people’s smiles during a conversation as a gauge of success. if i can make you smile, i’ve “got” you. (yeah i know — define “got”, right?) by this token, most people find me amiable and charming. however, i’ve discovered that not all battles are won by charm (as any girl who tries to twinkle, wheedle and pout at an mmda officer on the take will discover). 
the downside: getting people to smile or warm up to me is like missing the forest for the trees. i can be seen as being flip or fluffy, which more often than not leads to tanking with people who are slow to warm up, painfully serious or just naturally poker-faced. lately i’ve gotten quicker at catching myself reverting to this barometer, which makes it easier to ignore. does anyone else have any going-well “indicators” like this?
second is, i’ve seen just how much i’ve come to see my extensive freelance experience as an asset. so i was rather surprised — and a little thrown off, i’ll admit — when one of my panel interviewers seemed to regard my having held down a freelance job for over a year concurrent to my day job with suspicion. maybe i’m reading too much into a tone or expression or a simple “why?” or maybe they’ve just never encountered anyone like me before. who knows? but that’s how views (and people are). one of my strengths might be someone else’s red flag. c’est la vie.
okay, no more agonizing! because you know, that only leads to agony! and no more thinking, too — because it only leads to more thoughts. from now on, any thoughts i’m going to have about this employer shall be related to how i can cook up some kick-ass story ideas for them by wednesday… or earlier. 

*cue megalomanic laughter* lulunurin ko sila! it’s time for some good old pakitang-gilas!
oh, and world peace.

Small victories

finally whittling down the conjugal grocery bill from over a hundred, almost two hundred dollars a week (for two people! no wonder we were so fat!) to $80 and below. the secret: going on the south beach diet eliminates so many frivolous and often expensive purchases like cookie mixes, couscous, chocolate, various pasta ingredients.

calling my mom up on day and hearing her laugh. we hooted over the ridiculous prices of today’s “it” bags together; she had an especially big laugh over the prices of celestina bags. while window shopping in greenbelt 5, she saw a yellow croc handbag that looked exactly like a Php200 purse she got me from an ukay-ukay. the celestina price tag: Php169,000. the sales attendant generously offered her a discount, bringing the total to “only” Php139,000. oh, how my mom laughed.

after hearing a friend say the words “retail therapy”, realizing that i didn’t need it.

putting together a great interview outfit in only two tries.

feeling pride in the portfolio of print work i put together. i was saying to myself for the past five or six months, “i don’t have much of a print portfolio.” when i really put my back into creating one, i found i was wrong.

going to an interview on friday; feeling that i had been given a thoroughly fair chance to represent myself and my work… and that i had grabbed it.

realizing that while i used to thrive on long work hours in my old job, i no longer feel the compulsion to play that trump card in order to get hired. working my old hours in a new life doesn’t seem to quite fit. it misses the point of me getting married and moving here.

going home after the interview and evaluating how well the job and the company was suited for me without a tinge of desperation.

finally giving up my resistance to singapore and realizing that i could really have the time of my life here. maybe i already am.

considering that there may be no such thing as a small victory.

A tale of two interviews

last week i had my first ever interviews in singapore. two of them! a monday 11:30 a.m. with a small creative shop , and a thursday 11 a.m. with a (from the looks of it, new-ish) women’s beauty/fashion/wellness portal, where i applied as a freelance editor.

i was so excited, i planned both of them obsessively: departure times, routes and modes of transportation, background research, and of course, the all-important outfits. i even printed a copy of my cv to bring with me to the actual interviews, which i NEVER did for an interview back home.

anyway, this is how it went.

interview #1: the small creative agency

departure time: 9:30 a.m. (yes, two hours in itty-bitty singapore. can you say praning? this at least gave me time for a hazelnut latte at tcc.)

mode of transportation: shuttle bus from condo to mrt station, mrt to somerset, taxi to the office on kim yam road

background research: hooo boy. major kapraningan here. apart from looking up their clients and viewing their showreel online, i wrote down in my little notebook (just to refresh my memory) how i worked in gma, what i contributed to the team, how i came up with ideas, the challenges that i faced getting each of the 10 plugs on my showreel produced and how i overcame them, positive feedback from my boss… GAWD. what a geek.

outfit: black architectural-cum-smock-type dress from jonker gallery in malacca (my sister has the exact same one in white and told me not to wear it to an interview) plus a cobalt blue shrug with gold nautical-type buttons. wore it with my favorite vintage gold rose necklace and very new open-toe black patent wedges, which killed me — i had major breaking-in blisters by 11 am. thankfully i am a whiz at minimizing a blister-induced limp, so nobody at bda even noticed.

the proceedings: it was less of an interview and more of a very, very nice long chat with the company’s business director. i started to relax when i realized that there was so much to learn about producing promos outside of gma and the philippines — and i might as well just soak it up.

after an hour-long gabfest, i found myself getting flutter-in-the-guts excited about getting the chance to do promos for all these different shows from all over the world. yup, it’s confirmed: nothing gets me going like tv does. i felt vindicated that i stuck to my guns about holding out for work that really, really gets me excited — such a huge departure from the “i’ll take anything” me of yore. i was just overwhelmed that i was even just sitting there. i wonder if she got even the slightest bit creeped out by my shining eyes and dopey smile.

and… they have a cat in the office! a huge fat gray adorable cat! it was sleeping in a basket under her desk the whole time i was there. when i saw it, i just melted. it was like… hot damn, can it get any better than this? hahaha!

outcome: i am now part of their pool of freelance creatives! yay! go me! basically it means they’ll call me if there’s a script to be written or produced that their in-house team can’t take on, or if they want me to pitch an idea for a project. super excited to see what will come my way!

verdict: worth every single feckin’ blister.

next up: interview #2.

Getting into the game

i was beginning to get really frustrated with the results of my job search here in singapore. or rather, the non-results. after spending nearly three weeks in couchwifely languor, i had decided to really sink my teeth into the task of finding a job. not just any job, mind you — one that i love, enjoy and am inspired by. nothing less! (this is also how i am about clothes nowadays. if i don’t look spectacular in it, i’m not buying!)

and so i set about creating games for myself, games that i would change around every so often just to keep having fun. the first was the 20 game — twenty CVs sent out in a week. then there was the 3-to-5 game — three to five CVs sent out daily.

yesterday afternoon while i was hanging out with phyllis (the doctor wife of one of marlon’s work friends) at her flat, i realized how much i had really gotten into my games. “gotta go soon, phyllis,” i told her at four p.m. “i told myself i’d send out at least three CVs today.”

“wow! you’re so dedicated!” she exclaimed. “that’s a lot!”

“oh, it’s nothing! i once sent out twenty in a week,” i said dismissively.

to say that phyllis was shocked was an understatement. she actually sputtered. “twenty?!” she wondered. “my god deepa! i’m so lazy! i’ve sent out two in the last year!”

now here’s the kicker. they both want to hire her. and there i was, pushing thirty applications made, and not a single interview lined up.

after that exchange, i began to feel tired, like all the hustling for a job had suddenly caught up with me. i got very, very frustrated and very, very upset last night, to say the least. while there was no doubt i would return to my various job-seeking games anyway, i felt resigned and very easily pissed off.

i just got my very first “result” — i’ll tell you what it is in a minute — and now i’ve realized all i had to do was change my game… again. thank heavens the universe will never run out of games for us to play. sick of looking at my cv? stopped looking at it, stopped tweaking it. and stopped sending the damn buggers cvs out and sat at the phone following up past applications instead.

and in this manner, i actually lined up a “chat” (is this a euphemism for an interview?) with the first company i applied to after moving here — and one that totally got my heart thumping when i saw the job posting! the company is bruce dunlop (BDA), an international creative agency that specializes in doing on-air television promos. how perfect is that?! check out their website to see just why i’m in lust. they’re putting together a pool of freelance writer/producers, and i’m dying, dying, dying to jump in and swim with the rest of them!

and the funny thing is, this is like the fifth time i’ve called them — and i applied nearly two months ago! i never would have thought i’d still get the chance to come in for a chat.

i don’t know how it’s going to go on monday. but it’s like i’ve gotten a jolt that’s going to power me through the rest of my job hunting. just in freaking time, i might add — i was not a pretty sight last night.

so it’s time to change the game again. and this time the game is called “what am i going to wear?”

any advice… fashion or otherwise? ;-)

Hunting from the couch

from the comfortable confines of my black-cushioned, white spray-painted ikea couch, i’ve begun to take a sniff at the job market for creatives here in lah-lah land. sniffing is as far as i can go at this point — without my marriage license and thereby my dependent pass, i’m ineligible for any sort of legit job application.

the first ten minutes of my online puttering was quite a roller coaster. i started seeing words like “leverage” and “solutions” and was forcibly reminded of my days at the factory. besieged by the wealth of editorial jobs up for grabs on jobsdb, i went into a mini-panic and considered, for about two full minutes, a return to publishing.

this was totally a return to the old job-hunting me: unsure of what i wanted, but prone to worrying about getting a job and thus even more prone to accepting any job that would take me. when i realized it, the voice in my head did me a huge favor (for once) and said, in no uncertain terms, “NO.”

digging deeper into the job forums, i started looking up all the graphic design openings even if i’m not a graphic designer. and what i found really, really excited me: a fistful of witty, irrevent, creative and independent design firms. i found websites that literally got my heart beating and the wheels in my head turning. i would totally customize portfolios for, and whore myself out to, some of the firms i came across this afternoon.

i was just telling marlon the other day that my heart belongs to/my career direction is television (i really don’t watch television the way i did two years ago!), but working as a copywriter for a small design firm (even freelance) totally opened up as a possibility for me today!

don’t you love how possibilities just give your butt a special tickle? heck, it’s enough of a tickle to get me off this couch!

now, if you’ll excuse me, i have three boxes of beloved books to unpack and big, downy-scented fluffy yellow towels to hang up and dry.

p.s. i’ve decided to blog about the wedding when i get the raw wedding photos from our photographer. which should be anytime in the next two or three days.