Work trip to Zurich

About a month ago, I traveled to Zurich for work. I spent most of the overnight trip at my hotel (which I’ll show you tomorrow) and at my work location, the palatial Dolder Grand Hotel overlooking the city.

Zurich Dolder Grand Hotel

Let me digress a bit. You might be wondering: what does she do for work, anyway? I rarely blog about work, so this might be a good time to talk a little about what I do.

I work in on-air promotions for television, a niche industry that’s always a bit hard to explain. On-air promotion is what you see on TV that isn’t a commercial or a TV show: trailers (called plugs in the Philippines, or promos everywhere else), branding, and other bits and bobs that tell you about a channel and its shows.

As a writer and producer, I come up with ideas for promos and promo campaigns, write them up into script form, and get them made. That means managing a host of other people and processes—from casting to location scouting, filming to graphics, editing to scheduling—until my 30- or 60-second promo gets aired on TV.

Still with me?

I worked for an agency in Singapore before going freelance. Since moving to Amsterdam, I still work for Singapore-based companies, but my role has evolved. These days, I mostly write promos to help my client (a large international media network based in Singapore) create branded content for companies that advertise on their channels—exclusive, customized promos that are tailor-fit to a brand.

I suppose I’m kind of a matchmaker between brands and audiences. I get to decide where and how they meet, and what kind of experience they’re going to have on their date—a date that takes place in 30, 60 or 90 seconds on television.

I write at home and send my work to Singapore, where it gets produced. But this time, a project involved a shoot in Zurich—all hush-hush, quick, and very last minute. When I got the call from my client asking me to fly in and be a producer for a day, I immediately said yes!

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Do not disturb

Sorry for the blog silence this week. There’s been much to write about—Open Monument Day, our first house-hunting tour, and the discovery of a neighborhood that I just might be in love with… and I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find the time or energy to do it.

I’ve been busy with an unusual amount of work the last two weeks. Not complaining… income is always a good thing! When I’m not working, I’ve been sleeping a lot because I’ve been feeling under the weather on and off since last week. It’s more than a little frustrating to not be in control of my body and energy, but I’m trying to remind myself that duh, I’m pregnant! And that makes taking care of Little Mango’s housing situation (a.k.a., myself) my first priority.

Today I’m finally going to the midwife to get a quick checkup just to make sure everything is okay. Then it’s another busy weekend, with a few more apartment viewings and a free trip to Inside Design Amsterdam (!). So I know I need to get as much rest as I can now to avoid being a total zombie on Monday.

So, I’m offline for now. Be back soon!

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Work from home

The past two days have been great on the work front. I’ve gotten to produce work I’m extremely happy with (good feedback is starting to trickle in, too) — all while working from home.

So now I’m all warm and fuzzy about working from home, thus this post. Working from home is something I have wanted to do ever since I first saw Marlon’s company grant him the privilege of working from home one day a week, plus a budget to set up a small home office.

Six years ago, it seemed far-fetched and decadent, like something only an deep-pocketed, ultramodern multinational leviathan could handle.

But technology has improved and mindsets have shifted. Employers are more open to the idea that you don’t have to be physically present to do good work. And so working from home has become, happily, a part of my working life as a freelancer — even now that I’m working what is essentially a 9-to-6 day job.

I love working from home for its many perks. Foremost is sleep. My morning primping and commuting time is added to my sleep time. My bed is less than three feet away from my desk, making a hasty escape from the heavy-lidded unproductive desert that is siesta time oh so easy.

Second is, time. I work at my own pace and at the times I am most productive. Although I don’t like to pigeonhole myself as a morning/afternoon/night person (why would I want to limit myself?), I like to sleep late and get to thinking after a slow start. Still, I can get up early and hit the ground cracking if I need to; working from home isn’t for people who can’t manage their time, that’s for sure.

And to be honest, I work fast most of the time. There have been times I find myself done with what I need to do and just kill time until the “respectable” hour to go home arrives. Trust me, maraming nai-imbiyerna kung mabilis ka; kasalanan ko bang hindi sila efficient? Among these are the creatures who wear their extended work hours as a badge of honor, the ultimate proof that they’re working hard (never having heard of working smart).

Working from home allows me to cut out all that useless crap. If I’m efficient at my work and am done for the day, then I’m done for the day. No raised eyebrows, no wagging tongues.

Third is, simply, home. Since I never feel the need to physically get out of the office (admit it, sometimes it’s a real and pressing urge, isn’t it?), sometimes I even end up working later into the night, and for longer hours, than I would at a regular office.  I’ve had days so packed, I’ve had to crawl out of bed at 7am and keep to a strict hourly schedule until midnight. But I don’t think I could do that at an office and still feel good at the end of the day.

I have my cat to bother or cuddle or be tormented by; I have a beautiful sunset right outside my window to mark the end of each day  The comfort of home makes a huge difference. And that’s what makes working from home work for me.

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Back to school

I feel like I ought to be writing an essay called “What I did this summer.” I started working in June, upon my return from San Francisco, and it felt much like going back to school after summer vacation.

I had intended April, May and June to be my “break” — but it didn’t really turn out that way. I worked through my break, and I say that with gratitude and joy. One of the things that kept me clinging to my old job was the fear of leaping into a void of nothingness… no work, no income. I was wrong and for that I could not be happier. It was nothing like when I first started out in Singapore. What a difference two years can make.

Then again, this summer was like the ones I had when I was younger. I was never really idle.  There was always Rep or tennis or Spanish or art lessons. Heck, even the summers without parent-initiated activities were jam-packed with boy-watching.

This time around, going back to school was more like transferring to a new school. Getting used to new teachers, classmates, new ways of doing things; maybe not making lifelong friends right away, but anxious to do well and be liked. Even struggling and doing well at the same time.  
But I had my summer vacation (the first I’ve had since leaving school almost seven years ago!) and it was a good one. And even now that the summer is over, the sunshine seems like it’s here to stay. 
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And she’s off…

Today’s post is brought to you by Blogger’s Remorse!
It’s been crazy in the Paul-Plazo household these last two weeks.
After scrambling to get my Dependent Pass (which I now have! I am no longer a tourist in Singapore! Long story…) Marlon and I flew off to Beijing for an exhausting but definitely… interesting five days. I would describe most of it as fun although there were more than a few lost-in-translation moments, the occasional bouts of frustration and fatigue, and even an open-air lovers’ quarrel for all to see. What the holiday pictures don’t show, eh? 
marlon and i in beijing: having fun but a little overwhelmed, tired but still going
At the same time I was being yanked onboard a three-month freelance contract that I haven’t officially signed yet because I don’t have the right work papers sorted out (again, long story…). 
I rushed back from Beijing to a pile of work from said freelancing gig. I am working from home these days and am so surprised at how much I am working for a job that I am not even officially yet on (again, long story). I really get how everyone I’m working with needs me to come on board because they are all so damned busy! I’ve been doing as much as I can, but it’s been a struggle to work with just a few days sandwiched in between trips — plus the other, odder factor of me not being officially onboard and asked to work from home till the contract is signed. Long story… 
Long story seems to be the story of my life these days!
It seems like I was just struggling to onboard myself a few days ago, and suddenly I have to quickly and thoroughly turn over what little work I’ve done (which seems like a lot to me already!) before I disappear to San Francisco for the next two weeks. 
Still, the job was a huge and unexpected blessing so I’m doing my best to shut the complaints and to do right by it and The One who gave it to me. And there’s no way I’m complaining about this trip because the tantalizing tandem of discovering new places and seeing old friends simply fills me with such anticipation. 
So I’m off again, and looking forward to a trip that will be every bit as exciting (and hopefully, a wee bit slower) than life on the ground, here at home, has been the past two weeks. 
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