It still feels surreal to me that I’ve been back in the work force for almost six months now, but time flew by so fast that I didn’t even realize how much I’ve been enjoying my new job at Calyxta.
Left corporate, travelled alone and learned more about myself, fulfilled dreams, stepped out of comfort zones, and felt lost and afraid along the way–but that's one chapter I'm closing because the Universe has its way of letting things fall into place, and my 7-month funemployment ends today, as I enter the work force again with an exciting role that's more in line with my passion for writing and something that I always imagined myself doing way back when I was still a little girl in school. 💜 Hello from @calyxtabeauty's new Managing Editor! 👩🏻💻📝
For those of you who are new to the blog or haven’t been as updated (especially because my last Life Lately post was written at the start of this year), 2017 has been quite the roller coaster ride, which I’ll get to in a bit. But for the sake of those who need to catch up, and also because these types of raw and heartfelt posts are what I genuinely enjoy writing (and hopefully what my readers enjoy reading), let me just give you a background on myself, where I came from, and how it all started. (For those who want to catch up a bit more, you can also read my article on why I will never stop feeling thankful for the blog.)
Most of you already know that as a little girl, I loved to write—whether it was poems for my grandparents, or fanfiction on my favorite WWE ships and on Dramione (Draco/Hermione for short), writing was really something that was embedded in me, and that I had so much love and passion for. My mom would always tell me that it was because she loved writing letters to my dad while I was in her belly (at that time, my dad was finishing his studies in Perth, Australia and her way of communicating with him was through writing him snail mails everyday). I guess that’s also where I get my love for writing snail mail letters.
From kindergarten to high school in Poveda, my love for writing just kept growing and growing—and I was lucky enough to have had teachers who poured fuel to this passion, and who encouraged me to just keep doing what I loved doing. I was never the best at Math or Science, but English and Reading were my forte—so I tried to excel at those two subjects.
I think I was 14 years old when I first watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and I would watch it non-stop—not because of the comedy but because of the nature of Andie Anderson’s job as a columnist for Composure magazine. It was the first time it entered my head that maybe just maybe I wanted to write for a magazine someday.
And then in 3rd year high school, I watched The Devil Wears Prada—and for 11 years (meaning up to this day), I still watch the film at least once a month. I memorize the movie so much that if you play any song from the original soundtrack, I can probably recite the lines of the characters perfectly. Miranda Priestly gave a whole new meaning to what I wanted to do with my life. Without really knowing what she does exactly (I was a clueless high school girl with big ambitions), or how the corporate or publishing world works, or what life is like when you actually start working, I just wanted to be an Editor-in-Chief. Of a fashion or beauty magazine. Even though at that time, I knew nothing much about either one.
When it came time to choose what course I wanted to take up, it was no brainer. I checked the box of or wrote down Creative Writing in my college applications for University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and University of Santo Tomas. And just to shorten this story a little bit, everyone knows I graduated from Ateneo de Manila with a degree in Creative Writing. While studying, I got an internship with CollegeFashionista.com (an online magazine that features the latest styles and trends happening in university campuses all over the world, and I represented Ateneo), wrote briefly for WhenInManila.com and Glamourbox.ph, and got another internship with Summit Media—all in the hopes of leading me closer to the career track I thought I had wanted for myself.
But in November 2012, right after I submitted the last of my thesis paper and finished all units and classes required to pass my course, I somehow chose to work for a startup advertising agency as a copywriter and marketing assistant. To this day, I still don’t know why I chose that job over ones I might have gotten from Summit Media, GMA, or ABS-CBN. I’ll be honest—it wasn’t the best first job. The salary was low, we barely got clients because we were so new, and I wasn’t learning as much precisely because we had no clients therefore we had nothing to do. But it was a start, and for me, what I did find fulfilling about that job was it was all me. I found the job post on my own, applied without knowing anyone or asking anyone to back me up, and yet I got it. Four months later, I was even promoted to Brand Communications Manager, despite not knowing anything about brand communications!
So I did what I realized eventually I was good at doing—I winged my way through life. I had to self-learn a few things, Google became my best friend, and I asked the Cupcake a lot of questions (the Cupcake is seriously one of the smartest people I know). After a year with that company, I transferred to a bigger digital marketing agency, where I learned even more. I attended classes on Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Google Soft Skills, absorbed everything there was to absorb on social media marketing and search engine optimization, and it was having this knowledge coupled by the desire to have a creative outlet where I could still continue my writing that Greta’s Junkyard was born! Again, this was all thanks to the Cupcake who self-learned and built my blog, and who continues to manage, secure, and maintain it (on top of everything else he does for his day job and passion projects).
After nearly two years with the digital marketing agency, I was offered a full-time position at Glamourbox to become the Marketing Manager of the four beauty brands they exclusively distributed, including Pixi by Petra and Ofra Cosmetics.
And it was during this time that I had started to throw away the idea of wanting to be a Miranda Priestly, especially because on most days, working for Glamourbox made me feel like I was Andrea, Emily, or Nigel—or maybe even all of them combined.
When I started as the Marketing Manager of Glamourbox, I knew nothing except for the experience I had gained from my previous two jobs. But again, I knew I had to wing through life or, what I usually liked to remind myself back then, to fake it until I made it. Google, again, became my best friend. It became easy for me to find love for what I was doing—I mean, how could I not? I was in the beauty industry surrounded by makeup everyday, I was still writing because I had the blog (even though I couldn’t always attend all the events I was invited to because it was usually in conflict with my day job’s schedule), my blog was slowly growing (which I never expected to happen), I had the unconditional love and support of my family and the Cupcake, and life was good!
And so to embrace the love I found for the career track I was in, I pooled all the money I could from blog sponsorships and my salary, and I decided to enroll myself in Fashion Institute of the Philippines so I could take up Fashion Makeup and strengthen my skills (this helped me a lot whenever I conducted staff training and makeup workshops for Glamourbox) and a few months after, I also enrolled myself in Ateneo Graduate School of Business to take up a second course in Marketing. I ended up balancing work, school, and the blog—whenever I look back, I don’t know how I was able to survive it.
Becoming Miranda Priestly, I thought to myself, could always still be a daydream.
Until one day, two years after working for Glamourbox, I decided to resign from the company.
2017 is all about embracing the unknown, and letting life surprise me. After two years with Glamourbox (four, if you count the time I worked freelance as a writer), it's a bittersweet feeling to be saying goodbye. It was a tough decision I thought about early 2016, and while I love what I do (despite the crazy stressful days and exhaustion) and who I do it with (seriously, the GB family is the greatest and most hardworking people you will ever meet), it's time to move forward to pursue passion projects and make my other dreams come true (No, I'm not talking about Wrestlemania or Wizarding World.) 😂 So yeah. For the first time in my life, I have no plan. It's insane, and so out of character, and to be honest, it sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night, giving me anxiety. But at the same time, I've never felt so invigorated. Having no plan means I can do just about anything I want, and the possibilities are endless. It's time to step out of my shell, be more assertive, welcome the independence, and work a hundred times as hard to make the worthwhile things fly. 2017 will be scary, but straight fiyaaah epic! On a semi-related note, if you guys are looking for the best kesong puti in the world, need a makeup artist, or someone to write copies and articles, feel free to message. 😜 📷: @mazinquotes #qotd #inspiration
I could dedicate another blog post on that, but I don’t want to take away anything because I genuinely loved what I was doing, all the more the people I was working with. Everyone in that company had the same passion and drive as I did, and I gained so much just by working for them for two years. I will always be thankful for everything that company has done for me in terms of the experience I gained and what I know now.
After I left, I decided to take a break from the corporate world. It was the first time in my life that I had no plan. It was scary and exciting at the same time—to take that huge risk and not know what would happen to me. All I had was my blog and my basic makeup artistry, and I knew that at some point, it wasn’t going to be able to sustain me—especially with the kind of lifestyle I have. I mean—I love my skin care, I love getting pampering sessions at the spa, I love spoiling Booboo, and I love good food. There was no way I could afford any of those anymore if I didn’t have a stable means of income. But I was at a point where I was like, “Bahala na!” and just didn’t want to worry too much. Thankfully, my parents were incredibly supportive of all my decisions.
And that’s how I found myself packing up and flying to the United States last March with no concrete itinerary nor an exact return date. I traveled all alone and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I crossed things off my bucket list, went on road trips in and around California with my best friend, watched Wrestlemania 33 and got my Wrestlemania moment, went to Harry Potter World, barely survived with a 2-month budget, had all the good Mexican food I could eat, and just had the most amazing time discovering more about myself and my surroundings. That trip did so many things for me, and just thinking about all the people I met or lived with, and the places I saw makes me tear up a little because I want so bad to recreate those memories again.
When I decided to come home in mid-May (mostly because I had no more money), I felt like I was just floating. That’s the best way to describe what I was feeling then. I felt lost, and completely afraid of what would happen next—especially because my temporary escape from reality had finally ended. But I knew the hardworking girl deep inside of me was looking for something to do to fulfill herself again. This time, I knew exactly what I wanted in terms of my career.
It was time to bring back the Miranda dream.
With only one company in mind, I decided to just be brave enough to ask if they had any positions open. This company was something that I watched closely from afar, because it was founded around the same time that I started working for Glamourbox. But I loved their branding, and the cover girls they chose each month, and man— every time I visited their office for meetings (because incidentally, the four brands Glamourbox distributed were also sold on their online shop), I always found myself ogling at how pretty their office space was. So I always had this aspiration of wanting to be a part of something like that someday. And as if it was just my luck, when I inquired about any positions last May, they did have an opening—and it was for their Managing Editor position.
And ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly where I am today. I’ve been working as Calyxta’s Managing Editor, where every month, I get to be as creative as I want to be with my writing, my editing, the concepts for our monthly cover girls, our articles and video content, and more.
Calyxta is an online magazine and shop about all things beauty, so yes, I still get to be surrounded by makeup everyday. I’ve become good friends with the person I used to talk to and coordinate with back when I still worked with Glamourbox and who is now my seatmate in the office, I have the most adorable and most hardworking Editorial Assistant (who you probably see on my Instagram stories almost everyday), I have my #TeamMatching babies (a name inspired by mine and the Cupcake’s #TeamCatch13), and Calyxta’s team just feels like a really fun high school barkada. Everyone has different personalities, but everyone is so helpful, passionate and easy to work with, and I just love to be surrounded by people like them everyday who balance you, motivate you, and keep things interesting.
Whenever I get invited to cover events for Greta’s Junkyard, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone because I also get to do it for Calyxta. And since I started, I’ve had such a wonderful roster of the loveliest cover girls—from Andi Manzano, to Lauren Reid, to Maureen Wroblewitz, to our current cover girl, Megan Young. I love getting to know them, and being able to write their stories differently.
I think in a way, I’ve found the Miranda dream. Except I don’t want to be as mean or as evil as she’s perceived to be. And I’m not saying everything is perfect, because nothing ever really is (things can still be stressful, Metro Manila traffic gets to you, and there’s still the pressure of doing really well and trying to meet (or even exceed) upper management’s expectations of you)—but if we’re talking about what I had originally envisioned for myself when I was in high school, then I think this is the closest I can get to that dream.
The key takeaway here, especially for those who are in such a hurry to get to where they want to be, is that dream jobs don’t just happen overnight. And I don’t even want to call it a dream job, because there’s a part of me that’s scared I might jinx it. Plus I really believe that you can always find something to love about where you’re at in your career—whether it’s being a junior copywriter, an account manager, or doing marketing even if you have no background in that field. It’s all about knowing what skills to develop, having the right skill set and being aware that you do have the right skill set for a certain job, working hard and never losing that passion, and just taking risks—those all sound so cliche, but that’s what happened to me and for as long as I’m here where I am, that I’m doing what I love, I couldn’t be more humbled and more grateful.