Monday, April 30, 2012

Where can I take survival courses?

This article totally fits with the whole "survivor mode" blog I made yesterday.

Victoria Grover, Utah Hiker, Survives 4 Days In Dixie National Forest

I think all college students should undergo a proficiency exam on surviving the outdoors to supplement our research, analytic, and language background. You may never know when you will need it. I now regret not doing Girls Scouts as a kid. I am definitely making my kids participate in girls/boy scouts so they can survive in the "arena" (lame hunger games joke, but I can't help myself) or more aptly named the real world.

I think hunter/gatherer cultures are on the right track. To reach the age of maturity, you need to survive in the wildernesses. The tribe will dump you in the middle of no where and you have to find your way back home at the tender age of 12 or 13. I watched an episode on National Geographic where a tribe would circumcise young boys and leave them out in the wilderness to survive. If they were successful they were hailed as men of the tribe. If they failed...well that would just suck. 

Alright, I'm adding "survival courses" to my list of basic skills to have. Thank you huff post.

Plan B Network: brokers, airline employees, sales associates, and marketing professionals

So I just got another inspiration to supplement my earlier blog on survival skills.

I realized in addition to survival skills, you're going to need people to help you along the way.

I've been to so many networking events and conferences I have lost count on how many business cards passed through my hands. One regret is not taking note of the special people that come my way. The people who can get you out of sticky situations when you find yourself cornered. The people who can bail you out or vouch for you when you are need the extra help.

If you're going to so many networking events, it's good to develop a network of people you can develop a professional relationship with. Call this your "plan B network" if your friends and family can't help you. I am constantly jealous of people who are well connected. They have connections in high places that most normal people, like myself, can't dream of.

Networking events are in fact the best place to expand your network for career and personal objectives. The difficult part is maintaining the relationship (save for another blog) and not just using them for what they can offer.

Rules of engagement:
  • If you can't keep the professional relationship going, don't bother asking for the favor. 
  • Likewise, put yourself out there for whatever service you can provide
  • Don't abuse the privileged and don't flaunt it.
Here's my mini list of what sort of people to have in your network :)

1. People with access to a private jet
2. Secretaries! (Any secretary to any official because they can "squeeze you in" for an appointment if they like you well enough)
3. Marketing/PR people for hotels, restaurants, and bars (Can you smell the freebies coming your way?)
4. Someone in borders and customs
5. Someone who previously/is working in the IRS
6. Real Estate broker
7. Financial broker (My friend Jed offered to help with reinvesting my mom's retirement money in the Philippines)
8. Airline employees (When my friend Roland found out his grandma suddenly died he was able to get an emergency buddy pass from a friend of ours, Marybeth, because her mom works for United Airlines)
9. Electronics sales associate
10. Car dealership sales associate
11. A cop (usually name dropping when you're pulled over gets you off with a "warning")
12. Event organizers/managers (I had an experience when I knew the event organizer for a concert! He let my friends and I through security and got us front row tickets for free
13. A "really god lawyer" because legal shit is tricky and you need someone on your red corner if the government/enemies are in the blue corner (Thank you @roxiemacasang)

If you have anymore ideas to add to my list, let me know! 

Learning how to hack a computer, shoot a gun, evasive driving, and other survival skills

Today my mom and I bought our first ever flat screen TV. How is this such a radical move? Well, if you know my mom you'll know that she will NEVER buy anything new. She will always get something second hand if it is still good. With enough prodding I managed to convince her we needed it. haha SCORE!

Along with our TV, we bought a TV stand. The sample display looked so simple to assemble. I thought it would be a piece of cake. I mean how hard can it be right? After sitting through hours of statistics and economics, assembling a TV should be mickey mouse.

I was dead wrong.

It took me 2 hours! 2 miserable hours of assembling a stinking TV stand. 2 hours of my life I can never get back.

When the task was done I cried in happiness and then I wanted to take a sledge hammer and destroy it. I thought to myself, what is the use of 4 years of education when I can't even put together a TV stand efficiently?

If the world came to an end, I'd probably be the first one eaten by zombies. So what can I do to make my chances of surviving higher in the event the world faced Armageddon?  What can I do to make my chances of surviving higher in general?

Basic life skills I still need to learn are (don't laugh at my ignorance, I'm a work in process):

1. Pick locks
2. Change flat tires
3. Jump start a car
4. Be a Gardner
5. Be a pseudo-car mechanic
6. Sew my own clothes
7. Hack a computer
8. Play the guitar
9. Evasive driving
10. Shoot a gun
11. Start a fire (without a match)
12. Hunt and cook wild animals

Clearly, there should be more on this list but I haven't had time to think things through. However, you get the picture. Who knows when you're stuck in a rut and you'll need one of those "essential life skills" to get you out.

Yes, picking a lock, hacking a computer, and evasive driving can be borderline illegal. However, illegal skills are usually the most worthwhile skills to have.

If you have any ideas, let me know. I'll add it on my list. :D

Thursday, April 26, 2012

HBO Girls - Does it apply to me?

There has been so much debate regarding the the HBO show "Girls" that I thought I could put in my two cents as well.

Race debate aside, I thought the basic premise of the show is interesting and fresh. Young people in their mid 20s are plagued by student loans, living off of parent support, and trying to make ends meet by working in a job that that will hopefully lead to the perfect career. Don't get me wrong, one size does not fit all and the show may not be applicable to all. In fact many young people I know have the good life  have become successful and happy in their careers.

The show gives off a vulnerability that most people my age try to hide. The first time I watched it I identified with the character because it is such a pain to find a job that fits personal expectations. I have gone through it and I am still going through it. It sucks. However, unlike the main character, I would not stick around for a year in an unpaid internship and allow myself to be used and abused. I have a bit more dignity than that. Moreover, I wouldn't give up on myself and I would continuously work hard to find a career that mattered to me. Sometimes we have to put a significant amount of hard work, determination, and ambition to get what we want.

I guess that is where my parent's mentality comes into play. Through their experience, I realized you cannot wait for opportunities to come your way, you cannot wait for that elusive position to be available for you, you cannot wait for your boss to promote you. If you personally believe you are worth it you need to cease opportunities for yourself. Life is too short to be waiting.

So in the end, yes "Girls" is a perfect depiction of mid-20s struggle but I have to argue against the portrayed weakness of my generation. We aren't focused just on sex, boys, and complaining of what challenges may come our way. I like to think we are fighters. We are more motivated to prove ourselves. We are more ambitious to start new ventures. We are unwilling to sit idly by while the world passes us over. I think we need to give our generation more credit for facing a recession, social discontent, and adapting to a fast paced world.

We'll see how the show goes. One thing is for sure, I hope the characters evolve beyond their misery and constant complaining.

Dealing with Death

 It is the most depressing thing in the world to find out a loved one is dying. It not only causes grief but it also brings you to a realization that every breath you take matters and it shouldn't be wasted.

My mom, in her grief, asked me "Why is God so finicky to let good people suffer while those who are bad live?"

There is no right answer to this. Religion will say it is "God's Will" or it is simply due to the balance of life. However, it is still difficult to accept such ambiguous reasoning. It causes one to wonder if some are more lucky than others. Perhaps some, though good or bad, have extra lives to spare while others barely have one. It is unfair and we always come to the same question, why?

Then again, maybe we are asking the wrong question. Instead we should be asking, why not? Why should good people suffer on this miserable earth where war rages on, poverty is a disease, and there is uncertainty in each day that passes. Why should we want to live in a world that is greedy and unkind to those who are different in race, ethnicity, and class? Maybe dying early is a a blessing in disguise because heaven, if it does exist, is a better place to be. Maybe one person dying paves the way for another to live? Maybe one person dying allows someone to realize their own worth and strength? Maybe one person dying creates fortitude and inspiration amongst the living to keep going and keep fighting?

Our nature as humans is unique because we have something not many animals have. We have emotions and thoughts. We identify with the suffering and we feel compassion. We see the dying and we feel thankful for the life we have. We see sadness and we relish in the happiness than comes our way.

Our journey is fraught with sadness, bad luck, disappointment, stress, and death. Likewise, it is also full of happiness, good luck, success, and life. After all, without one you cannot fully understand the other, right?

Dear mom, you are right. It is unfair for good people to die. I cannot give you a reason why. I cannot lessen the pain. However, we should still make the passing of loved ones memorable. They live on in our actions and our words. So maybe they didn't really die but they lived on in a greater way unknown to us. For that we are better people because of them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Mid 20s Career Battle

I recently came across a marketing job that allowed me to work closer to home. The pay is okay but no where near great. The only benefits are: it is closer to home and it was a communications based position. However, I told myself that I wouldn't take it unless I could negotiate for the salary. I feel entitled to a substantial salary because of my education from a pretty awesome institution and I worked as business development coordinator for an engineering firm. My previous job pretty much put me at the front lines of marketing by networking and connecting with diplomats, businessmen, and politicians. It was awesome. However, family comes first and I decided to leave it behind and come home.

So of course! I expected my next job to be similar or  higher pay. I was sadly disappointed. However, for the sake of comfort and simply because my financial situation at the moment is tenuous I am desperate to get back into a career and have a steady salary. I have been home for almost 2 months now and I feel my vacation is slowly eroding away and restlessness is taking over. So should I sacrifice my expectations for a job that could come easily to me? Simply because I need the money? Afterall, I need to eat and pay the bills right? I can't wait for that elusive perfect job to come my way.

Still..I feel like I shouldn't settle.

My family says I should take the job and then quit if I find something better. However, I feel that is such a cop out. If I decide to do something, I can't quit it unless I've done a great job in it. I can't leave unless I've seen it through until the end. It would bother me that I quit because it means I failed at meeting the expectations of the job I agreed to do. Lastly, I would feel bad for the employer who had faith in me and hired me.

So what should I do?

Approaching my mid 20s, I feel like I am at a critical juncture at my life. People cannot take my expectations seriously and I cannot find a job that would satisfy my need to be challenged. Why are all the awesome jobs saved for people who are old and in their 40s and 50s. They are already seriously lacking in creativity and they have fallen into the "routine" of things. Their minds clouded by their family obligations, years of stress, and clocking out at 5pm. Whereas my mind is fresh and ready to jump into the game. (Okay not all 40s and 50s people are boring...some not all!)

As I wait for that elusive phone call to tell me my salary expectations have been met. I wonder what I would do if it was not. Take the job and satisfy my immediate financial demands? Take the job then quit when something better comes along? Deny the job and keep looking and trying for that perfect job?

I am still deciding what to do. If you have the answers please tell me because I hate over analyzing my situation and falling short of what I should do.

How I Conquered My Bad Dream

I had a very interesting dream last that was borderline amusing and frightening. In my dream, I was looking up at the night sky. The clouds were swirling in blue, grey, and glittering colors similar to a froyo. I loved it at that moment because the swirling froyo sky would shape into any face I wanted to see. Then all of a sudden the sky took on a menacing view and out of no where a frightening lady pops up. I have no way of describing her but she looked like the girl from the movie "The Ring" all zombie personality, evil, and angry. This "form" was inching closer and closer towards me with the intent of killing me. In my moment of fear I realized I was dreaming and I took control. Her hand came close to my face and I did some Yaw-Yan move that allowed me to grab her hands and knee her face. I was so angry that she scared me that I woke up feeling angry rather than afraid. Although, when the adrenaline rush subsided the fear came back. However, I value my sleep more than my sanity and I hated feeling helpless. So I resolved to go back to sleep and told myself if she ever comes back I'll pull her hair from her face and finish the job the second time around.

AND THAT! my friends is how you handle a bad dream.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Goats, Grass, and my Mom.

Me: I think we need to mow the lawn mom.
Mom: Yeah, I'm thinking of buying a billy goat so they can eat the grass.
Me: Hey, that's a good business idea and saves the environment!
Mom: (contemplating) Then we can kill it and make dinner when it's fat from our grass.
[spoken like a true Filipina mama]

I recently posted a small dialogue between my mom and I during breakfast one morning. I thought it was funny because my mom and I were on completely different wave lengths. My mom was thinking food while I was thinking business idea for a lawn maintenance business.

You have to love Filipino moms and their ingenuity. :)

Kaldereta Kambing and Papitan Anyone?

Alternate Universe Names -What's Yours?

Lazing around the other day, my mom casually said her second option to my name was "Rianna" after my father's mother "Seprianna" can imagine my surprise. I could have had the same name as the popstar Rihanna!

The twilight zone theme song popped into my head as I thought of an alternative reality where my friends called me "Rianna" instead of the name I have now. Could your name affect your personality? If you weren't born a Jane or a John but a Janice or a Jonah would that make a difference in how you develop your personality?

Your name is sacred and perhaps how people perceive your name can alter their reaction to you. The name "John" is associated with religious reverence at the same time most people consider it a plain name. Does that mean people would automatically think you are plain? Medical examiners likewise use the name "Jane Doe" for unidentified bodies. Does that mean "Jane" is associated with someone who lacks identity or someone who does not stand out? The same goes for other names like "Bob" or "Joe" because the name may lack outward character EVEN IF the name may mean something personally (like the name of a loved one).

My mom told me of an old wives tale in the Philippines. When a baby is born he or she is automatically assigned an "ambiguous spirit", which is sort of considered our "aura" in western terms. If the baby is continuously sick it means the spirit born with the baby is weak and unable to protect the baby from harm. Hence, the family calls on the village witch doctor. They bring the baby to a large old tree where the doctor swings a "bolo knife" at the tree trunk and pronounces a new name for the baby. This method gives the baby a new and stronger spirit.

A name is everything. It gives us an identity. It gives us a place. We can abuse our name but we can never change our name (I guess legally you can) but the name given at birth is what lives within you forever.

In the twilight zone, I wonder what Rianna would have been like. Would she be more adventurous? Popular? Outgoing? Worldly? Introvert? Artsy? A rebel? I would not know. In the back of my mind, I give reverence to Rianna, in whatever alternate universe she might be, and hope she lives up to the greatness of her name and who it stands for.