Friday, October 22, 2010

A Gay Kid in the 90s

Seeing a gay kid pretend he isn’t gay amusingly reminds me of my own childhood. Not that I celebrate in someone else’s misery but it’s just nostalgic. I also tried to deny the irrevocable truth, so I understand how difficult it is. And it took quite a long time before I hit my head and realized I was fighting a losing battle. But I was in denial not merely for the sake of conformity but for fear of the unknown. Back then, I had no idea what it meant to be gay. But I do know what I enjoyed.

Volleyball. Surprisingly, basketball was my first sport. I remember enjoying the feeling of getting the ball through the hoop, until I played with three other kids—a 2-on-2 game. While people would think gays enjoy basketball because you get the ‘chance’ to brush up on a baller’s.. well.. physique, that's not the case for me, honestly (cue scowls and doubts ‘weh ‘di nga?!?). I didn’t like it because of the sweat. Your shirtless opponent is practically drying himself on your shirt. I felt like a towel, and remember going straight to the shower after that game. I was an idiot for not knowing what ‘contact’ sport means. And I remember having the ring stripped down from the coconut tree—permanently. So I shifted to Volleyball, which is less of a contact sport than Basketball.

The Unicorn Club. It was around the same time when bikes and rollerblades were popular in our village when I became a member of the Unicorn Club. I never had rollerblades, but I did own a red bike (yes red, not pink). And we would sort of patrol the village, all members of the said club, in single file. Most readers around early twenties, would know or have read the Sweet Valley High (SVH) series by Francine Pascal. The twins, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of SVH, are members of The Unicorn Club and we decided to bring it out of the book’s pages. Each of us also owned a Coca-Cola card signifying our membership.

This is exactly the star shaped
Polly Pocket I used to borrow
Polly Pocket. Barbie is a staple toy for most girls. I never shared the fanaticism. I liked Ken more. But I never played with a Ken, maybe because my ‘gaydar’ was already up and running in its early stages. Ken is so gay. I mean, no straight guy would have such a collection of outrageous clothes, not to mention his freaking hairdo. I played Polly Pocket instead. I go to a friend’s house every afternoon to play with her Polly Pockets. She has enough to share. Not that I can’t buy one, but I didn’t dare ask, come on (what a scene that would be?!). She would always lend me her star-shaped Polly Pocket, then we would set up other Polly Pockets with our other friends, usually her cousin and another neighbor. And tada we have a Polly Pocket village. But don't get me wrong, my favorite toy would still be, forevermore, Lego.

Ten-Twenty and Chinese Garter. I excelled in the Tinikling stage of Ten-Twenty, and occasional winner in Chinese Garter. Every girl my age would own a garter, looped and ready for street garter action. Yes, I also had one, but I rarely use it. My garter was a backup. Sure I also played other street games like Agawan Base, Tag, or Bente-Uno, which is a modified version of Tag, I was a favorite teammate for Patintero, and the famous Langit-Lupa (I still remember the lyrics to its chant). But nothing beats playing Ten-Twenty because it gives you a sense of completion when you reach the latter stages—that only the best of the best competes in (ehem!).

From Left to Right. Sporty Spice, Ginger Spice, Posh Spice, Baby Spice and Scary Spice 
The Spice Girls. The Spice Up Your Life album is my first album purchase. CDs were still considered high end then, but was gaining popularity fast, and cassette tapes were standard. I still remember the dance steps to Stop’s chorus, and I know I’m not alone in this. My favorite Spice Girls song is Wannabe, next is Mama, Viva Forever, Goodbye My Friend, and the carrier single Spice Up Your Life. I think I’ve spilled enough to depict how devastated I was when the group split up. Still, we had Steps and their boot scootin’ songs to dance to, and eventually the boy bands and Britney Spears.

Mara Clara. Who doesn’t know Mara and Clara? I believe Mara Clara is the prototype of most Philippine drama series. Judy Ann Santos played Mara who is the ultimate protagonist in the Filipino sense, Mara has no bad side and angelic in every way. Gladys Reyes’ portrayal of the ultimate antagonist Clara, is commendable. I really hated her before. Mara Clara can be summed up with, ‘Ang bida mabait, ang kontrabida masama’ (The protagonist is good, the antagonist is evil), period. Then, Marimar led the Mexican invasion of Philippine TV.

Sailormoon. Yes I am Sailor Mars, Rei in the famous animation that every girl and gay kid loved at the time. It aired in ABC5 and I remember hurrying home to catch each episode. And yes I had a short crush on Tuxedo Mask, Mamuro. Well, there’s no other guy in the series, except for the other Alibaba-inspired version of Tuxedo Mask.  I forgot who he is or if he is also Mamuro in a different costume. Anyway, I stopped watching the series after Sailor Jupiter joined. If anything else, Sailormoon did inspire me to study the Milky Way Galaxy in Science class (not my best subject).

The Bullying. Most, if not all, gay kids would’ve experienced bullying at some degree. I was asked, “What are you?” numerous times, and, like a moron, I answered 'kalahati' (half-boy, half-girl) to others' enjoyment. With mature hindsight, laughing at my own idiocy, I realized how much of a laughingstock I made myself of. Regardless, I do remember how the perception affected me. I was always guarded, scared to let anyone get too close enough to inflict serious damage to my self-esteem. But I took it all in positively. I was the gay kid determined to prove himself in everything he does, mainly to avoid ridicule, and eventually to gain respect.

Being a gay kid is usually tougher than being a typical boy or girl. I do not mean to minimize the struggles of others, but any bullying in childhood, can make or break any kid. So that goes for all. And let’s not mention puberty..(whew!)

But all I’m saying is, gay kids are usually easy targets, maybe because of our awkwardness in trying to reconcile the two sides of our persona, and when bullies try to reconcile two sides of their persona; what society thinks as acceptable and what they personally believe as acceptable.

I think I'm going to listen to Spice Up Your Life now. 


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top Ten Funny Behavior in Facebook (of Pinoys) part 2

By Edge and Larra

If you don’t have a Facebook (FB) account then you are a) living under a rock, b) at an advanced age, c) stuck in the Friendster era, or worse, d) dead. You would probably know someone, or have committed these funny acts in FB yourself, writers not exempted (We are as guilty as everyone is). This article is not accurate, so don’t berate us with statistics because we didn’t even bother with the word (Not to mention the college subject necessary for our theses!). Anyway here’s our top ten funny behavior of (Pinoy) Facebook users (based on fabricated statistics of how many people do it):

Please note: If you find yourself among these, it doen’t mean you have to change, but if you’re a real nuisance, then please do. Haha! Peace! ^^

The Top 5

Top 5. The ‘Social activist’ (Superliker)
The act of liking or joining each and every group that pops up. Despite not having a serious purpose aside from laughing at the idea of the group’s existence, these ‘activists’ still continue to join groups that would last for about a week, give or take, then dwindle into oblivion. And getting in on a funny trend is as easy as a click away, this act becomes addictive. If you have a Social activist friend, which I’m sure you do, or you’re one yourself, then they, or you, may also want to start a new online group support, Clickaholics Anonymous.

Top 4. The ‘Facebook Varsity’ (Who’s da playa?!?)
The act of playing every other game that Facebook offers, from the most popular Farmville to the mini-games in existence. If only FB digital money, like the zenies of Ragnarok Online and other serious MMORPGs, are convertible to cash, or channel the time spent playing to a more productive activity, the Facebook Varsity would be well-off. Though the causative factor of this behavior is to relieve stress, they end up more stressed by getting more digital money or improving their stats or levels in their respective games (I know this first-hand, back in RO’s beta days in Chaos). This is when they send lesser or non-players endlessly annoying invites.

Top 3 The ‘Evil Tagger’ (‘Ganda/Gwapo mo kasi sa pic ‘eh)
The act of tagging someone in a photo where he or she looks like living hell while the tagger’s shot is heaven-sent. The motivation of the tagger is one of pure evil. Don’t you just hate it when your most hideous form, or your highest level of atrocity (if you’re not always monstrous) somehow makes its way to be displayed publicly for the entertainment of netizens here and abroad?

The worst evil tagger you could find would be one of the closest persons in your life. Your parents are not excluded. Those who have access to your humiliating childhood pictures and have the ability to scan and upload them can destroy your online life. Those who are blessed with a fast-hand with a ready digicam during nights out gains leverage over you. Stop thinking about paparazzis or the Pinoy TMZ because you’re not a celebrity; but think friends, close friends, and best friends.

But seriously, these embarrassing photos can deter potential employers if you do not act fast to untag yourself. Facebook is the fastest and convenient way for recruiters to know more about their applicants. Evil-taggers should know that this act has serious repercussions. It’s a matter of making your profile or album private, but not to the point of nonexistence.
Another known behavior of this creature, is tagging you in a photo where you’re not there at all. The purpose is either to sell you something or torture you for missing a very happy event.
Everyone is a target for the evil-tagger and anyone can be an evil-tagger.

Top 2. The Wall Poster (‘di ko gets?!?)
The act of irrational conversation on a certain wall post instead of opening a chatroom. Though it is easier and more convenient to chat, or open a conference if there are more than two chatters, the Wall Poster tends to publicize the exchange by commenting, extensively. This is a widely popular behavior for FB users.

In the defense of Wall Posters, being wall posters ourselves, commenting on wall posts compared to a chatroom proves to have longer shelf life. At any time the exchange can be easily revived with just another comment.

The annoying but also funny version is finding a certain wall post as a coffee shop by friends who’re catching up, using your wall post as chatroom while discussing something completely unrelated.

Top 1. Your status, your like, your comment.
Enough Said. (eh ‘yung iPPM ka para magpalike ng status?!)


Top Ten Funny Behavior in Facebook (of Pinoys) part 1

By Edge and Larra

If you don’t have a Facebook (FB) account then you are a) living under a rock, b) at an advanced age, c) stuck in the Friendster era, or worse, d) dead. You would probably know someone, or have committed these funny acts in FB yourself, writers not exempted (We are as guilty as everyone is). This article is not accurate, so don’t berate us with statistics because we didn’t even bother with the word (Not to mention the college subject necessary for our theses!). Anyway here’s our top ten funny behavior of (Pinoy) Facebook users (based on fabricated statistics of how many people do it):

Please note: If you find yourself among these, it doesn’t mean you have to change, but if you’re a real nuisance, then please do. Haha! Peace! ^^

The Top 6

Top 10. The ‘Celebrity’ (Feeling Artista)
The act of creating more than one account, an act originating from the medieval periods of Friendster, wherein a person’s account reaches its limit of having a number of friends. Ideally, this is attributed to popularity and congeniality. But the reality is, once they create a new one, you’re illogically added to that other account, regardless of being a friend in his or her first account, until it reaches its delusional maximum again, eventually creating another excuse to create a third account. The more accounts there are, the more delusional that person is.

Top 9. The ‘Love Team’ (Lakas Maka-Issue)
The act of repeatedly changing one’s relationship status from Single to In a Relationship, to the more controversial and usually comment-hoarding statuses: It’s Complicated and Married. The ideal use is to describe one’s actual relationship status. But those who have real problems would either hide the fact that their relationship is teetering rather than publicize their intimate dilemmas. However there are those who, out of honest sweetness or plain ‘cheesiness, and love of drama, commit the act to the point of nausea. If you don’t do it for fame, then you’re not under this bracket.

Those who exhibit the worst version of this behavior, who should seriously seek psychiatric help, would create a ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ profile. And yes, they do exist. You can easily catch the perpetrators of this worrisome behavior by checking the profile of their so-called partner. The most telling attribute would be having just one friend in their friends box. Who doesn’t have friends other than your boyfriend/girlfriend?

Top 8. The ‘Blocker’ (Sana hindi mo na lang in-add)
The act of blocking one’s account from a friend.

We could not fathom, or would even want to, what kind of reasoning these people have. If you have a friend that has their account blocked from you, then by all means remove them from your friends list, and if you can, from your life.

And if you are guilty of this act, come on, what’s up? If you’re just going to block someone, better remove him from your friends or don’t approve in the first place.

There are also those, although rare but not extinct, who would scour FB for your account to block you without adding you up. These are people who have serious misgivings against you. It either means you’re a stalker of some sort, or they feel that you’ll miss one-half of your life because you won’t know what’s going on in their life (as if they have one.. taking the extra mile just to block you already means they don’t have one).

Top 7. The ‘Starbucks drinker’ (‘Kaw na may Starbucks!)
The act of treating a Starbucks coffee cup as if it’s a souvenir from a trip to Disneyland. Starbucks is a status symbol—before. It’s too common to be descriptive of someone’s economic ranking today. We would avoid dwelling on the status symbol thing, since another circular convoluted discussion could erupt. Let’s not be too serious people, cheer up.

This is practically a must-have in the FB world, if you check the profile photos of your friends; they would probably have a Starbucks photo in their arsenal. It’s not annoying or funny by itself, but communally, it’s a humorous act, like a certain quirk that Pinoy FB users commit rampantly. I bet you have one too (We know we do ^^)

Top 6. The ‘Telenovela character’ (Bida siya lagi)
The act of changing one’s profile picture, like some camera reel, or status, like a subtitle from a Koreanovela, within minutes of each other. Their profile pictures change usually from emotional, artistic shots to jovial, perky captures. But do not underestimate their photography skills, these people have perfected the art of self-photography (yes even DLSRs with lenses!)

They accompany this visual talent with exemplary writing skill, overcoming the famed writer’s block. Without this handicap, they are better than most writers because their writing prowess is withdrawn with a snap of a finger. They usually write in vague, metaphorical quotes, delivered via textspeak or the seemingly alien form of language, ‘Jejenese’. 


Friday, September 24, 2010

The UAAP Finals Experience and Why You Shouldn’t Miss It

Five years is long enough. The FEU Tamaraws have been starving to tear the gold away from Ateneo’s clawed grasp, and they just came too close last year. Almost tasting the succulent but elusive crown, practically salivating, the Morayta cagers are far too famished not to give everything they’ve got, and more.

I was a freshman when the former King Tamaraw, Arwind Santos, led FEU to its 19th title. Like any geeky freshman, my singular goal was to finish my first sem with flying colors. I had no interest in school organizations, even FEU Advocate, and much less interest in UAAP’s basketball. I did care about volleyball though, I was an avid Shakey’s V League fan and it was a post-Michelle Carolino season back then. Until a classmate, who has a future in sales, did a hard sell and got me to buy a ticket for Game 2 Finals against the De La Salle University’s Archers.

And it was a very exciting, exhilarating and, as I have learned eventually, elusive experience.
For some Tamaraws, they consider me lucky to experience a championship within my four-year stay in FEU. It’s like one of the checklists of being enrolled in a UAAP school, experience a championship year.

Since then, I have always wanted to go to Araneta and support my alma mater, but the realities of being a student nurse made Araneta a distant luxury. Blame me for being seemingly suicidal; I took the FEU Advocate exam, qualified, only to shave off more hours from a regular day. As I took the publication’s role seriously, perhaps more seriously than my own studies, I needed either a Saturday or a Sunday to rest and survive the coming week, pulling me further away from Araneta.

Classmates would have the idea that being in the publication meant required presence during the UAAP games. But I was not a Sports writer, I was under the Features section, which meant a handful of wanted, and unwanted, second-hand information from photographers and writers who cover games. I forgot who, but an Advocate batchmate (meaning we got in at the same time) once did a play-by-play account of a game. I blocked the words and an exceptional game analysis, from a fresh student journalist, not because I wasn’t interested but because the level of enthusiasm is intoxicating, and it was excruciating for me to listen when I wanted to be there myself.

Fast forward five years, and I found myself nostalgic of FEU’s Game 2 against La Salle. This time, I wasn’t in general admission (sounds like being admitted at the hospital), I was at the lowerbox beside another Advocate batchmate, a former Sports Editor, during the recent, controversial FEU vs. La Salle game.

And I took in everything that my senses fed me.

The Tamaraws’ territory has greatly improved we don’t just occupy gen ad to a gold-spotted lowerbox anymore. The horde has marked patron seating as part of their territory. Students wear their school colors with pride, and ‘just-in-case-FEU-loses-I-won’t-be-associated-with-the-school’ type of shirts are close to extinction.

Triggered by ugly game officiating (trying to control myself here), the Tamaraws were engaged in high-pitched verbal brawls against, well.. everyone else. My friend was acting like she’s not going to need her voice to answer calls later. She was standing and pointing to people on the court like she was the team coach. (I was ticked off by the officiating, not the La Salle's players per se)

As Cawaling was injudiciously sent off by an infuriating referee, my friend, and probably like other girls of our horde, acted like they were Cawaling’s girlfriend in anger. Others were screaming as if part of an activist movement, the picture only lacks placards and slogans with ‘Justice for Cawaling’.

As the horde erupted with contempt against a presumed orchestration of callouts, the team walking out after the first half, the Tamaraws still emerged victorious, crushing the Archers’ dream of making it to the Finals. Now, FEU is closer than ever to bringing the gold back where it might’ve, or should’ve, been since last year.

And we’re not going to miss it.

As early as the game’s conclusion, we already made arrangements on how to get our tickets for Game One. Two or three former Advocate staffers, and two current members, lined up for the tickets at FEU, reaching the end of the line only meant lining up again to buy another ticket until they had enough tickets for the number of people we hoarded to watch the game.  Eventually, the cashier got to know them, and wondered when they would stop lining up. They ended up making friends with the cashiers, which is a great achievement, I may say, since I’ve heard and experienced cashiers’ ire when doing transactions.

Like any telenovela, it is always a must to watch it until the end. We all expect a happy ending for the Tamaraws. Which is the same for other Tamaraw supporters who did not study in FEU at all, they are devotees by mere UAAP fanaticism. We are this year’s main protagonist, tayo ang bida, amidst a league of heroes.

UAAP is where heroes are made, but I guess for us Tamaraws, our heroes are made in Morayta, and UAAP is just one of their battlegrounds.

See you at the Coliseum! 


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blog Theme Change: A Yuppie Blog

I’m going to change my blog theme from personal random thoughts to a young urban professional (yuppie) blog. Topics would be about the workplace, what to do during weekends and places to be.

I currently work as a call center agent, spending the weeknights  answering calls, resolving concerns, dealing with the hysterics of a working life (at night) and having fun with my workmates and supervisors.

During weekdays, I’m dead at times. By dead I mean lifeless, monotonous, bored and sleep-deprived. Despite this occasional zombie, the weekdays also mean responsible spending of daylight hours; getting enough sleep to avoid dozing off during work, budgeting your expenses until the next payday, and feeding your mind whichever way you feel neuron-nourishing.

The weekends, or day-offs, are a whole new source of experience, from the yuppie point of view. Never miss the chance to detoxify from the stress accumulated during the week, and this blog would include weekend activities you could look forward to.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hellcats, Another TV 'Cheeries' to Follow

Bring It On meets Glee, goes on a date, gets drunk and gives birth.

Most of you would know Bring It On as practically the most popular cheerleading movie ever released. If you’ve only seen the installments, then you haven’t seen anything yet. The first Bring It On covers most conflicts that cheerleaders experience amidst the combative atmosphere while performing with extreme optimism (nodding with wide-open smiles despite muscle contortion), which Hellcats’ pilot episode teasingly gives you a sample of.

Now, what’s the Glee part of the equation? It’s basically the transition from cinema to TV series, Glee is the ‘televisionification’ of the musicals which slowly regained popularity after being dead for about a decade or so. I guess we owe it to Disney’s High School Musical, acting as a necromancer for characters lunging into songs.
Another Glee characteristic is the pilot episode’s plot semblance. The Hellcats’ budget is threatened by a surge of budget for Lancer University’s, the setting, football program. This means cutting cheerleading scholarships which is why Marti(Alyson Mitchalka, Phil of the Future), a pre-law college student, desperate for a scholarship, tried out in the first place.

A few more factoids
-          Hellcats is based on American journalist Kate Torgovnick’s book, Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders.
-          Tom Welling, Clark Kent of Smallville, is one of its producers.
-          Ashley Tisdale, Sharpay Evans of the hugely popular High School Musical trilogy, plays Savannah Monroe who’s the captain of the Hellcats. As early as the second episode, I realize that her role here has more depth.
-          The series is expected to show more similarity to Election, a Witherspoon-starred 1999 film about how much ambition a student has, and to what extent she’ll go to just to get a student council position. Being a former campus journalist myself, this part I really understand. However, since I haven’t read the book, I am yet to see this comparison in the series.

What to like
-          Come on, who doesn’t enjoy watching cheerdance moves? The latest poverty of tickets to the UAAP Cheerdance Competition proves there’s an entire audience hungry for pyramids, tumbles and throws. Not to mention, short skirts, flips and tight-fitting outfits.
-          It’s funny. My favorite character so far is Marti’s mother, who somehow reminds me of Kristin Chenoweth’s character in Glee, April Rhodes. Maybe it’s just their stubbornness and idiosyncrasies that make me laugh.
-          A promising storyline. Brought by the book’s reviews, it is said to shed light to a myriad of difficulties that cheerleaders face. In a sport built around the concept of ‘cheers’ and ‘optimism’, the crowd wouldn’t, and shouldn't, have an inkling of what goes on before these athletes take the stage.

Unlike basketball drama, that regularly unfolds on the hardcourt, much like the recently concluded FEU vs. DLSU game, cheerleading has no hint of drama. Because if there is, then it defeats its purpose. And this series might just give you that hint.

HELLCATS is on ETC, Wednesdays at 8pm.
Here's the HELLCATS trailer:


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Job Interview; What to Say

The mere prospect of being perused, face to face, by an interviewer, or even a panel, is daunting for most first time job applicants. Usually, it is not fear of the actual interview but fear of the unknown: What should I wear? What should I bring? What should I say? What should I expect?

C.      What should I say?

I’m not entirely sure if it’s necessary to say that jobseekers should have a mental pdf copy of their resumé.  You, as a jobseeker, should know every inch and crease of your advertisement, since the job interview will largely circulate with what’s on there. Can you imagine Miley Cyrus losing the lyrics of her own song, Party in the USA?

The items on your resumé are like categories for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, or other quiz shows, which have a set of pre-determined questions. The only difference is, you have no lifelines; no 50:50, no Ask the Audience, only Call a Friend (for your references).

These questions intend for you to expound and supplement the contents of your curriculum vitae (CV). These are questions triangulating on collegiate background; student organizations, academics and the likes, for fresh grads. Those with previous work experience would probably know and expect questions they’ve heard before, with one inquiry theme, ‘Why did you resign?’

And knowing what to expect is already half of the game; it may mean the difference between a definite yes and an indefinite, “we will call you if you passed”, no. As fresh grads, here are certain questions you’d probably encounter:

1.       Why should we hire you? Or what can you contribute to the company?
-          This is a beauty pageant question, this gives you the opportunity to shine. Bank on your skills and talents, however, trudge carefully so as not to go overboard. Give the interviewer sufficient evidence that you have a backbone, the necessary specific skills for a particular job.

But also capitalize on your capacity to learn and improve, brandishing your potentials is a good marketing strategy. Employers would want someone who’s not reluctant or too stubborn to learn anything new. An empty cup is easier to fill than a full one.

Just be honest with what you can do and what you can’t but you’re willing to improve on.
                        Tricky version: Why SHOULDN’T we hire you? (Try answering this first on your own)

2.       Why did you choose (insert company name)?
-          This is highly individualized. But here are probable key points you would want to mention: company name, stability and track record; career growth and personal advancement; word of mouth recommendation, like a friend who already works in the company; proximity and convenience.

3.       How long do you plan to stay in this industry?
-          This is applicable, and only difficult, for those who are applying for jobs that’s not in line with their college program. The best and most famous example would be nurses and registered nurses applying at call centers. However, this is also relevant to those with previous traditional jobs applying for jobs way off of their radar: a manager applying as a Korean English Tutor, an engineer applying as a newspaper photographer.

The question is ambiguous. Though it asks for longevity on the job, its underlying pretext is to determine if you are a good investment or you’ll go running back to your specialization once you get the chance.

I can only effectively speak for nurses, as for the others, the best way is to just be honest and banner the reason why you’re not pursuing a job within your scope. First of all, there must have been a strong situation or basis for you to cast a rope far from your expected line of work.

As for my answer, I merely shared a true predicament, ‘It’s not practical to pursue a nursing career now’. Others would buy the advice to convince your interviewer that nursing was forced on you. And yes you could do that, though I’m pretty sure they’ve heard it a thousand times before. But as long as it’s true then go for it.

4.       How do you see yourself 5 to 10 years from now?
-          This is a test of ambition, a test of your drive and your life goals. An ambitious and driven employee is a more desirable part of a team. The best way to answer this is to say that you see yourself successful in 5 to 10 years. If it’s specific to the company, then mention a position or title you would want to get in the future.

The tricky question, ‘Why SHOULDN’T we hire you?’ aims for you to divulge your weaknesses. Remember that admitting your weak points is not weakness but a show of strength and wisdom. A wise man knows he does not know. But do not answer in a way which makes your flaws irreparable and debilitating that it would be idiocy to hire you.

By experience, my answer to that question was, “If you are looking for more experienced applicants, those with years of work experience, then you shouldn’t hire me.” You could go bold enough and answer, “There’s no reason for you not to hire me” but this would surely be a fork in the road. It’s either you come off as confident and trustworthy or an airhead who believes in himself too much.

On the day of your job interview, don’t forget your honesty and confidence. What you say in the entire interview should be summarized in four words, “I deserve the job”.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Job Interview; What to Bring

The mere prospect of being perused, face to face, by an interviewer, or even a panel, is daunting for most first time job applicants. Usually, it is not fear of the actual interview but fear of the unknown: What should I wear? What should I bring? What should I say? What should I expect?

A. What should I wear?

B. What should I bring?

Brown envelopes are billboard advertisements saying you’re a job applicant. Brown envelopes and job applicants are so linked in our minds like witches and brooms.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It might even be a lifesaver. Security guards easily identify you and render, usually, automatic assistance, especially with directions, “
Mag-aapply ser? Sa ‘sea-canned’ floor po tayo ser” (Are you an applicant sir? Go to the second floor sir). And a piece of advice, never be impolite or take security guards for granted because they can help you a lot.

From my job hunting experience, down south to up north; Alabang, Ayala, Ortigas, and even Eastwood, you’re bound to use your envelope as sunblock and fan, so place your documents in a long folder first, to prevent wrinkles or creases on your resumé and other requirements. Then get a plastic envelope. I’m pretty sure you’ll be sweating and you wouldn’t want your resumé looking like a piece of used tissue. Even doubling as an umbrella is possible, in case of rain—not for the Milenyo kind though.

Your brown envelope should contain:

1) Photo IDs: 2-4 pcs of 1x1 and 2x2 unless they would require a different size.
2) Black ball pen, not a sign pen or a gel pen. And never place your pen in your chest pocket, ink might leak out.
3) At least 2 copies of your resumé, and a copy of your cover letter if you initially submitted one
4) At least 2 paper clips, for your photo IDs
5) Necessary documents:

   5.1) Photocopy of your NSO Birth Certificate
   5.2) Photocopy of your NBI for Employment, the orange one
   5.3) Photocopy of your TIN (Tax Identification Number)
   5.4) Photocopy of your SSS
   5.5) Photocopy of your TOR and Diploma

6) Portfolio or sample works depending on the position applied for.

Bring the original copies too, so you could easily dash to a nearby photocopier if needed. But as much as possible, submit photocopies and not the original documents. Those who have gone to government offices for these documents would know why submitting photocopies is more preferable. I’ll probably tackle this on another post.

Though employers would require most of these documents after you qualify, especially for fresh grads, acquiring them beforehand is more reasonable. Because once you have the job, finding time to get these documents from ‘box office’ government offices would be a dilemma. Moreover, you are paid based on your attendance. And incurring absence during the first month of your work isn't good.

Now this is important, unless you want to die of boredom, this would even help you control your nerves. Bring a PSP, or a music player, or a book to pass time especially for companies entertaining a number of jobseekers. Though I'm usually fascinated by watching people, waiting around for 4 to 5 hours changed that. And when they say one-day process, they mean one-day process—it takes 24 hours.

But above all, bring your self-confidence. Remember that you are there because you deserve the job, and that’s what the interviewer needs from you. You may show up with a bible of your certificates and merits, slouching with medals hanging from your neck, and the rest of your qualifications trailing behind you, but if you don’t appear as if you could walk the talk, just listen to Fall Out Boy’s Sugar, We’re Going Down.

C. What should I say?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Job Interview; What to Wear

The mere prospect of being perused, face to face, by an interviewer, or even a panel, is daunting for most first time job applicants. Usually, it is not fear of the actual interview but fear of the unknown: What should I wear? What should I bring? What should I say? What should I expect?

a.       A. What should I wear?

You are overdressed if other job applicants appear as if they're sidetracked from their scheduled trip to the supermarket, while you look like you’re on your way to a wedding, rushing to buy a last-minute oven toaster as a gift.

Consider yourself underdressed if other applicants are garbed for a prom while you chaperone for one of the darling spoiled princesses. But being the lone underdressed applicant rarely happens, there is more than one darling spoiled princess in a prom, so there are a few other ‘chaperones’. Kidding aside, these nonchalant jobseekers are the type whose resumes speak for them. Capitalizing on years of work experience, it would be foolish for the Human Resource (HR) personnel to lower their chance based solely on attire.

Here’s the thing, it is always better to be overdressed than be underdressed. Always go for a corporate professional look, unless otherwise advised, or you’re planning to work at a high crime rate area.

It is often recommended to avoid wearing black or dark colors for an interview because you'd appear gloomy, and such a feeling might transmit to the interviewer. However, the trend is classy apparel. So it's safe to say, looking elegant in black, or poised in beige won’t ruin your chances. Just make sure that you beam, or smile, to counter the possibility of a lingering mournful aura.

On the other hand, I think it’s heinous to walk like the morning sunshine, or a neon light of a Vegas club for job interviews (or for any other reason). There’s yellow and there’s painful yellow, there’s pink and there’s pink of eternal scorn, there’s orange and there’s hell-on-earth orange to name a few. Others would be scandalous neon green, death-by-electric-chair blue and killing spree red.

Point is, don’t be an eyesore.

Wear warm and cool colors, and not scalding hot or blistering cold. More importantly, wear something you are comfortable in. Comfort boosts confidence.

B. What should I bring?
C. What should I say?


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

No one enjoys waiting. While PSPs and Nintendo DSs whip the minutes or hours to move faster, the lesser techie, more scholastic, or 10,000 peso-deprived, would prefer a novel as a handheld companion. And a funny, opinionated and perceptive companion makes time fly, which are traits of David Sedaris’ When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

Author: David Sedaris
Released: June 3, 2008
#1 International Bestseller
#1 New York Times Bestseller Non-Fiction

When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a collection of essays, on almost anything under the sun. Topics would come from the author’s childhood up to his present day-to-day encounters. Here are certain essays that I really enjoyed:

Ø  It's Catching – Hugh’s mother, 76, does house chores, which are considerably herculean for her age, while her leg worm deeply bothers David.
Ø  The Understudy – At the time when Americans discriminate against blacks, David and his sisters condemn their white babysitter.
Ø  Road Trips – A truck driver straightforwardly asks for a blow job, implying his personal advocacy that oral sex should be casual.
Ø  Solution to Saturday's Puzzle – An unreasonably demanding airplane seatmate. Enough said.
Ø  All the Beauty You Will Ever Need – David tries to make coffee without water. Again, enough said.
Ø  The Smoking Section – How quitting smoking brought them halfway around the globe, and halfly speaking Japanese. A necessarily extensive journal on the hardship of quitting cigarette smoking.

Reading Experience
Funny and witty. These two adjectives are perhaps enough to sum all the essays in When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Even the title itself was captured from a Japanese brochure on what to do during a fire.

Readers are lucky for Sedaris to have shared his funny experiences in this book. As this is a collection of essays, you won’t be daunted by the number of pages you need to finish. It’s not something you can finish, or would want to finish, in one seating. You would want to read it in the waiting room before a dental appointment, in the bus during rush hour, or during an uninteresting class. You can simply pick one essay, read it at a coffee shop while waiting for a friend who’s beyond 30 minutes late.

Sedaris’ perspective is not only entertaining but also interesting, hitting the mark from a different angle, since most of the essay topics are not entirely foreign or unheard of. 

But his delivery is on a higher level, it is a unique, fresh and perceptive presentation of opinion and outlook. There is liberal use of metaphors to further expound a point and the often cause of hilarity. Furthermore, a reader is bound to feel he is conversing with the author rather than just reading his thoughts.

In Conclusion
For those who are already reading a certain title with a convoluted plot or weighs heavily on drama, then this is a good side dish. It would detoxify you and serve as refreshment for the current hardcore novel you’re reading. For the rest, you won’t be making a mistake by taking this off the shelf.


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