Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Past Life

At the SGV Alumni Homecoming with Miss Marlu and the "S" in "SGV," Washington SyCip

People are normally surprised when they find out that I used to work at SGV (a member practice of Ernst & Young), a professional services firm known mostly for its audit services. When people ask me how I ended up with the Warriors, my ultimate team, and I reply that I used to work with them, I get this look of bewilderment. Shock, even. Before they even verbalize their first question, I already say, "No, I'm not an accountant." Then their faces relax, assured that all is right with the world again. I don't know what it is about me that makes people think I can't possibly be an accountant. (And save the theories--I think I'd rather not know!)

For the record, I used to work with SGV's Marketing and Communications department as a Market Circle editor, so it's not like I made a huge leap. I used to handle the company newsletters (both online and print), edit management letters, help prepare proposals and presentations, write letters and speeches, and pretty much anything else that had to do with writing and editing. I also taught business communication, which meant new hires (and there were truckloads of 'em) had to endure a horrid training day with me. (A teammate remembers me as "Miss Tish.") There was the rare occasion when I had to accompany a foreign guest's wife on a sightseeing tour or shopping trip (awesome!) and that one time I had to be the "trophy girl" at an awards thing (embarrassing!). I was also a regular fixture at the in-office gym, an event planner, program emcee, and choreographer!

Me (white top, black pencil skirt, black necklace) with some of the Marketing and HR girls at my birthday merienda, back when my skin was ten shades lighter (pre-disc), and my hair was three shades darker!

Working in SGV proved to me that God has a sense of humor. I tailored my pre-work life so that I wouldn't end up working an 8-to-5 desk job, and I ended up at possibly the most corporate-y office of all. (I had to find ways to make the strict business attire work. I was probably the only girl in the whole office with a powder blue suit. And I had a bunch of killer, non-open-toe heels!) Ever since I was a kid, I knew I was more of a words person than a numbers person, so I figured I would have a career that involved writing. I took up Communication in college, interned at a weekly magazine, and contributed articles here and there. And then God, chuckling at all my careful planning, decided to pick me up and plunk me down in SGV. Then He watched as the live sitcom started rolling!

I'll admit, I was resistant at first. I went for the job because I heard wonderful things about SGV's training, and I was looking into the possibility of building a career in corporate comm. And, well, the other offer I had prior to this one was to work at a daily newspaper, and I couldn't imagine that kind of life for myself. (No holidays? No thank you.) But I honestly didn't think I would stay very long. Maybe six months. A year, tops. About a week into the job, the premier fashion magazine in the country called and asked if I was interested in the editorial assistant position. I decided not to go for it; I felt I had already made a commitment to SGV, and that it was poor form to up and leave right after I was hired. Noble shmoble--I cried my eyes out right after I said no!

My direct supervisor in Marketing was Miss Vicky, one of the best bosses you could ever have, one of the loveliest women you will ever meet. We were at odds at first--she was extremely frustrated with me because I was an incredibly stubborn newbie. Thinking back, I am absolutely appalled at my attitude during that time. I saw SGV as a very temporary thing, a waiting shed til a bus to a better place--a place where I felt like I belonged--came along. To use a couple of cliches, I guess I was the odd one out, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. (Hello? Powder blue suit!) The magazine bus came and went, but there I remained in that shed. And perhaps, that made me resent my job for some time.

With the Volleybelles, the volleyball team made up of girls from CBS

I don't know exactly when it was that I started to like or even--dare I say it?--love SGV. As I grew closer to my group, work became enjoyable, if not bearable (on really bad days). I bonded with my fellow editors, laughed with the artists (to know the Bigotes is to love them), and got close to the events group (one of them, Queenie, is my kumare--her son is my godson). And the work...well, while it wasn't what I would call a dream job, it sure taught me A LOT. Like how to spew out a brochure in a week. And how to deal with different personalities and temperaments. And that you don't say "trainings." (It's "training sessions" or "training programs" or "training days" or whatever else is applicable.) Miss Vicky became my grammar guru, and sort of like a second mother. Miss Marlu, our department head, demonstrated what it was like to be a woman with balls. (Something I'm trying to become, given the sink-or-swim nature of my current job. Dem balls will definitely keep me afloat!) The girls in my department became the sisters I never had. And MC4--the market circle where I was assigned--became the birthplace of the Ultimate Warriors, my beloved ultimate team.

It was 2005, and the SGV Sportsfest was introducing a new sport--ultimate. Back then, it was known to us as "Frisbee." We later learned that Frisbee is a brand of the disc, so calling the sport "Frisbee" is akin to calling toothpaste "Colgate," or photocopying "Xerox." Marketing's umbrella group, CBS (I forget what it stands for--it's all support services), combined with my market circle, MC4, to form one team.

Maybe it was because CBS was more interested in basketball or volleyball, or because ultimate was a virtually unheard-of sport, or because I was already comfortable with MC4--arguably the most laidback, most fun MC (their Christmas parties were always rockin'!)--but I ended up being the only one from CBS to join the first ultimate training session. I attended a couple more training sessions but wasn't able to join the sportsfest because Real Living came calling. The bus I was waiting for had finally come. And that's when my life in the magazine industry began.

If at first, I had bawled over my decision to stay in SGV, this time I bawled at the thought of leaving. I had been with the company for two-and-a-half years, and there were ups and downs for sure, days when I just didn't have the will to get out of bed. But at that time, I loved where I was. I had gotten the hang of my job (yes, it took me that long) and was so used to working with this harmonious, easygoing group of people that leaving it behind was heartbreaking. But someone pointed out that it was the best time to leave; I was making my exit on a high note, with no bitterness, and with a lot of fond memories and lifelong friends.

My dear friends from SGV at our wedding. I hear Miss Marlu (lady beside me) even helped out at the registration table--we really can't help ourselves, huh? Darling Addie isn't in the photo because she was busy running around as our coordinator!*

I may have taken a circuitous route to magazines, but I believe that SGV made it possible for me to get where I am now. The work ethic, efficiency, and attention to detail I developed at my first real job translated well into my managing editor position. And, well, that led to greater things. So yeah, God does have a sense of humor. You just have to trust that He knows exactly what He's doing.

*I know, I'm horrible for putting a friend to work during my wedding. But I think she did get clients after our wedding was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings! (If you're interested in checking it out, it's still in stands til September!)


  1. I love this post, Tishie! It makes me look back at my wonderful life before my current job, too! Knowing there's an amazing history to our careers is a symbol of a life well lived. Cheers!

  2. CBS - Core Business Services. Bwahaha! Do you know my clustermates think you were the best MC4 editor evar! Because you wrote notes and explanations when you edited our reports. I still miss buying taco (a.k.a. Taquitos) salad from you for lunch. Di pa tayo friends nun! Bwahaha! :P

  3. Hey Teeyah! I only recently started reading your blog so I have no idea what you used to do (and, come to think of it, what you do now!). Have you written about your past life?:)

    Lei! Oh, oh, oh! That totally made me blush, warmed my heart, made my day!:) No, I did not know that! I like making notes so that people can learn a few things...to make up for my terrible handwriting.:D I shall bring taco salad for you one of these days!

  4. Nhuxxx talk about memory lane Teesyuhhh! Whoa it's been 5 years since the SGV sportsfest... where it all began... Hehehe! Yeah I think I saw that powder blue suit during my first few months in SGV. Yep, it added some color over our mundane earth-toned blazers. Nakakamiss naman ang feeerrmmm..

    Yeah bring over some taco salad at CG2! Heheheehe!

  5. Gusto mo ng taco salad? Pumunta ka sa training! Hahaha

  6. Haha! Now I realize I don't really talk much about what I do, no? :) I used to be a loans rep for a bank. While the bank is outstanding with everything extra-curricular, the work was pretty much boring so I found this job I have now as a digital communications analyst for an insurance company. I still don't have a PhD in insurance but I'm so glad that my requirement and strength is to not know everything about it and just be out of the box! :)

    And I didn't say in my first comment but you're so pretty! I'm assuming that's your natural hair? Kakainggit! That's the kind of hair that made me have mine permed because my natural body lacked body too much! :(

  7. My second comment seems to make it sound I was contradicting myself haha. I loved all the extra curricular bits of my previous job. And though it wasn't my favorite thing to do, it led me to find what I love best :)

  8. Hmm, I wouldn't have thunk it. Haha. When other people tell me about their work, it sounds like they have such smart-sounding jobs that I can't hack. Haha

    That's my naturally wavy hair in the first photo, but it's unnaturally brown! In the second photo, you'll see my real hair color--jet black. (My husband got weirded out seeing a photo of me with black hair again. Haha.) Thank you for the compliment.:) I always tell people just to not blow dry their hair and put it up in a bun when it's damp. A few hours later, it'll be nice and wavy and bouncy!


Oh, so sweet of you to drop a line!:)