Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cancer sucks...

Thoughts about losing people to cancer:

Yet another bright soul lost to this unforgiving disease.

I've lost 3 very influential people to cancer:
My grandmother
Great aunt
my very 1st journalism professor.

I know people who are living with it right now, and I can only hope the best for them.
Its such a tricky thing. It can hide, grow, scatter, disappear, reappear... it can take a life as fast as it can be removed.

For both my grandma and my aunt, it was found early and removed... but came back later. When it comes back... its hard to know what to do next since your body is exhausted from treating it the first time.

My journalism professor had pancreatic cancer. He died only a month after doctors found it. I literally found out about his cancer this past wednesday... and he was gone Monday night. Five days.

Days count. Moments count. The things you write are still left behind once you are physically gone.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I am human.
Smile and say "hello" before you put me to work on my own.
Wave at me goodbye when you send me on home.
Know that I cry when faced with a loss,
and that I die a little inside when my words are just tossed.

Live! You are human too.
You know what goals mean.
Those images of growth are what we call "dreams".
With speech and motion, it is inate to connect.
That's the key motivator you so often neglect.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I can't complain.

I live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
I go to one of the top-ranked journalism schools in the country.
My family supports me all the time.
My cousins are my best friends.
My co-workers always have my back.
My friends never fail to surprise me.
I haven't been sick all year.
There is money in the bank.
My car runs.
My dad took up golf.
My mom is baking from scratch.
My nephew is a little ball of fire.
I build relationships at work all the time.

I am grateful for all these things in my life.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Controlling your online identity

I had a conversation with my boss a while back about Facebook. He is totally against facebooking because he said he lets people into your personal life too much. My stance was that you have to know how to control your online identity. Yes, everyone has access to it... even if you using the various privacy options that Facebook and other social networking sites have, there are ways around it.

Example: you set it to "friends only" but what if your "friend" shows someone, and that someone opens their mouth about something they saw on your page... its out in the open now.

So you have to be smart about what you put out there... from a Journalism/Public Relations standpoint, Facebook can me a great networking tool. There are people in the building(s) that I work in that I would never talk to... we'd just send each other work-related e-mails. But now on facebook I can get to know them differently and then make a human connection with them when I see them at work. It alleviates the pressure of work and enriches your professional relationships.

Along with that, it allows you to reconnect with people from your past and helps you rebuild bad connections.

I guess I'm just saying that people need to be smart about the way they use their Facebook. First of all..don't just add the whole world... add people that will increase your social capital and strengthen your bridges. Secondly, don't put stuff out there that is way too personal. Once one set of eyes lands on it, its free game to the rest of the world... and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

That is all...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Boomers and Me

(following the theme of the previous blog, this one is about my parents' generation and how they raised Millennials. This is the reason for my existence.)

America’s baby-boomers are known for being cynical, individualistic, social change oriented workaholics. They focused on themselves and did not have close relationships with their parents. The boomers came of age during a questionable time in American history when people lost trust in institutions and questioned authority figures. Since they looked down upon the people of power during their time, they‘ve brought up their families to be different.

As parents, members of the baby boomer generation have overprotected their children and nurtured them into believing that they are special. They’ve tried to raise their children to become active and successful contributors of society. To contrast, their children of the Millennial Generation are optimistic, team oriented, and are known as the most pressured from all the other generations that we follow. Though my mom and dad did not come to the U.S. until they were 28 and 30 years old, they still displayed all of these baby boomer characteristics.

My parents were barely twenty years old when former President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law. At the time, the country saw a rise in civil disobedience due to allegations of government embezzlement and corruption, as well as a fraudulent election. Marcos put power in the hands of hungry military forces who eventually abused their new found power.

At the peak of this defining period, Ninoy Aquino, who was a prominent icon of the movement, was quoted saying “The Filipino is worth dying for.” That phrase became the mindset of thousands of young people in the Philippines. After his death, protests and rallies for civil and human rights took place all over the country.

My dad wanted to be in the middle of it all. He was always found in the streets of Manila during the revolution in the late 1970s and 80s. He said “history was being made” and he wanted to be a part of it. That movement would later bring democracy, an ideal brought on by the Westerners, back to the Philippines. He took my mom along with him most of the time and my grandmother resented him because of that. Being a member of the Silent Generation, my grandmother thought it would be best to be in compliance with the new rules the government had laid down for them. My grandfather’s goal, on the other hand, was to flee the country all together. But my father didn’t agree with either of them. He believed that people had their rights stripped from them and that something had to be done about it, so he decided to stay behind and join the revolution.
In 1985 my mom and her family finalized their immigration into the United States. My mother still wanted to be involved and make a change, so she visited the Philippines frequently to be with my activist father. The two of them jumped on the protest bandwagon and found themselves in the epicenter of what is now known as the “People Power Revolution” of the Philippines.

At the end of this decade long unrest, my dad finally came to live in the U.S. with my mom and her family in 1987, the year I was born.

Life in America was a new chapter for them. They put to rest their revolution-hungry spirits and refocused their energy on achieving the American Dream. Though their opportunities in life were widely increased, they both worked minimum wage jobs in their first years of assimilation in their new home. It was suddenly a new game with new rules for them.

What didn’t change was their cynicism and their belief that everything they did was right. They enrolled me in public school, but questioned the decisions made by the school board. They put me in a swimming class criticized the instructors techniques. I remember when I was in band, my dad looked over my music sheets and said “why are they teach thing you this way? That’s wrong.“ He then started giving me music lessons on his own, which sometimes contradicted what my teachers in school were saying.

But where is this resistance really coming from? Maybe its because the boomers saw our world rise and fall, so they want their children to be able to survive and succeed in it, no matter what happens. In “Parenting the Millenial Generation,” author Dave Verhaagen said friction was common for baby boomers. They worry about the world their children grow up in. “It’s a new world” he writes, “and we would all be wise to learn how to navigate our families through it.” My parents have always pushed me to take advantage of all the opportunities presented to me. They told me I was “unique” and that I was “special.”

The circumstances I was born into and the way they’ve raised me as an American-born child reflect these generational effects. The mindset behind their fight for civil and human rights in the Philippines cement the idea that as a Millennial, I am pressured to be successful. Still, I am optimistic about my future.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Millennials and Me

(Background: This piece was written for my journalism class. We were told to write a magazine-style article regarding some facts about the Millennial Generation. I got an A+ on this!)

          For me, I believe this job is not just a job. It, along with a college education, will blast me off into a future career where I know will succeed. So here I find myself sitting in my manager's office again, asking questions, getting feedback, forcing him to peel his eyes off of the spreadsheets on his computer screen. I can tell he's busy, and, by the look in his eyes, sense that he wants me to shut up and get out. But I trudge on in conversation anyway, bringing up issue after issue in great detail. Sometimes I offer solutions to fix them. Other times wanting him to give me more time and more direction to complete my current project. I need to hear someone tell me I'm doing a good job and he needs to hear my ideas on how to strengthen our team. I push for having casual relationship with authority figures since I need to feel at one with others. I want him to say that my efforts and my daily grind are not invisible. I simply require attention, and I want it all done right now. According to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation,” that’s what make's me a Millennial.

          We want to take on everything; we want to take on the world. The authors say that the people of my generation carry an expectation of receiving constant, positive feedback, were overprotected as children, and struggle with free time and generally have poor time management skills. We simply take on too much and complain when things aren’t working our way, and expect others to be flexible. But my generation, now known historically as the “Millennial Generation,” is one of optimism and ambition. In the work place, we want to be part of the team and to see the larger benefits of our everyday tasks. These are the only a few of the characteristics that help to define a generation raised on convenient technological gadgets. But how do these qualities, or flaws, translate into practical job skills as our generation begins to take over the workforce?

          The Millennials are notorious for being multi-taskers. Doing our homework while toggling through iTunes, Facebook, and YouTube is the only way we know how to be “productive.” We are driven by convenience. We can catch up with old friends and watch the latest episode of American Idol all while writing a final thesis paper at two in the morning. Members of previous generations may say that this reduces the quality of our work, or that this is not the right way to manage our time wisely. We think that we can do it all. We celebrate our achievements, big or small, and show confidence in ourselves.

          However, should employers look at multi-tasking as a value-added skill? At the hotel I work in, for example, I have my iPod playing while assigning room numbers and dealing with guest complaints on the phone all at the same time. Technology allows me to do all of these tasks. I feel I can get more done in ten minutes than most people do in an hour. Sure, I sometimes feel with a lot going on I am bound to lose track of something. But, I know my co-workers are always there to pick up the slack.

          Strauss and Howe also say that Millennials are team oriented. At least ninety percent of the staff I work with are of the Millennial generation and we pride ourselves on being a tight-knit bunch. We focus more on how to make the team closer rather than making individuals stand out as a leader. I’ve seen this in myself with a promotion I received recently. I address my staff as my “team” and though I have a leadership title, I will always see myself as one of them. In every action I take, I do not only want to improve my leadership skills, but look to develop the overall skills of my team. When I accomplish a task, I never fail to give them credit. Because of the relationships we are building, I think the management team catching on.

          In the sense of communication style, team work, and leadership, I think the workplace environment is beginning to take a new shape for the Millennials. My boss is learning to make connections and to communicate more with the young staff. The entire management team in general has been working on plans for team-building events to get to know one another. They put us in positions that require one to multi-task, and most of the time we are being productive. What’s important to Millennials is that we are all connected, all the time. We need to see the bigger picture and we require a sense of purpose and belonging.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Untitled... for now

Narrative, intuitive, no silence, rarely pause
I tell stories, I ask questions like a fighter with a cause
Antagonist, protagonist, there is a tear, there is a climb.
From where the wind is blowing tells the melody of the chime.

It is written, it is read, it is heard and verbalized
in print, in broadcast, in song and film- its the focus in their eyes
what is done and where its at- copy, edit, cut
opened windows, they're in and out, the door's no longer shut

From the pen to the paper, transmitted via life
answers and ideas wed, like a man to take a wife.
It is shared with the masses, simply starting with ink
it is "history on the run," you can miss it if you blink...