Alétheia

ἀλήθεια, ας, ἡ (the state of not being hidden)

The Story of an Almost Survivor

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Aletheia is a very emotional person.

There are several times at night when she’d wish there’s someone to stab her repeatedly at the back and kill her while no one is around. That feeling of the knife slashing her flesh over and over again gives her that sense of fulfilment that and with that, she can put to rest her troubled mind. Sometimes, Aletheia would entertain this idea of overdosing herself. Will it be even possible to die of overdose when you’re asleep? Because I would really want that, she would often think to herself. The story of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 where Aomame kills by using an ice pick thrusting it into the people’s neck untraceable causing instant death would be really efficient for her. If only there’s such thing because she can actually imagine how it will look like. Her parents would find her lifeless on her bed in the morning thinking, she might’ve had a heart attack or some sort of sleep paralysis. With all these ideas in her head, she actually have a suicide note prepared in case worst comes to worst and she can no longer control herself.

Aletheia is self destructive and no one knows about this. Whenever she cries alone, she would bite herself until it stings and numb, hit herself sometimes by punching her legs and arms or if she is accessible with the small wooden stick behind her door, she would grab it and hit her leg until it turns blue and at times, try to look for something sharp to cut herself. She would think it’s better to feel the physical pain rather than the excruciating pain she have inside her chest. She has been a cry baby ever since she can remember and until now that she’s old enough to actually figure things out herself, the idea of ending her life comes even more often. She cries because of a lot of reasons but mainly because she cannot voice out what’s really inside her head.

She used to fight a lot with her sister when she was young. She was older but she was the one who always ends up crying. When she became a teenager, she would often have arguments with her parents and would eventually end up locking herself to her room crying. When her first love broke her heart, she developed this traumatic experience she can’t explain and swore to herself never to feel that kind of emotion again.

There has been this unique constant and weird thing with Aletheia ever since she was a kid. She would hear strange noises in her ear, shouting, fighting, loud voices that would distract her with whatever activity she was currently engaged in. It was the sound of crying, howling people trapped in an open space but the noise sounds like dying people inside a hollow place where rocks fell from the sky and crashes everyone underneath spilling blood and brains. This started when she was in grade school and never left her. She would sometimes hear this while walking, when she wakes up, while inside the class, or during a meeting, it’s practically anywhere and happens very randomly. This has been a well protected secret of hers fearing that people would think of her as crazy. Though she had been able to open this with her family, no one really took this seriously. She told her boyfriend about this of course, but this wasn’t something her boyfriend took a lot of notice.

And now lately, Aletheia has been experiencing one of the worst things in her life in which she cannot define. There’s this uneasiness, dragging and heavy feeling inside her chest that has been affecting her way of dealing things. Her performance at work was affected, her way of communicating to her boyfriend got in the way and worst of all, her self confidence literally dropped down making her feel the worst of herself.

For her, this is a big deal but no one took this seriously. The only person she hoped could understand her left her on her own to figure out this shitty situation she got herself into. She would cry herself every night, hoping that there’s a way she could get herself out this void that has been consuming her slowly. Aletheia stopped caring about anything which wasn’t her at all. She cared about a lot of things, in fact, she cared about everything but this time around, her point of view shifted. She stopped giving a damn about her work, about her looks, about her perception in life and even about her compassion towards other people. This wasn’t the Aletheia everyone knew but no one has even taken notice of this.

She was struggling on her own. She is in a war all by herself and whenever she tries to seek for help, people would dismiss her thinking that she’s just under this stupid phase in life and that she’s just being unreasonable and too emotional. And this breaks her heart a lot. Because it’ so hard for her to try to stand up on her own when it’s herself that kept her down. Perhaps this wasn’t something that’s really in need of help as she was still able to cover up all these struggles she’s undergoing. She comes to the office on time, she eats right, she goes home and sleeps on time. But behind all these, if people would actually try to look deeper, she starts to fail to meet deadlines, forgets important submissions, unable to remember bids, eats unhealthy, goes home practically dragging her feet and closes the door, turns off the life and cries her sleep again at night. There are some online findings when she try to take the test. Might this be depression or what, she definitely knows she needs to work on it right away.

As this is written, Aletheia is probably crying herself to sleep tonight. She needs help. She doesn’t know what specific kind of help she needs but she certainly needs one and praying that she doesn’t do something foolish and end her life.

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A Day in a Life of a Sales Person

A Sales Person or an Ahente is normally distinguished as either a Med Rep, Real Estate Agent or an Insurance Agent only. When you’re in sales, you always get this negative connotation that your job is too easy or you’re a master manipulator.

It’s really frustrating and I just have to say that any job is as hard and worthwhile as the other. People tend to judge only by the limit of their knowledge and being in whatever field you are, every one has something to say.
Now enough of this explanation. I’d like to personally share my normal routine as a Sales Person.

 I am a graduate of Marketing and I’ve been working in an International Japanese IT company as an Account Manager for about two years now.

I would gladly explain our solutions and product offerings but this post is about my usual routine so I’d probably write a different one that would discuss more on what I do and how it works around  an IT company. 

Moving on, I leave the house at around 5:30am to beat the early morning traffic. You know what they say, early bird gets the worm. (Or not?) I arrive normally at 8am which gives me ample time to check my emails. Being in Sales, you don’t really follow the normal protocol of 8 hours at work as your performance is based on numbers more than your presence within the corners of your office. 

People at the office doesn’t really arrive until 9:30 or 10 so I take advantage of the peace I have at the moment. I typically get 67 emails a day which is the minimum count that usually contains client updates, follow ups, news and if I get lucky sometimes a Purchase Order (PO). There are times it increases to a hundred and get this, you only got an hour or two to finish going through these mail because after this, life starts outside those sliding doors in a far street in Makati.

And the journey to the client begins. At work, we have our Sales Director who is naturally our Manager. Under an SD are AMs who are assigned with different territories and industries. I happen handle the the North Luzon area and two huge conglomerates.

Basically I start my day at the office and after an hour or two, I head the road. Sometimes I get to go to Subic, Clark, Bataan for a sales call. It might sound a lot of fun that you get to travel a lot but trust me a sales call that far is really exhausting. It would’ve been better if you can stay in a hotel or so but you need to go back home and head to the office the next day again. 

What do i usually talk about? Well, I don’t really have my own sales pitch. What I do is I listen to what my client has to say. There pain points, project objectives and expectations and from there I let my pre sales do all the technical talking. We’re like tag teams, the engineer does the techy stuff and I do the marketing part. Most of the times, I speak with the IT, Network, Operations or Security Managers because as you may know, IT is more than just a computer solving technician. Believe it or not, it’s one of the integral divisions in a company given that our generation consists of computer and internet of things or commonly known as IOT. (You can google that if you want.) Wifi system is more than just a router, your email is more than just a communication channel and your Internet connection is more than just a bandwidth. Everything is interconnected to a more complex solution. In which the IT and the Engineer guys dedicate sweat and blood just to keep the company going. I bet you didn’t know that before these people leaves the office, a mantra or a prayer is repeatedly said just so the servers wouldn’t crash down during the weekends. 

In a day, I make it a point to maximize the visit so I set at about 2-3 meetings. This also enables me to save transportation cost, time and effort.

It’s not the typical 8-hour work routine. Mostly it’s like a 12-hour everyday thing. I consider a day productive when I get to close a deal or I get to uncover an opportunity first. These two allows me to visit the clients again because either we talk about the implementation plan next or the scoping of the project. Of course when you’re the one who discovered the project first, it gives me an advantage over my competitors. This doesn’t happen all the time. There are times you just pay them a visit to let them know your existence or try to fix a problem. Those  on the other hand are two of the things I hate. It makes me feel really worn out especially because you know for a fact na talo ka na. 

Basically that’s how most of my days go. If I still have some time, I go back to the office and finish proposals, and more emails. Then I go home and start over again. 

How Much did They First Pay You to Give Up On Your Dreams?

Up In The Air Clip

“How Much did they First Pay You to Give Up On Your Dreams?”

This is what George Clooney said in the movie, Up In The Air. I haven’t seen the movie yet but this clip made a huge impact in my life. In fact, I don’t think it’s just me who was struck by those words but almost everybody else because tons of comments flooded the clip and there I knew, I wasn’t alone.

I received 18k for my first job which is not what I saw myself applying in. People think it’s really a lot but believe me, it’s not. You’re deducted of around 2k every pay day, twice a month, spend almost 4k for transportation, 200 everyday for food, then there are bills to pay and so on and so forth which leaves you almost nothing. In this fast paced life, money is everything and sometimes, for some people, they tend to give up their dreams just so they can be financially stable as soon as possible.

I hope one day, I’ll have the courage to really pursue my dreams and stop thinking about practically and how others might think of me. This is my life, I’m in charge of it.

Easier said than done.

The One-oh-Ones

I basically describe myself as a goal oriented person. — well before.

My life is in twists right now. I used to know where I want to go, what I want to do, where I want to be but with all the stress and reality, I suddenly find myself lost in oblivion.

Way back then, I had this notebook I always carry and whenever I think of something, I try to search for a place and write everything down, afraid that the thought might fade. The notebook was filled with so much dreams, ambitions that kept me going. It’s my life-game plan, my directory, my manual, my treasure map. And each single day, I think of something that can help me unfold the mysteries and challenges that can help me achieve where I want to be I write it down immediately. I was a bookworm. I crave for words, for stories, for books. I could never leave a day without reading and the books I read also helps fuel up for more. People identify me as a very ambitious person and I was so proud of it. Rarely do people know where they see themselves but not me. I am 100% sure that this is the path I want to take and this is the direction I want to go. That was way back then.

I graduated seeing myself working in a PR or Advertising or perhaps Brand/Product Marketing. My first job was PR, I was a project based writer but the compensation isn’t enough and the stability is on the rocks so I told myself to find a more stable job that can help me pay the bills and get where I want to go. I applied to more than what my hands and feet can count and there were oh-so-close opportunities that will suddenly slip right of my fingers. It was so frustrating. How can a girl reach her dreams with this kind of set up. It took me months until I finally decided, Mara, stop being too picky. You’ll get there. And so, I accepted an opportunity in the insurance industry. They pay was good, the benefits were okay and I tried convincing myself that this will help me get up that ladder. But in 3 months, I was dreading to get out. The reason is because, the job was not me. I was stuck in the office the entire day, doing insurance stuff without even having my own computer. It was tiring but I told myself to be patient. 5 months, a month before my regularization, I was doing good and my regularization documents are already on its way for approval but deep inside, I was dragging myself just to get to work. My mind is screaming, begging to leave and so I did. My boss was hesitant to let me go but the only thing I was so sure of is that if I spend another day at that office, I’m gonna explode.

For my boss back then. Ma’am please don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the job wasn’t good, it’s just that, the job wasn’t me and I’ll be forever indebted with your teachings.

The day after I resigned, I immediately got hired to a multinational company as sales. The job was good, the offer was higher and the people were very nice. But then again, it was a very tiring job. I got my regularization and I was doing pretty good until some realizations started cluttering my sense of direction.

I suddenly felt that I was lost. At first I thought it was just the tired version of myself talking but months and months came by and I felt like drifting to nowhere. I asked myself, where do I really see myself in the years to come? With my job in sales right now, will I be able to achieve ny goals? Questions flooded my mind and answers are left unspoken. I was emotionally, physically and mentally worned out.

I leave our house at 5:15am to arrive at 7am in Makati so I can leave for Laguna at 7:30 then arrives back at 7:30 pm in Makati and get home by 10:30 and the same goes the next day. Then talk about stress with my current clients and internal processes. Plus the stress of achieving your target and keeping up with your boss. Then when you get home you have to deal with another set of dilemmas not to mention boyfriend issues and the very famous financial constraints. It’s too much to handle for a 22 year old like me.

I used to paint, write, edit videos and take photos. What happened to those skills? Gone. Why? Because I was too busy keeping up with my current busy life.

I am still trying to figure out what do I really want but I do hope I’ll be able to see the light soon because this is really stressing me out.

Beginnings

I am literally on the very most bottom if my career. You see, I’m in the Sales and life is not easy. And again, no. I dont sell condominiums, cars, credit cards or insurance. Sales is not literally defined as those people giving you flyers or asking for your 30 seconds which will eventually turn out to be a minute or two selling you things in a so called good deal. Please people. Stop co-notating jobs. ( i’m sorry but please give me this moment to vent out.)

Moving on, everyone has to start with something right? Not everyone is a COO (child of the owner) or my daddy knows someone here stuff. For normal people like us, we start from scratch and work ourselves up the ladder.
Yesterday, I was finally able to go on a client visit on my own. I work in a Multinational ICT Company. How i got in is another story. So as i said, i am in sales and one of our job is to develop pipelines (Maghanap ng bagong customer) we dont do the typical mall ambush or asking people, “Excuse me, are you interested blah blah…” I dont do that but I’m not saying what I do is not close to that. We visit clients in their office. You create your own database and fill in with client details and start calling up. The good thing about this is that the company i work with is a top player in the industry.
My first visits were nerve wracking and its because i am new to the company and to the industry. I dont know a thing or two about IT and I am sooo terrified with the thought that what if the client starts asking me things? (Nope, trainings came in later on the picture) and true enough, the customers had some requirements i dont even know how to spell.
UPS.

PABX

UCS

SQL

I was like, what the fuck are these????? So what i usually do is i bring along a colleague or as we call ourselves, account managers( AM ) . Since they’ve been around for quite sometime, they’ll be able to assist me. Every time i had a client call, i’d drag someone with me. Sometimes i really feel i’m pissing them off but i still cant go out on my own. Until yesterday.

Normally, there are cars assigned to each visit but unfortunately, yesterday, someone has an emergency trip to the Tarlac and i have to give way. I am currently based in Makati but the client i am about to visit is in the northern part of the metro. I was thinking of grabbing a cab in front of our office but i realized it will cost me too much even though i know that it’s reimbursable. So i decided to ride the MRT and take a cab from Shaw instead. The trip basically ate 2.5 hours of my time because of the infamous traffic and my meeting only took up 30 mins. Well, that’s life. While i was on the road, i was thinking how kawawa i look. Well, not physically but compared to the other AM who have already bought their own cars and have already established themselves in the industry that they don’t really need to do these things i am doing. I told myself, keep it cool Mara, one day you’ll get your break. This kind of situation motivates me knowing that i am really working my ass off.

Again I told myself, One Day.

Optimism on a Friday.

Amidst the long day grind, find something optimistic. This will help you ligthen up.

2015/01/img_2326.jpg

20 Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2015 by Josiah Go and Chiqui Escareal-Go

Posted by: Josiah Go January 2, 2015

I just have to share this to my fellow marketers out there

This is the link to his blog post.

Last year, we put together a list of trends which was really borne out of personal reflections, based on past experiences on how things tended to progress or divert into other patterns of change. This year, besides our own observations, we have put together another such list, this time combining our own forecasts as well information shared by some Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardees and friends from TNS-Kantar who gave their insights on what 2015 will look like for various industries.

Stability of the Middle Class
1. Launch of new categories – As the economy improves and income rises or stabilizes, expect consumers to be more open to trying new ideas and newer categories, including existing categories with lesser market penetration (cereals, yogurts, mouthwash, insurance, water purifiers, smartphones).
2. Emergence of the economy premium (Econoprem) segment – While masstige is prestige brand pricing downward, econoprem is economy brand pricing upward. With benefit plus and aspirational packaging as key features, the fast growth among those in the middle class will see a willingness to buy at pricing slightly higher than economy brands but more affordable than imported brands. In the beverage category alone, one can see Red Oak sangria, Excellente brandy, Don Papa rum and Manille liqueur as examples.
3. Cheaper smartphones – Within a “red ocean” competitive environment, low priced smartphones will create abundant alternatives to source information and entertainment, leading to a more informed and connected population.
4. More investments and luxury purchases from unmarried (single) yuppies – Increase in disposable income plus easier access to opportunities such as travel and education will lead to many young Filipinos postponing marriage and/or having kids to their late 20s or 30s. This may also mean that these young people may choose to invest more in stocks and insurance or buy branded premium items as they have higher disposable income considering that they continue to live with their parents and thus, have lesser personal overhead expenses.

Convergence of 3T’s (Traffic, Technology and Time)
5. Shift to small store formats – Traffic will lead to smaller store formats (community stores, mini-marts, convenience stores) for greater buying convenience.
6. All-in-One – To save time traveling, convenience stores selling food will become a fast food substitute. They will also threaten other categories as they are becoming one-stop convenience shops for almost everything else.
7. Tech-solutions – People will become less tolerant to wait in line after enduring traffic on the road, thus, leading to more tech-based solutions (transportation, shopping, entertainment) to help manage personal and work life necessities and increase own discretionary time.
8. Even loyalty cards will be made obsolete as customers will prefer the convenience of everything on their smartphones, addressing the irritant of carrying too many loyalty cards in one’s wallet to be able to avail of benefits. This mobile solution will not just improve customer experience and convenience but can also be used for targeted promotions for greater relevance and impact for the brand.

Primacy of Self and Wellness
9. The Urban Outdoor – More people are dressing up in fashionable, outdoor inspired looks.
10. Cycling is the new Golf – More runners are becoming cyclists, and cycling is the rave among executives resulting in the phenomenon known as ‘MAMILS’ or ‘middle age men in Lycra (tight fit jerseys and shorts). Toby’s group has in fact opened Trek Bicycle Store, the first cycling lifestyle store last December to take advantage of this. Furthermore, triathlon is also booming. There is a record number of new triathlon events in 2015 in response to more people challenging themselves to attain their personal best.
11. Natural and slow food for better health and wellness – Together with the stability of the middle class who can now afford to choose healthier lifestyles and food, we will find a rise in the number of farm-to-table restaurants and stores offering organic and alternative choices to fast food.

Alteration of Go-To-Market
12. Go-to-market – Business models will keep changing. In the pharma industry, med rep cold calling visits in hospitals or massive sending doctors abroad to drive prescriptions will no longer be the norm, due to both regulatory issues and ROI on such activities.
13. Digital as an Entire Value Chain – Digital (online, mobile) will continue to rise against traditional media, not just because of rising smartphone ownership but also because of real time interaction and feedback. However, it won’t be treated a mere tactic but as an ecosystem where the consumer journey (search, buy, service) will be taken into consideration.
14. Internal branding – HR will play a greater role in internal marketing. No longer will they be expected to do the usual recruitment and benefit management alone but those strategic thinking HR will be Chief Execution Officers or becoming the 2nd CEO no less, empowering others to get their job done and at the same time showing their own ability to get the company’s and brand DNA’s interpreted internally.
15. Bloggers as Influencers – Top bloggers will continue to have more significant roles to play other than merely online blogging. Together with mainstream media personalities, they will also become major endorsers and brand ambassadors and will cross over to other media, becoming a key factor for success for making brands succeed. Examples include bloggers featured in a Preview magazine cover, and Unilever bloggers as brand ambassadors.

Socialization in a Digital World
16. Rise in membership of clubs and associations- The internet and smartphone will make people want to find another channel to connect in a more personal level. Organizations that have exploited this are Anvil Business Club among the Filipino-Chinese and White Space Club among entrepreneurs and marketers where people get together to interact and exchange ideas personally and build networks outside Facebook and Twitter.
17. Click and collect – Instead of click and deliver, you can expect more consumers reserve or order online then pick up and/or try instore to interact with other people.
18. Authenticity – Brand advocacy will become a minimum requirement. As consumers become more well informed, they will be able to spot the difference between honest purpose and mere activities to glorify brands, the former treated as a friend, the latter a foe.

Ascendancy of Entrepreneurs
19. Entrepreneurs as Rock Stars – Successful entrepreneurs who are creative, thrive in uncertainty and are practical problem solvers will be hero-worshipped by the young. With personal freedom as a big come-on, many younger people will be inspired to be entrepreneurs to make a difference in society, even at the expense of finishing their college education.
20. Emergence of Entrepreneurial Apps – With rise of business apps, housewives can become hoteliers or home restaurant chefs, a brother can be in car rental business, a cousin in the neighborhood messengerial services – where services can be offered online to time-constrained individuals needing someone else to run an errand for them including walking the dog.

There are many more matters that will continue to evolve in 2015 and will definitely affect the economy including social issues in migration, religion, education, gender roles, climate change and disaster preparedness, among others, not to mention the ASEAN integration this year and political movements toward the 2016 presidential elections. The short list above is our top of mind that uses a marketing and business perspective and we are sure that a watchful eye on constant changes in consumer behavior and consumption will bring forth just as many opportunities as well as counter-trends.

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