Sunday, December 04, 2011

I Poo, Therefore I Am

So a day after I watch what could possibly be the best marketing campaign I've seen all year (yes Chueys it's the damn Coke OFW campaign), I find myself on the toilet reading the latest Time magazine issue with the 50 most influential women article. And I have an existential moment (the kind that only ever happens when one is sitting on the toilet contemplating the mysteries of life).

I wonder if I hadn't stopped working -- would I be a Marketing Director by now?

Yes I know that is a very, very strange question to ask one's self while on the toilet (or anywhere else for that matter), but hear me out.

Ever since I started working back in 1996, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was an assistant product manager for the Bank of the Philippine Islands back then, handling auto loans. I reported to a product manager, who in turn reported to the head of Marketing. I wanted to be that guy. Not my boss, but my boss' boss.

And it wasn't about being in a position to order people around, or having the head of the bank listen to you. It was because I knew in my heart, that given enough experience and exposure --- I could do his job. And I could be good at it.

So I spent the next 12 years of my life working on my career with that one goal in mind: become a marketing director before I was 40. Of a major Philippine bank. Or a multinational one. Whichever came first. Or paid me more money.

And I loved my job. I loved what I did. I loved the creativity that it required. I loved the analysis it took. I didn't want to be a Marketing Director who just ran campaigns and advertising strategies for the bank products. I wanted to be the one who built those products. And launched them. And grew them. And eventually killed them. Boy did I love my job.

There wasn't anything I wouldn't do for it either. Including spending half a year in various LTO offices gathering raw data, and churning market analysis based on that data, with my partner Kris. Scouring through piles and piles of car registrations and handwriting the information on it in cramped, smelly, un-airconditioned back offices of various government offices. Subsisting on bottles of diet coke and sky flakes crackers. Oh those were the days.

I've lost count of all the all-nighters I pulled with Tricia and Steve when we were launching/re-launching online banking for UBP when I moved there after BPI.

Giving the ad agency a heart attack when I insisted on doing online editing when they couldn't get my brochures right for CBC the night before my product launch.

Or personally/physically attaching stickers to new ATMs in SCB. And I was already an AVP by then.

Nothing was too big or too small for me to do --- so long as it meant I got my job done right.


We make plans, life plans, but never stop to wonder if something will change along the way. The situation. Your circumstances. You.

I met a man. Picked him because we both didn't want kids. Got married. Changed our minds. Fought to have kids. And got them.

And my life changed.

It changed even more when my then 3-year old asked my husband, after yet another long late night of me not being home, if I was angry at her because I never wanted to be around her. And may be that's why I was always gone.

I quit my job.


I wish I could say I never looked back since. But obviously I do. Not with regret. I do, wholeheartedly, believe that what I'm doing now is more important. Even if I do constantly speak of Munchausen by Proxy in my posts and blogs.

But I do look back. And wonder.


Looking forward, I know I won't go back. To that job. To that life. Even if it is something that John and I have talked about several times, as something to explore when the kids are older. Part of me feels it will be too late. Another part feels that I've changed too much to go back to what I used to do.

I look forward to changing again. I don't know into what. A teacher perhaps? A counselor? A shrink? A person who knows how to drive? Who knows?

Life is change. It's what makes life exciting and scary at the same time. Life's sheer inconstancy is what makes it worth living --- just to see what happens next.