Top 10

Based on a conversation I had earlier with my friend, Kumi.

Top 10 things one must never show to anybody else:

  1. Feelings
  2. (until 10) Irrelevant


Top 10 things one must always show a person of interest

  1. Chemistry
  2. (until 10) Tension

Oh Hey It’s April!

It’s been crazy, 2014. And it’s only been 4 months. Welp! 8 more months of crazy!

In bullets:

  • Work’s been awesome! I’ve never been in this much high since… 2011?
  • Finally getting my hands dirty and learning more about Product Management.
  • I’ve spoken in several events (both internal and external) and I’ve presented so many times I don’t think I can be nervous about it anymore… I think.
  • I’ve been to Jakarta and Singapore.
  • I might be going back to Barcelona. I’ve fallen in love with this city. Take me back over and over again.
  • Oh and I’m going to Norway and Budapest in August.
  • Where to next, work?
  • I’ve met so many people. It’s overwhelming.
  • Made new friends. I’d like to think I’ve kept the old.
  • Sorted out several personal issues. I still have some major ones left to tackle, but I’ll get there.
  • I MOVED OUT! Well not completely. I’m just renting a condo now in Makati. 10 minute walk away from the office because I couldn’t take commuting in Manila anymore. 2 hours minimum to get my ass to the office. No thanks! I’m still gonna go home on weekends.
  • Have I mentioned that work’s been amazing?
  • I don’t think I’m going to San Francisco anymore. HULT can wait.
  • I’m trying to get back to that fitness regime. Not to look fabulous anymore but just to fit into my old jeans. :p
  • Trying to target 10,000 steps per day starting today.
  • Yesterday, my target was 5000. I reached it even before I got home.
  • Last night, I couldn’t sleep in my new condo. I guess my body just wasn’t used to that much space. But boy, did it feel lovely.
  • I woke up this morning and for the first time in years since I’ve been working: I’ve had time to have breakfast.
  • I don’t have any problems with being alone. I actually like it. When it’s 11pm and the building is quiet, and I’m on my own. I sit down on the recliner that’s provided by the unit, open the book and I’m good for the rest of the evening. I would stay that way all week if I could.
  • I miss my ate and my dad. They’d be laughing at me for being on this first time being independent high.
  • My job’s been pretty amazing. Can’t wait til Barcelona.


Yesterday’s # of steps: 7000/5000 (I forgot the actual count and I deleted it)


Making my list, checking it twice

Whenever I’m in an awful mood (which, to be honest, is practically everyday), I make up a mental list of things that make me happy just to try to turn things around.

So in an attempt to no longer be mental (haha pun intended):

  1. Sunday coffee run – my dad and I used to do this while he was still alive. We’d have coffee after mass and just talk. I still do this. After mass. Minus the talk. Well, sometimes I still talk to him. He just doesn’t answer back… I’m still trying to get used to it.
  2. Running into old friends I haven’t seen in a long time. – even if only an awkward “hi” was exchanged.
  3. Making mixes – mix tapes are my passion
  4. Dancing in the middle of the street in the middle of the night or on my way back from my coffee run – bonus points if I’m listening to Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl.
  5. Ludovico Einaudi
  6. Ben Folds
  7. Cake
  8. Talking to friends at 3am about our mutual inability to sleep
  9. Passport stamps
  10. Petting Huskies
  11. One Tree Hill marathon (well this can be complicated since this can also just spiral me back to my melancholic state)
  12. Using beautiful big words in a sentence. — right now, plethora is a favourite.
  13. Spelling words the way the British do. (e.g. Theatre, colour, grey, etc)
  14. Sharing tables with strangers who do not mind if I sing under my breath (off-key), while I read my book and they read theirs.
  15. Seeing my weird, beautiful friends for beer (or if we’re feeling classy, cheap wine) and gossip.
  16. Getting random, relevant gifts.
  17. Saturday afternoon movie after having lunch at a newly discovered restaurant (the restaurants usually suck but sometimes, we discover a gem)
  18. Making lists
  19. Private concerts in my room while I get ready for work. My invisible audience, of course, applauding my yet again fantastic performance
  20. Inconsistent use of punctuation marks
  21. Random strangers giving me flowers and kissing my hand and then walking away as if nothing happened
  22. The feeling I get when my plane lands, my bus stops, at my destination (provided that my destination isn’t home)
  23. Stars singing Calendar Girl live, and feeling that they were singing it for me and my 1Million feelings
  24. Sushi take outs while watching a favorite show
  25. Twirling and being twirled
  26. Being told that I am beautiful (even when my nose is red and my hair is probably all over the place)
  27. Eggs for breakfast
  28. Having one of my best friends (the absentee best friend) being available for beer and tears
  29. Having one of my best friends (the always there best friend) being awake at 4 in the morning, a million miles away, talking to me about her misadventure in New York
  30. San Francisco dreams and the possibility of making it real
  31. Successful project launches (yeah yeah) after being at the office nearly 24/7 for the past 17 days.
  32. Finding chocolates left on my desk because my friends know that I’m in one of my Debbie Downer mood swings.
  33. Inconsistent grammar
  34. Charming broken English that only Europeans can pull off
  35. Christmas dinner(s)
  36. Successfully booking a flight
  37. Coming home to my cats and dogs (lols)
  38. Singing in front of a real live audience and them not caring if I suck (Rock-eoke anyone?)
  39. Freshly laundered favourite jacket
  40. Trying to see if the shoe fits and finding out that it does.


In Which I Tell You How I Will Spend My 2013

I didn’t make resolutions for this year. I know myself well enough to admit that I will end up not doing anything (so goodbye diet and target weight!). But I did make the next best thing: a to-do list. It’s not much different from a resolution but resolutions usually involve stopping a bad thing and doing something good instead (like stop eating so much cake, dammit!). A to-do list, on the other hand, is a list of things I want to be able to do this year (like say buy a car). At least it’s not as daunting as a resolutions list since it’s a list of things I actually really want to do and look forward to ticking off my list. Did that make sense?

So here are my Top 10 things to do for 2013 (I actually have more than 10 in my list but I’ll just share the ones that I’m really hoping to achieve this year):

1. Go to New York – I’m doing this. This year. I don’t know exactly when but definitely maybe a little later in the year after I’ve managed to save enough money and after my visa has been approved (presumably after my 3rd try). I’m hoping to spend New Year’s Eve there (and maybe get my Zac Efron NYE kiss after the ball has dropped at Time Square?) with friends and bottles of wine. :) But if it can’t be for New Year’s, anytime during Fall will be cool too. New York is New York and I really want to be part of the city that never sleeps.

2. Go to San Francisco – And visit the SF campus of the school I’m hoping to go to, to get an MBA or a Master’s degree in International Marketing from. They have a a rotation program (where you get to spend a couple of months in their other campuses) is something that sets them apart from other schools. Also in my to-do list here is to pimp myself at Silicon Valley. :)

3.  Go to Vietnam - This is halfway done actually. I already have the tickets. I’m supposed to be going with my mom and my sister but change of plans on my sister’s part will probably see this trip with me going by myself. But come hell or high-water I’m going to Vietnam in June.

4. Go to the beach at least twice – and I’m hoping I can kill two birds with one stone and add “go on a road trip at least twice” too since there are a few beaches just a few hours outside of Manila.

5. Buy a car – Nothing fancy like an SUV but hopefully nothing cheesy like Honda City or Toyota Vios. I’m saving up for a Mazda 2 or a Suzuki Jimny. Something cute and quirky (like me? lol).

6. Save Up and Invest - I say this everytime but I really need to do it this time especially if I want to get my ass to New York or go back to school. Hult isn’t cheap. Even with a scholarship, I will still need over a million pesos to be able to go (living expenses included). So I need to be smart about my money. Save up. UITF or stocks. Anything that’s going to give me better returns than just a normal savings account. And yeah, stop spending all of my money on alcohol and books (and sometimes shoes).

7. Go back to Muay Thai – I signed up for Muay Thai Classes late last year (one year membership) in an effort to release stress and anger haha. I loved Taekwondo when I did it in Highschool and College so I thought this would be the next best thing. It was. Problem is, I stopped going. So no endorphins for a very long time. So I should go back. If only to not let the money I spent when I signed up go to waste.

8. Study – I need to do something else aside from work and drink. Brain atrophy being a nerd’s worst enemy. So I’ve signed up for a couple of Coursera courses (like Calculus –because I hated Math back when I was in school and I’m determined to make it my bestfriend, some business-related courses, and a couple of humanties-related ones) and I’ve vowed to finish them. I’ve also been thinking of learning a 3rd language just because I believe it’s good for one’s soul (my French and Portuguese have gone from bad to disastrous and I used to love them back in college) and/or re-learning to play the Piano (because our Piano at home is going to waste).

9. Go to the doctor – Because I’m nearing my 30s (huhu) and I feel the symptoms of aging coming at me. Hard!

10. Clean out my closet – Well the goal is to have a leaner, cleaner, appropriate for my age and career wardrobe. But none of that drabby office-wear, thank you very much. I’ve been thinking of selling or donating some of the things that I haven’t used in over a year but still keep, hoping that I will once again be able to fit into them. Plus I’ve always wanted to have a monochromatic wardrobe (everything in shades of grey, white, and black. ok, maybe with some dark blues and olive drab green too) and now would be the perfect time to have one. Cleaning out my closet is always an excuse to shop. :)

(I would add more travel to dos, like go to Myanmar and Cambodia, but I have to be realistic about my budget too)

2012 was quite a challenge. 2013 will be good. I know it.

Christmas Wishlist!

Coz we are living in a material world and I am a material girl!

a PanAm merchandise, any Dr. Who merchandise, ONA Brooklyn camera bag, Hogwarts alumni shirt, tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE, a new pair of optical frames, Marshall headphones, a nice watch (this brown and orange multi-strap LaMer watch is nice), clothes, Calvin and Hobbes Box Set CDGxConverse sneakers, trip to New York.

and some links to old wish lists

But really I don’t mind getting non-material gifts too:
  • Road trip to ANYWHERE!
  • Coffee dates
  • Manila hole in the wall food trip/tour
  • A song (I already got one :) but I wouldn’t mind getting another)
  • Somebody to do a photo walk with me
  • Art Day!
  • A long-ass letter (email or snail mail)
  • Somebody to send me regular post cards in 2013

so… yey!

In Which I Try To Answer Questions That Were Asked

  1. As a matter of fact, I do. Terribly.
  2. No I’m not. It’s easier to say that I am but I’m not. I just don’t want to go through the painful measures of explaining why.
  3. I’m trying. I really am.
  4. I know I do too. It’s just that if I say it out loud, that will put me back in square one.
  5. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I’m taking it one day at a time. But it’s one step forward and two steps back, all the time.
  6. I want to.

[Wanderlust] In Which I Tell You About The Many Things (Possibly Top 10 or more) I Want To See/Experience In Japan

So I’m going to Japan this November. 6 full days of seeing, eating, and drinking the things that Japan has to offer. 6 full days and yet, it’s obviously not enough. So that’s a crisis. How do I fit Japan in just 6 frigging days? IMPOSSIBLE!

So making the itinerary is quite the challenge now. But since I’m the queen of itineraries, Impossible is nothing (hello Adidas TM). I haven’t made the daily itinerary yet, and to be honest I don’t plan on doing that. I just want to make a general guide for places we should be at on a specific day like be at Kyoto on Days 2 and 3. I want to get lost in Japan so specific plans are not an option for me right now (but I’m pretty sure my OC-ness will take over and I’ll end up making a complete guide for myself and for my friend who’s going with me). But what I do have at the moment are the top (insert random number here because I don’t know how many I’ll end up blogging about) things I want to see or do in Japan.

My friend and I will be staying in Osaka so my plans mostly revolve around the area or involve having to travel to and from said place. So here we go.

1. Bullet Train to Tokyo! - it’s on every Japan guide’s must do list, that should pretty much explain why this should be done at least once, right? It’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Japan, really. Ok, maybe after anime, hentai and Maria Ozawa, for some. It’s always on time! And why wouldn’t it be? It travels at the speed of 186mph! I’ve first read about Japan’s bullet trains when I was 5 years old and discovered my sister’s old “Science Discovery” books. And every year I’ve dreamt about Japan, I’ve dreamt about being inside this baby and feeling like I’m in 2046! Because in my head, super speed = futuristic!

It’s pretty expensive though. At least for our 3rd world currency. Osaka to Tokyo will cost you Y8,510 (that’s Php 4,681) one way and the shortest route will take  (at least according to Hyperdia! ) is about 3 hours long. And have you seen how they look like? They look like they came from outer space! Voltron style.

But if the (awesome awesome – they really should make this part of its name) bullet train (and Tokyo is an experience in itself) is too expensive for your budget, then you can always take the bus. Budget buses are available and will only cost you about Y6,000 (around Php 3,300) for the premium seats. Hey it’s a 12 hour trip for the over night buses so it’s best to take the comfortable seats, right?

2. Since we’re now in Tokyo (in my dreams), might as well go to Tsukiji Fish Market! I’ve always had this fascination with going to wet markets in my travels. It smells bad and the fishy scent sticks to my hair but I don’t care. Markets always make for good pictures, and the hustle and bustle always make for a good adrenaline rush. Bonus points if there merchants are trying to out shout the other merchants to get people to buy their wares.

And what makes Tsukiji Market fantastic, you ask? According to Time, it’s the largest and busiest fish market. At 5am there are live Tuna Auctions! Have a sushi breakfast here and you will get without a doubt the freshest catch. And also this is where Jiro (see Jiro Dreams of Sushi), buys his fish! If it’s good enough for Jiro, the 85 year old Sushi master, it’s good enough for me.

3. Shibuya Crossing – it’s probably one of the most famous scenes in Japan. The THRONG of people crossing this intersection, all in a rush, with the bright lights around and above them. I just want to take a picture of this and say that I’ve seen this in real life.

4. Nijo-jo. It’s a castle in Kyoto built by the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu. He ordered all of the feudal lords to contribute money to have this castle built. Talk about bullying. Anyway, he was very paranoid about assassins (because he was quite an asshole) so he had the corridors fitted with “nightingale floors”. Floors were made to squeak/sing like birds when somebody stepped on it.

One of the reasons why I’m stoked to see this castle (aside from the fact that it’s a castle! a castle built by a shogun bully!) is because one of my favorite books of all time  had a character fashioned after Tokugawa Ieyasu. They named him Iida Sadamu and he was the biggest asshole in the book (well Shigeru was quite the manipulative jerk but he’s lovable and quite handsome so I forgave him) and he also built a castle with nightingale floors to protect him from would be assassins. The book was full of intrigue, war, ninjas, feudal lords, suffering, drama and a lot of action hence it being my one of favorites. It’s a pretty fantastic book. I think I’ve read it more than 30 times since I got it as a birthday present from Trina (the friend I’m going with to Japan).

So to see a nightingale floor with my own 2 eyes, hell yeah! I will not miss it for the world.

5. Gion district is also in Kyoto. It’s a well preserved and well known geisha district in Japan. It’s a district that still has ochayas (tea houses) where patrons are entertained by the geishas or geikos (as they would prefer to be called). To this day, geikos can still be seen walking around the district in full outfit (make up and all) getting to and from their appointments, I guess.

To be honest, a geiko sighting is all I care about. I find them fascinating. Trained in the art of entertaining, music, dance, etc. And the elaborate costumes they have to put on every time, their hair, their make-up! ALL THAT EFFORT!

6. Watch a Sumo Wrestling Match – take your pick in watching a match in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Aichi throughout the year. We’ll be in Osaka, November so we won’t get to see the match there. Fukuoka has matches in November but Fukuoka is nearly 10 hours away from Osaka by bus!

Sumo wrestling is more than just 2 fat guys in a circle trying to push the other one out. It’s a way of life really. Sumo wrestlers are required to live in a training facility called stables where all of the aspects of their daily lives are dictated by tradition. The grand champion is called a Yokozuna. Do you remember this big guy (although he wasn’t really a sumo wrestler but he can be one, don’t you think?)?

I really want to watch a match. I mean, I’m already going to be in Japan during a Sumo tournament, so might as well right? But getting to Fukuoka is no joke!

 You can get there by train

  • Travel time: can take up to 4 hours.
  • Fares: Y 7,760 one way or Php 4,268

You can also get there by bus:

  • Travel time: can take up to 10 hours.
  • Fares: Y 6,100 one way or Php 3,355

So fuck, right? But I’d give away my left kidney to be able to watch a match.

7. Daytrip to Shirakawa-Go. Historic villages that are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. That alone should be enough to get anybody’s blood boiling. Actually, I know nothing about this place. Just that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and that the pictures I’ve seen are terribly pretty. And I want to go! Plus, the name Shirakawa sounds so haunting for me. Like an old family that used to be so rich, powerful but was reduced to nothing.

But like just all of the out of Osaka sites I want to see (except maybe for Kyoto), this place is far!

The only route I know is Osaka-Nagoya-Shirakawago (I haven’t researched extensively enough about this). And I’ve only considered the train because it’s the fastest way to get around and if you just want to go on a day trip, you need all the time you can save.

Osaka ->Nagoya

  • Travel Time: Can take up to 1hr and 30minutes
  • Fares: Y 6,400 one way or Php 3,520
Nagoya -> Shirakawa-go

 8. Mt. Fuji – I’d like you to point me towards the direction of a person who says he/she doesn’t want to see this nearly-perfectly shaped snow-capped volcano and I’ll slap that person’s face. HELLO! Why would anybody not want to see this beauty? I’d climb it if I thought I’d be able to survive the ascent. But just to see it, maybe get to the lowest stop (is that how you call it mountain climbing people?) and that’ll be enough for me.

Climbing dates are between July to August normally and since I’m going in November, climbing this summit is a no for me. But I’m looking for maybe a place I can get a good view of this baby, get some awesome shots and “emo” the day away (with a bottle of sake would be nice).

9. Okinawa – I’ll let this picture of Mr. Miyagi teaching Daniel-san the ways of the Karate speak for itself.

10. Hiroshima Peace Park – the park is located in what once was the city’s busiest commercial and residential district so I can only imagine how emotional the place can be for visitors. The war was crazy and both sides thought they were in the right side. People fought for freedom, beliefs, ownership and for a lot of other reasons I can’t even begin to fathom – right or wrong people died. Most of them innocent people who wanted nothing to do with the fight or people who blindly followed what they were being told. I could write a whole essay on this topic but I’m not going to do that in this post. But for sure, I want to see this place and pay my respects to the people who fell victim to the bad side of technology, ambition and misguided beliefs.

11. Himeji-jo – it is said to be the most magnificent castle in Japan (and it’s also the largest). Not just beautiful or biggest or formidable… it’s MAGNIFICENT. It’s in Hyogo prefecture, considered to be one of Japan’s premiere castle and is one of the country’s first Unesco Heritage Site.

I don’t know much about this castle except for it’s white exterior and that has been seen in several films I’ve seen like Akira Kurosawa’s Ran and a James Bond movie my dad made me watch when I was a kid.

12. Fushimi Inari Shrine – this one’s just in Kyoto so it’s pretty easy to get to from Osaka. Actually the only thing I want to see in this place is the torii lined foot path leading to the inner shrine. I don’t think there’s anything else special about this shrine except for the torii but it’s seated at the foot of Mt. Inari so there are several trails leading up to a couple more shrines. But again, I’m here for the torii. Just because they’re absolutely beautiful!

This isn’t even half of what I want to see/experience in Japan. But this is definitely in my top 10 (or 12). And then there’s food to talk about, and shops, and amusement parks. Oh geezus, I don’t think I’ll ever end with my list of things that one must do when one is in Japan. And I haven’t even been there yet. Imagine what I’ll be like after my trip.

I’ve been in love with Japan and I’ve romanticized their culture, their history and nearly everything for as long as I can remember. I blame it on the books, my Asian history teacher, the movies, and Little Tokyo in Makati Cinema Square for this love affair with Japan.

And then there’s my love affair with New York but that’s for another post :)

4 months til Japan! My bones can’t wait!

[Not So Daily Top 10] 10 Cool Things

Lunch time, and I’m on a blogging break (because lunch breaks are expensive).  It’s très hot outside, perfect beach weather, I would say. Yet once again, I’m being a responsible tax payer, stuck here at work with a million things to do on my list.

So here’s today’s top 10. No particular category, just 10 things that I like at the moment.

from But It Does Float

oh and as a bonus:

Lourd de Veyra’s graduation speech for UP Mass Comm Batch 2012.  – in which he says “Dapat may maglabas ng ganyang slogan sa advertising, “BAWAL MAGING TANGA.” Nagtatampisaw tayo sa baha ng impormasyon.” and that pretty much says everything there is to say to today’s youth.

[Not So Daily Top 10] All The Pretty Things I Want To Buy

I’m supposed to be on a shopping fast but I ended up in SM North Edsa with my sister this morning, where the department stores are abundant with clothes and shoes and bags and accessories so cheap, I almost cried. So the shopping fast ended and I came home with a bag of clothes and an empty wallet. So much for saving up for “Autumn in Japan”.

But I had to pat myself on the back for not losing all control and buying everything in sight. Needless to say, I only bought the things I needed… (or at least I think I need). But I left behind a lot of things I still want to purchase and that’s what’s today’s top 10 is for. So, I like pretty things. I can’t help it.

1. Summer Dress – it’s been so hot these days I’d kill for some chiffon, cotton, jersey dresses that fleet and float with the wind. Something light and airy and will not stick to my ass.

Aztec Print Dress

from Ruche

from Madewell

2. Functional Tote Bag - i’ve been looking for the perfect tote bag these days. Leather, preferably, so it’s a bit more on the dressy side rather than on the shopping bag side. Longchamps are so passé. And the good ones are all expensive. So imagine my delight when I the perfect one in SM (too bad I didn’t get to take a picture). But I’m still 800php poor so I wasn’t able to buy it :( In the meantime, here are some pegs.

Bird Patterned Tote Bag, Fluffy Co


Red Leather Shopper


River Island Zebra Leather Tote


3. Long Drapey Skirts – maxi skirts are comfortable. I have one. In black. But black isn’t really the best color to wear when the sun is high and you’re roasting like a pig. At least roast in style, right? So bring them in yellow, peach, mint green, blue – even better when they come with pockets!

Zara Maxi Skirt With Pockets


4. Scalloped/Printed Shorts – because denim shorts are too heavy and hot to wear. Of course there are pekpek shorts, but why would I want to display my poonanie for the world to see?

Ipanema Scalloped Shorts

Need Supply

Rosebloom Carousel Shorts


5. Kimono Cover Ups – for the days when all I want to wear is a tank top but my man arms are to embarrassing too diplay, a cover up that’s light and breezy will do the trick.

Mags and Pye Printed Kimono


Zara Kimono Jacket


6. Moccasins – my sister bought me Minnetonka Moccasins for Christmas but she bought them a size too big so I haven’t gotten around to wearing them. Plus in grey. I would really want them in brown (and in my size too).

Minnetonka Moccasins

Minnetonka Moccasin

7. Butter London Nail Polish in Artful Dodger – just because teal is more summery than puta red and black.

Butter London - Artful Dodger

Butter London

8. Lip Balm/Stain – my lips are dry and they’ve become dark from the chapping and the chewing (yes I chew my own lips when I’m bored) so I think I need to do them a little bit of favor, yeah?

Revlon Lip Butter


Derma Lip Repair Creme


9. Anti-aging shit – because this heat (and the stress) is giving me wrinkles and drying my skin like crazy. I’ve been guzzling water like a fish, and lathering on the lotion and the moisturizers but they don’t seem to be enough. Actually I think it’s because of the alcohol but I can’t quit that, can I?

Double Strength Deep Wrinkle Filler by Kiehls


Nutriganics Smoothing Day Cream

Body Shop

10. Body Mist – not too sweet nor flowery. just the right kind of “just got out of the shower” smell.

Japan Apricot and Rice Finishing Mist Body Shop

Body Shop

And there you have it. My top 10 must have things (as of April 23, 2012) that I can’t afford to purchase. Anybody want to sponsor me?

Note to self. Must install Photoshop again so I can make proper collages. This list thing and just inserting images here and there is such an eye sore. And my oc-heart can’t take it anymore.

In Which I Tell You All About Working In A Start-Up Environment (And How To Survive It)

I’ve been working for this nifty, little online store for the past 2 years. I am/was employee #1 actually. Been with it while it was still just a small project of a digital advertising agency until it exploded into something else and became an independent company. In a matter of 2 years, we’ve expanded the business, tripled the revenue, and quadrupled the work force. August 2010 we were just 2 people (my boss and I) and now, we’re 80 people. And it’s been a crazy ride. A lot of heart/head ache, victory dances, tears, fist pumps, and shouting matches –like I said crazy, but not the least bit disappointing.

It’s a start up. So needless to say, policies, process, rules, structure, and other things you might expect from an established corporate -y environment do not exist in a start up business. And for some people, it’s amazing. But for most people it can be quite the hell you don’t want to be in. And everything can be summed up in just one word: STRESS!

So I’ve made up my own list of things that you need to know about working in a start-up. Maybe they’ll help you survive. Maybe they’ll make you want to stay away. But either way, these are my start-up realities and learnings.

  1. You are the expert – it’s only logical that the bosses/owners will only get people they no longer need to train. people they think are capable of running their own departments, and able to make sound decisions for the company’s growth. they’re trying to build a business. of course they will only get people who can help them build it. so there’s no time nor space for training or mentorship (at least not in the first few months or years). you will be the mentor. you will be the one doing the training for your future teams. so it’s up to you to push yourselves to improve. to learn as much as you can about the business, about your job and kick ass at it.
  2. Be Water, My Friend –  Bruce Lee couldn’t have said it better. Sometimes you have to do things that are beyond your skill level. Maybe you were hired as a Project Manager, handle IT projects and shit. Next thing you know, you’re closing financial books and processing new hires because you haven’t got a Finance and an HR manager. So you have to adapt fast. And learn even faster. Don’t fight it. Not only will you learn new skills (perfect for the resume), it also builds character and gives you a better feel for the company and how to manage it (or at least your teams).
  3. People will always complain – (this one is for the managers, leads, supervisors, etc) exactly just that. They will complain about the aircon being too cold, the aircon being too hot, the internet speed, the tepid water in the pantry, the stale office smell, the noise, the lack of noise, the sun and sometimes about your shoes. And you can’t stop that. You just have to listen and be able to sort out the valid ones from the exaggerated. They will complain about you, most of all. So don’t take it personally.
  4. Respect the company – start ups are pretty lenient. You can come in later than usual, in shorts and slippers, and pretty much spend the day looking up cute kitty videos on youtube – they almost let you do whatever you want. So don’t abuse it. So you can pretty much come in at whatever time you want? Awesome. But please don’t keep coming in at lunch time only to just put your bag down and then grab lunch 5 minutes later and basically be gone for the next 2 hours. Don’t eat up your network’s bandwidth by downloading torrents at work (other people are actually trying to work). And don’t come in at noon only to leave 4 hours later and without proper approval too. Start ups are pretty lenient. But when the owner and the board of directors get wind of how their employees are abusing that leniency then say goodbye to internet freedom, and say hello to salary deduction when you are late. One person’s self-entitlement can lead to other people’s blocked kitty videos.
  5. Be prepared to work over time – without pay. Sometimes it’s as simple as “it’s in your contract”. Sometimes this is how companies get something in return for letting you come in at 11 in the morning, and 5 minutes late for your meeting. Sometimes they give you something back for having come in at work on Tuesday only to find yourself still at work 3 days later in the same pair of jeans. But don’t expect anything. If you’re needed to finish something, then you have to finish it. At the end of the day, it’s still your job to deliver. Now if you have to stay until 10pm at the office to finish it, then you have to. Re-assess. Maybe it’s your fault too. Maybe you spent the entire day watching cute kitty videos on youtube?
  6. The CEO is not your enemy –  ok so maybe he can be quite an asshole. Asking you to stay extra hours without pay. Calling you in the middle of the night because his internet connection is quite slow. Maybe he’s pure evil. But at the end of the day you’re both working towards the same goal – which is to make more money for the company so you both will have more money. So no, he’s not your enemy! And it’s also wise not to make an enemy out of him.
  7. Speak Up – remember item # 1: you are an expert! So there’s absolutely no reason in the world why you shouldn’t say what’s on your mind… even stupid things are ok to say, I guess. Start ups thrive on open communication, I think. Ideas are a given. But most people find it difficult to voice out their concerns outside of bathroom gossip. They shouldn’t keep it to themselves. If it’s going to help the company grow, then by George, go for it.
  8. Beer – when it’s been quite a long day, nothing feels better than going out for a drink after work. Don’t talk about work. Just get to know the people you work with, their stories, etc. It’s easier to trust somebody you know – so get to know your co-workers.
  9. Wear clothes you actually like wearing – no dress codes! So wear something you like and are comfortable in. Chances are you’re going to spend an entire day up to your eyeballs in work and stress and all that stuff – at least do it in style! And besides if you don’t like how you look, you’re going to be sully the whole day and that’ll effect your productivity. Trust me.
  10. Actually care about the company and what it’s doing – this makes the difference. It’s a new company. It probably still doesn’t have a bonus scheme nor a pay increase matrix. You have to work long hours most of the time (often without over time pay). You have to suffer long meetings with your boss (even on weekends via Skype) and spend half of the time in that meeting arguing with him. There will be tons of meetings. And failures. And finger pointing. There will be loss. And heart break. So why stay? Because you want to see the company grow. You want to be part of that growth. You want to be the reason why there is growth. Because you can’t bear to see the company and the business fail. So you will give it nothing but your best and (sometimes) maybe sacrifice some things (like #8 and shower) – but you’re going to be ok with it. Because when you see the company and the business succeed and you know that you had something to do with it (even just a tiny bit) – it’s going to feel so damn good. Even better when you get a raise.

Start ups aren’t for everybody. And that’s ok. You have to be crazy to want to be in a start up environment, I think. :)