Category Archives: life

My Four Years After Opting Out

In mid-2013, after 15 years of working in the Information Technology (IT) Industry, I decided to cool off from my solutions advisor role and take a much-needed break from the corporate world. Like the majority of  working adult population, I was working non-stop right after I achieved my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree last 1997. It was my belief back then that having a full-time job is what I need in order to support my family, paying my rent, and settle my debts and bills. I can’t stop working and I have to climb the corporate ladder and that includes dealing with office politics.

And so it was, until 2012.

After I settled down and got married in September of 2012, like many high-achieving women in the workforce, family care was placed in my top priority. A month after my wedding, I was contemplating of “opting out”. If I continue my corporate role involving frequent travels, I believe my marriage may not work out. It is my personal conviction that the first year of marriage is highly critical as it’s the era of adjustments, understanding, compromise, and acceptance. I’ve learned it from my past failed relationships due to my lack of “quantity” of time. My ex-manager Ashok was surprised when I handed my resignation letter; I was saddened too, as he was a good and caring boss.

Leaving the corporate world especially when it’s your dream company is considerably heart-breaking. But weighing the situation, facing a failed marriage will be more traumatic.

I am considered blessed as after leaving SAP, I was offered to be a flexible delivery consultant by Claylogixtech Malaysia. I didn’t realize that it’s the kind of flexible time focused on project implementations and customer’s maintenance with a little of presales role is the type of  spur I needed at that point.

Me and my husband tried to conceive. However, factoring the age and realizing blood RH incompatibilities lead us to the practical decision that having kids on our own will be dependent on God’s will unto our marriage. Somehow rather, it lessened the marriage stress and just be ready to respond to family relatives questions during gatherings. We belong to the norm of Asian culture that having our own children (meaning, own flesh and blood) is a must during the marriage.

Now, here are some of my practical derivatives of life lessons learned in the last four years:

  • Time management

Time is the most precious commodity that we shouldn’t afford to waste. As I was surrounded by humongous amount of choices,  I saw myself doing all things at once since you know, my own time is in my hands. I had a hard time finishing the projects that I started. It’s definite that some trusts were broken due to failing to deliver. I realized that when you are working for yourself, it is utmost critical to learn to prioritize, delegate minor tasks that I feel isn’t worth my time, and of course, learn to say no to those requests or business opportunities that isn’t my expertise or I’m lacking of knowledge. When you’re in your 40s, it’s best to focus on those activities that will value your time and self.

  • Every penny counts

Being prudent is one of key factors that will determine a person’s success. When I was paid every month and bonuses coming in, I put in savings for the rainy days. Though at times there’s that want to overspend to satisfy the thirst for shopping branded items, I still make it a point to have some money in the bank. Well, that attitude came handy in the last four years. I had the courage to leave the corporate world as I didn’t have home mortgage to pay, we decided to rent room instead of whole flat, personal and credit card loans were manageable.

So, being prudent served me well in the long run. The only change I had to do is to shop less and not to be mindful of the fashion trend. I slowly changed my wardrobe to less clothes but quality pieces.

  • More Friends

It is normal to disconnect with corporate friends when you’re no longer working full time. I realized my circle of friends have increased. As you venture entrepreneurship, you will be surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs just the same. I still keep in touch with ex-colleagues through Whatsapp and social media; having coffee and dinner from time to time. Basically, you will have mixture of friends, from ex-colleagues to new found friendships and connections.

  • Be grateful

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  ~Matthew 5: 3 NIV

My spirituality deepened during the last four years. I’ve finally ventured to one thing I’ve been wanting to do since I was 26 years old. That is, to serve God. Every year, me and husband conducts outreach program(s) to Philippines. We’re privileged enough to be supported by our church, Moriah Assembly of God, to be missionaries for a month to the northern part of Thailand. It’s not an easy journey but God is truly awesome! So we’ve named our business EL Hannora (which means Awesome God).

Serving God has been my most rewarding decision.

I will always be grateful to God, my hubby Gnex, my family and in laws, friends, biz partners, customers and Mr. Hew Keng Woon, and the staff of Claylogixtech Malaysia and Positive Domain.

Jumping out of the corporate band wagon is scary to death. There’s a gigantic worries and uncertainties because it is a make it or break it moment. With the binge of time, we cannot deny the unspoken norm that you have a slim chance of getting back your position and compensation when you hit 40s and above. The workforce competition is higher and employers prefer the older millennials due to focus, energy, and drive.

Opting out from the corporate and workforce isn’t easy. You will need tons of courage and faith to get by. However, if you survive the adversities, it’s one of the unforgettable milestones in your journey of life. I do not know what the future holds. However, one thing I can say is when you serve God, everything is uncertain. That’s where your FAITH kicks in. If God can feed the birds in the sky, why not us? It only takes us our humility and obedience.

Here are some of the motivational songs that helped me get by for all the ups and downs of life.

‘Til next time. Au revoir.

The Box Up God

Back in the 1990s when economies started to flourished, we’ve seen the rise of countries whose culture focused on God. America for one belonged to the list. America, the land of opportunity, was the most coveted immigration landing point from the citizens of poor countries workers and refugees alike.

In the 1990s the world seen the concept of free markets where blue collars can become millionaires through hard labors and self disciplined. We’ve seen the rise of elites most of which are devotees of God. Christianity was the biggest population among world religions. Christian missionaries get the ticket to travel the world. We can see God everywhere especially in television. Everybody says God, God, God…

As the world economically progressed, the concept of God seem to have fade. We humans have inherited India’s caste system in terms of education. Our identity somehow has been tied up with what we do. Noticed during conversations when there’s always the emphasis of the university or college degree we’ve finished, what industry we’re working, who are we affiliated with. Those who are unfortunate and didn’t complete a course of study are cast out from the white collars.

Today, the world is financially rich. There are more billionaires the world has seen. But sadly, the world has also become full of labels. More distinctions – whites, blacks, brown, yellow skin colors. Blue collars, white collars at work. Educated people has more voice.

In the world of Christianity, pastoral services has also become a form of job. Less of passion more of job responsibilities. Christian churches have become corporate world implemented with key performance indicators or KPIs. These so called human made KPIs are a measure of performance benchmarks for the church pastors – number of converts, number of baptism, church attendance, increase in the church memberships, etc. When a pastor achieves his/her KPIs, he/she is a good pastor probably a candidate for a pay raise. Simply put it, our societies’ culture are now embraced in the church instead otherwise. Pastors are somehow labeled based on their Bible School qualifications and achievements. The higher education you have, the more qualified you will be.

What are we Christians have we become?

As I can remember, Jesus chose his disciples based on their heart, not their education. If Jesus wants the easy way out and wants to deliver God’s message to the world flawlessly, he should have chosen the high Jewish priests because people will listen to them due to power and authority.

If God is so concern about eloquence in delivering His message with brevity and charisma, then there wouldn’t be any Moses.

God chooses people with the heart of obedience and faithfulness regardless of color, education, and physical abilities.

There’s a danger on what our church and society has become. As we embraced our own personal preference or prejudice, we’re hurting God as we’re boxing Him. It’s clear to some churches, that the voice of the people has become the voice of God. Where the fate of the church are dictated by the majority corporate members and less of prayers and fasting.

Let’s be careful of our personal preferences because the devil has many forms. People in the church tends to listen more when the speaker is of scholarly value. When a person’s charisma is easily mistaken and labeled as God’s gifting.

How do we know when we’re boxing God?

  • When we place our judgement and wants on top instead of God. Is it our carnal nature?
  • When God’s works and answers are based on what and how we want Him to respond
  • When we asked God for answers and we ended up getting inputs only from the educated ones. Because sometimes, God uses the blue collars and the unlovable to deliver His message to us
  • When we decide who are God’s prophets instead of God’s anointing

Let us embrace God for what He is. He’s our father in heaven, the Alpha and the Omega. All things came from Him and all things will end by Him. He’s not a spirit or a deity who’s supposed to work for us. He’s our father, our source of life.

Let’s not box Him up.

 

 

 

Business Revolution

We’ve seen how the business strategies have changed.

It all started from small shops with personalized customer experience, to huge shopping malls where a shopper’s convenience is adhered. No need to drive to different places. Just head to the mall and there it is all that you need.

Next came the internet where anyone can shop to any site across the globe. E-commerce stayed. And the customer behavior gave pressure to bricks and mortar businesses to have online presence. It’s a great way to touch the ‘busy bees’ customer who didn’t have the time to shop the mall or visit the small shops.

And then followed the big business revolution. The direct selling business. The revolutionized way to market and sell your products and services. What made this business strategy a big thing?

Direct selling leverages on independent distributors. The distributors provide the cold calling, marketing, and personalized demonstrations through parties, gatherings, and even one-one-one. To be the distributor in direct selling does not require higher education and there’s no age limit.

If you’re employed by a company, you have to follow the working hours, the company policies, the dress code (uniforms, business attire, smart casual). You have deadlines, you have quota to meet, a boss to report to, and the unlimited tasks that are assigned to you.

Direct selling provides time flexibility. You are working for your own self. You are your own boss. You have the complete ownership and accountability on how your business outcome is going to be.

This makes direct selling an attractive main and supplemental income in households. Business connoisseurs Robert Kiyosaki and Warren Buffett recognize direct selling and haven been endorsing it. They knew that the most effective and modern way to improve the business marketing is through direct selling. Warren Buffett owns direct selling businesses.

While I’ve mentioned above the good features of direct selling, it is still important to emphasize the ethics involve on the side of the distributors. If you are contemplating of signing up or even have signed up, you must remember and adhere to your own sales ethics. While direct selling gives you the financial freedom and fulfillment that you have been aiming, nothing beats staying and maintaining the moral values you’ve learned since childhood. To put it simply, do not put money above your relationships.

In the next article, I’m going to discuss the travel industry and why it is still the gold mine to make direct selling business.

EL Hannora Thrift Shop: The Joy of Giving 2014 Part 2

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground.

    Psalms 143:10 NIV

Christmas! Is always the time of the year when gift giving is abundant and people tend to forget the mundane of life. All of us are busy thinking the presents that we wanted to give to our family, friends, and loved ones. Christmas is about rejoice and joy, it’s about renewal and gratitude.

Most often, when you are hit with emotional downturn especially when its financial struggle, you always feel that you are the minutest creature of God. You often accuse God of forgetting your existence. When it’s emotional struggle, let’s accept it, its the time that we are very selfish. It’s all about ‘me’ and ‘me’ and ‘me’.

You must not forget, that no matter how low you feel, there’s always a community of people lower than you. If you are sleeping in your home, there are people sleeping in the street. If you’re meal only consist of rice and vegetables, there are people who needs to beg so that they can eat. If you cannot afford to buy shoes, there are people who doesn’t even wear slippers because they can’t afford to. If you can eat 3 meals a days and still complain, remember there are families and people who only eat 1 meal and the rest are nothing but water.

While you are being selfish and look inwardly on yourself, while you blind yourself on egocentric behavior yet you are blessed by God in so many ways… There exist families and people needing your blessings and help.

Last December 2014, me and my husband finally had the privileged to contribute to Philippine One Step Organization. Portion of EL Hannora Thrift Shop’s earnings were distributed to couple of outreach programs in The Philippines. We’ve supported the RVM outreach program by my good friend Bonna. The other outreach program is conducted by Philippine One Step Organization through the cousin of my college best friend and a very good friend, Ms. Charlyn Chua.

Philippine One Step is a non-profit organization with the aim of helping people and families in various ways they can. They consist of volunteers with the main goal of reaching out and blessed the less fortunates to share the blessings given by God. Each year, this organization reaches out to different locales and neighborhood in the city of Manila.

Last December 2014, One Step had couple of outreach programs. One of which is the giving of care packages to families and another outreach is to give aid to St. John Dialysis Center.

We give gratitude to One Step for allowing us to contribute in our small ways. Through this organization we were able to reach out to the less fortunates brothers and sisters in Philippines.

Preparing their care packages

Care packages are ready for giving

The outreach program begins

Gift giving

Gift giving

Recipients were waiting in line

Gift giving

Gift giving

Grateful for the blessings

Grateful for the blessings

Happy smiles!

Philippine One Step outreach at St. John Dialysis Center

 All photos in this article were granted permission to use by Philippine One Step Organization. You can reach their Facebook page here.

Thanking God for the strength He gave me and my husband to persevere with our EL Hannora Thrift Shop. Thanking our resellers and buyers as it’s their contribution that we managed to fund and reach out to God’s children.

In Christ.