Blog Archives

Stressed out over work? Sweat it off with Bikram yoga

(Originally published on August 31, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

As with many successful professionals in the country’s growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, Ria Cejero has learned to thrive in a very competitive environment.

The 41-year-old human resource officer has handled employee relations since 2002, and has experienced more than her fair share of late hours and work-related stress.

While she spends around 12 hours a day working in a major call center, Cejero makes time to practice Bikram yoga. She had read about the benefits of Bikram yoga before joining colleagues for a class at Bikram Yoga Alabang, the newest certified Bikram yoga studio in the country. “Losing weight was not a priority at that time,” says Cejero, “but I felt that I needed to relax.”

Developed by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a form of yoga involving 26 postures or asanas and two breathing exercises practiced for 90 minutes inside a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius. Choudhury himself was able to benefit from the practice when he suffered from a knee injury at the age of 17.

“Bikram yoga is intended for all fitness levels,” explains Ginger Diaz, studio director of Bikram Yoga Alabang. “Regular practice may help improve flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular st rength, and endurance if the series of postures are executed properly. The room is heated to allow the muscles to become more responsive to deeper and sustained stretching.”

Since opening in October 2010, over 1,500 people have practiced at Bikram Yoga Alabang. “We are proud to have contributed in introducing more people to the wonderful benefits of Bikram yoga,” Diaz says.

Full-body Workout

As a busy career woman, Cejero still considers it a challenge to dedicate 90 minutes a day for exercise. But she says that the benefits of practicing Bikram yoga outweigh the challenges. She recalls that her first few classes made her dizzy and nauseous, something beginners are advised to anticipate. “Bikram yoga helped me relax,” Cejero shares, “I started sleeping well when I started the practice. Getting enough sleep was all I needed at that time to get the balance for the practice.” Gradually, the dizziness disappeared.

“Focus and discipline are skills that will greatly improve when you practice Bikram,” Cejero adds. “It helped me manage my schedule as well, because my goal is to be more efficient and to finish work earlier.”

In Bikram yoga, hydration is key. Practitioners are advised to double the normal water intake of eight glasses a day. Hours before practice, Cejero drinks plenty of water and only eats light meals.

Despite being used to working the night shift, Cejero says there are days when she finds it difficult to sleep. “Bikram helped me deal with that,” she reveals, “my breathing improved dramatically, which in turn allowed me to handle stress effectively.”

Cejero believes that Bikram yoga is a good fit for professionals in the BPO industry. “Bikram yoga is an excellent full-body workout that will leave you feeling incredible,” she shares. “Just be sure to drink lots of water before class. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

To know more about Bikram Yoga Alabang, call (2) 846-5496 and (927) 916-9909 or send an e-mail to Visit for more information and resources on Bikram yoga.

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Globe Telecom provides technology support for TESDA’s job profiling program

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom provided the technology support to the recently held Jobs Bridging Fair in Cebu Citythat showcased, among others, the job-profiling program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The event was organized by the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) in partnership with TESDA Region 7.

The job fair, one of the highlights of the CBE tenth anniversary, aimed to bridge job seekers and jobready graduates with employment opportunities as a relevant input in the thrust to quality education. The event also included job facilitation activities participated by key industries from the priority sectors of tourism, information and communications technology (ICT), business process outsourcing and construction.

Being a major partner of CBE on various programs, Globe provided 25 laptops with Internet connection for the job fair. The laptops were used for TESDA’s YP4SC or Youth Profiling for Starring Careers, a multi-phase program that aims to help high school students, out-of-school youths, unemployed adults, course shifters and retirees make informed decisions on their careers to avoid education and job mismatch. YP4SC components include career profiling, labor market information, education and training information, career guidance and tracking. TESDA is one of the 36 institutions and 250 individual stakeholders that make up CBE, a Cebu-based non-stock, non-profit organization committed to the vision of creating empowered communities of learning. Its members represent the academe, students, parents, government, nongovernment, business organizations, media practitioners and professional and civic groups.

Being an expert on research and development of ICT integration in teaching and curriculum development, CBE is currently the major partner of Globe in its Global Filipino Teacher (GFT) and Global Filipino Schools (GFS) programs. GFT is a teacher enhancement training where CBE helps in developing capacities of teachers to conduct ICT-enabled learning activities in the classroom. Following its success, Globe and CBE, together with the Department of Education, are now looking at further improving the capability of ICT-mature public high schools to become the community expert in ICT through GFS.

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Monster Philippines launches Android application for job seekers and employers

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

MonsterPhilippines, a leading online career and recruitment solutions provider in the country, recently announced the launch of its new Android applications. With the lifestyle of young working professionals in mind, Monster’s new mobile applications aim to provide consumers with a flexible and on the go 24/7 platform to scout and apply for job opportunities.

To further strengthen mobile penetration, MonsterPhilippinesalso launched a new employer/ recruiter interface on its WAP portal. The company has also recently revamped its WAP portal for jobseekers with newer and enhanced features.

Monster’s Android application can be downloaded for free on the Google Android marketplace. The application has all the features and services present in

ph, but it gives users the choice to choose the way they want to search for their next job opportunity. The WAP portal for employers, meanwhile, will help them search, shortlist, reach out and interact with prospective candidates. They can also post, renew and manage job postings.

Elaborating on the launch, Sanjay Modi, managing director of, Middle East andSouth East Asia, says: “Monster has always strived to innovate, keeping the consumer at the center of every initiative. Our Android application and WAP portal for job search are a direct outcome of consumer feedback we’ve received, which pointed to an increasingly active and mobile lifestyle that necessitated the need for a mobile version of our job search capabilities. With our new Android application, we’re converging traditional online job searching with mobile technology to cater to a young, mobile, tech-savvy working population, giving them an on the go and user-friendly mobile job search application.”

“Today the mobile handset and smart phone market is growing at an exponential pace,” continues Modi, “and the Android platform is at the top of the heap, with analysts expecting it to overtake all existing mobile platforms by 2012. Based on the future potential of the Android platform, the new Monster app provides a huge opportunity for us to tap into even more job seekers in a platform they are naturally gravitating towards more and more often.”

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‘Career Success: the 48 Cs’—the Little Book that Could

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Confused about your career? This book may be the one you need to figure things out

By Irene V. Fernando

Whether you’re just starting to figure out what career best suits you or stuck in your work and clueless on what to do, the latest book by career coach Ed Pilapil Jr. can help you analyze your current state and inspire you to take the next step.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” gives you 48 words that start with the letter C, all of which aim to help you make sense of your career. You might think that getting through all the 48 Cs is burdensome, but it might surprise you to find yourself turning to the last page in no time. Pilapil makes his discussions short enough to be easily read, yet packs them with insights to help you in your everyday reading.

The 48 characteristics of a successful career

The C-words are not high-fallutin terms. The first C-word he discusses, for example, is Career. Pilapil defines the difference between having a career and having a job. Most of us have a blurred definition of both terms or even have the wrong notion that either you can’t have a career different from the job you currently have or a career out of the job you have. Pilapil tells us that a career is the result of you taking that initiative to make things happen, not just because you are getting paid for it but because you want to excel in it.

Unlike some books on career that insists on following a pattern, this book gives you the prerogative to decide for yourself. It assures you that even if you have your weaknesses and limitations, you can still soar and succeed. The book doesn’t give you the step by step guide on making it big in your career; rather, it gives you the chance to evaluate yourself, your work and your life.

It’s never too late or too early

The book contains anecdotes that Pilapil sourced from his everyday readings and personal interactions. One thing that the book clearly tells us is that it’s never too early nor too late to begin mapping out one’s career. The challenge is to start now. Don’t wait for things to happen; instead, make them happen.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” has exercises—some long, some short—posted at the end of each chapter. It’s lightweight enough to stash in your bag and take anywhere.

Don’t think that solving your career problems, though, is as easy as whipping this book out and doing the exercises. It is, after all, just a book. You still have to do your part in seeking out guidance from experts and learning from first-hand experiences.

So, take a pause and re-evaluate your life. Think about who you are and identify your passions. “You are the master of your ship,” goes that saying; yet you will need all the help you can get to sail through the waves. This book can be one of those tools.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” by Ed Pilapil, Jr. is now available at Fully Booked and National Bookstore for Php198.

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Work Life: Ten Characteristics of Great Employers

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jhoanna O. Gan-So

In my last column, I wrote about “Ten Characteristics of Star Employees.”  This time, I’d like to explore the flip side and discuss what makes great employers.

See, your happiness and contentment in the workplace is directly affected by how the you work for company is run. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the salary that people look at when they choose employers. Money is not the end-all and be-all of job satisfaction. So if you want to be part of a great company, aspire to find or even help develop these 10 characteristics in your workplace:

1. They have a clear vision. Great employers have direction. Their leaders have a clear picture of what they want their company to stand for and where they want to go. We’re talking here about full enculturation of the company’s vision, mission and values that employees live by as guiding principles. It’s not just about putting a mission statement in a frame and hanging it on the wall. It’s about building a culture that employees are proud of and can easily identify with on a daily basis.

2 . They have a good recruitment process. Great employers know that top notch employees equal an excellent company. So they establish recruitment systems that are

designed to get the crème of the crop, not the bottom of the barrel. They seek out people who are skilled with the right attitude to fill in key positions in their company. They

are organized in their recruitment efforts and have done the necessary homework for finding competent employees.

3. They have adequate compensation and benefits programs. Once they’ve hired their employees, great employers are able to keep them longer because they provide not just competitive salaries, but also benefits and perks. These benefits may include essentials from healthcare and allowances for uniforms or food, to fun stuff like workshops and outings, to cool perks like transportation assistance and mobile phone loads.

4. They train their people. Great employers also ensure that each employee grows professionally by providing training to help enhance their capabilities. As soon as an employee is hired, they are given an orientation. Then as they settle into their jobs, they are provided on-the-job training. This is also followed up by seminars, workshops and learning materials that will help employees develop further.

5. They monitor their people’s performance. After all the training, great employers make sure that their employees are able to apply what they have learned. This is done by continuously monitoring performance. Managers and supervisors constantly look at how their subordinates are doing. They provide guidance and immediate feedback. Then this is followed up by regular performance evaluations that are documented by the company’s HR people.

6. They recognize and reward good performance. The reason why performance is monitored is so that the company can reward the good ones and correct those that need improvement. To encourage and motivate employees, great companies provide rewards and incentives. This could range from simple treats and tokens to elaborate programs like “employee of the month” recognitions and sales target bonuses with gifts like gadgets and trips abroad.

7. They equip their people with tools that help them work better and faster. If you want to double or triple your team’s performance, it is important to equip them with the right tools and equipment. Great employers understand this, s o they make sure that their people are given the best software and hardware. More importantly, they are trained to maximize them. They understand the tennet that, “When you give a man the tools and know-how, you can step back and see the ingenuity that may come after.”

8. They have safe and conducive work environments. Great employers understand that a person’s environment affects his or her moods. So they take care to provide a workplace that’s conducive and safe for work. You can easily determine if a company is great or not by how clean and well-maintained the place is. So gather those waste baskets and purge unimportant items, clear your desks and organize! A clean work station will improve your mood and make you work better for a great company.

9. They care about their people. Great employers are able to provide programs that ensure their employees are well-taken care of physically, emotionally and spiritually. The company has heart and they show it to their people with kind words, caring leaders, firm and constant guidance. They understand that “when you care for your people, your people will take care of the company.”

10. They develop leaders. Lastly, great employees develop leaders. They encourage initiative and innovation. They allow their employees to shine and provide opportunities for star performers to develop themselves as leaders. From the group of star performers, they choose and hone select people to lead the company to greater heights. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect company. Great employers are simply built by the people who work for them. If you want to work for a great company, it is in your hands to make your company a great and happy place to work in.

If you are looking for a job, seek to find a company that has these qualities. If you are already employed, make your company a great place to work in. If you have influence in your company, seek to develop these characteristics to make your company great and reap the rewards of a happy and productive workplace!

Jhoanna O. Gan -So is president of Businessmaker Academy, HR Club Philippines and Teach It Forward Organization. Her company holds corporate skills training programs and HR seminars for various individuals and corporations. To know more about the seminars and services that they offer, visit or You may also call (632) 687-4645 or e-mail your comments and questions to


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Work Life: Ten Characteristics of Star Employees

(Originally published on August 10,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)


By Jhoanna O. Gan-So

In the workplace, there will always be star employees who shine. These people are well-liked by their bosses. They reach their targets and accomplish notable achievements. They are star performers, which is why they get promoted faster than the rest of the staff. It’s pretty cool to be a star employee. So let’s all aspire to be one.

If you are currently employed, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself. From a scale of one to 10, 10 being the highest, how would you rate your general work performance? If you were your boss, would you point to yourself as a star employee?

If your answer is yes, then keep up the good work. Kudos to you! But if you are not quite there yet and would like to become one, let’s take a look at the qualities that separates star employees from the ordinary ones.

1. They are always present. Star Employees are always present physically, mentally and emotionally. This means that they have good attendance records. They understand that quantity affects quality of time—that no matter how brilliant you are, if you’re not present for work, then you can’t really do a good job. So they come to their place of work, alert and ready to face the challenges the day brings. They leave their personal issues and problems at the door, which allows them to focus on the job at hand.

2. They are results-oriented. When Star Employees are busy, they really are. They do not spend time doing meaningless tasks just to look busy. They actually do tasks they deem instrumental in helping them reach their goals. These people look at the end results all the time. They measure their performance with targets and actual results. For example, star sales officers know their sales targets by heart. They find the best use of their time that will get them the desired results.

3. They are self-reliant. Star employees do not need to be micromanaged. They require very little supervision as they are capable of making sensible decisions. They are not too dependent on their bosses or co-workers. Unlike some people who ask their bosses to solve everything and decide on the littlest of things, they are well-capable of managing themselves and dealing with everyday work issues. They are also self-motivated.

4. They are reliable. Star employees carry a sense of dependability about them. They look and act responsible. Bosses feel at ease assigning them to important projects because they are diligent and consistent with the quality of their work. They are steadfast, which is why they don’t make their bosses worry too much about project completions.

5. They are progressive. For most employees, change is difficult to swallow. They like doing things that they are comfortable with. They like things to be the way they are. Star employees, on the other hand, adapt well to change. In fact, they initiate it. They constantly look at how their work, the procedures and systems in their office can be improved. In the process, they find innovative solutions that increase their company’s  profits or generate huge savings for the company which their employers appreciate.

6. They give updates and don’t need to be reminded about what to do. Star employees are on top of things. Bosses often get frustrated with constantly reminding their subordinates about things they need to do and they often waste a lot of time following up on projects. Meanwhile, star employees get there first. They regularly update their bosses and teammates on what’s happening. You don’t have to ask them what’s up with a certain account, because chances are, they’ve already told you before you even thought of asking.

7. They can communicate with ease. When star employees talk to people, they are not tense and uptight. They communicate in a comfortable and enthusiastic manner that makes the other person feel immediately at ease. They can talk to bosses, co-workers, suppliers and customer in a conversational manner. They are naturally personable, which draws people to them.

8. They are confident. Many people equate confidence as being extroverted and outspoken. But not all star employees are made that way. There are many star employees who are quiet and not so gregarious. Confidence is about knowing who you are and your selfworth. Star employees know their capabilities and limitations. They courageously face challenges and are not afraid to seek assistance if needed.

9. They go the extra mile. What sets star employees apart from regular folks is they go further than what is expected. If they are expected to know a specific product of their company, they go the extra mile in learning the whole product line, the competitor ’s product, pricing and promos. If they are expected to reach a sales quota, they don’t stop upon reaching the quota. They go for more.

10. They are grateful Most important of all, star employees are grateful. They are not brats who feel entitled to all the benefits, rewards and incentives given by their company. Instead, they sincerely appreciate what is given to them. The reason they perform better than the rest and why bosses like them is because they value their jobs, their employers and colleagues.

Given the 10 characteristics above, take a look at yourself: which of these traits do you have? Which ones do you lack? Are you a star employee? Aspire to be a star employee because it’s pretty cool to be recognized and appreciated by your bosses and colleagues—not to mention the perks and rewards attached to it. Everyone has the capacity to become a star employee; all you have to do is hone yourself and build on the ten characteristics of a star employee.



Jhoanna O. Gan -So is president of Businessmaker Academy, HR Club Philippines and Teach It Forward Organization. Her company holds corporate skills training programs and HR seminars for various individuals and corporations. To know more about the  seminars and services that they offer, visit or You may also call (632)6874645 or e-mail your comments and questions to


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Business Coach: Answering the Call to Transfer

(Originally published on August 7,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

I received an e-mail from a reader recently. She wanted to know if it was okay to look for another job while still employed. She wanted to transfer to a company in the same industry that offers a higher pay. Compounding her problem is that she is currently in a dispute with her employer.

This is a common scenario in the corporate world. Anyone in the same situation would probably feel aggrieved, but it’s best not to let your emotions rule your decision. Many people planning to look for another employer share the same problem. Many of them have done it well and are now enjoying a better job. However, there are those that made the wrong moves and are presently in a worse position than before.

The situation must be carefully studied before deciding on a course of action, since a wrong move may do enormous damage to your career.

There are many aspects to consider; among these are the legal, ethical and practical consequences.

Think first of your legal standing. The first thing that you must do is to review all the employment related papers you have signed with your company. There might be a non-compete clause in your employment contract. This forbids you from seeking employment from a company in the same type of business.

If there is a non-compete clause, you should consult a lawyer with extensive experience in labor cases if you are still determined to transfer to a company in the same industry. I suggest you try to work out something mutually acceptable.

If you want to be tough, you may be able to win your case in court but that will entail much time and money if the company decides to give you trouble. Besides, there is always the possibility that you may lose your case.

An other potential legal impediment is if it states in your contract that you are required to be employed a minimum number of years by the company; this is usually the case if you were given special training. This was an issue some time ago when several pilots resigned to work for another airline. Their previous employer sued them because they have not yet completed the required number of years as compensation for their training.

Study all the practical implications of your resignation. What are the benefits that will be foregone? There may be loans that will be immediately deducted from your separation pay. Check the terms of your Pag-ibig and SSS loans, if you have outstanding balances that may automatically be due in full. You may be counting on your separation pay to tide you over while unemployed, without knowing that it may be significantly reduced.

Take note that no matter what your personal opinion is of your present company, now is not the time to burn bridges. It is virtually certain that interviewers will check on your current employer and if you are not in good terms with them, they are unlikely to give a good recommendation. In fact just around a year ago, I was interviewing an applicant who was out of work for two years. She was highly talented, and she did not know that the probable reason why no one was hiring was because one of her references gave her a terrible feedback.

Although you are likely to be interviewed by a fellow employee, sympathetic to your cause. Never badmouth your previous employer. Since there is an abundance of applicants to choose from, it will most likely eliminate you from consideration if there is the slightest possibility that you are a troublemaker.

Regarding the ethical aspects, I do not see any problem applying before filing your resignation—unless you are using company time and resources in your job search. As long as there is no malice in any of your acts, like intentionally filing your resignation at a time when it will cause the most inconvenience, then the thirty days’ notice should be sufficient for both legal and ethical considerations.

The main problem with looking for work before filing your resignation is that prospective employers cannot call on your current employer to check on your performance.

Hopefully your credentials will outweigh this disadvantage.

Finally, be extra nice on your last days in your company. Instead of slacking off, exert more effort and try to make the transition for your successor as easy as possible. Just

as the first impression has a long impact, so are your last actions long remembered; so try to leave on a high note. A cordial exit may reap future benefits later in your career

Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of  BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail

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Beginner’s Guide to Project Management

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

How a major project is handled can either make or break a person’s career—and even his company’s fortune. Unfortunately, many of those new to project management are left to “sink or swim” with insufficient guidance. While in developed nations many people engage in formal training in project management, here in thePhilippinesvirtually all project managers learn about project management on the job.

To be able to grasp the essentials of project management, you must know its definition: a project is a temporary undertaking with a defined beginning and an ending, done to meet unique objectives. Its transient nature means projects are not part of operations that are repetitive work to produce products or services.

While reading this article will not make you an instant expert, the basic ideas of project management listed below would be very helpful in guiding the beginner:

• Clarify the project objectives and requirements. You must document precisely what the project seeks to attain, as well as its constraints. Establish the deadline for completion, the budget, and the quality standards. You must consult with all the departments or persons that will be affected or needed to complete the project. Things like possible legal impediments must be ironed out. A lot of brainstorming and negotiation occurs in this stage. Getting the support of internal and external stakeholders is also important for a project’s success.

• Create the project plan supported by using the appropriate planning tools. Before beginning, you must create a detailed plan. Get detailed cost estimates and setup milestones to monitor progress. Tasks must be arranged in the proper order and the dependencies (a task that must be finished before another task is done) noted. In doing this, it is impossible to organize a project properly without the use of planning tools. There are dozens of possible tools, but there are some that are commonly used. One is the Gantt chart, a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. For better control, the more sophisticated tools often used is the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT); these enable you to apply additional resources to relieve bottle necks that delay the whole project.

• Prepare for contingencies. Plan for problems that may be encountered. Build on some slack into your time schedule in order to mitigate the inevitable delays that will result from unforeseen events. Besides the extra time needed, you must also have some allowance in the budget for emergencies that will need additional expenditures.

• Submit timely and well written Project Status Reports. Study how to make project status reports for your superiors. Find out if there is already a prescribed format or precedent before coming up with your own. Reports should be as short as possible without missing important details. Avoid using jargon that may not be understandable to all those who may read your reports. Report if progress is on schedule and being done within the budget. Also, keep copies of your report for future reference.

Effective project management is extremely important and you must try to learn as much as possible to avoid costly mistakes.

To learn more about this important function you may call (2) 727-5628/8860 or e-mail for details.

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Work Your Way Up the Corporate Ladder in ForMe Pieces

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)


Dressing has always been one of the best avenues for the imagination to play, and the result is a proportioned reflection of an individual’s personality. But with the hectic life that the metro provides, dressing to impress has become a dilemma of every woman. The woman of today is career and goal-oriented; she works hard and plays on how she feels she deserves, and this woman is in search of clothes that will cater to her very needs, from coffee to cocktails, from office to a night of social interaction. And ForMe, the country’s premiere female fashion brand, strives to provide. A staple in the retail industry since 2004, ForMe has recently made significant improvements to not only its latest collection but overall brand image. Currently known for its classic, laid back pieces, new initiatives of ForMe focus on “Celebrating Women” as the brand expands its merchandise to deliver more diverse and stylish pieces.

For more information, visit


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Shape Up or Ship Out: How to be Globally Relevant

Get hired/promoted/noticed—anywhere in the world—in five easy steps

By Nikki Constantino

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 6, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Miranda*, 47, was on top of her game when news about the approval of her petition to migrate to the U.S. arrived. She was at executive officer level here in the Philippines, had a total of eight managers reporting directly to her, with a daily cup of coffee (black, two sugar) always waiting on her desk when she got to the office.

Settling down in New Jersey two months after the office despedida, it hit her that she was going to have a hard time finding work despite her stellar resume, when one morning she intended to make herself a cup of joe and realized she didn’t know how to work the coffeemaker. Without the managers doing her spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and a secretary to sort out her schedule, she knew only how to fire e-mails in Outlook.

With the American economy still looking bleak, there was absolutely no company that would hire her—at least for the big decision-maker position that she was accustomed to. Three long months later, Miranda found a job delivering medicine samples from one department to another in a local pharmaceutical company.

Rachel*, 29, on the other hand, was a dean’s lister in college—lowest grade 1.5, a regular at the library. After graduation she quietly established a career in writing and later on editing manuscripts by sticking with her company where she is known for being consistent and dependable. When the recent economic downturn forced her company to downsize, she was spared, but it meant that the remaining employees had to take on more work—and go out of their comfort zone.

Rachel was tasked to make cold calls and sell their product abroad by phone apart from her usual editorial work, but without giving it a try, she decided she couldn’t do that new aspect of the job and called it quits after two weeks.

Globally Relevant

“Grow with your job and promotions,” says Susan M. Heathfield, a human resources expert, in an article published in “You may be a valued employee but if your skills and contributions don’t accelerate over the years, when crunch time arrives, you may find yourself out of a job.”

This is most probably what happened with Miranda—the higher up the ladder she went and the more people there were at her beck and call, the more out of touch she got with technology. She learned too late that operating such technology comprises the skills that headhunters look for at hiring.

With Rachel, however, it was her inability to adapt to change, be flexible, and challenge her skills that did her in. Had she tried making even just one call, she would have known that it was not at all difficult, and she could have held on to a job that many would kill for especially in these bad times.

So if graduating cum laude or having a master’s degree does little in enhancing one’s career in the open global workplace, what will? Letty Altavas, organization consultant for Profiles Asia Pacific and a 40-year veteran of human resources management, and career expert Dr. Greg Ketchum of Talent Planet (, list down five new skills that an employee nowadays should have or acquire in order to thrive and succeed:

1. “Develop analytical skills.”  “Don’t just follow instructions like a robot,” says Altavas. “Always think why, how, what, where, etc. This will make you understand your work better and improve your skills and outlook on other jobs.” This may also mean exceeding expectations.

2. “Get to learn about other jobs around you and develop multitasking skills,” says Altavas.  Such is the case of Josie*, whose job was to come up with the monthly newsletter that her company blasts out to clients, but the artist she was teamed with often flaked out and often left her resizing images and polishing the layout herself. She was forced to learn Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver due to the artist’s absences. When her boss learned that the newsletter had become solely her output, he let go of the artist and gave Josie a significant pay increase.

3. “Keep climbing the skills (note: not corporate) ladder,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Remember the idea of the corporate ladder and how everyone was expected to climb that ladder to ever-higher levels of responsibility and success?” he asks. “Well, that ladder is kind of broken now, but we can take that same idea to describe what people need to do today: keep climbing up the ladder in building your levels of expertise and experience that enable you to do more complicated and custom work rather than work that can be reduced to a routine.”

4. “Develop proficiency in the English language,” advises Altavas. Or any language that you need to be fluent in, especially when you work for a business process outsourcing (BPO) company and have an international clientele.

5. “Develop specialized expertise that can’t be reduced to a simple formula,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Improve your communication, business, industry, and strategy skills. Your ability to see the big picture at work and understand how business works will allow you to see new opportunities and be able to personally add to the bottom line.”

*names have been changed

This article appeared in the April 19, 2010 issue of Business Agenda and originally published in the February 2010 issue of HIPP Magazine.

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