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Happy International Women’s Day – Now Keep that Beautiful Chin Up!

7 Mar

As many of my women colleagues celebrate International Women’s Day at a company-sponsored event, I find myself facing two ultrasounds as I attend to my own, uhm, women’s health matters.

I used the waiting time to finish Lean In on my iPhone. It’s a book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that encourages women to lean into their careers, instead of holding back because of conscious and subconscious biases on their part and society’s.

IWD-y enough, I must say! It’s a good read for those who have doubts about balancing work and careers. It doesn’t say you should have a career, but that you have a choice and you should go for it if you want to!

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I find that a lot of inspirational advice for women also apply to men, not really gender-specific. The Philippines has been called matriarchal and our company’s office here have female executives outnumbering males a wee bit. In this context you wouldn’t think that women needed extra career encouragement. What this book made me realize is that, even despite of our achievements, we have a distortedly low view of ourselves. We constantly doubt our capabilities and fear that we will be exposed as someone who doesn’t know squat.

This is not just true in the corporate world. Moms feel guilty about their parenting even when their kids think the world of them. I got a few kind adjectives from my 6yo last week as his assignment asked for a description of his mother. In Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches ad, women described themselves in far less flattering ways than other people did.

And so yes, even when things are outwardly fine, giving a woman an honest, sincere affirmation of her competency/beauty/whatever or being there for her when she is feeling insecure about it, can help bring her view of herself closer to reality, reducing the mental and emotional pain she needlessly goes through.

Happy IWD to all women, whether you are in the corporate, business, or homemaking world, married or single. May we all lean into whatever pursuits fire us and do so with our beautiful chins up!

Stop, Step, Crunch

10 Jul

I’m pretty much holed up in the office from the time I get in to the time I head home. I bring my snacks and lunch so there’s no need to venture out in the tropical heat in search of grub. In my cubicle I sit, oblivious to whether it’s a sunny, cloudy, or even stormy day.

We had a team building lunch recently that forced me out of hermitage. As we were walking back from the restaurant, I noticed these brown things scattered on the sidewalk. They reminded me of a simple high school joy – stepping on these crunchy things (not quite leaves… pods?) that fall from I-don’t-kn0w-what-kind-of-tree. There’s a satisfaction in feeling the right measure of resistance and giving in under your feet as you hear the c-r-u-n-c-h.

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Some people stop and smell the flowers. I now make it a point to stop, step, and crunch as I walk to and from the parking area. 🙂

Choosing School Over Family

29 Jun

Our company offers opportunities for international assignments. I have said I wanted to stay put for now, so as not to uproot the kids when I feel like they have just entered grade school and adjusted.

I asked the kids this week, what if Mom and Dad need to work in another country again? You’ll have to go to another school in another country. The responses were quick, and reflective of their different personalities and priorities:

B1: You can just leave me with Lolo and Lola. (Ouch. He has too much of a good thing going with his soccer varsity and friends.)

B2: I’m ok with a new school. (What? But you’re just two weeks into your new school! The school did say you were as adjusted as an old student. The familiarity with B1’s friends surely helped.)

Bottom-Up Estimating

6 Jan

I just spent a whole day estimating the # of components that can be delivered given different scenarios. I had fun using Excel’s different table functions – something I had not really exploited before. Giving logical table names for easier validation of formulas, auto-formatting headers, last rows, first columns, last columns.

Hubby picks me up for our date night. We check in with the kids – we are required to “call when you are together.” Our estimated arrival at home is the subject of daily inquiry but I couldn’t believe the detailed questioning that followed.

G2: Why will you get home 11 or 12? (he must have had an earlier conversation with Dad)

Me: We’re not watching a movie anymore, we’ll probably be home 11.

G2: Why 11?

Me: Because we’re just on our way to the restaurant, we have to order, we’ll eat and then we’ll drive home.

G2: How many minutes is it to Shangri-la?

Me: I just spent a whole day estimating, I don’t want to do a bottom-up estimate with you!

I realize he doesn’t know what I’m ranting about and try again.

Me: I just spent a whole day figuring out how long it takes to do things so I can tell people how much my team can do, I don’t want to tell you how long it takes to get to Shangri-la, I just want to give you the high level estimate that we’ll be home at 11!

I doubt that I am getting through.

G2: How many minutes will it take you to eat?

Me: We’ll be home around 11, ok?

G2: Is it ok with you if you just get a little sleep and then wake up early tomorrow?

I realize he’s worried we won’t get him to his soccer clinic on time.

Me: It’s ok, I’ll get enough.

G2: K1 wants to talk. After K1, me.

The phone is passed to K1.

K1: What time will you be home?

Me: We’ll be home at 11 ok?

K1: Ok, after kuya, not me.

G2: When you get home, kiss and hug us, ok?

Me: ok 😀

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