A list of things better adults should stop doing in 2019

Adulting 2019: Some things we should stop doing

It’s almost 2019 and while I feel that 2018 kinda slowed down, it’s now down to nine days. Let that sink in.

As with blogs come year-ender lists – things we’re thankful for, Christmas wishes, new year goals.

Coming up with this is party because I really believe I was a crappy friend/human being these past few years and I easily blamed that on all the struggles that came with that thing we call adulting. But silently retreating to my personal cave this year got me face to face with God’s grace. And indeed, as much as His grace heals, it transforms us from the inside out.

And so here’s a list of things we should stop doing as we grow a year older. And by we, I mean I’m the first to be found guilty doing these and must now commit to stop these.

Asking friends to treat us to a meal, to the movies, etc.

The libre culture among family and friends. I used to do this a lot to some of my best of best friends, half-jokingly asking them to pay for our lakad and I realize now that we’re all adults with a job. It’s fun when we were kids but as we age, we all learn the responsibilities that come with our hard-earned cash. Maybe our friends have shiny job titles that give us ideas on how much they’re earning but we should also be sensitive to their financial responsibilities (i.e. supporting a family, paying off loans, establishing a small business venture, etc.). These days, I aspire and pray to be the one paying for group meals from time to time but while I’m not at that stage yet, I can simply pay for my own meals, tickets, etcetera, etcetera.

Giving excuses, seen zoning people when we want to say no to a lakad.

I am so guilty of this. I not only seen zone people, I inbox zone them. And when I do open the message *accidentally* I try to come up with lame excuses like, “I fell asleep,” or “I have other plans.” One time, I tried being honest and it was just liberating. So now, I just really tell people if I had a long week and was planning to sleep/stream Netflix this weekend, or it’s tipid time of the month, or I have a lot going on right now and have no energy to go out. Newsflash: people actually understand reasons that are sincere, making our relationships better.

Matchmaking teasing our friends to just about anyone because we feel we have a say as to who they should be with, or whether they should be with someone in the first place.

Ugh. Do you recall that old saying, do not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you?

I am so done with myself participating in friendly banter about my friends’ relationship status and/or who they should go out with. Personally, I’ve always made it clear (at least I think I’ve made it clear) that I have no time, plan, business in “finding the one”. If he comes into my life, he’ll be welcome but how could we even meet when dating isn’t even part of my calendar? Haha. Nonetheless, it’s not a problem thing for my family and friends to dwell on because I’m not even thinking about it except for the few minutes on every. social. gathering. I. attend. where people ask me about my singleness or about that guy friend they think can be a good match for me.

That said, I had to ask myself the hard question on why I enthusiastically tease my friends every chance I get? I don’t really ask people on why they’re single but I match-make them with this and that person, which is an equally uncomfortable thing. If I don’t really like it happening to me, I should not be doing it to them. If I have my own reasons for staying single, they must have, too. And unless a friend openly asks me for some single/relationship advice, I gotta learn to zip it.

Talking about what’s going on in the lives of people who aren’t around. No matter how concerned we are with how they’re doing. If we really want to know how are they, we can reach out on our own.

Again, if we don’t want people talking about us when we’re not there to hear it, much less defend ourselves when needed, why do we do it to others?

Also, not talking about other people gives us room to talk about things of value to everyone who is present. Talk about books you’re reading, movies you found hilarious, relaxing, amazing when you stayed at home that weekend. Talk about your struggles and discover that there is beauty and strength in being vulnerable in front of people who love you. Talk about the nation and its woes. Discuss who you’ll be voting for this May 2019 and why. Talk about your dreams and goals and who knows there might be someone who can start a passion project with you.

Asking our friends for free services/products. Haha.

We should be the biggest supporters of our friends’ crafts and skills. In this world economy, we can do better in helping those within our reach by sending cash flow their way instead of those multi-million dollar corporations. I have also learned that if I can’t pay someone to do something for me, I should learn to do it myself (hello, Youtube video tutorials and blog/reddit/wiki posts on just about anything).

Taking too long to return a borrowed item (i.e. books, clothes, etc.). Or maybe just simply update the person on when you can return what was lent to you.

Oh this. I still have a couple of books to return and my reason was I was mostly in Tarlac the past 3 years. Welp, I’m back home and hopefully finish returning items to people who entrusted them to me.


I still falter at these from time to time but I’m grateful for reminders sent my way that get me back on track. Partly, I’m writing this publicly to add another layer of reminder to self. Hehe. Also, to people I’ve done these to, please forgive me. And please do gently rebuke me if I ever do these again to you. As they say, there is no better apology than changed behavior.

On the other hand, I have learned that it’s good practice to expect these of ourselves but be gracious when people fail to do the same for us. And with that, here’s to better version of our grace-filled selves, 2019 and always! ♥

Work from Home series by Joan Narciso @ pagesfromtheinsideout.com

[Series] So you want to work from home…

Hello! Last month, I started a series on my personal path to working from home as a freelancer. I meant to finish this series in four consecutive weeks but I got sick.

Anyway, I’ve talked about the personal reasons that led me to explore online jobs + the deeper reasons behind this booming field which I processed along the way. Today, I want to share with you how I started. I’m no expert but I hope this list could give ideas to people interested in exploring this field. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you have a full time job right now, you DO NOT have to quit it while looking for opportunities online. Again, my circumstances then were kind of a unique mixture of super stress + a real need to get back home. Also, I have been blessed with the kindest brother who helped me see to it that if I don’t find a new job right away, our family would still survive. Hehe.

DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, HOW YOU WANT TO DO IT

I already told you that when it became clear I’m quitting my last job, I really didn’t know where to go next, what to do next. Short version was I just knew I didn’t want the hassle of Cavite-Metro Manila commute. So I considered looking for remote jobs.

I knew friends and colleagues who teach English as a second language online, some do freelance writing, some video editing, and a few virtual assistants. I also heard of former contact center employees who used their BPO experience as a pathway to finding their own client and working from home. 

At first, I considered teaching English to Asian students. I even applied at BizMates but eventually decided against it. I know people who excel at it and earn a lot, but I know myself–I would either just have a few classes and do other stuff + rest, or get myself caught up in 16 hours/day of tutorial sessions in my drive to quickly pay off loans and save money.

That’s when I decided to google online jobs. On the results page alone, I found plenty of sites that advertise remote jobs. The challenge, as with almost everything on the internet, is to determine the legitimate sites and job ads. 

Household names include Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, OnlineJobsPH, and more. Time Doctor’s blog site listed down ‘38 Legit Filipino Work From Home Job Sites That Will Not Scam You.‘ The list was comprehensive enough but you have to do the work and go through those sites and read and browse and read and read. It might seem like a lot of work but I simply treated it the way I researched on companies when I was job hunting for non-virtual work. 

Those sites offer different types of jobs so it’s important I determined:

  • What I can do
  • What I want to do
  • How much of my schedule am I willing to allot for work
  • How much, how often and how I want to get paid

Answering those questions and jotting down any relevant experience gave me a quick reference/reviewer for the interviews I would soon have.

Get this list  here. Or a downloadable, ready to be edited PDF for you here

Notice that on the last column, I asked myself if I want to do this type of job. See, I’m switching careers because I don’t want to be too stressed by work anymore; I might as well make sure that I won’t be diving into something I already know to be too stressful for me. So even though I like to write and know that I can push myself to produce content when I get paid to do it (haha), I know that I have other skills I can tap that will equally generate income.

THE OTHER TWO QUESTIONS

  • How much of my schedule am I willing to allot for work
  • How much, how often and how do I want to get paid

Reading up stories of those who have already struggled and thrived in this field, I quickly realized that I have to market my skills in a way that is competitive and yet not too ambitious.

Many experts in the field know the way around negotiating higher rates but I’m not there yet so I set my expected pay at a rate that I know my skills+experience deserve. BUT! I added two more facts to the equation: 

  • I’m a newbie in the field. I have no actual experience as a virtual employee without a company (i.e. BPOs, call centers) representing me to a client.
  • I want a flexible schedule. As much as possible, I looked for jobs that don’t require me to man the desk for eight straight hours regardless if I’d already finished my tasks. 

EMPLOYMENT TYPE

Remember those websites where you can legit find online jobs? They vary in the types of jobs they offer, and it’s not just the positions/job responsibilities but the type of employment/client relationship you’d have. Some offer full-time positions, part-time, project-based positions. Again, ask yourself if you want to do several part-time jobs, or work on 1-2 projects every 3-6 months, or get hired by one client for a full-time position. 

EXPECTATION SETTING, DEBUNKING MYTHS

People say I got hired quicker than usual. Partly, I know that writing down that list helped me focus in looking for the right job ads. But also, I think, that’s because I kept submitting applications all day in those two weeks. So if you don’t get hired right away, or you don’t see as many opportunities that fit your short list, don’t give up just yet. Finding jobs – virtually or not – was never that easy anyway.

I might have kept saying I wanted a stress-free life which made me switch careers and that might have you thinking remote jobs are all breeze and fun. THAT IS NOT TRUE. As with any other job that pays money, this would entail hard work. The list I just shared? It’s meant to determine the job I wouldn’t be lazy doing in the long run. No one will be looking over my shoulder on a daily basis so I have to make sure I can oversee my work performance. I also remind myself that the job I have right now is a blessing from the Lord and His gifts deserve my utmost respect and gratitude. A grateful heart gives back. 

READY TO APPLY? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE

If you’re still reading (wow, thanks ♥), and you keep thinking, “okay, I want to explore this further,” here are the things I prepared before sending out those applications:

  • An updated CV/résumé
    • focused on my previous responsibilities and professional highlights/achievements 
  • Internet connection
    • we had Globe LTE back then and it was pretty fast at 15mbps but most clients prefer cable(?)/line-based connection so we switched to Globe’s version of fiber technology (they call it BDSL)
    • note that it’s highly advisable that you have good internet speeds before you apply as most job ads require that you send your speedtest results;also, if you get set up for a Skype interview, it would be a shame if your connection is slow
  • Laptop computer
  • An over-ear headset with noise-cancelling features for when you have Skype team meetings, or especially if you’re going to do some voice calls as part of the job
  • A PayPal account
    • This is usually how overseas clients pay their virtual consultants, but there are some who use similar sites. Still, PayPal would be a good way to get yourself familiar with moving money in the web
    • You can connect this to your bank account, or to GCash for when you need the money to be transferred real-time

And those are the basics. I will try to write another post or two about this when the holidays are over. If you’re a friend with some questions, you know how to reach me. Otherwise, leave a comment here or send me a message thru the contact link above.

Happy Monday! ♥

P.S. Please pardon my grammatical errors here as I wrote this all night and I’m gonna sleep first before rereading and editing this. 

Two-Lights-Relumino-Blog

Review: ‘Two Lights: Relúmĭno’

Not a second bit was wasted on mere motion. As a short film, it made sure every bitrate carried a certain emotion, or sometimes a combination of two. For a story about people with impaired vision, the characters’ eyes spoke so much of words only the soul could read and understand.

Watching the story unfold made me feel In Soo’s adjustment to his gradual loss of sight. I felt his quiet strength in keeping on, not letting his ordeal get in the way of life. It wasn’t in 3D but I felt how he almost slipped into despair, letting the physical darkness envelope his heart. I felt how Sooyoung’s bright heart became the hand that lead Insoo back to a brighter path.

It’s heart-warming that the movie gently reminded physically-abled people how to truly help those with disabilities. Without saying it outright, the director made the viewers see the importance of giving a sense of independence to those whose lives suddenly took a turn because of an illness or impairment. True, they got sick but the person can still do a whole lot on his/her own. It’s important we don’t take that away from them, too.

As expected, Han Ji Min and Park Hyung Sik had chemistry that made my heart flutter. I am glad that the story ended on a happy note, albeit openly. It feels as though a part two could hurt my heart, not that I’m not eager to see a follow-up story.

But for this short little and inspiring ad, I’d say the story was perfect for feeeling all warm and fuzzy, falling in love with Insoo and Sooyoung as they will their hearts to see beyond the blurry, gloomy, dark parts of life. It’s a refreshing spray of hope that even when you’re not looking, or even when you cannot look to see, love will find those it’s meant to find. When it does, I hope we all be as confident and trusting as the two.

Note: Images and stills are from the movie produced by Samsung. You may watch it on Youtube or VLive.

**This post first appeared on my now archived site, Kaleidoscope Wonders, in December 2017.

buy-bust-blog | movie review | pagesfromtheinsideout.com

A note on the action scenes in ‘BuyBust’

There are movies made to entertain, made to make the viewers swoon, made to inspire, made to talk about the past, made to display a few people’s fantasies about the future. Then there’s BuyBust, a movie made like a mirror to show us how much mess we are in these days. 

BuyBust is now on Netflix and you should see it more than once. Schools and communities should encourage the youth to think the movie through. It’s an action film which centered on Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis), a police officer who survives a night of BuyBust that was rigged before it even began. 

Screen-grabbed from Netflix PH

I give five stars to film director Erik Matti and his team for an excellent commentary on the Duterte administration’s fake war on drugs. The film showed how complicated the drug mess is in this country and that waging war on it isn’t the one size, fits all solution.

It didn’t demonize one side of the coin and hailed the other. But it showed that in all these, the poor and the powerless and the ordinary citizens (like Nina Manigan and even that Hudas of a police officer waiting outside the slum area) get caught in between. And the rich? The powerful? Oh, they went on with their extravagant lives. Biggie Chen explained it best.

I’ve seen reviews about the action scenes in BuyBust and how it lacks a lot compared to its counterparts. I think it is brilliant that most of the action sequences looked a bit animated. Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera and the rest of the cast mostly looked like video game characters during fight scenes. The film is 2h7m total and Erik Matti gave very few scenes a slow down. In those scenes, a character’s gruesome death or remark would hit us, shock us. 

Isn’t that a portrayal of our country and how facts are presented to us? Equally important, isn’t that a portrayal of how Filipinos see, feel, react to, and (sadly, rarely) think about what is presented to us–our history, current events, and our nation’s future? Most of the time, the news is animated for us. Be it the current administration’s “war” on drugs, corruption in the government, our islands getting taken over by China, our flailing economy, and more. Then, once in a while, some news hit close to home and we pause to take the shock.

If you’re looking to watch a suspenseful, action-packed movie, there are a plenty on Netflix and BuyBust is just one of them. But if you’re looking for a work of fiction that challenges our reality as a nation, BuyBust is a must-see, a masterpiece, a necessary film for this generation and the future ones.

Switched | Part 2 from the series on why I'm pursuing a home-based career | pagesfromtheinsideout.com a blog by Joan Narciso

[Series] My Work-from-Home Story: Personal Reasons

Hello again. Last time (read it here), I shared how I made sense of the growing number of people choosing to explore and thrive in the growing online community of business and professional services. 

Offline, friends would ask me what made me switch to this career path. I’m putting this out here as a compiled list because I’ve seen how some could relate to my reasons and tried looking for home-based jobs, too; while some, despite having shared some of my reasons, decided that they are not fit for work that doesn’t require them to change into office clothes and leave the house daily.

My hope is that, somehow, this would help you weigh your options and next steps as a young professional. 

T R A F F I C

In Tarlac City, my place was just in walking distance from our office. SM and nearby restaurants were just a tricycle away. But on Friday nights that I commute to Dasma, the bus was where I would have dinner, half of my night’s sleep, and a kdrama episode or two.

Three years of travelling between Dasma and Tarlac and the occasional work trips to other parts of the Philippines got me physically exhausted. My posture worsened with years of slouching in buses. Every time I pass along EDSA, I always muttered that I can’t imagine commuting everyday from Dasma to Makati/BGC/Manila and back. 

Needless to say, my top-of-mind reason for choosing to work from home is to avoid Cavite and Metro Manila’s heavily congested roads.

F I N A N C I A L  F R E E D O M

Our family isn’t rich (as most of the Filipino families I know). See, you have to be rich to know a lot of rich families.

I was privileged enough to have education but even that privilege had cost my mother loans after loans. I was privileged enough to be a youth leader in our church which helped me discover my skills and put them to work. I was privileged enough to have my eyes open to the needs of our society, our country. 

What I did not have back then is the privilege of choosing a career that doesn’t pay well just because it’s fulfilling. I went against that though. I have responsibilities that I put aside because I was taught and convinced that my great potential should be used for a greater cause. I didn’t mind not being rich, I’m fulfilled and blessed. But overtime, not being rich meant getting more loans when my old parents are sick, or when I have to pursue further studies that no one else would support because I’m an adult now, or not taking time off work even when my body needs it because every peso counts, or not having enough power and influence to help those in need. 

Now, I recognize that I could have spent 2, 3, even 5 years pursuing a career that really pays well (locally or overseas) even if it’s not for a great cause so long as it is decent. I realize now that there is nothing wrong with jobs that pay bills and settle loans and help raise a family’s living standards. 

I recognize now that had I recognized that earlier in life, I would now have the means to pursue further studies, master my skills, and help more people. 

But let’s go back to the point of this post… I chose a home-based career because with the right client/s, I would get paid well.

Getting paid well means financial freedom. This freedom would mean I’d have time to use my skills and resources for  the greater causes I believe and support. This freedom would mean I could help my community. And maybe, just maybe, this freedom would lead me to a life that is privileged enough to choose a career that doesn’t pay well enough. 

M E N T A L  H E A L T H

I loved my last job but its environment was a bit too far from being stress-free. After some time, it took a toll. I was depressed, and I would forever be grateful for the support I got from family and close friends who loved me despite all the bad decisions I made on impulse during those tough times. 

I was mid-management in my last job. My mistake was taking it personally and growing frustrated when the top management and the staff could not see eye to eye. When it was clear that it’s time for me to leave, I didn’t know what to do next. All I knew was I didn’t want a repeat of the issues I experienced from a mid-management post.

Should I establish my own business? Ha, not enough capital (see previous point). If I join the government, I might get exposed to more frustrating scenarios that could trigger depression once again. If I go back to corporate, will there be an individual contributor post that will not force me to socialize when I literally don’t have the energy for it? 

Needless to say, the setting of a home-based job offered me the room to recuperate. Without the usual pressures put on by corporate culture, I was able to focus on my deliverables and still have moments of the day for healing and rest. 

It took me some time to go out again after coming home. I prayed, read a lot, spent a lot of time consuming content online and just being home. I got my confidence back as I proved myself still able to deliver excellent work. I quietly sought healing and grace. One morning, I found myself reconnecting to old friends and to people in general. I found my niche. I began writing dreams and goals again. And I’m keeping the hard lessons from previous experiences as I’m opening myself up again to new things. 

F L E X I B I L I T Y

I admit that part of the attraction of working from home is the flexibility it offers. From being the person who has to check her schedule before meeting with friends, I can now adjust to the availability of my friends. I also don’t have to rise up early, doll up for work and get home late just to have dinner and sleep. 

When I’ve cleared my financial obligations and have achieved my personal goals next year, I’m sure I’d want to travel again. And with a remote job, I can take my laptop wherever I go and work there. 

I also have time to work on personal projects like this blog, and pursuing creative hobbies with my multi-potentialite sisters.

With the flexibility of my work schedule, I have time to study, too. There are tons of continuing and further studies available online and I’m thankful that my client supports my drive to learn new crafts and improve my current skill set.


And those are my reasons. I say it’s personal because I don’t want to be that person who had a personal aha! moment and then went on to convince everyone else that this should be their path, too. While I’m very glad to discuss this with people, I only ever recommend this to friends whose stories I personally know. Even though I said in my previous post that our generation is generally multi-potentialite, I’d say there will always be people who are specialists and are fit & very much needed in big corporations and government offices. Also, there are companies who encourage multi-potentiality and they pay well, too. 

But if you’re in a state in your life where you also don’t know what to do next in your career path and you find these reasons sort of relatable, come back next week and I’ll write about how I determined the kind of jobs I’d be looking for, which online sites I explored, and how I got hired in two weeks.

Review and tips on getting more than what you paid for Scribd + Audible + Kindle | pagesfromtheinsideout.com by Joan Narciso

Scribd is definitely BETTER than Audible & Kindle combined!

Attention my reader friends! And my not-so reader friends (yes! you might find this worth trying by the end of this post).

I just discovered Scribd’s bigger, better and hotter version of itself. See, Scribd used to be just that one better than Wikipedia Google page result for presentations, transcripts and research papers that can add substance to my college papers. Not anymore. Scribd now offers a monthly membership plan that includes unlimited access to audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, documents (yes, the kinds I looked for in college and more), and even music sheets!

I may have been quite late into the news but I’m happy to have discovered this now. But first, a little backstory, if you may indulge me.

About two months ago, I discovered Trevor Noah‘s Netflix comedy special.  I was an instant fangirl of his wit & humor. And true to my fangirl instincts, I looked him up online and watched all his other comedy specials, binged-watched The Daily Show, and found out he wrote a book about his life growing up in South Africa. The book isn’t available in local bookstores at that time so I signed up for Audible’s free trial which gives new members 1 free book + 2 Audible originals. Using my free credit, I got Trevor’s Born a Crime and I FELL IN LOVE. Not only was his story amazing and worth-sharing, his narration was ever engaging too.

And that’s how I started thinking of continuing my Audible membership. It was a pleasant surprise that I liked audiobooks. I found it to be a more valuable use of my time rather than just listening to my Spotify playlists while on the road or when I’ve finished my to-do lists at work, just waiting for emails.

Still, Audible’s $14.95 per month was too pricey for my budget. But before I cancelled, I took advantage of Audible’s refund policy where they allow members to return a book in exchange of another using the monthly credit they give. So, for the free trial (not spending anything yet), I got to listen to 2 books using 1 credit. Yay! Plus, there were a few free Freakonomics and other interesting podcasts I downloaded, too. Only then did I cancel. I got to keep the free podcasts and the 2nd audiobook I exchanged for Born a Crime which was Andy Stanley’s Irresistible.

I can still purchase audiobooks from Audible but the 30% discount exclusive to members won’t be available to me anymore.

Audible Membership Exclusives

Audible membership packages | pagesfromtheinsideout.com
If $14.95/month or approximately P800 isn’t too much for you,  you’ll get the following:

  • 1 credit/month which can be used to avail any book from Audible’s 2,000,000-strong catalog;
  • 2 Audible originals (which I wasn’t personally crazy about);
  • 30% discount on all other audiobooks (which was kind of pointless for me because I already paid a membership fee and I still have to pay extra if I want more books in a month? No, thanks.
  • Access to daily book sales (Again, I still have to pay extra??);
  • Some free podcasts that you have to really look for and decide which ones match your interests; and
  • Keep the offline versions of your previously downloaded books even after you cancel.
  • If you have an Amazon Kindle account, you get extra discounts when you purchase both the audiobook and ebook.

I admit that I have been consuming less books than I used to since the age of Netflix and Viu but those two audiobooks got me on a high thirst for more. So I started looking for alternatives.

I was even ready to risk my not-so bothering astigmatism and asked if Kindle Unlimited is available in the Philippines. It’s not.

Fortunately, Scribd stepped up their game. For just $8.99/month or about P470, members get unlimited access to audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, documents, and music sheets! That’s a lot of resources you can consume in a month! I can finish a really good book in a day or a week so I’m happy dancing at this discovery.

Scribd Membership Exclusives: Worth every penny!

Scribd Membership Package

Scribd Member Exclusives

I’m on the free trial and have already downloaded and saved/bookmarked about 30 audiobooks and ebooks from my favorite authors. They also have Time Magazine, Foreign Policy, and a whole lot more in their library. Sure, Trevor’s memoir isn’t on Scribd but the rest of what was in my Audible wishlist is there. Best part, I don’t have to wait another month to get 1 free book. Nor do I have to pay extra for more books if I want them now.

Also, see those member exclusives? Scribd says you don’t have to pay extra–as in, those partner sites won’t ask for your billing information–to avail of their free services. It’s so unlike Amazon which makes you pay separately for Kindle, Audible, Amazon Prime Video, Whispersync (although this one’s not available locally, I think). Sribd just keeps outdoing its competitor.

Scribd vs Audible | A review by Joan Narciso published on pagesfromtheinsideout.com
I don’t know about you, but I’d say Scribd could soon overtake Audible membership count if the latter doesn’t keep up with the direction of subscription services.

If I still haven’t enticed you enough so you’d try Scribd yourself, here’s my referral link for you. Sign up and you’ll get two months free instead of just one.

If you’re a daily commuter beating the congested roads of the Philippines, or you have a car you drive to and from the house, or you run on the treadmill, I highly suggest you give audiobooks a try. Who knows, it could be a welcome break from streaming too much Netflix, eh?


Not sure which audiobook to try first? Sound in on the comments or message me and I’ll give you some recommendations based on your interests. ♥

Switched | Part 1 from the series on why I'm pursuing a home-based career | pagesfromtheinsideout.com a blog by Joan Narciso

[Series] The beginnings of my work-from-home story, part 1

Fresh out of college, one of my then-youth leaders asked me,  “why do you want to be a diplomat? What is it that you want to do? What is it that you believe and think you are called to do?” The clueless but full of conviction younger version of myself only knew to answer that with specific job/calling titles: I want to be an ambassador and a missionary. I want to represent this country to the international community with dignity and honor, and help every Filipino blood overseas.  

We were raised in a culture that mostly defines people by job titles. People good at communications should be journalists or screenwriters or politicians. Those who crunch numbers like snacks should be accountants or engineers. If you grew up with a good sense of defending your thoughts using logic, be a lawyer or a judge. If you like the sciences, well, it’s just right you become a nurse or a doctor. You draw well? Honey, go be an architect.

As the world population grew by generations and new technologies were invented, society had to add a few more titles to the usual ones–pilots, flight attendants, interior designer, you get the gist.

There is a lot of talk-analysis about my generation. We’ve labeled the millennial a lot of things. But one thing I’m proud of is that if there’s a generation who can adapt fast and well to new things, it’s us. And we do it without forgetting the good old stuff. In fact, we integrate. In a sense, and I’d borrow Emilie‘s theory, we’re a generation of multipotentialites. According to her, multipotentialites’ or as I kind of generalize, our generation’s superpowers include: idea synthesis, rapid learning, and adaptability.

We adapt to change quite well and learn real fast, too. Think: cassette players to CDs to torrents to iTunes to Spotify; or Myspace, Friendster, Multiply and now Facebook and Twitter and IG and Snapchat and Youtube filled with self-made vloggers; or landlines to analog cellphones of our titos and titas to Nokia 5110 to smartphones. In all those and many other scenarios, no one sat down with us to teach us how to use the new technology. We don’t need to read manuals because navigating through new stuff is how we learn things.

But my favorite is how we bring the old to the new, innovating & creating new “job titles” for ourselves. The world keeps growing in billions and opportunities might have shrunk a good deal compared to the 60s, but our generation has learned to create new opportunities to explore. There was a time when a very few elites could only be the ones establishing businesses and organizations. Now, together with the younger generation (yes, we’re young but we’re also old), you don’t have to be a super elite to be an entrepreneur. At least in my country, there was a time when there’s just one type of privilege: the rich. I don’t have the statistics but I’d say there’s now a variation of privilege for the not so rich.

We don’t have to be stuck at one title in life–a manager, a stay-at-home mom, an editor, a social worker. We can be all of it or more as much as we give room for learning and growth in our lives. Of course, it’s not a breeze. We have to work hard but as we do, we don’t have to get stuck at doing just one thing while thinking of the many other things we know we can also do.

If I could go back to that one conversation after graduation, I’d tell my ate that I’m pretty organized, detail- and process-oriented; I like matching ideas that generate income and forward a cause for the less-privileged or for my community. I like travelling to new places and discovering cultures and histories. I’d tell her that with those things I know I can do, and like to do, I believe I can help people discover their gifts and skills and untapped resources. I think with the right exposure, I can be an expert in mapping out and implementing processes for individuals and organizations. I’d tell her, I believe, just like a diplomat is not exactly the center of the story (the president is), I appreciate being in the backstory of a person or a team’s success. And I’d add that I dream of being rich myself so I can go from just coaching friends to giving them something to start with no matter how small.

Looking back, I wanted to be an ambassador because it’s prestigious and that’s one position I saw where I can contribute positive change to my country. I realize now I had it backwards. I was looking at shelves of job titles and thinking of what those titles do. I know now to look at what I can do and want to learn to do, and from there decide where to go, what to do. For some people, it’s pretty straightforward and they become specialists in their chosen fields. For people like me, I’m learning to create the jobs and opportunities myself.

I’m not saying I have turned my back on the possibility of a foreign service career. Who knows I might just be unwittingly collecting skill sets that a diplomat of this century needs. Or maybe I unwittingly collected knowledge from that college degree that I could use for my future endeavors. I’ll let you know when I know? 🙂


This is part 1 of the backstory why I’m now an online consultant, process analyst and executive assistant. This is some sort of a rationale.

But of course, there’s a list of personal reasons that led me to this path, too. I will share it here next week, and then write about the things I did when I looked for online, home-based opportunities.

I’m writing this, mostly, for my friends who are curious whether they can also do this themselves. Sure, we could meet up and discuss this over coffee but I figured we (including myself) could use some references for when we wonder why we’re doing what we’re doing, or simply for when someone wants tips on how to thrive on this field.

data, productivity, team collaboration applications | pagesfromtheinsideout.com by Joan Narciso

Tools of the Trade: My favorite data, productivity, and team collaboration apps

I’m not sure how many of my friends still don’t know that I’ve left my job that was based in Tarlac and I’m back in Dasma (for good). For over six months now, I’ve discovered the joys of working from home and I’m not sure you can bribe me to find a job that would require me to commute daily ever again.

As my job breathes and lives online, I communicate with colleagues using various online tools for communication, collaboration, file sharing, data recording & analysis, process documentation and implementation, and monitoring productivity.

Of course, email, Skype, and Google Drive or Drop Box are given. But, there are desktop and mobile apps I personally love. Sometimes, I get really amazed at what a certain app can do that I share it with some friends and former officemates. So not to annoy them individually anymore, I compiled my favorites and hope these could help some of you at your own workplaces or even with personal goal setting.

 

Trello 

This is my absolute, absolute favorite sticky notes upgrade. If you’re a to-do list person, I guarantee you would love Trello!

Here, you can categorize your tasks how you want it: per urgency, importance, or type of work to be done. It also eliminates back and forth emails as you can invite teammates to join the board where you can tag them and share updates on specific topics. You can attach files, images, and even connect this to your work calendar.

data, productivity, team collaboration applications | pagesfromtheinsideout.com by Joan Narciso

Trello’s interactive lists and cards are so easy to create and monitor that I even use it for my personal dream/goals board. I even have a board for what our family aims to buy by order of what’s important & urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not urgent & not important.

If you need more inspiration on how to make full use of Trello’s features, you can visit their inspiration gallery here.

 

Airtable

Airtable has Trello’s features but it has way more than what Trello can offer. It is like a mutation of spreadsheets, almost fully automating different types of reports on a given data set with just a few clicks.

For starters, it could just be a basic spreadsheet like Google Sheets. But once you’ve filled the grids with data, the spreadsheet can transform to mini presentation cards, automated calendars, and individual cards that are loaded with information.

It’s also a team collaboration app so you can easily tag people, assign tasks to team members, and track deadlines. You can also make forms from Airtable and the answers sync automatically with your tables.

Whether you’re in sales, software development, editorial, or events and marketing, I’m confident you’d find this a better way to keep track of things at work. They have handy video tutorials, too if you’re a audio-visual learner.

 

Fireshot

I work with multiple tabs open at a time. Sometimes, that could take a toll on my laptop’s performance; s I try to minimize using extra applications when I could. When I need to take screenshots, and this is especially needed for creating process documentation files, I no longer use the snipping tool, or some similar application. Instead, I use FireShot. It’s a Google Chrome extension that allows you to take a screenshot, edit, annotate, copy and paste it wherever you need it even without saving the picture. And it doesn’t eat a lot of your laptop’s memory and disk performance.

 

Bitly

Am I alone in thinking all this time that Bitly is just a URL shortener? Haha! Well, I learned it isn’t. You can use it to customize every single link you use which could help increase website engagement, as well as monitor the clicks and visits that those links get.

 

Canva for Work

I’m not a big Adobe Photoshop fan. Partly because my innate creativity gets sapped when mixed with too much technicalities to work around. Excuses. Gladly, there’s Canva for my 2-minute blog banners and quick and easy cards.

But it’s 2018 and no good application out there simply remain good. They just have to keep improving. Hence, Canva for Work. It’s a click and save tool for making sure you are following your company, team, or blog’s branding. Pick your colors, fonts, and logos and it will be easier for you to stick to those things when creating new content.

sample-canva-your-brand-e28093-canva-https___www-canva-com_brand

Bonus Tip for Windows 10 users:If you ever need to create documentation or instruction videos, you don’t have to download a special screen recording software. XBox, a built-in software I almost disabled, does the job.Just open the app you need to record, press Windows + G,  and select “Yes, this is a game” checkbox to load the Game Bar. Click on the recording button and start recording your screen. 

to all the friends i lost touch in recent years | pagesfromtheinsideout.com | a blog by Joan Narciso

To all the friends I have lost touch with in recent years

Four months ago, I helped a friend with a work plan she has to present to her bosses and colleagues. Her topic had me going through my college files and folders to look for something that could help her. I didn’t know that browsing through old reviewers and  projects could hit me with waves of sadness. I sat in front of my laptop and realized how close I was with some people back then, and how we have drifted apart.

I had to pause and process the heavy feeling as I thought that there were friendships I could have worked on despite circumstances and feelings and distance and time. But here I am, comfortably hiding behind my ‘low maintenance friendship‘ and/or ‘sometimes people just drift apart,’ and/or ‘there are just some people you move on from‘ reasons.

Admittedly, this isn’t the first time I thought of reaching out to good old friends. As morbid as it may sound, every time depression and suicide are brought to our attention, I think of people who matter to me. Sometimes, I reach out to them; most times, I let my own challenging life take over and just hope to God they are fine.

I had a lot going on in my life for the past three years. Add that I grew less and less fond of social media in general. But I’m trying and hoping to change a few things. I haven’t gotten around reaching out to everyone I need and want to but I’m slowly getting there. It’s not easy and I don’t want my words to lack action.

But I hope I could put this out for all my friends from years ago — high school, college, youth group, cousins, colleagues turned friends,

I’m sorry I just lost touch with you. I’m sorry I didn’t work on my end of our relationship. I’m sorry if I used to talk about being an extension of the love of Jesus and have failed to extend that love to you as I faded into my own little world.

Life is short and I know this won’t mean much but I want you to know I still look back at our days together and get thankful for the times we shared. You were a part of my life and a part of me today is because of the bond I shared with you.

Somewhere, we lost touch and I might have done something that hurt you or we simply grew apart. Or maybe we now have different interests and stuff to do. Regardless, please know that there are days I remember you and I pray for your wellness.

I don’t post on social media these days and I don’t browse my Facebook newsfeed either. But if you ever need to rant or vent or simply talk about something you are happy about, you can message me. Sometimes we have a lot of friends and yet we feel like we got no one to talk to. I hope when you get days like that, you’d remember me.

Adulting, as we know, is a series of days filled with endless things that demand our attention, resources and time. I hope you know that when you need to pause, or when you need someone to help you pause, you got this one friend who is every bit hurdling challenges but has now learned to be intentional in her friendship with you. By that, I mean, we can chat, talk over the phone or grab some cheap coffee as we look back, pause the present, and look forward to better days.

~ Joan ♥

P.S. This isn’t a shortcut way for you to reach out to me first.. this is just some sort of heads up so you wouldn’t suddenly think I’m reaching out to you out of nowhere. ♥

Page 1 - pagesfromtheinsideout.com by Joan Narciso

Page 1: Yep, it’s a whole new blog

Page 1 - pagesfromtheinsideout.com by Joan Narciso

I know, I know. This is the nth time you are seeing me say “I got a new site, I’ll blog again!” For the past 3-5 years, a part of me wished I could literally start over but life doesn’t roll that way. So instead, I kept starting new sites hoping it would inspire me enough to write, finish and publish my thoughts. But I was already too stressed and too tired to take on the challenge of finishing a draft and publishing it online.

At some point, I just gave up and began turning my last site into a photo journal. But I’m no photographer. Yes, I learned to take a few good angles but I know it’s not photos I wanted to share. If I were to put a piece of myself in this generation’s version of the web, it has got to be words.

See, the written word, to me, is magical. I fell in love with reading as a kid and since then, words from books I’ve consumed have grown a desire to get shared. They won’t just settle at the nooks and crannies of my brain for my personal usage. They would form phrases and sentences and stories that compel me to grab a pen & paper and write.

Excuses & Reasons

I never really stopped writing. I just stopped publishing.

I would censor myself.

This story should not be shared because it could hurt this and that person/organization. Who would even be interested in reading my thoughts in an age of travel hacks, vlogs and well-curated feeds? Bloggers nowadays must follow a theme and my train of thought has far more categories than what is “accepted” and “allowed” in the blogging universe of 2018.

But those reasons — they are all about what other people would think. They are about turning a supposedly good hobby that gives itself to the world into a trade that takes from the world thru blog earnings, follower counts, and online applause.

This time, it’s just pages.

This new site — it’s a fresh start, but it’s also not a fresh start really.

It’s not a fresh start really because I now allow myself to take pages from my old notebooks & my drafts’ folder and hit that publish button. This time, I’m publishing  without the inhibitions of a young woman who felt she cannot publicly talk about her wrong choices in life, her past ordeals, her worldview that was shaped and is still being shaped by her Christian faith, formal and informal education, and experience with people.

It’s fresh because I get to write new things from a year of quiet healing and restoration, new discoveries from staying at home and consuming content from books and online resources, new stories formed after I survived a tough year, new stories from my new adventures.

I’ve always said that I have lived half of my life inside my head that the other half feels like a dream. And I would always live that way, only this time, I’m committed to taking pages from the inside of my head and out to the world wide web.