A case for the steady, corporate 9-5

Let me get this out of the way: there is no shame in having a steady, 9-5 corporate job. For most of the population, it is an absolute privilege. Knowledge-based work in a cushy office sure beats clocking in at a minimum wage job, fighting for hours (from personal experience). But for many well-educated, high-achieving young professionals, working at a corporate job can be the equivalent of a death sentence.

Steady Freddy, however, loves his 9-5 gig at a multi-national corporation. He doesn’t think of it as “selling out” because he chose a more stable path. He’s only 25, so he’s not sure whether this will be a slam dunk for life. But for now, he doesn’t mind the predictable schedule. He also recognizes the many other benefits beyond a steady paycheck. Be like Freddy and consider the bigger picture.

It’s not a zero-sum game (the end of my attempt at basketball references).
Photo by Marcel Schreiber on Unsplash

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Gratitude: my career story so far (Part I)

In the wake of my 7th anniversary with PepsiCo, the present I’m giving myself is gratitude. Gratitude for the people who have shaped my path. For the trials and tribulations that inadvertently guided me to where I am today. And for what’s to come.


Last week, as I was sipping my coffee having just gotten settled at the office, I felt a rush of gratitude overwhelm me. I suddenly became hyper-aware of the people, the environment, and the energy around me. The steadfast clickity-clack of a keyboard from a fellow cubemate. The casual chitchat a few rows down laced with comforting laughter. The linear tempo of Fred’s footsteps trotting down the hallway. Even the haptic familiarity of my beloved office chair.

I realized that this office has been my home for the past 7 years.

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Why your career is not like a video game

4 min read

A few years ago, an article by Oliver Emberton that compared human life to a video game went viral. In a brilliant way, he used the structure of a video game to explain why it’s important to live with a strategy in mind. Think of it as the ultimate game guide for life. I loved the article so much that I had it bookmarked, and occasionally still revisit it 5 years later.

I definitely can’t call myself a hardcore gamer, especially now that I’m a stuffy, boring adult (whoa). But at 13 years old, I received my first Nintendo Gameboy Pocket for Christmas – Pikachu-yellow and glorious. I spent most of my allowance money on AAA batteries because my parents wouldn’t buy me a charger. Whatever money was left, I saved up to buy the latest Pokemon games as soon as they were released. I was sentenced to wearing glasses shortly thereafter, probably because of the countless days and nights I spent leveling up my Lapras to beat the Elite Four.

Today, it seems everything can be gamified. How fun your latest vacation was can be measured by the number of likes on Instagram (fortunately, this might go away). How good you are at public speaking can be measured by the number of connections who endorse you on that skill on LinkedIn. How savvy of a shopper you are can be measured by how many PC Optimum points you’ve banked. But the more I thought about the analogy of a video game, the more I realized it shouldn’t be compared to your professional life.

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Reflections at Expo West ’19

3 min read

This past week, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. If your job involves anything retail, CPG, and food, this is THE show to be at. Filling in every nook and cranny of the massive Anaheim Convention center, this year’s Expo had 86,000+ people registered and 3600+ exhibits showcased. It certainly explains why my legs are still sore from all the walking!

For the most part, the focus of my site is Career. But I wanted to reflect on this unique experience since the CPG/food space is of interest to a lot of people I work with. For those already in the industry, a convention like Expo West is a great chance to survey your competitors, especially the budding young ones who aren’t yet on your radar. It also forces you to objectively self-reflect on whether your proposition is as unique as you once thought. For those aspiring to join this exciting space, it serves as a training ground for the fundamental P’s like product design, packaging, and pitching. “Learning through osmosis” as they say.

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Crafting your career path doesn’t have to feel daunting

4 min read

I recently came across an interesting study, albeit 2 years old, that illuminated my understanding of the relationship between work and happiness. It talks about the drivers of job satisfaction, and contends that job satisfaction does not automatically lead to engagement. It also affirms something I hear all the time – that one’s career path is both important and complex. For a student or new grad, it can be an incredibly daunting task to even think about.

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Early career personal finance tips you’ll wish you knew sooner

6 min read

Sometimes, late at night, I still get cold sweats thinking back to the time when I started my first “real” job. It’s not because I hated my work, had toxic coworkers or despised a horrible boss. It’s because I had zero clue how to manage my personal finances. Now, I can only look back with one part shame and two parts regret.

A lot of people will say “money isn’t everything”, but those are also the people who have likely figured out a system that works for them. They’re not constantly feeling the stress of watching a paycheck disappear within days, or being blindsided by the shock of a massive credit card bill. If these feelings are familiar to you, you’re not alone. When I first started my big girl job at 22, I neither cared nor knew much about personal finances. I was just stoked to be getting what seemed like a TON of money coming through my bank account every two weeks! That initial excitement would soon turn to anxiety as I watched the dollars disappear. After a year of working, I had almost nothing in my bank accounts to show for it.

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Most people have this on their résumé and it’s completely pointless

4 min read

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that résumés are daunting to perfect.

For those who are still in school or just starting out, you barely have any experience to begin with, so you have to euphemism the heck out of simple tasks (yes, I just used euphemism as a verb).

“I maintained the visual identity of our brand by selectively transferring products to primary merchandising locations”. Translation: “I re-arranged and re-stocked shelves”.

– Example from a real life résumé I’ve screened

What aggravates the issue is that most people have never been taught how to do it properly. Particularly if you did not study business, meaning you were likely left to your own devices without structured and credible guidance provided by your school. In a previous post, I dive deep into what a good résumé should look like for new grads looking to start their marketing careers.

But today, I want to address a specific part of the résumé that I see way too often, that I plead for you to avoid like seeing your ex on the street.

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#10yearchallenge

I was talking to a coworker today about all of the recent Facebook/Instagram posts on the #10yearchallenge, and I’ve come to one conclusion: the only people who do it are the ones who haven’t visibly aged (and want the kudos for it). Am I bitter about not being one of those people? Not at all…

Regardless of the intention, I do think the idea of taking a long look back and seeing how far you’ve come can be rewarding. In a lot of posts, I see people talking about difficult situations they were in 10 years ago that seemed impossible to overcome (long-term partner cheating, complicated medical conditions, rock bottom self-esteem). Fast forward to today, those same people can now only remember snippets of those episodes because time has diluted most of the emotional charge associated with those bad times.

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Recruiter’s guide to a stand-out résumé: marketing new grad edition

6 min read

No one is born with the ability to write a great résumé. When it comes to one of the most important documents in your life, it’s generally true that effort leads to result. In fact, the résumé that landed me my first “real job” was probably poked and prodded over the course of ~100 hours. You read that right: ONE HUNDRED HOURS.

“Come on, is that really necessary?” you may be wondering.

Keep in mind that 100 hours was over the span of about a year, and as I collected more relevant experiences, I continued to make tweaks and refine. So no, I didn’t lock myself in a room for 4 straight days until my fingertips were raw from turning the pages on my thesaurus.

Now that I screen résumés as a regular part of my job, I wanted to share a crash course on crafting a stellar résumé, from a recruiter’s point of view.

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Why you should care about boring company info sessions

3 min read

While I was doing my undergrad, I remembered it to be like clockwork: every year come Fall, big Fortune 500 names would line up one after another to host information sessions, drawing massive crowds of coffee-wired students. I was the biggest skeptic when it came to the possibility of landing an interview and eventual job at one of these events because it seemed too good to be true.

Now, coming at it from the other side, I can tell you it’s not.

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