Though there was some sun in the early morning, the intermittent rains were very much around last Sunday. And I was thinking that the talk might be cancelled. But nevertheless, I finished my presentation in the early afternoon.
I thought I'd be early (or the attendees would be late) when I got there by 530pm. But there were people at the TLY Hub by that time, including Miggs, Lobster Tony, Mcvie, Gibbs and Dan and some TLY volunteers. Ngek! Huli na pala ako! I immediately proceeded to fixing my presentation. And when that was done, I had to calm my nerves.
Yes, calm my nerves. Each and every presentation, performance makes me nervous. And it has nothing to do with audience. I think it's still stage fright. It is fear of making a fool of myself, or of not making any impact at all. So even this casual talk amongst friends, I found something to be afraid of. Most of them have not seen me talk or present. Some of them could be hypercritical. Alam mo yan! hihihi And the lethal blow was dealt by Lobster. Teh, do you use keynote? Ay it's so professional. Powerpoint ka pa rin? Okay lang naman as long as wala kang titles that go zing, and expand. And what do you know, my poor Powerpoint presentation is riddled with those. Bwisit! I wanted to revise my presentation, learn Keynote in 5 minutes!
Hay naku! Bahala na si Batman! And I was thinking that there wouldn't be many attendees anyway. So less people to judge me. LOL. But the small room did fill up. And even as I felt my heart thumping, I was strangely reassured by their presence. That they felt that they had something to learn and take home with them. Enough for them to brave the rains.
Miggs opened the activity in his usual way, kwela at may halong lait, in true sing-along bar fashion! But it helped calm me down. Because I ended up laughing at some of his tirades... at me. Hahaha.
Then my time came along, and as I looked at their faces, the nerves just started to ease up. The first few minutes still had me quite tense, but as I started to get into the presentation, I finally got into the flow of things. And the words became easier and I started to really enjoy.
And enjoy I did. This is truly the first time I was talking to a group of strangers so frankly and so candidly about being born this way. And it felt liberating to finally use terms like bakla, chenes and kyeme without fear of censure. The audience, the kind audience, interacted not just with me, but the rest of the FabC's. And trust Miggs to stimulate the discussion with in-your-face questions that included my 'promiscuity'! LOL
That talk was also humbling. Because I didn't really deserve the "super successful" promo blitz, compared to a million and one other CEO's who are infinitely more successful. But I was called upon to share, and that is what I did.
I did include your questions, summarized or cc-ized, and will now try to answer them as I, or as we, answered them during the forum. But then again, since I have more time now to think, the answers may actually be different now!:
PLANNING A CAREER-CHANGE MIDWAY? Anything is possible, as long as you've done your homework in knowing what's in store for you if and when you make that move. You need to accept that midway career changes will mean starting (usually) from scratch in the new career. And if you are ready to being uncomfortable and inconvenienced again just to pursue that career, then go!
BEING GAY A DISADVANTAGE IN MOVING UP? Unfortunately, there is a glass ceiling. Consider women. They represent only 3.2% of CEO's of Fortune 500 companies. What more for (openly) gay executives? All things being equal, the straight one, with family will be the safer, less controversial choice. The one you, as the manager, don't have to defend all the time. So my take is that you just have to tip the scales in your favor. That you don't allow all things to be equal. You just have to work harder.
DO YOU DEAL WITH DISCRIMINATION? I believe that this comes with the territory, as long as people around us remain uneducated, or uninformed about us and how diverse we really are. We might need to be more vocal to get 'fair treatment'. We might show more assertiveness. But that has its risks.
DO YOU AVOID THE STEREOTYPES? THE LABELS? Again, as long as people don't know how diverse we could be, they would fall back on their stereotypes as a way of dealing with things they don't know. I believe that we should be who we are, and not have to accept the stereotypes per se. But as I mentioned in my presentation, we could also play it up to our advantage. The 'creative, artsy-fartsy' label they stick on us gives us an edge. We could play up the stereotypes to our advantage by actually learning more about it and not being afraid to use it in the workplace.
FROM CREATIVE INDUSTRIES, MARKETING, ARE THERE OTHER INDUSTRIES WITH LESS
PREJUDICE? Generally, large multinationals have strong anti-gender-orientation discrimination policies. And the world continues to evolve. But I can also think of development work, NGO's being a lot more accepting.
THERE A ROOM FOR JOB LOYALTY? OR IS COMPANY HOPPING THE ONLY WAY TO CLIMB? There was some lively discussion here. And it looks like this is prevalent in the BPO industry. I talked about industry dynamics/economics here. The BPO industry as it evolves and matures, will always be looking for talent. And they will use what they can to attract. McVie likened this to the Advertising industry before, where hopping from one agency to another was quite normal. But he said that only those who are truly deserving, who have the karapatan, could actually get away with it. However, if you are not really one of those, and yet your CV shows so much movement, that might be taken against you. I, myself, have stayed in the company for more than two decades. So I believe there is a place for loyalty.
DO YOU WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO FIND YOU ANNOYING? If one or two people find you annoying, consider it their problem. If everyone finds you annoying, maybe it is your problem. LOL. Seriously, that oft-quoted term 'EQ' or emotional quotient really does matter. I find that workplace friction will eventually exact some productivity or performance costs. And though it may be output oriented, we cannot discount the weight of 'ease of doing business'. So perhaps, one should try not to be as annoying, especially if aware about what really annoys them about you.
IN A CONSERVATIVE, FAMILY-OWNED CORPORATION, SHOULD I COME OUT? Very difficult decision to make. So many nuances that only you could answer. On the one hand, your excellent performance should speak for itself. On the other hand, is that performance or talent really so 'irreplaceable' that they would keep you despite knowing who you are? I mentioned during the talk that some of the negative perceptions about PLUs revolve what we do with our spare time, knowing we 'generally' don't have families to take care of. So we are thought to be partying and getting drunk every time. It would certainly help our careers to be more conscious of this and to be more 'productive' about our spare time. For your case, a squeaky clean image may help the conservative family realize that you have something more in common with them. But then again, I really cannot put myself in your shoes at the moment.
It was quite an experience. And I thank Miggs for inviting me. Thanks, too, to the rest of the FabC's and Peanut Gallery who supported. And to those who attended. I just hope it was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. And to all the raiders who sent questions in response to my earlier post.
It is a charmed life.