Saturday, May 21

Salty Smiles

Despite this whole week passing by as a blur of overtime, mixed-up responsibilities and converging deadlines in the ol' Salt Mines, I feel pretty glad that I am where I am. For me, a workplace is good if during any breaks or lulls in active creative output or elbow grease, you spend the time laughing your head off.

I remember my second and third jobs were great places and companies to work with, both learning experiences and almost a second home.
My first real taste of being an actual advertising creative person started in the now-defunct Cid/Henares and Associates, Inc., a small boutique-type ad agency. There were only about a dozen of us in the entire agency- the two bosses (Vilma Santos-lookalike Mildred Cid and sassy Rosanna Henares), four creative people (including me), a couple of account people, a couple of accountants, a media person (a one-man media department named Jojo) and a messenger/runner. It was hard work since we all had multiple responsibilities (I was both main copywriter and storyboard artist), including occasionally bringing our ad materials to production houses and printers AND cleaning up after ourselves after meals and keeping the office clean. At the time, I called it Jedi Training.
Anyway, often the day would consist of us four creatives spending the day on our workstations, our backs to each other. It would be maddening if not for the fact that all of us were pretty crazy individuals and jokes, barbs, stories, anecdotes and pranks (usually against one guy in particular) being thrown in rapid succession. Yeah, we still got work done and had fun doing it. And in the afternoons, we'd go out to the nearby sari-sari store and have fishballs and kwek-kwek (quail eggs deep-fried in batter) for merienda. That was the life.

Well, after a couple of years we all grew out of the small agency. We went our separate ways and I found myself in my third job and perhaps my best work experience ever. It was at Ogilvy and Mather that I got to work in one of the most fun, colorful and stimulating creative departments in Manila. I met the ad guru himself, David Guerrero, and worked under him with pleasure for almost three years. Alongside I had the good fortune to be with hip and wonderful people like Cynthia Bauzon, Edsel Tolentino and a whole gang of other cool dudes and dudettes. It was so fun, in the evenings people would just stay and sit in the corridors to talk about the past day, to share insights, to comment and applaud good ads and just chill. Sometimes it was hard work, but it was a great learning experience and I can say that what I got there I still use to this day.

Since then, I've been to several more agencies... a return engagement with David G. in his new (then) agency BBDO Guerrero-Ortega, a second tour of duty with Ogilvy and some short tenures at some other agencies.

And now, I'm in my present company. In my early thirties, an Associate Creative Director and all-around smart alec.

It's kinda like a mix of my first two great workplaces- a multinational agency yet having a small and close-knit creative department. The people are cool and we get along great. In the afternoons, we might not be able to go out and get fishballs, but instead we take a walk to the building's 7-11 to have merienda. Last night, while doing overtime we ate KFc and just enjoyed a long chat about B-movies and all that jazz. Funny stuff.

It's been a long week. I'm glad it's over. But I can honestly say, I am quite okay with getting back to work next week. And that, I have to say, is a mark that I love where I work. Yeah, I'm a lucky bastard when it comes to workplaces. But then, I'm nearsighted and I don't have movie-star good locks so that balances out.

Still, I'm gonna damn well squeeze every bit of R&R I can get from this weekend. Damn straight. Heh.

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