What will you tell your younger self?
I saw this post going around Facebook. I am only reminded of this quote from Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”
From time to time, I would get DM’s or questions at events from younger kids asking how I got to work with brands and the like. I would look back at my life and realize that when I was their age, I didn’t even know it was possible to pursue art in general. I always thought it was going to be my side hobby. To boot, there was no social media until I already started working (hand we only had dial-up internet before I started working.
I took up a business course in college but I would work on comics, Powerpoint presentations, and coloring in Excel sheets of my group mates. I worked as an artist for our school paper in high school as well as in college.
My friends and I were joking that we belonged to the Bulletin Board Org because whichever org we volunteered for, we ended up making their bulletin board. I was also the artist at my ballet school for our souvenir program. I was dancing from 5 to 18. At this point in my life, I think I was more of a legit dancer & geek (which was so uncool then) more than an artist.
Entering fourth year college, one of my batchmates told me that an ad agency had an opening for internship. I joined. I presented my porfolio: magazine lay-outs (which I did with Microsoft Excel at that time) and printed on a clear book. My groupmates at J Walter Thompson were very generous. They helped me navigate my way through Photoshop.
By the time I graduated, I was so torn: I knew that as the eldest of the family, I needed to take on some role in our family business someday which is very related to my course (math, finance, accounting, production, optimization and the like). However, my heart is full of joy when I see colors and wonderfully designed posters, objects and buildings. (I also feel that way when I am able to dance but that’s another story). On the other hand, a lot of my batchmates were pursuing careers in the corporate world: something expected from our course. I didn’t know what to do.
Fast forward the future, I spent a couple of years in the corporate world. There were of course moments when I thought “What am I doing??” especially when I found myself being assigned to train in sales & trade marketing even though I’m an introvert and that I knew very little about going around Metro Manila & Luzon (from Dau to Los Banos in Laguna). Waze wasn’t available then. I had my officemates draw for me maps on paper before. I knew I can always ask people around if I ever get lost. I still remember the times I got lost before going to my accounts. (I had to visit 3-4 supermarkets & groceries per day then). I only held on to the fact that it might take a longer time but I will eventually find my way.
There were days where I found myself crying in the car because I lost a deal. I also remember having butterflies in my tummy when I have to talk to my buyer, the supermarket owner, store manager, and warehouse manager. (Okay, I think that’s pretty much everyone I had to talk to then). Hahahahaha. I remember having a really really bad tummy ache. My boss even asked me if I needed to be brought to the hospital. It was the first board meeting I was asked to join and as with any first in my life, I am nowhere near okay. Hahahahahaha.
These days, when someone tells me that I didn’t look so scared after talking in public, I laugh and I want to say “Kung alam niyo lang!” Hahahahahaha.
On some days, aside from desk jobs, I would find myself arranging products (i.e. merchandising) in supermarkets , groceries and gasoline stations, looking at what new products have been launched, studying the pack size, price point, colors, checking out where it was produced and which company owns it.
After a while, I started joining the family business and did some lay-out for my old officemates. Submitting a final artwork then meant burning it in a CD or DVD and having a messenger send it to Metro Manila. Anyone here who was still a baby during the DVD era? Haha.
Was I even near what I’m doing today?
Not at all. Especially how everything looks like externally. Eventually, I started creating comics upon the suggestion of my officemate. I was blogging in Multiply at that time. The mode of storytelling eventually changed from comics to photos and a blog post and eventually video. I was always medium-hopping. I always wondered what I was doing but I can’t help but go after what I’m curious about! I realized, what we’re still doing today, now as a team is still true to the Googly Core (3 rules that I have in my head back in 2009):
1. Is it a processed experience (through a narrative / comic / visual)
2. Am I sharing something that makes me happy?
3. Is it a product of something I observed in society?
As my friend would say, just like the original Googly Gooey characters, we’ve been shape-shifting ever since. Would you have guessed that these were my line of work before calling the internet a second home? Me neither. So, again: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~ Steve Jobs
Have a pensive mid-week! 🙂