Remembering My First Job Stint at AsecAsia

Episode 35 – Monday, December 7th, 2015 (6915)

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(Photo courtesy from AsecAsia old website)

Five years ago, months after my college graduation, I found my first job as a career man. AsecAsia was my first ever (official) job as a graphic artist in my post-college life. This was the way for me to learn a lot of things about designing and using new techniques and software and to meet a lot of new friends there.

AsecAsia was located, at the time, in Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, not too far from my home in Santa Rosa, Laguna, and it was a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company that has main office in the United States and a branch in India. It was the office where the yellow and white telephone pages (directory) were made (company ads, names, services, etc.), and most of them were from some places in the United States.

I had stayed there for less than 20 months (1 year and something 8 months) with some happiest and some bitter memories that I had experienced.

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Training Period (October-December 2010)

I was looking for a first job, right after my college graduation, where I liked to work in an I.T.-related job (applying for graphic artists or similar), near at my home, and high salary. After few months of being jobless, I seek for an opportunity to find a company located in Alabang. And finally, I found it thru walk-in applicant.

After the exam where I was tested to design something, I was passed and recommended by a beautiful lady from HR department to take a medical exam. By the following week, I became a trainee with other trainees and was placed in the night shift (first time to work in a night shift on my first “working” day). In the first week of training, I met some of the fellow trainees who would eventually become my close friends in the next following days. Also, I had learned something new about graphics like using Illustrator and InDesign where I had never learned these from college (I had only known to use Photoshop mostly during college). During the 2-month training, only 6 of us left for SuperMedia project (some others were placed in Dex One where I would be belonged for the next 8 months, but some were not unluckily passed the training).

The 6 potential graphic artists were trained for SuperMedia. The six were me, Jin, Marlon, Marie Kristine (M.E.), Gizelle, and Jun. Jin, whom I thought she was a “boy” (but lesbian actually), was considered my “closest” friend actually, and she’s from Pacita. Marlon was a motorcycle lover and considered as “matinee idol” of our group. M.E. was smart (because of her wearing eyeglasses, but now she’s pretty and already having a boyfriend) while Gizelle was a pretty lass from Biñan (with her faith in Mormon). Lastly, Jun was my “not-so” close friend where he sometimes teased that I didn’t like, but he was also smart like M.E.

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With my friends who were the trainees during our break time (Photo courtesy from Gizelle Ann Ocampo on Facebook)

However, after a month of training for SuperMedia, I, Jin and Marlon were placed for a force leave where we didn’t come for work at least a week while M.E., Jun and Gizelle were placed in SuperMedia-Vertical, one of the three projects in SuperMedia along with Spec and Display (I’m not pretty sure if they were really placed at Vertical during that time, please let me know). During the force leave, I was idle to wait for some good news if I would be hired for graphic artist or maybe… well. But being idle was not lasted long. My best Christmas present came when I was called to report for SuperMedia to become a graphic artist.

SuperMedia (December 2010-June 2011)

A week before Christmas, I, Jin and Marlon were hired as graphic artists and placed in SuperMedia-Spec led by our team leader, Abet Sta. Maria. And we were under one-year probation where we must be evaluated based on our working performance for one year before becoming regular employees. In the Spec team, there were some team members who were so familiar to me. My former college classmates, Ronnel and Aldrin (who was later transferred to Vertical) became my workmates in Spec, as well as my two college batch mates in I.T. (from section 1). Some others were just too bully to me while some were not favored to most of us. But I was so admired when there were some pretty proofreaders working for the project (and soon, some of them became my crushes). After only few days as graphic artists, we were able to attend AsecAsia Christmas Party which was my first time to attend such an occasion for a company.

During my stint at Spec project, I had some happiest times to be together with some of my work colleagues and Sir Abet such as playing on their PSPs, eating our lunch together, and bonding during our break times. However, just after less than two months, some of us were transferred to Vertical project where Sir Darwin would be our team leader. While Jin and Marlon were remained at Spec, I, Ronnel, and some other workmates from Spec were now working with Sir Darwin for Vertical.

In the Vertical project, I met some of the workmates and proofreaders who soon became my friends (and crushes, too). However, my tenure at Vertical, like Spec, didn’t last long. I was so happy when I was moved back to Spec and to meet my old teammates like Jin and Marlon. But after only few days, I was again transferred to SuperMedia-Display, and I was so upset.

During the time when I was in Display, I met my new friends to become my close friends like Bernardette (or Badeth) who was also my teammate in Spec (but I was not closed with her until we’re in Display) and some proofreaders who also became my close friends (and again, crushes). This was the time when I worked for the day shift (no more night shifts), and it was so blessed for me because I kept my coolness during summer of 2011 where it was so hot outside the building. But during the most of June 2011, there were some times to have force leave for days where I and some of my work colleagues were not scheduled to come at work. This situation was lasted until the Display was disbanded in July where most of my workmates were forced to resign (some of them were jobless for weeks or months). But luckily, I was the one together with two SuperMedia graphic artists to be transferred to Dex One. This was the beginning of the “nightmare” in my career life at AsecAsia.

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With my friends who were proofreaders in SuperMedia-Display at my final night as a member of SuperMedia team before being transferred to Dex One (Photo courtesy from Mhean Fuentes on Facebook)

Dex One (July 2011-May 2012)

When I and my other two teammates were placed in Dex One, we were trained to learn the specifications and guidelines on the project, but we’re just too frustrated to learn these things because we needed to adjust from what we learned back in SuperMedia. In few weeks later, one of our teammates resigned from work, and later another one also left from AsecAsia. This meant I was the remaining graphic artist from SuperMedia to work at Dex One. During the nights of July and August, I was so unhappy to be belonged with the new team led by Romeo Enriquez (as Team Romy). While his team members were in one place, I was the only one to work in a place with some proofreaders who later became my close friends. During break times, I liked to eat “midnight” snacks (or late dinner) with my friends in SuperMedia-Spec (the only project remained to operate) rather than most of my new teammates and friends in Dex One. And there was one crazy thing that I was thinking to resign from AsecAsia. The working schedule was so harsh where we needed to come at 11pm and to work until 11am! That’s 12 hours straight (including three hours of rendering overtime) from work (but still not so enough salary and deducted with tax), and we needed to work for 7 straight days a week because of the large volume of ads that we needed to create! That’s cruel! We’re not robots to work for 12 hours in 7 days without having a resting day! That’s why, during the time, I was looking to apply for another company either near or far from Laguna. Unfortunately, not all of the companies that I applied for a good stable job were successful.

During the first two months at Dex One, I was remained unhappy to work with Team Romy and other graphic artists who were just freak, bullying, and playful like kids. But on September 2011, my atmosphere was changed when I started to get closer with them. I became chatty to some of my teammates like Jermine, Jonathan, Ronald, and also to some proofreaders and customer service representatives (CSRs) like Karleen and Mae Suarez who later became one of my closest friends in AsecAsia. I frequently joined with them eating our lunch and at Jollivan (a store van) during break times, and having our drinking session after working hours. My tenure at Dex One was the longest during my working career at AsecAsia, lasted for 10 months (with exception of my one-week temporary stint at SuperMedia-Spec in February 2012 and with Team Romy working for Facebook Timeline project in April 2012), and I was awarded for Best in Quality for the month of January 2012.

While I was happy to be belonged at Dex One (having light schedules, less volume of ads and the not so frequent overtimes), I thought this would be forever but not enough (I mean walang talagang forever). In February 2012, I was chose to go back at SuperMedia-Spec temporarily to work in a major deadline target for only one week. I, together with my former workmate and close friend, Badeth, came back with my old teammates such as Jin and Marlon to work with 12 hours straight for 7 days to finish the volume of ads that we needed to create before the deadline. One of our teammates had worked for almost two days, and we’re so exhausted when we needed to work for 24 hours straight (with minimal break times) on the last day of deadline (I just worked for 23 hours before I just “escaped” to go home because my team leader, Romy, needed me to go back at Dex One, and my mother, of course, was so worried to me to work for already two nights). This happen was one of the worst in my career life.

After my one-week temporary stint at SuperMedia, I was so happy to be back at Dex One with Team Romy, and there were now having light schedules which felt me convenience. However, after only a month, Team Romy was placed into a new project called Facebook Timeline where we placed some photos and designs on the companies’ Facebook pages. And again, this was my fifth time to transfer another project and second time after moving to Dex One. But this project lasted only for a month before Team Romy happily went back to Dex One. However, this would be our last time to work for Dex One and never return.

In mid-May 2012, Team Romy and some graphic artists from the other team were now placed to Web.com to work for the companies’ websites. Most of us were too frustrated because we were told that we would never go back at Dex One where we’re belonged for so many months. And for me, I was so disappointed because I had been transferred so many projects from SuperMedia (Spec, Vertical, Display) to Dex One then back to SuperMedia then to Dex One to Facebook Timeline, back to Dex One and finally Web.com. I was so tired to transfer just like a basketball player traded from one team to another. And because of disappointments, I decided to resign from the company that gave me an opportunity for my first job.

While I came for my remaining days at AsecAsia, I was already hired at RR Donnelley in Mandaluyong for graphic designer position. I filed my resignation letter to HR and to the head director who wanted me to stay longer after he offered me a bigger salary (but I refused to accept, instead I already decided to leave). Almost a week before my final working day, I and some teammates of Team Romy, together with two of my beloved proofreaders of Dex One (they were eventually from SuperMedia), had our overnight swimming at Pansol, Laguna to have our bonding time. On my last working day, May 31, 2012, I bid my farewell to my work colleagues who were the part of my life in the past one year.

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Team Romy of Dex One during our overnight swimming (Photo courtesy from My Tent Pictures)

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Aftermath

After leaving from AsecAsia, I started to work at RR Donnelley (RRD) in June 2012 for graphic designer. Even though it’s far from my home (I had commuted everyday going to work), there were some benefits, aside of bigger salary, such as free meals (only during night shift), allowance (transportation, rice, laundry, etc.), and learn many jobs (not just designing but also the improvement to use Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel). During my first few weeks at RRD, I was happy to meet new friends to become my workmates (especially when my love life was started to flourish). However, there were most of the times that I became dissatisfied like some of my work colleagues who bullied me, helpless work (some of them were too snobbish), schedule confusion, strict implementation on quality (I was placed on a probation due of committing errors), “favoritism”, and too slow PCs and internet connection which made me so uncomfortable. Aside of these, I felt also inconvenience because of traffic-prone EDSA where I commuted to ride a passenger bus with full of commuters especially during rush hours (I supposed to live a rent room, but I didn’t because of some security reasons that I know Metro Manila was not a safe place to live). After one year of being a graphic designer, I decided to resign from RRD because of these dissatisfactions. After that, I remained jobless for almost 8 months (where I was introduced The Feast for my service) until I found my current job in San Pedro which is more comfortable and convenience (just a ride away from home).

There were most of my friends still working at AsecAsia, and they later started to leave to find their new jobs. My friend, Jonathan, who was my teammate for Team Romy in Dex One, also left from Alabang to work with me at RRD (although we’re in different shifts) together with my other friend, Banjo, who also worked for SuperMedia before she left to work at RRD. After I left RRD, they both also left to work for their own jobs (Jonathan is now in Dubai while Banjo is now working in Makati with Bea, my other former workmate in RRD).

Some of my former work colleagues have been still working there at AsecAsia like my former close friend who has been there for several years, but most of them are already gone (or resigned) from there because of their dissatisfaction regarding to the internal issues of the company. Around 2013, AsecAsia was replaced its name into AGR Operations Manila and by early 2015, it was transferred in a new building somewhere in Alabang. However, late this year, for the second time, it was recently changed its name to become Personiv.

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