Friday, April 01, 2016

Marketing Jobs

In my current job I see a lot of people undergoing job transitions and looking to expand their networks in order to improve their chances of future job placement.  Today I met a very interesting woman who had a very similar profile to mine, minus the international experience.  She wanted to talk to me given my similar profile in Marketing and see how I saw the job market these days. She seemed to think that it's harder and harder to find jobs in Marketing in Peru these days. One of the reasons? It seems that because of the economic downturn and the uncertainty about the election results (sounds just like the US, I know) companies are cutting back on Marketing budgets. Sounds familiar right?

DON'T. CUT. BACK. ON. MARKETING. BUDGETS. FOLKS.  Maybe there's some fat that you can trim here and there, maybe you change your marketing vehicles in favor of more cost efficient ones like Digital (and I'm not saying you should), maybe you focus more on Trade Marketing or Price Promotion to communicate value, etc. But don't ever get rid of your Marketing efforts in a crisis.  It's only going to hurt you in the long run. Only those companies that continue to spend through this crisis will come out on top once the crisis is over. It's even "intuitively obvious" like my professors used to say at MIT.  Why do we refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past? When was the last time you cut Marketing dollars and ended up meeting your sales goals for the same period? Me? Never.

Second problem? Companies (at least here in Peru) want an experienced candidate like the one I met today (or maybe even myself). But the glitch? They want to pay that candidate like they just graduated from college.  It doesn't work that way.  Like some of my Product Supply folks at P&G used to say, you have three variables: Good, Cheap, and Fast.  You can pick two but not three.  You can't expect a rock star Marketing person and pay them a college graduate salary!  You get EXACTLY what you pay for.  So if you're looking to save some money in this crisis by lowering your salaries to the point where you end up with college grads, fine.  But don't expect them to have experience and know how.  Don't expect them to be loyal.  And don't expect them to stick around for long.  They might be with you temporarily, but the minute someone else offers them more money they will jump at the chance. Experience comes at a price.  And mine, at least, isn't cheap.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Chinese New Year

I have always been a big fan of the Chinese Horoscope, especially around Chinese New Year.  However, some of the Tiger predictions for the Year of the Fire Monkey seem pretty crappy for me so I have been hesitant to post them here for fear of making some of those bad predictions come true! However, I did find this one website which for some reason I had never found before, which I found terribly insightful.  Maybe not so much because of the predictions but more so because of the compatibility analysis and personality analysis. I feel like I learned a lot about myself and others close to me reading this.  Hope you do as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book reco: American Chica

Thankful for the Christmas holidays and a wonderful trip to Puerto Rico which allowed me to catch on my reading. On December 21st my good friend German recommended this book and taking advantage of the fact that Amazon delivers PAPER books to Puerto Rico quickly (vs. Peru) I ordered it right away and got it on the 24th of December. What can I say? I couldn't put it down until I finished it.  Maybe because I identified a little bit too closely with the constant straddling of two worlds and the never knowing where you're really from or where you're really going. Of course I wish I had the talent to describe this bi-cultural life as beautifully as Marie Arana did, but alas, I have to be content with just being able to read such poetic stories. I cannot wait to order her other book, Lima Nights.  But first I am reading the next book of the Millenium series which I just downloaded on the Kindle last night. And I still have to go back to Elon Musk.  I have this thing where I can't finish one book at a time, I go from book to book depending on my mood.  And right now I'm in the mood for fiction. This is one of my favorite parts of summer in South America, sitting at the beach every weekend and reading and reading and reading until my head is full of ideas again and my heart is full of hope.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A decade of motherhood

I cannot believe I've been a mother for 10 years. I didn't think I would make it past 1 year! In fact, I remember having conversations with friends before getting pregnant about NOT wanting to get pregnant because I was afraid of bringing kids into this messed up world and not being able to protect them from all the evil in the world.  In fact, a couple of weeks after we had brough Gabi home we rented the movie Crash on Netflix and I remember telling my husband while we were watching the movie, "OMG, what have I done? How could I have been so careless? How could I have brought her into this world!?".  That world in the movie was so scary and so messed up and so randomly cruel, I just couldn't believe I was going to have to raise a kid in it (let alone two!).

But, ten years later, my kids have shown me how wrong (and selfish) I was to think that way. They have taught me that even in this messed up world they can be smart, caring, considerate, loving, and worried about the future of this home we call Earth.  So maybe the world is messed up right now, but maybe I had to make these two beautiful humans who care so much about others so that they could fix all the mistakes their parents have made? Maybe they are here to help us avoid the crash? I certainly hope they can.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The 100

Another 13 hours binge-watching a new series on Netflix.  This time, The 100.  If you are into Hunger Games type of drama, then watch this and prepare with wine, chocolate and whatever else tickles your fancy for a 13-hour binge session!

My only wish is that I had read the book before starting Season 1.  I'm sure I would've enjoyed the experience a lot more and for hopefully longer than 13 hours! I also really need to know when Season 2 will be added to Netflix! Anyone know? It's on Hulu but only episodes 12-16 of season 2. :(

I'm not even going to talk about who got killed and who survived because: a) I'm still in shock (and frankly a bit incredulous) and b) don't want to spoil in case anyone wants to watch.

Now back to reading about Elon Musk...

Monday, October 05, 2015

Everything I needed to learn about Leadership I learned from Grey's Anatomy

Well, not really. But as one of the few people who has stuck with Grey's Anatomy through thick and thin, especially after last season, I struggle to find meaning in spending those 40 minutes catching up with the show on Hulu.  And with last Thursday's episode I found plenty of reasons!  And as usual those lessons came in the form of Webber and Bailey.

First Bailey makes a huge mess of her first day as Chief being what I used to call (because I was called that) a STEAMROLLER.  She barked orders and asked for the impossible and didn't bother to listen. And of course things went horribly wrong and people were talking behind her back and hating her. Just like they did with me.

And then the A-HA moments start to happen in rapid succession.  First when someone makes her understand she's being doing things all wrong.  And when they make her realize that she has it in her to make things right, she just needs to change perspectives.

Lesson #1: I feel like there are people who are natural born leaders and people who are not.  But even those who are natural born leaders (like Bailey), make a mess of things every once in a while (or maybe often) because they aren't inspiring people, they are steamrolling people.  That doesn't mean you'll never be a great leader, that just means you have to change your approach.

Then she goes to her team and apologizes for how she's behaved and promises she'll do better. I can't find video of that but she says she knows she messed up big time and she knows she can't do it without her team and she promises to do better the next day.  And of course since she has an amazing team they nod their heads and forgive her.

Lesson #2: Admit your mistakes. Especially to your people.  Your people need to know you're human too. And if they're great people they'll understand, and you'll all move on.  For the sake of the business.  No holding on to petty grudges.  No trying to take down the boss in order to get ahead.

Then finally Bailey realizes she needs to replace herself.  And she promotes Grey.  Best moment of the night.

Lesson #3:  You can't do it alone.  You need someone who is your backbone, who is your eyes when you can't be there.  Someone who will advocate for the culture when you're not there.  Like AOL's Tim Armstrong says "Culture is the Manager when you're not around". Also, who will you delegate your job to when you can no longer do it yourself?

Even if you've had the requisite fall out with Grey's Anatomy after the death of McDreamy, I highly recommend watching last Thursday's episode, if only for the Leadership lessons in it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Residence Permit

It's that time of year again! The time where I visit the center of Lima multiple times per week and scream at government workers for not clearly explaining the process to renew my residence yearly.  The time where I scream at my husband every time I walk out of the Immigration Office and tell him I hate this country and that I want to leave! The time of year I make so many excuses for arriving late to work that no one actually believes I'm doing the same thing related to my residence permit.

Except it isn't.

I went at my allotted time of 8 am this morning and somehow, miraculously, I was out by 8:45 am with residence permit in hand, LEGAL for another year in Peru! Yes of course I had pre-work, some of it which is totally stupid. Like every year I have to go print out a NEW marriage certificate that shows I'm still married.  And every year I need my husband to notarize a letter that says he's responsible for me (so demeaning!), and every year I have to stand in line at the bank for hours to pay my residence fees. Except this year everything was quick, and easy, and relatively painless.  Especially compared to the last 2 years!

Maybe practice makes perfect or maybe they are really getting more efficient down at Immigration. Or maybe it's my luck after the Blood Moon last weekend? But whatever it is, I'll take whatever I can get and count my blessings, and the fact that I'm legal for one more year. And let's not forget the fact that I can travel to Puerto Rico in December. :)

UPDATE:  I knew it couldn't be as simple as that! Just as I go through this (albeit somewhat smoothl) I find out that the Immigration Law for Peru has recently changed. Supposedly I can now become a permanent resident, but I have no idea what to do now!