Latest Stories

Roots and Wings

Learning doesn’t stop after one graduates


I haven’t been this tired or read or studied as many business books as I did back in college. I have forgotten that side of me, in favor of other pursuits such as parenting and, yes, writing.

However, last month, I reentered the corporate world a year shy of turning 50 and now I find myself having to catch up and make up for all those years.

One month feels more like 10 months, but don’t get me wrong—so far so good. Although I was dog-tired the first two weeks, I’ve slowly adjusted to my “new normal” and I am enjoying this new chapter of my life.

Where I’m at, we follow the 70-20-10 principle where 70 percent of learning happens on the job, 20 percent is learning from others, and only 10 percent is formal learning. It’s really a lot about immersing oneself and soaking in as much as you can.

It’s a principle one can actually apply to any discipline and even to the other areas of one’s life.

I did not have a journalism or communications degree when I joined this paper many moons ago, so now when I think about it, I was already practicing the 70-20-10 rule even back then. Motherhood? Same thing—you learn as you go, 24/7, you seek help from your mother, your doctor and other moms who are more seasoned, you read books, and articles and blogs—70-20-10.


Stop and smell the roses

Every Friday morning at work, one of our senior leaders gathers us in a huddle and shares his wisdom. Then he asks us how we are doing and if we have anything to share. It’s a fast-paced environment where we are, but there are moments, like Friday mornings, when we get to stop and smell the roses.

Today’s wisdom was culled from an article by NY Times best-selling author Chris Widener on the eight choices one can make to change one’s life forever.  I was struck by four of the points raised, so let me share them.

First, Widener says that we must choose always to treat others right. “We come across all sorts of people, many of whom will treat us poorly. We can choose to treat them right, no matter how they treat us. We may get the short end of the stick sometimes, but in the long run we will win. And most important, we will be able to sleep at night.”

Whether it’s the waiter, the butcher, the baker, the guard or the janitor, or the elevator girl, it doesn’t really matter, we are all equal and God put us all on the same page.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see a waiter humiliated in public, or a family dining in a restaurant on a weekend and the poor yaya has to sit at a separate table with only a glass of water. I really think that’s terrible.

Next, Widener suggests that we choose to see our work as a way to help others, and not as a way to make money. “If you put your heart into helping others, the money will most assuredly come. Spend time helping others grow and your finances will grow with it.”

I’ve been working in the pharmaceutical industry and though the industry has gotten a lot of flak in the news, I’ve now seen it up close. There is a lot of good it can do when it decides to.

In times of crisis, they are some of the first companies you can count on to help, and many of them reach out without fanfare.

Widener also stresses the importance of choosing to become balanced spiritually, emotionally and physically.  “Our lives are best when we have these three major areas in balance so make sure to spend time cultivating and nurturing each area.”

Our workplace has a gym, a prayer room and a couple of oscillation rooms that are pretty well-used. There is a learning library and comfortable spots that remind me of Winnie the Pooh’s thoughtful spot.

I now wake up earlier and make sure I spend at the very least, half an hour on the treadmill almost each day.

Sowing more than one reaps is another choice that resonated with me. Widener says, “There are many takers in this world, but our lives will be better as we become givers.”  I’ve found time and again that extending oneself, and sharing, in big and little ways, (without being a doormat, of course) is actually energizing.

I once heard Dr. Fe del Mundo say, “Give the world your best without expecting anything in return and you will realize that even better will be given back to you.”

Her generosity of spirit was a testament to the wonderful life that she lived.

Lastly, and very simply, Widener encourages us to get home for dinner more often. “The family is the most important group of people you will ever belong to.” Choosing to spend more time with them (rather than in front of the television, or the computer) is one choice you will never regret.

Even though my days have become way busier now, I find that I make more effort to spend time with my children now grown, who have worlds of their own.

One of the best nights I had recently was a ramen dinner and an ice cream date with my 15-year-old son. The car was late in coming and the mall was closing so we had to walk the two kilometers from the mall to our home. It was the first night without rain and, though my feet were killing me, listening to his stories and hearing his laughter, my heart was full.

Follow the author on Twitter @cathybabao

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Business books , Learning , Motherhood , PARENTING , writing

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?