Dec 22, 2006
Christmas is just a few days away. I can imagine people in a shopping frenzy, rushing to get presents for their loved ones. First, I would like to *ask all of you what you want for Christmas*. My mom’s doing a Christmas Wishlist and one of the things she’s planning to do is ask all our blogosphrends (okay, bad mashup of “blogosphere” and “friends”) what the want for Christmas. So I’d appreciate it if you can send your Christmas wishlists my way, either through the comment form below or via email (jangelo at racoma dot net).
*Updated: edited some text on the “new place to live” paragraph. Apparently, textile converted some extra hyphens into stricken-out text and made some lines disappear.*
Oh, do check out what my wish this Christmas is. And I believe I have an excellent photograph posted there.
What has 2006 given you?
Now for the more important part. I’d like to also ask you guys *what you are thankful for this 2006*. This year has been a very rewarding year to me and my family. It’s the year we had sort of a reversal of fortunes (2005, in contrast, was very challenging!). There are the material things, and there are those that cannot be seen by the eyes, but felt. Here’s what 2006 has given me so far.
*Better financial standing*. Back in 2005 I was still working my day job. While the pay wasn’t really high, it was a bit better compared to usual wages here in Manila. However, due to some circumstances, I wasn’t always able to complete my 40 hours in a workweek (non flexitime, no overtime pay, long commute, etc.), and earnings fell because of that. I was trying hard to look for ways to monetize my writing talent and netrepreneurship skills, though, so this day job was a stepping stone towards that goal.
I had to resign by December–I originally planned to stick with the “notice” period of 30 days, so I can finish up with my tasks while moving on to start a short-term project I was contracted for. But the company thought it best for the resignation to be effective immediately that time. So that meant I had to do a complete turnover before any of my last salaries, back-pay and 13th month pays were released (which came a couple of months after). The family spent the holiday season last year without much money. I was able to depend on proceeds from my project, but that wasn’t much. Then my then-landlord decided it was time for me to settle some arrears. That made me worry.
Then I started writing freelance early January. Since that time I’d been working from home. That opened up many possibilities, particularly with my getting better-known to the online community as a problogger and freelance writer. I got a problogging gig with the Bloggy Network, and we were in better financial standing since that time.
*New place to live (and work) in*. Since I was already working from home, I considered the environment we had back at our old place a bit cramped. We were a family of four, plus we had househelp back then. So you can imagine the stress living in a one-bedroom, one-floor apartment. I had to visit my parents’ place (the adjoining apartment) each midnight just so I can get some work done through the night.
Come September, I was quite envious that my fellow problogger (and longtime collaborator, and also colleague at the Blog Herald) Abe Olandres had been sent on an assignment in Taiwan for a blogging and podcasting workshop. We usually hold the workshops together, under the sponsorship of the FNF. I only realized I was fortunate I didn’t come on this assignment since this was the week I was able to chance upon a recently-vacated and renovated apartment just three houses away from our previous place. We moved in mid September.
We’re used to living in this area (UP Village), since it’s convenient and accessible. It’s not so much upscale like other private subdivisions, but it’s a comfortable place to be in. And being a few houses away from our old place does have its advantages. Still, the important thing is now we have better living and working space.
*New toys*. This year, I was able to acquire: a Compaq Presario V2000, an old PowerBook Pismo, a new refrigerator, a car, a new (cheap) mobile phone, an iPod Video, new Canon digital camera (to replace the Nikon that broke this January), and numerous other stuff. While these are all material, these are tools that make life easier. What I think matters is the added productivity and happiness that these bring about. With the computers, I can work (and play) better. With the car, the family can travel in comfort.
(That folks, is what economic benefits are all about–not money, but _happiness_.)
*The opportunity to share and help out*. This year I also had the opportunity of sharing the blessings and helping out people. For one, I was able to hire a handful of people for the company I worked with. The arrangements were also the same–work from home. What’s great is that some of these guys are fresh out of school. And the work that they do is great. This just proves that the Internet is the great equalizer–You don’t have to have ten years of experience to earn good money if you know where to look for opportunities. I’m sure they’re pretty happy with how things turned out for them.
I was also able to be part of several blogging conferences, like iBlog2, and the Go-Ogle! team which I’m part of won fifth place in the recently-concluded Isulong SEOPH contest (we’re on page 1 of the continuation, Ituloy Angsulong).
*New opportunities*. 2006 is also the year I got another great assignment–as assistant editor (if that’s an appropriate title) and marketing manager of the Blog Herald. With this, I had to give up writing for my great blogs at the Bloggy Network, though, since I had an exclusivity agreement with them. Still, I think this means I’m off to bigger things (and one of those is a plan to start a content network of my own–but that’s for 2007!).
What about you?
In all, 2006 was a good year for me. There were ups and there were downs, too. But overall, I’m thankful to be here (alive and kicking) and thankful for my family, loved ones and friends.
What about you? We’ll be publishing your Christmas wishlists and 2006 “thankful for” lists by this weekend. Keep the comments and emails flowing!J. Angelo Racoma is a technology and automotive journalist and blogger. See more of his work at e27.sg, Android Authority and Tech Wire Asia. Follow him via Twitter at @jangelo.