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How to behave at the office Christmas party

Party time indeed (and the clip above is a party gone so wild!)

When I was editor, the invites during this time of the year abound. But I have been very selective in the parties I go to (I prioritize those that I made good connections with the PR and their client; and with those I need to connect with on behalf of the organization I am part of). On most occasions though, I end up not going because I am still tied up with desk duties.

Whenever I see my friends who are people managers also like me, we cannot help but discuss our woes over the teams we manage, and the things they do and not do during office Christmas parties.

I told my reporters before that it is OK to attend these parties, provided that:

  1. They have already submitted their stories for the day
  2. That there are no other pressers, events that are happening on the same date and time of the party they are attending to
  3. That it is OK to drink, but moderately (the last thing that I want to hear is that my reporter got involved in an altercation, drove under influence, sexually harassed (or harassed someone sexually), among other unpleasant happenings that could have been avoided in the first place)
  4. That we are not allowed to accept Christmas gifts worth half or more than half of our monthly salary (most media companies have such rule, but not strictly followed, except in the company I was business desk editor [consultant] for almost two years)

I  also have heard really ludicrous stories of how employees misbehaved during Christmas parties, and how some also blew up the party budget with no appropriate justification for it.

So here are some tips on how to behave during Christmas parties:

  1. First things first: Unless you really have a good excuse (or you are the boss and can opt not to show up), attend, to recognize the blood, sweat, tears the organizers put in to make this party happen. Also thank them before you leave.
  2. Dress appropriately. It is still an official function after all. If you need to participate in a production number that requires a costume, make sure such is not too lewd for the general audience (as some of the attendees bring their young children with them). Inform your guest as well about the dress code.
  3. Do not get drunk. Enough said.
  4. Eat. Moderately also like drinking.
  5. Be social. That’s the point of attending the party, to socialize, to network, so be careful with your body language that tells others, “I’m bored, what am I doing here anyway?”
  6. Avoid gossiping. Zip that mouth. Again, this is an official function still. And the bosses are most likely in attendance and you might have no idea that they are within ear shot and hear you bad mouth him or her or your colleagues.
  7. Avoid flirting. Especially if under alcoholic influence. The last thing that you want to happen is be sued for sexual harassment or hurt someone’s feelings or proposed a marriage to a lady from another department you only met at that party.
  8. Do not post photos or videos that are, well, how lame the party is, your colleagues drinking or eating way too much, or those engaging in not-so-nice behavior.
  9. Be yourself. But do not make a fool of yourself. Again this is still an official function so behaving appropriately is still the key.

So be merry and enjoy the parties!

Email ma.lynda.corpuz[at] for feedback.


REDISCOVER the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Update 2)


Digital Dark Ages? That is what Filipino netizens fear with the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 now in place, thus the opposition and calls to amend it

Read it.

Understand it.

It has its good points.

For its inclusions that in conflict with our freedom of speech and of expression — which our Constitution guarantees — let us collectively, intelligently, even calmly, call for the Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 be amended accordingly.

Let us work and hope for the better.

UPDATE: As of October 9, in a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order versus The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

REDISCOVER Corporate Social Responsibility

Whether as an aid to human resources, to manage risk, to differentiate a brand, or as a license to operate, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been proven that it is beyond a fancy term. While there are still criticizing its real cause, it is undeniable that successful CSR efforts truly make a positive impact.

In recent years, hitting the triple bottom line (TBL) or the “three pillars” — people, planet, and profit — became the model for CSR initiatives, an accountability of sorts, a commitment to some form of TBL reporting aligned with the United Nations and ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) TBL standard for urban and community accounting.

Cascade such big ticket words to the workforce, and most employees would say CSR is about their company’s effort to help the country or the community where they operate. It is also an opportunity for them to socialize – to meet other employees, especially if they work in a company that has various offices and remote workforce. Above all, it is an opportunity for them to help worthy causes and initiatives they are truly passionate about.

Corporate Responsibility: An Integral Part of Corporate Culture

For IBM, corporate responsibility is an integral part of their corporate culture. The 101-year-old company has outlined the following corporate responsibility thrusts: identify and act upon new opportunities to apply their technology and expertise to societal problems; scale their existing programs and initiatives to achieve maximum benefit; empower their employees and others to serve their communities; and integrate corporate citizenship and social responsibility into every aspect of the company.

Among such thrusts, empowering the employees and others to serve their communities was particularly highlighted during the company’s 2011’s Centennial Celebration of Service, wherein more than 300,000 IBMers participated in the activities, resulting in 3.2 million hours of community-based service in 120 countries.

In its IBM Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011, the company explains that when IBMers embarked on an historic effort to volunteer millions of hours of service throughout last year, they were careful to measure the results, citing that the company believe that the best way to give back to the many communities in which their employees live and work is to apply their skills to specific societal challenges.

In its service breakdown, 27% were serviced for education, 26% went to Human Resources, and 23% to community and economic development. Globally, North America clocked in 1,955,808 hours of services, Asia with 519,707 hours, and Europe with 400,054 hours.

The report also highlights IBMers helping to build Smarter Cities, through such efforts as the Smarter Cities Challenge, which so far provided USD50 million in competitive grants to send teams of talented IBMers to help transform 100 cities around the world. IBMers are also helping to re-imagine education, as with the innovative P-TECH high school in Brooklyn, New York, a breakthrough six-year model already spreading to other cities and influencing the national debate. Another very engaging effort of the company is the Corporate Service Corps, which deploy teams of high-potential IBMers in developing markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe to make communities smarter and more sustainable, while deepening the global skills of IBM’s future leaders.

Volunteering as “One”

IBM in the Philippines also held activities in line with the company’s Centennial Celebration of Service. In July 2011, the company supported the second phase of the “Save the La Mesa Watershed Project” of Bantay Kalikasan (ABS-CBN Foundation’s environmental arm) by adopting 800 trees. IBMers also participated in an environmental awareness briefing and ‘eco – amazing race’ activity to better understand, protect, and maintain the La Mesa Watershed.

Ready. This author and other IBMers participated in last year’s Big Blue Jungle, an activity in line with the company’s 2011’s Centennial Celebration of Service.

Learning. IBMers are taught to ready their saplings for planting.

Planting now.

As IBM celebrated its 75th year in the Philippines on July 20, 2012, the company held various corporate responsibility activities focusing on education.

It kicked off on July 19 with Voices for a Cause, which part of the proceeds from selling tee-ket (75th anniversary edition t-shirt) will go to 10 MOVES, a program by the Department of Education that aims to build 10,000 classrooms nationwide in a span of 10 months.

Kick-off. IBM Philippines 75th anniversary eve held Voices for a Cause, a benefit concert.

Full house. IBMers filling the venue for Voices for a Cause, a benefit concert.

Despite the heavy downpour brought by tropical depression Freddie, IBMers still banded for the One IBM Service Marathon for Education held last Saturday, July 21. IBMers were deployed across and beyond Metro Manila to help various programs that aim to better the state of education for the Filipino youth, in and out of school.  Activities included Mentoring (Iskul Blue-Kool); rehabilitation and refurbishment of classrooms/school grounds (Brigada Eskwela); outreach for streetchildren in Cavite (Kariton Klasrum); Reading Program (Read to Lead); and KidSmart turnover to select public schools and non-governmental organization.

Citing such efforts, and for a corporate responsibility effort to soar, “business, in particular, must seize the initiative,” IBM President and CEO Virginia Rommety writes in the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011. “We must not wait for government mandates. We must be active in convening all sectors of society to solve problems that none can solve on their own. We must energize our own resources — not just financial, but also human. Most crucially, we must create corporate citizenship and business strategies that are not merely ‘linked,’ but ‘one.’”

*Big Blue Jungle photos by IBMer Malou Sotto. Voices for a Cause photos by the author.

REDISCOVER Why IBM Philippines is “Essential” (Update 3)

When Virginia Rommety – the first female President and CEO of IBM – declared that  the 101-year-old company’s mission and aspiration for the next 100 years is to become “essential” to the clients, investors, country (where IBM operates), and employees, IBM Philippines took such declaration to a personalized – and glocalized level.

Mariels Almeda Winhoffer – who was only appointed early 2012 as IBM Philippines 14th and the first female Country Manager and CEO – cites that for the company’s 75th year in the country, they are ensuring that the whole business model is supporting such mission and aspiration, anchored on the platform, “Transformation through Information.”

Becoming “Essential”

To be essential to the country, community, customers, and people, IBM’s four identified growth areas – Smarter Cities, geo-expansion, Cloud, and Analytics – have been aligned with the Philippine government’s priorities.

Smarter Cities is an initiative that apply many of IBM’s Smarter Planet principles and innovations in public safety, transportation, water, building, social services, and agencies. Last month, IBM inked a PHP128 million project with the Davao City government to scale up its existing Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) through IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) solutions. IBM’s IOC is geared to help create Davao City a smart and safe city by applying advanced technologies like Geographic Information System (GIS), video analytics capabilities, early warning system, simplified dashboard, among relevant technologies.

Second is geo-expansion. Incorporated on July 20, 1937, IBM Philippines remains essential to IBM’s overall growth strategy.  As it celebrates its diamond anniversary today, the company leaders pride that the Philippines has been identified as one of IBM Corporation’s 20 focus countries, aligned with the company’s geographic expansion strategy in identified growth market units worldwide.

“The Philippines is a growth market and our geo-expansions include Davao, Calamba, and Subic and Clark. That’s our commitment [along] with the government’s ‘New Wave Cities,’ initiative. We’re enabling the transformation that this country is going through [now],” Almeda highlights during today’s media luncheon.

As a globally-integrated enterprise, IBM Philippines expands its industry leadership in Sales and Distribution for IT and IT-enabled services, Global Delivery Center for Application Services, Global Process Services (the Business Process Outsourcing [BPO] arm of IBM), and an Innovation Center. As one of the highlights of its 75th year, IBM Philippines announced that it has renewed its commitment to the country through the establishment of the first Philippine Systems and Technology R&D Laboratory.

In collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the R&D Lab is geared to advance four critical areas for the Philippines: BPO, governance for anti-corruption, talent development, and innovation for a knowledge-based economy. “… It’s not just us doing research and development for the sake of technology or for the sake of researching or developing something … [we’re] very focused on responding to the practical, essential needs of our Filipino people. Things [about] flood management, rice production, education: How has IBM got involved in these big issues that drive the way Filipinos live their lives here? It’s through technology. Our involvement in [these issues] will manifest itself through the [use] of our Analytics tools,” Winhoffer cites.

Watson is also an example how IBM has committed its resources to pursue advancement, Winhoffer cites. The AI (artificial intelligence) computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, bested Jeopardy! quiz show champions last year (thus becoming one of the highlights of IBM’s centennial celebration in 2011). But Watson is more than just a quiz show champ, Winhoffer stresses. “Watson [is] really, fundamentally IBM’s mission and aspiration: To use technology to solve the most complex issues that face mankind,” Winhoffer shares.

“Analytics will give us the platform to become more essential to the country, through our relationship with DOST, non-government organizations (NGOs), and through other means, to address, to give us a better understanding of the [issues],” Winhoffer says.

It’s Only the Beginning

Currently, the 75-year-old IBM Philippines has over 5,000 clients, 400 business partners, 130 authorized service centers, and operates from 12 world-class facilities nationwide.

While 75 years speak a lot of the success and longevity of the company in the Philippines and in the region, as well as IBM’s rise from its near-death experience in the 90s, Winhoffer says that things are only “starting” for IBM Philippines.

In line with such, Winhoffer shares that the Philippines has been chosen by global IBM to become the center for providing integrated health services. “We’re recognizing the skill sets of the nurses here in the Philippines. We’re going to elevate that and from here, we’re going to [virtually] support them in the United States … just like providing them with the support of highly talented and skilled professionals. It was just announced yesterday and we’re very proud of that because they chose us over Latin America and other continents, over other ASEAN countries,” she beams.

“The confidence and excitement of our global company is somehow pouring [here] in IBM Philippines: bringing operations here, further investing in our capacity, not only to support our revenue, but really to support the global business. In fact, this requires higher level skills, [like] providing Level 2 to 3 support from here for software and Level 2 to 3 support from here for hardware, so that really means Filipinos do possess the skills,” Winhoffer says.

On a personal note, Winhoffer says she is very blessed and honored to be part of IBM. “I’m pretty much a tool, an enabler, of what my predecessors did. I’m the 14th [Country Manager and CEO] and I’m building on the foundation built by my predecessors. [And] as one IBM in the Philippines, we will be better, bigger, and we will be very essential to the country,” she ends.

REDISCOVER Apple and Steve Jobs

Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Sounds very strange yet ecstatic to be the last words of a dying man, but apparently, those were the last words of Steve Jobs, the man who was thought mad and genius at the same time, the very man responsible for the modern Apple, which revolutionary products we’re enjoying during our leisure time or driving us to perform excellently.

In the eulogy of Mona Simpson (Steve’s sister) published yesterday in The New York Times, she painted a picture of Steve as truly human — as a brother, a husband, and a father. Such was the facets of Steve mostly unknown to the world, as the world best knows him as the co-founder of an innovative computer turned high-technology company, which products — from the hits and misses and from the original Macintosh to the iPhone 4S (which was unveiled a day before Steve died of respiratory arrest on October 5, 2011, after years of fighting pancreatic cancer), the world live in Steve Jobs’ idea. Including my world.

Personally, my first Apple product was the first generation iPod shuffle (yes, the white, with a USB connector and a lanyard, which thickness made it look like a stack of chewing gum). I won it in a raffle from a press conference I attended to in early 2005. I was with a colleague who was quick to spread the news the following day in our office. My iPod Shuffle also graced the cover of the first issue of Computerworld Philippines campus edition.

My iPod Shuffle

I was the “It” girl then, having the latest gadget around. But toward the end of 2005, Apple released the iPod Nano to replace the unsuccessful iPod Mini. Coolness gone, tech-fashion wise. But my iPod shuffle is keeping me company for six years now.

I have my iPod Shuffle with me while beating my deadlines. I keep myself plugged when I find myself alone, even with a company. I use this when I jog. It put me to sleep when I am alone and in a foreign place. The original ear phones gave up on me (with the right ear plug not working anymore) and was replaced by a Sennheiser  head phones, a Valentine’s gift to me in 2008. Two years after, it just started to wither, with the wires already showing, and last year, I replaced it with a Philips ear plugs.  My iPod Shuffle, filled with my most eclectic collection of songs (at 512MB) kept me sane and company when I needed them most and I am proudest to have it as my first ever Apple product.

Then, upon bullying, eh, convincing from my youngest brother, I was swayed to buy the iPad 2 (32G, WiFi) in May 2011. Originally, it was for my brother. But the shop he ordered this from was not able to release this on time. So after work and on his way home, he dropped by the Mac store in Greenbelt and got himself a 32G WiFi and 3G. Amazed by how iPad 2 looks like and how easy it is to use, I agreed to buy his original purchase and paid it on an installment basis (which payment I completed September 30).

My iPad 2 (with orange Smart Cover and orange Speck back cover)

While at first I thought it set me back by PHP26,990 (it is sold at PHP28,990, my brother got it with a discount and a free screen protector), my brother was right in saying that I should get myself something nice and expensive (before this, I think my most expensive purchase is PHP3,000 plus worth of clothing). I used to bring this to the office to listen to my songs, but stopped bringing it with me as this is one of the audio-visual devices not allowed in our operations area per workplace security guidelines. Thus, my iPod Shuffle remains very handy these days.

While I think this contributes to my constant neck and shoulder blades pain (always head down using it, that’s why), my iPad 2 keeps me company to a whole new level. I Skype, I FaceTime, use Yahoo! Messenger with it and connect with my friends, especially overseas. I uploaded my favorite series like  Family Guy, Doctor Who, and Castle and watch them either on travel or before going to sleep. I Twit, I Facebook, I email with it. I browse the Internet for the latest news and I Google for matters of interest. I use Weather HD to check the real time weather in my favorite cities here and in Australia.

For productivity, I read MS Word files through DocstoGo and I use Moleskine app to blog a bit. For quite a time, I also got hooked with Bakery Story, City Story, Fashion Story, and Restaurant Story. Those games. I also played Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Seasons. I also play once in a while Doodle Find, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and of course, Solitaire.

I get my daily dose of news from ABC News, BBC  News, CNN app, SBS World News, Triple J, Time app (where I first purchased my e-magazine, their October 17, 2011 edition with Steve Jobs on the cover). When I upgraded to iOS 5 (which was sort of a nightmare, as I wasn’t able to back-up my files and apps and I had to reinstall them again after the upgrade), I find the iMessage, Notification Center, Reminders very useful while I fill my Newsstand apps with my selection of readings, and I downloaded the classics from iBooks for free. This iPad 2 purchase makes me so proud — this served as an end goal of my disciplined spending, at the same time, makes this my most expensive purchase to date. Not to mention that I think this is the last of the Apple products that truly has the Steve Jobs’ mark all over it — the shiny, metallic black of perfection, the fully-loaded thinness, the elegant simplicity of how it works. And I am a proud owner of it.

I want to know how Steve Jobs worked. How he made his grand ideas into the realities of today. That’s why I immediately reserved the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and claimed the hard-bound edition last Saturday from Powerbooks SM Megamall:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (PHP1295.00 from Powerbooks)

This copy is actually my brother’s copy (looks like I have to get my own). He’s the one who really likes Steve Jobs — I would often wake up to his full-blast watching of Steve Jobs’ product launchings, his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, and reads anything and everything about this American Icon.  When the biography came out last October 24, he was quick to purchase the e-book from Amazon. He also bought the audio book. And had he have the chance, I am sure he would like to work for Steve Jobs.

Apple and Steve Jobs’ influence on us and my brother might be irrelevant compared to those who revered the company, the products, and Steve Jobs’ genius from the start. It is indeed a “WOW” experience to have a part of the man through his creations, through his innovations. Even if he is gone, and even if his biography penned by Isaacson might reveal more about the man (good or bad), Apple and Steve Jobs already secured their place in history.

Apple and Steve Jobs personalized the technological experience for us, and that is something we truly appreciate about him. Unwittingly, we learned from the man how to let go of the things we are used to and quick to embrace the innovations for our own convenience. And that indeed is  “Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.”

Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

October 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm

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