July 23, 2018, 3:56 am
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Sidelines

When I was still working in an office, my fairly stressful life was made even more interesting by my sidelines — which were given to me by my boss. 

Yes. My boss. 

He had a plethora of friends in the PR and advertising industry. And they always ran to my boss for help. He was their Go-to Guy. So he kind of twisted my arm by giving me all these sidelines that I was supposed to do outside office hours. 

Thank goodness, we were both very strict about keeping our office hours unquestionably virginal. No sidelines during office hours. Not even phone calls about them. 

To this day, I thank my boss for the sidelines he threw my way. It prepared me for a task that God was going to give me a few years down the road. Those sidelines equipped me to handle a corporate communications division that had about 25 men and women, not counting the satellite offices in the provinces that we had to monitor. Without those sidelines, I would’ve just had enough experience to circumnavigate the two buildings we occupied on Buendia Avenue (which was so clean and placid that time). 

Unwittingly, I discovered that sidelines were better than getting a masters degree in my field. Working in the trenches was much more educational and state-of-the-art, on all levels. It was like taking your graduate studies within the confines of board rooms and corporate battle fields.

And being paid so well for it! I think I earned four times my salary doing those sidelines. 

So what sidelines did my boss give me at age 25? Well, I remember editing annual reports and technical papers (ugh!!!); writing speeches, documentary scripts, audio-visual scripts, primers, marketing collaterals, omnibus brochures, etc. 

As if that wasn’t stressful enough, once I was asked to co-emcee the annual awards night of this PR organization. Yes. Also as a sideline. 

I cannot even remember how I survived that evening, standing for two hours on stage, with the lights rendering me half-blind. I couldn’t read my script! The script that I wrote going to and from the office. My driver had to drive verrrrrry slowly to keep my penmanship readable. We didn’t have laptops then. 

Well, in a way, it was a blessing that the perpetual glare from the lights kept me from seeing the sea of faces in front of me — among them were the most formidable (and nastiest) clients in the industry. Some were the taipans of spin engines who were paying for all the wine, prime booze, and caviar that were distributed among the VIP tables. I got to bring home a caviar cake to prevent me from having a nervous breakdown. 

Imagine a panic attack that lasted for 2.5 hours — that’s what I had. The only respites my co-emcee (a man who later became a newscaster) and I had were the touch-ups backstage. I was too strung-out to even go to the bathroom. And I definitely adlibbed my way through that whole ordeal. The icing on the cake was a free stay at the posh hotel where the event was held. Barring that, I cannot, for the life of me, remember why I agreed to co-emcee.  Blame it on my boss. But I must say that his PR friends were always very, very generous. 

Decades after my sideline stints, I realized that all I learned from those midnight-to-6am jobs were going to be used by God when I finally decided to work for Him, full time. I continued to write, to edit, to do lectures, teaching  and training materials, to counsel  (well, in my corporate career days, I had to counsel some of my editors, writers, and art directors who had marital or financial problems). And I continued to speak. I still had to give talks. Even more than I had to when I was still in the corporate world. It’s the one thing I still dread doing, but have to do.

When I cannot find a way out. 

No, I don’t get paid by our church. The days can sometimes be very long. There’s lots of overtime work, too! And no representation expenses to cover the Ministry work I have to do. 

But I still keep accepting the work that my Boss throws my way! My new Big Boss, that is. He’s relentless. The assignments He gives me have brought me to many parts of the world. And we’ve revisited many of the countries we went to, when my husband and I had to take breaks from our jobs then. The hotel accomodations He has given us have been amazing, most of the time. The company and friends we keep are AWESOME. Oh, there are difficult personalities and relationship glitches here and there, but at the end of the day, we love one another with the Love of Christ. 

The work that I do for my Big Boss is now my Main Job, not just my sideline. The perks are unlimited. He is unbelievably generous. He’s very creative with the benefits He gives me. Many things He gives us, I didnt even think of asking for. And our children have shared those perks and benefits countless times, to this day. 

Most of all: the retirement pay is out of this world! 
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