Monday, June 18, 2007

None of the Above

My previous post covered a brief overview on 2 companies that I could have worked at. All of us have our own decisions to make; whatever our choices may be, it should be supported by reason.

Between the two, I chose to work with SMART. One of the main reasons was that it offered stability. A good pay with an outstanding bonus, topped with full medical benefits, and other company perks you could get by working with an established company such as this one.

BiT Micro should have been my ideal company with regard to what my training as a Computer Engineer (Microelectronics – Digital) is concerned. They say that the work environment in BiT Micro is nothing different from what a typical UP EEE graduate had experienced. As of last year, BiT Micro had successfully hired most of the EEE graduates. In fact, BiT Micro became a ‘default’ company for graduating IML affiliates. Maybe it was the ‘UP-like’ factor that appealed to them. But for me, it didn’t.

When I had my interview at BiT Micro, I had seen many familiar faces I had encountered at EEE. Same old people; some of them were my college contemporaries. During that time, I was in formal wear; they were in their casuals. It was very evident that I was their applicant, and I felt like hiding then. I got delayed in UP for one year just because of 8 units. Soon I get to realize, starting with BiT Micro means starting with an already delayed career. Not to mention the 4 years of bondage, it was really hard for me to risk on something I am not even sure of.

This probably attracted me more to SMART. No recent EEE graduate had probably worked here before. There would be lots of new people to meet, new grounds to explore, and perhaps a territory to cover. It would be a refreshing way to start a career. The position offered to me doesn’t even have a bond. I may be able to transfer to another company some other time; either because of discontent or maybe for career improvement.

But just when I was all ready to work with SMART, I got stalled with the medical results particularly with my blood pressure. For a month or so, the over-the-counter pills prescribed by the infirmary doctor had not taken effect; consequently, I just had a full summer’s worth of vacation. Thankfully, SMART didn’t give up on me; that the job offered to me was still in place. All I needed was a lowered bp which a proper medication could easily fix.

Even during the time that I had made up my mind on SMART, I did not let go yet of BiT Micro or any other company that came my way. I still kept my options open. By May, I encountered a job advertisement from one of my yahoo groups. It was also the same job that was referred to me by a brod, that he eventually saw in jobstreet. What was wanted was a ‘Bridge Engineer’. 2 main skill sets needed that struck me: knowledgeable in VHDL/Verilog; proficiency in Nihonggo a plus (for Japan). Shoot. In fact, the whole job description seemed to be written exactly for me. Now, since this ‘new’ job was related to my field of specialization, the only question left was if it would be financially worth it. Could it match SMART’s standing offer? I guess it did.

Once, I had regretted for not being able to graduate on time. But now, I am very much thankful for that one year that became an opportunity for me to slow down a bit and contemplate on the future. Most of those who aimed to be ‘on time’ were busy finishing/excelling their remaining academic load that they no longer have the time to prepare themselves for the job fairs and attend as much interviews as they can. Upon graduation, they were still not sure where to go; thus, the tendency for them to grab the very first job offer they encounter.

I am grateful that I was given a choice. Given the fact that I am able to choose, it means that I am still in control of my life.


posted by ScIoN 4:18 PM |

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Tale of Two Offers

Upon the near end of my last semester, I was blessed to receive invites from numerous companies that eventually led to some job offers. By the time I had finally graduated, I had narrowed down my choices into 2 companies: SMART Communications Inc. vs. BiT Micro Networks Inc.

At first, it was a battle of choice between software vs. hardware programming. SMART offered me a position at its Convergent Processes Group (CPG) specifically under Networks. I would be some kind of a Junior Developer, with C/C++ as my basic language, to implement new systems not only for SMART but also for the whole PLDT company. Actually, during my last interview at the SMART IT Summit (where the interviewer did the convincing), he brought up some projects/responsibilities that I may be involved in with respect to my field of specialization. So perhaps more was yet to come.

On the other hand, BiT Micro's offer was for me to be one of their ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) engineers. Being a student affiliate from IML, I had been trained to think hardware; thus, BiT Micro had the advantage in terms of relatedness to my specialization. BiT Micro's headquarters is located at Silicon Valley; BiT Micro - Philippines was set up by 2 Fil-Am brothers with the help of some UP EEE Alumni (which included former instructors). Years of work with this company could be a good step if I am to pursue the field of microelectronics.

In terms of pay, the 2 companies had different ways to compensate their employees. Let's just say that both companies offered me the same basic salary (taxable income). BUT, it does not stop there. They have their own compensation schemes that I shall share in this post.

BiT Micro claims that in about 3-4 years, salary could increase to about 3x more than the starting. This is possible because performance evaluation recurs every 6 months. Meaning, you get the chance for a raise at least twice a year. Another compensation feature of BiT Micro is the stock option. You get to be an employee and a stockholder at the same time. BiT Micro-Philippines is yet to reach its 4th year. By the time the company gets a big big break(= stocks soar), everybody in the company becomes happy -- this includes the janitor-stockholder. Based from the given compensation scheme plus the 4 year bond, being employed at BiT Micro seemed to be some kind of self-investment.

Meanwhile, SMART already has a name; it being one of 2 major communication networks in the country. Their compensation package goes straight to the point. The company is giving company-performance based bonuses. For the last 2 years, SMART gave at most 21-month bonus pays to all of its employees. This means that your annual income becomes 'monthly salary 21' instead of just 13 (whereas a 13th month pay is government-required). With this, you get to have a monthly salary that is approximately twice the given basic. Isn't SMART already giving too much? Well, the whole of the company (including the employees) benefit from the generosity of its 25 Million subscribers. Aside from the monetary compensations, being an employee also gives you full medical benefits. Parents (both) are also given a premium on their medical needs. Not to mention a lot more of freebies, perks, etc, etc.

What would you choose if you were in my shoes?


posted by ScIoN 1:19 PM |

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


UP-IML student affiliates (SA) just recently had a weekend 'semstarter' at a resthouse located in San Miguel, Bulacan. The semstarter was actually planned as a semender by last semester's 198 people. Ironically, only Rose was present during the outing.

Most of the SAs went with Snap for a ride in his van. Dean was not confident in bringing his service so our group (Dean, Bryann, Gian and I) commuted. We have paid Php97 each for the bus fare (single trip); travel time was about 2hours. The Php350 contribution per person that we had agreed upon does not include transportation expenses. Our group was the first to arrive at the site since Snap's group stopped by to buy some groceries.

At first sight, we were a bit dismayed by the size of the pool. It looked a bit small from what we have been used to. After we had circled the whole place a bit, we went straight ahead into the pool while waiting for the others to arrive. The pool's depth was about 5ft and goes slightly deeper towards the center. Although the pool's length wasn't fit for doing laps, it did have enough space for some dip and swim.

The whole place wasn't really bad after all. Most private resorts/resthouses are simply defined by having a pool, cooking area and some room/s to sleep in overnight. For this San Miguel Resthouse, it even has a shaded deck over a small fish pond. The whole place have been well-maintained as evident with the trimmed lawn and the healthy orchids. We even got to eat indian mangoes for free, straight from its resident trees. I'd say it's a good place for private family/group outings.

The people present in the 'IML Outing' were basically the 'cool guys' and the current 198ers. No IML faculty (not counting Dean/Bryann) or probie SAs were present. I think the outing became more of a 'thesis sem starter' for the current 198ers, instead of the planned 'thanksgiving' semender for the previous 198ers 2nd sem 06-07.

All throughout the outing, all I did was eat, swim and play RISK. Risk is a board dice game (of global domination) brought by Snap. We played the whole night straight for about 7 hours (7pm-2am). After that major game (which I technically won after reading the manual the next day), pool bonding came next. While we wasted most of our night with Risk, Dean slept all throughout. The next day, I played again for about 3-4 hours. I guess this is where I was able to bond with the young 198ers (particularly those from ERG). In between games, there was eating and swimming.

We were tired at the end of the day. And it was good.


posted by ScIoN 3:10 PM |

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

NBI Clearance

I tried to have my NBI clearance renewed when I was in Baguio. I thought the renewal would be smooth until I was referred to the regional office because of a 'hit'. When I tried to process it there, I was told to wait until June 4 because my clearance will be checked in the main office. Since I need to be in Manila before the start of June, I pulled out my application at the Baguio office.

I had devoted this day for my NBI clearance renewal. I went to Carriedo via the 2 LRT stations. Cubao-Recto, then Doroteo-Carriedo. Since I had no 'change' to pay the Php20 'entrance fee' at NBI-Carriedo, I ate my lunch at the Jollibee outlet nearby to break down my Php500 bill.

I was inside the NBI building at about 12nn. I narrated my plight to the renewal section guy and he referred me to the regional office at the 6th floor. I still have to pay Php115 again (I had paid Php115 when I applied in Baguio). Since it was lunch break, I had to wait until 1pm at the waiting area. Good thing there were comfortable couches available in the 6th floor, it was air conditioned and even has tv.

I got expedite processing through the regional office. Good thing I did not have to suffer more even after paying twice the normal payment. I did wait for about an hour and a half though. Good thing I did not have to repeat what was done last year.

At about 3pm, I finally received my new NBI clearance. I had my address changed and converted my local clearance for the travel option. And since I was already at the Quiapo area, I went to buy some DVDs.

I know I have ranted much about government agencies before, but I'd say NBI-Carriedo has a generally easy system for applying their clearances. Actually the main root of my rants is DOST, for putting me in the scholars black list even though I did not take any money from them.

I think my next stop would be the Bureau of Immigration office. I've read from Joenille's blog that he got intercepted at the airport and got a delayed flight. I don't want it to happen to me someday. Good thing I'm not a rank-and-file employee, or else I wouldn't have time fixing my stuffs.


posted by ScIoN 7:33 PM |

Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 2 2day

I just had accepted offers from 2 different companies within the past few months. Only one would be official, the one whom I have signed papers with.

This morning, I went to SSS-East Ave to finish my SSS application. For about a year, my social security number was only temporary because I failed to bring a valid birth certificate before. The whole queuing thing became not much of a problem with me since their system was relatively organized as compared to most government processing agencies I had been to. Been there at about 9am, finished at about 10.

Afterwards, I went to UP Engg to claim my TCG and Cert. of Graduation. The certificate contained my GWA of 2.4, sheesh. I don't know if I'd be proud or feel mediocre about it. Hung out at the BE tambayan for a while before eating lunch with the IML guys at the CS canteen.

At 2pm, went to have a meeting with my boss, then I finally signed the papers. Finished at 3pm. Went to IML with a happy face.

Guess what? I just had a raise.


posted by ScIoN 5:12 PM |

Friday, June 01, 2007

First Day High

Woke up at about 930am. Ate breakfast at 10. Watched an episode of House (season 2). Ate lunch. Went to UP-IML by 130pm. tumambay.

Not bad for a first day at work, huh?

Beat that.


posted by ScIoN 1:44 PM |

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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