I used to spend my days working as a designer for start-up companies.
The hard work pressured me to ensure my designs gave the most return. In that way I could keep my job. It was only after 5 p.m. that I would partake in what I really wanted to do—design and illustrate art about the Philippines.
Today, however, things are a bit different. I no longer work for young start-ups that are trying to make money, while I continued ignoring important issues that our planet and its inhabitants face. I now work for a 41-year-old organization in the non-profit sector, designing for an environmental non-government organization (NGO) that works to restore the rainforests of the Philippines.
My days are a lot different now than they used to be, but in some ways they are the same.
7:30 a.m.—Time for me to wake up. If I’m lucky the local fruit cart will usually be at the corner, but another choice is the bread I buy at the local bakery—it will be fresh out of the oven. After breakfast, I’m off to work.
8:30 a.m.—The first thing I do once I arrive at my desk is check Facebook. I maintain our social network accounts and make sure we are posting links, photos and graphics that are relevant to the issues and topics aligned with our advocacy. I record how many times an FB post was shared to help gauge our growth and apply what works and discard what doesn’t.
8:45 a.m.—I do my Performance Management Report (PMR): every quarter Haribon managers evaluate the performance of their staff via measuring tools like the Performance Management Report. I fill up an excel sheet with projects that I’ve finished and how they’ve helped or abated our overall goals as a department.
10 a.m.—Now it’s time to do a revision on a previous project. My manager notifies me that a brochure I designed for our “Welcome to the Birds” campaign could not be printed because ‘bleed’ wasn’t added. After, I was notified that we needed a 3 ft. by 6 ft. banner printed for the same campaign, “Welcome to the Birds.”
One of the difficulties I still have is making sure I understand instructions given to me in Filipino. I am learning the language for the first time, and in the midst of using Tagalog (or more accurately, my less-than-intermediate “Taglish”), I tend to miss a few things here and there when spoken to in the language. Luckily I’m getting better, and hopefully it gets to the point where I don’t miss certain things like this.
11:45 a.m.—By this time, I’m working on the website update. I was asked to update our “ROAD to 2020” page of our website with new numbers from the field. We keep track of how many trees we plant every quarter via our ROAD to 2020 campaign.
1 p.m.—After lunch, I had to take photos and a video. In addition to community work in the field, we also do local seminars for people as young as 5th graders by visiting their schools via our “Biodiversity on Wheels” program. As part of my job, I took photos and a video of one of these training sessions at a high school not too far from our office.
4:30 p.m.—I uploaded photos and returned to the website update.
Once we arrive back at the office it’s time to upload all my photos and the video, both for my colleague as well as for our communication department to archive. I then return to gathering all the new data for the website update and posting them on our website.
5:30 p.m.—Now it’s the end of the day.
As I reflect on these workdays I sometimes find myself wondering if
working here is much different from working in the for-profit sector.
Although the process of creating designs have not changed, from applying bleed to a brochure or updating a website with new information, what has changed is what my design is working toward.
Also, I used to spend hours outside of work creating graphics with Philippine themes. I used to surf for hours online looking at photos of the Philippine Eagle, trying to figure out how to illustrate it accurately.
Now I get to do that as my job. By doing so I’ve added 40.