Jan 04 2024
From linear career paths to diverse portfolio careers
In an era where emerging technologies are rapidly transforming jobs, businesses are creating new opportunities, and people are reevaluating their definitions of success, more professionals are embracing the concept of portfolio careers, or multiple jobs and interests, instead of pouring all their energy into progressing on linear career paths and corporate ladders. Despite the complexity, it has allowed them more freedom and flexibility to chase after varied goals such as multiple income streams, more time with loved ones, and personal fulfillment, as these MDRT members can attest.
Solving meaningful problems
Besides being a three-year MDRT member from San Pablo City, Philippines, Eric Gamilla is a medical doctor currently studying to become a lawyer and has further plans to enter a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program.
Given all his pursuits, it may be a surprise that he does not have a bucket list of achievements to accomplish by a certain age. “I live life one day at a time. When opportunities arise, and I believe I can respond, I do what I feel called to do.” He believes he has found his life’s purpose at a young age. “I have discovered the secret to happiness: to solve meaningful problems using our time and gifts.”
When asked how he avoids getting intimidated by everything he needs to juggle, he jokes, “I just avoid looking at them!” However, there are kernels of truth in his humor. He counterintuitively does not rely on detailed time blockings on his calendar, as he believes in taking life as it happens, waking up every day to answer a question that his mentor inspired, "How can I be a blessing today?” While it animates him into doing his best, it also disciplines him into prioritizing activities that will serve others. “For sure, when I look at what my friends are doing, I still experience FOMO (fear of missing out). However, I understand that we are not here to compete and that there will always be trade-offs. I have trained myself to think not of what I have lost but gained.” It shields him from being caught up in unproductive emotions. “I try not to get stressed whenever things don’t go my way and believe things happen for a reason in the long run, which quells my frustration.”
While adding “Doctor” or “Attorney” as an honorific is a significant acheivement in the Philippines, titles make Gamila uncomfortable. “I experienced anxiety when I first became an MDRT member because I worried about maintaining it. However, I soon realized it means nothing in the grand scheme because how we have devoted our lives to serving people is what truly matters. Whenever I hear my clients thank me for how I have helped them and their families, I realize I am doing well in fulfilling my life’s purpose.”
Social work in its many forms
Besides being a financial advisor, Christianne Santos, a one-year MDRT from Quezon City, Philippines, works in a renewable energy company that installs solar panels in off-grid homes, engaging in environmental advocacy to create solutions for today’s climate emergency. She is also one of the co-founders of a non-profit that helps underprivileged children attend school and become community leaders.
While on the surface, her jobs may have nothing in common, Santos believes she is simply weaving a tapestry made up of different threads. “Financial advising can be considered social work as we help empower people to prepare for their future.” She does not believe in compartmentalizing these different aspects of her life, as she has seen how they can enrich each other. “I have invited my fellow financial advisors to participate in some charity activities. In return, I have also given talks on sustainability to my peers in our agency.”
While she has sometimes found it challenging to position herself as a financial advisor and deal with conflicting demands on her time, her well-curated toolbox helps her cope. “Every morning, I center myself through prayer and meditation. I remind myself to live in gratitude and thoughtfulness and for whom I do everything. Then, I go on calls with my colleagues and clients to help me deeply understand their needs and what I can do for them. Lastly, I devote time for exercise and self-care so I can always give the best of myself to others.”
When her commitments overlap, she reaches out to colleagues and clients. “I communicate with them honestly. They must understand I am treating their concern with a sense of urgency. I believe in doing even the smallest things with great love.” Her sincerity and integrity in these relationships have allowed her to redeem these favors. “Because they know me, they trust that I genuinely want to serve and care for them.”
Once a teacher, always a teacher
Jeanette Hilot, a three-year MDRT member from Quezon City, Philippines, is a teacher at heart. Before her foray into financial advising, she spent over a decade teaching mathematics in an exclusive school, retiring after two consecutive pregnancies. “Besides the need to tandem breastfeed, I worried about spending my whole day in school and not seeing my children grow up.” However, her heart yearned to continue teaching, so she set up a math tutorial center. As her students would be in school in the morning, she devoted this time to her children and only worked in the afternoons.
As a believer in life insurance, it took only a short time before she reached out to an exceptional financial advisor friend to inquire about educational plans for her two young children. Her friend said she could get a better deal on her policies if she pursued financial advising herself. As the shift to online classes due to the pandemic liberated more of her time, Hilot enrolled in her friend's recommended training, and she soon became a full-fledged financial advisor. “I soon realized that being able to promote financial literacy is a natural extension of my abilities and interests as I enjoyed conducting financial wellness classes for companies and schools. I have a special heart for connecting with public school teachers, not just because of my background but because many are overwhelmed with debt due to their meager salaries. I especially loved speaking to parents about the importance of having educational plans for their children.”
While scheduling conflicts came with the territory of juggling parenthood, her tutorial business, and financial advising, the support offered by Hilot’s mother and husband allowed her to manage her commitments as seamlessly as she could. Beyond that, she constantly devotes time to self-evaluation to determine how to be more efficient and effective with her tasks. She worked hard to gain and keep the trust of her students and their parents through consistency, reliability, and open communication so that in case she needed to reschedule due to a financial advising client, they would understand. She made sure to be vocal about the bigger purpose motivating her. “I have had previous students who used to hate Math reach out years later, saying that they have become engineers. You can never predict your impact when you educate and empower someone, whether as a teacher or a financial advisor. Sharing your knowledge and helping your clients become financially secure doesn’t just positively influence them; it will also help them share their blessings with others. The lessons you inculcate can ripple far into the future, well past your lifetime.”