First, allow me to clarify: this post is anything but political. While looking for a prominent figure, Imelda came to mind. Indeed, a rags-to-riches story that is not frequently told. Imelda Marcos may not be the typical inspiring person for Filipinos, albeit highly controversial. Nevertheless, her early years of hard work and determination were a truly inspirational part of her life we can take pointers to.

So, here are some career advice that we can learn and apply in real life from the most controversial First Lady.


Dream Big

Imelda is a Romualdez, yes. A name linked to aristocracy and politics. But, she is the “poor” Romualdez. They lived in the garage in Manila and a small hut back in Leyte. A house that entirely lacks even the basic necessities. But, Imelda kept on dreaming, to create a better life for her family. Nobody expected that the Rose of Leyte, who left her province with 5 Pesos in her pocket with a small luggage will rise as one of the interesting figures in the country’s political scene.

We are usually busy trying to survive and then eventually succumb to a routine that we forgot to dream. Imagine deeply what you want to accomplish. Do not forget the reason why you want to achieve it. And then, keep yourself motivated to achieve that dream.



Do not hesitate to ask for help

Imelda never hesitated to ask for help whenever needed. Back in the province, it was with the vendors to add a little extra every time she buys food. In Manila, it was with her rich relative, Danieling Romualdez, for a place to stay and a job.  And of course, on numerous occasions, to solicit votes for her future husband, Ferdinand Marcos when he ran for president.

We tend to get shy when we need to ask for assistance. In our effort to succeed, one way or another, we need to ask for help. Do not feel shy about it. If you weight down the option, you have more to lose if you do not ask.



Hone your skills and learn new things

Back in her High School days, Imelda is already known as a good singer. People who have known her remember this fondly. But, she did not sit back and relax. She took voice lessons in Manila despite juggling a hectic work schedule as a sales lady in Escolta, and of course, adjusting to the city life.  When she married Marcos, even after a series of a nervous breakdown, she persevered to study the world that is truly unfamiliar to her, politics and Manila’s elite.

In the competitive work environment, being “good” is not enough.  We have to constantly find ways to be better in our chosen careers. Also, we have to keep growing. Meaning, find ways to learn different things in our spare time. This may not be necessary work-related. It can be a hobby too! Remember, in the string of new applicants these days, someone will always be better than you. So keep the competitive (in a good way) spirit alive, take some time to improve your skills and, learn new things.


Be daring sometimes

It was reported that Marcos convinced Imelda to marry him in 2 weeks. This is an exaggeration. Marcos convinced Imelda to marry him in 11 days. For a meek and innocent provincial girl, this step was totally unexpected. Their marriage, of course, started the wheel of the controversial path in our history.

Okay, we are not asking you to get married or anything like that! Remember that internal hiring for a supervisor that your company is looking for that you wish to apply? Go ahead and send your application! Or, the time when you are too shy to speak out about a fantastic idea to your boss? I can go on and on about this, but I hope you can see what I mean.


Ignore Negativity but welcome constructive criticism

It was not held in hush whispers that Imelda is not welcome to Manila’s elite, even after marrying Ferdinand Marcos.  She was the favorite gossip for the politician’s wives because of her expensive clothing and jewelry but once she opens her mouth, her provincial upbringing was still evident. Imagine Mean Girls, because that’s exactly how it was. This treatment affected her, of course, but, she did not stay up at night crying about it. Instead, she listens to pointers given to her by her husband and some close friends on how she can improve herself. Then, she successfully shed her provincial image (of course she overdid it) and became known as the “Steel Butterfly”.

The best thing to do is to be more reasonable, and stop being too sensitive. Why? So you can differentiate which one you should ignore and which one you should remember. Negativity is everywhere, it is up to us if we should be affected by it. Criticism, however, should be taken seriously. Remember, there is always room for improvement.


Remember people, especially names. And make them feel special

When Marcos gave Imelda a huge task to solicit votes for him to win the nomination for the presidency, to say that she succeeded, is an understatement. As she quoted in an interview, “I knew every delegate at that convention because I shook hands and talked with each and every one of them, visited them in their homes, knew their first and last names, the circumstances in their families”. Enough said.

We tend to forget names after 10 seconds we shook hands with the person. Make an effort to remember them. Write down their description when you receive their business cards. Ask questions to help yourself remember them. This is extremely important in the work environment. You will never know when they can be useful. After all, how can they remember you when you never exerted an effort?


Give out your best, no matter what the situation is

During the campaign period, Imelda went into full force for her husband. She performed in small towns and big cities. The most note-worthy was she always gave the best performance and wore her best clothes. All the time. Even if it was on a wobbly stage in a small town. The locals took notice. And, they remember.

Give out your best. Do the extra mile. We always heard these lines. And yet, we do not do it. That little extra effort is always essential on what we do because it always counts. And the rewards can be beyond your imagination.

We hope that you will be inspired by our post as you gear up for next week! Missed out some previous posts? Click here.


Looking for interview tips? Check out our tips here.

Photo credit:

Reference: The Rise and Fall of Imelda Marcos by Carmen Navarro Pedrosa

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