by Devon Higgins
At PhotoUp, we look to develop leaders within our communities by asking our employees to set short term and long term goals that will help them better themselves and their communities. We want our employees to get the most out of their time with PhotoUp and we realize that PhotoUp may not be a long-term career choice for many of our employees, but rather an integral stepping stone in their personal growth and professional development.
Dado Bughao is one of PhotoUp’s first employees and has seen PhotoUp grow, change and evolve over the years. Dado is an extraordinary example of how working for PhotoUp helped one young man grow as an individual to achieve his long-term goal of going back to agriculture school in the Philippines. Below is Dado’s incredible journey through with PhotoUp, as told by Dado himself.
Brief History of My Journey with PhotoUp, by Dado Bughao
PhotoUp came to my life on a certain day when I was browsing for jobs on a job search site; as I browsed the PhotoUp post on the site, I was intrigued since they mentioned a free rice if you got accepted in the job which is quite unusual from the rest of the companies offering jobs here in the Philippines. Though after some thought and positive outlook I sent my resume and letter to them hoping for a positive result since I was getting tired of being jobless in a place far from home.
Days past and I checked my email again if there were replies from companies I sent my resume to and there was one, PhotoUp. Interview day came quickly which made me happy and worried at the same time, I went as early as I can since first impressions are important. As I walked the streets to the location of the company it made me wonder as to why all I saw were houses then the answer came quickly when I stumbled into a white gate that has a PhotoUp sticker in it. I rang the bell and a tattooed guy opened the gate which later on is known to me as Ossie. Ossie was the interviewer that day of the group of hopefuls. I asked if I was in the right place and he said ‘come in’.
I went in and saw the interior of a wooden house with tables and iMacs in it with only 3 employees at that time. As for me, I’m still a bit shocked of the status of the company since in my mind a company should be in a building or something but at that time PhotoUp was still a humble start-up company. A couple of minutes passed and the other hopefuls came rushing in and so did Kristian, co-owner of PhotoUp. He gathered us around a round table and started the interview. Hearing others experience made me very anxious and it made me realize fresh grads really had it tough since most of the companies nowadays look for work experience from their candidates. It went on for an hour and then all of us hopefuls went home hoping for the final call to see if we were getting the job or not. A few days later after the interview, I’ve received a joyful text message stating that I was hired for the position at PhotoUp and I was to start on July 1, 2013, a date I cannot forget and on that day my life at PhotoUp started.
As a norm when you are new to something, I was trained and taught to familiarize myself with the work that I would be doing for the next 2 years. It consists of a lot of Photoshop and Lightroom with a mix of detail though it doesn’t end there since you still need to consider the client preference, all in all, I was taught how to look to an image and how to judge an image if it’s okay or not. After a week my manager decided I was ready for my first ever live batch. It consisted of 29 pics and it was for one of our largest clients. I finished my batch after 2 hours and 30 minutes so the remaining time I spent on observing others doing their work. Before we only had a handful of clients so most of the time we spent on training and observing others. One thing that PhotoUp taught me is that we never stop learning in life. We should always be open to the things we are not so familiar with and be ready to be taught by others regardless of their status or age.
What I Love About PhotoUp:
Life at PhotoUp, in general, is fun. First is the environment, PhotoUp has this chill vibe and environment that makes it a fun place to work. There’s a lot of things you can do on breaks. You can choose from ping pong, Xbox or a PlayStation to pass the time or there is also a ball for the soccer enthusiasts and they can play street football. Sometimes we also watch a movie together on the flat screen and enjoy it together. Second, the people. PhotoUp taught me that in your career you’ll get to meet a lot of different people. Some you won’t get along with like the rest but most of them will be your companion in your journey. PhotoUp is a young company and so its people. Most of the staff are in their mid 20’s and like me, we have a fun-loving mentality. These people have become part of who I became today with all the things we did together, building the strong bond we have today. Lastly, the experience itself. All those things will be an experience and a memory that is meant to be kept for a lifetime. Some people would say 2 years is short but it becomes meaningful with the right company and the right attitude. Though life will be defined with the ups and downs that come to one’s life, it is the will to go on that defines living.
I’ve been at Photo Up for 2 years and in those years I saw how a small company grew, it was a sight to be remembered when you can still reminisce the days when one shift only consists of 3 editors and now seeing all those changes right through your eyes is truly beautiful. The days we spent in the house (old office) will be with us in our memories. From a house to a commercial building, PhotoUp also grew in size from 20 editors to approximately 90 editors in 2 years. And just like the growth I’ve witnessed, I also saw my own growth in the company. I was promoted to Assistant Manager of the evening shift after 11 months of working in PhotoUp. It was a challenge given that I was one of the youngest editors on the shift and the thought of managing older people made me wonder if I was the right choice for the job. The first few weeks were hard and challenging at the same time but as I went along I believe I earned my shift mates trust and respect. One person who helped to guide me was Ian, Shift Manager of the Evening Shift. He’s a goofy and fun person and I admired him for that. I followed in his footsteps as much as I could while still in the job. We also held manager meetings which consisted of Leadership lectures which also helped me grow as a leader. John Maxwell books were the favorite of the managers. I would say that his books really helped in shaping us as leaders.
Even with all the fun and experiences I have done while staying in PhotoUp, I decided to pursue something that has been of great interest to me, which is farming. It was not an easy decision for me to let go of the work and the people I came to love, but part of me is so eager to try new things and really enjoy the greens of the earth. Though with all that PhotoUp will always be part of my life and it will always be remembered. My last month in PhotoUp was the most memorable weeks of my Photo Up life, everyone contributed to those memories.
My last day came like a rushing supercar in a highway driving at max speed. Without me noticing, my shift mates prepared something for my exit. They thanked me for the service while in PhotoUp and prepared a cake, a sketch of me and a certificate as a token of gratitude. Everyone had a good slice of cake and a bit of fun on the side that night. It ended well for all of us but for me it would be the last time I’ll be working with these great people. It is a bit sad but it’s part of moving on in life. PhotoUp will always be a home to me.
Why I Worked at PhotoUp:
One common reason why people work is that of the need for money, but it takes more than money to make a person stay to his/her work. It makes you wonder what’s in that certain company that made you stick to it for years. Is it because of the high salary of the company or you enjoy and love what you’re doing in your work?
PhotoUp offered both for me. It was more than going to work and doing the usual stuff you do. It was a place to grow and learn not just mainly in editing but also in being a leader that makes other people smile and become a source of knowledge for others.
Staying at PhotoUp meant that I got to spend more time with the fun people of the company. We talk and do fun things not just inside the company but also outside. PhotoUp taught me how to socialize. It helped me get to know more people and appreciate nature when we go out to the beach or the mountains. It also taught me things I had no idea about like how to capture photos using manual settings on a DSLR camera, the uses of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
PhotoUp made me experience community impact projects that I didn’t participate in before working here. We do community impact projects once a month as part of the company’s program to establish an impact, not just for their employees but also to the communities where we live. In some cases, we do random things to help even if it’s small, but all big things start small. Some of these things include painting walls for a school, sending goods to people affected with the storm, feeding programs and helping the elderly. These are some of the things I have experienced while in the program. I’m sure as the company grows they can give more impact to the community.
These things I’ve experienced and mentioned were made possible by PhotoUp and it’s dedication to excellence. PhotoUp strives to become the best editing company in the world and I know that one day they will get there.