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Take Me There

How I Became Growth Rocket’s First Team Member of the Quarter

I still remember the day I was hired at Growth Rocket. It’s a story that brings the people closest to me to tears. I had been unemployed for over a month after quitting my...

Fiona Gurtiza
Fiona Gurtiza March 14, 2022

I still remember the day I was hired at Growth Rocket. It’s a story that brings the people closest to me to tears.

I had been unemployed for over a month after quitting my previous job for no other reason other than, “I couldn’t do it anymore.” 

I was on the cusp of a toxic relationship, and I didn’t know who my real friends were. My inbox was full of rejection emails from all the companies I had applied for, and the tumultuous tide of depression was threatening to pull me under.

One of my friends, Iss Bautista (who was also my colleague in my previous workplace and had recently joined Growth Rocket), tried to talk me into sending my application as a Web Content Editor. I did, but I was convinced that nobody in their right mind would hire a fledgling writer like me. 

So I did the only thing I was capable of whenever I was on the verge of giving up: I visited my brother’s tombstone. And a miracle happened. 

A few hours later, I received an SMS from my then-manager Michael, who said I’d just been hired. I could barely believe it, and I wiped my face with the sleeve of my shirt for the rest of the bus ride home.

You can just imagine how I had almost the same reaction after hearing the announcement that I was Growth Rocket’s First Team Member of the Quarter.

Humble Beginnings: A Girl Who Loved Words

Despite that anti-climactic intro that hardly inspires confidence, I was a child who loved to tell stories. 

I was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, and my first language was English. I attended a private Anglican school with NZ’s Upper East Side, where we wore Hogwarts-inspired uniforms. 

Ever since the moment I learned how to use a pencil, I’ve been writing on every imaginable surface possible. From scribbling hate notes in my school notebook after “mummy ruined my haircut!” to using a tree branch to etch my name on the soil when we visited the Canadian Rockies.

I still have the entire collection of clippings of my writing back then. Here’s one of them:

When we decided to resettle in the Philippines in ‘03, it was a big change. Since we weren’t traveling as much as we used to, there was a momentary lull in my writing (save for jilted love letters born out of unrequited love).

Taking the Road Less Travelled

I had never been an honor student. My grades were painfully average, and all I ever cared about in school was Reading and English. 

When it was time for college applications, I had no idea what course I should take. My heart wasn’t into banner degrees like Mass Comm and Journalism (and I had failed the top 3 schools, which was a big deal back then).

I had already pre-enrolled as a Comm Arts student at The University of Santo Tomas but had a change of heart after making it into the University of Asia & the Pacific’s Integrated Marketing Communications program. 

Ironically, I shifted to AB Humanities during my third year of college, to my family’s dismay (“Ano magiging trabaho mo diyan?” and “Tatlong taon ka na sa marketing, lilipat ka pa”). But it proved to be one of the best decisions I had ever made because it paved the way to my career as a full-fledged writer. 

Stepping into a Wider World

I landed my first job as an Instructor teaching English to Chinese professionals. As much as I enjoyed the homey school atmosphere, my passion for writing was a force of nature I could no longer suppress. 

I spent the next three years working as a Web Content Writer for a digital marketing agency in Makati. When I joined the Growth Rocket team, I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis and had the optimism of a twice-divorced man with bad gambling habits. I took steps to regain some of the confidence I had lost, and that’s how I ended up becoming a spoken word poet — a passion shared by one of our former writers, John Berida.


I found myself baring my heart on stage for organizations like Metro Manila Pride and Spoken Word Philippines. When I wasn’t in front of a crowd, I was writing day and night like I was running out of time. My poems and short stories were published in Novice Magazine Issue 001 in 2019 and Sinister Wisdom 120: Asian Lesbians in 2021.

Reaching Astronomical Heights

After I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (which was a precursor to the global COVID-19 outbreak), my life was temporarily put on hold so I could focus on my health. It was a struggle I have no words for. It seemed as if I had hit rock bottom again after losing a significant amount of weight and consulting multiple doctors about my condition. 

But I silently toiled in work-from-home silence, building brick after brick. My health crisis turned out to be a blessing in disguise: if I had been handed a silver platter, I might never have put in the extra effort to prove I was still a worthy member of the Content team.

My promotion to a Sr. Web Content Editor in November 2020 proved that I was not only worthy but valuable. And that achievement gave me the rocket fuel that would eventually take me to unprecedented career highs.

From starting out as just an Editor, I’m now in charge of the Growth Rocket website and Facebook page. I’m currently in training as a Content Strategy Lead and handling content strategy and development for some of our most sensitive clients. I don’t think I would have gotten the opportunity to grow as much if I hadn’t ended up here.

Clutch Hero Q32021

Finding a Sense of Purpose 

Whenever I hear someone tell me to “find a sense of purpose,” I hold back the urge to give them the most sarcastic eye roll I can muster. I mean, it’s such a Thought Catalog thing to say (is that still a thing these days?). But now, I think I’m starting to understand because I’ve somehow found that here. 

It isn’t just about professional growth; it’s about finding a place where you’re celebrated. Growth Rocket strongly advocates for work-life balance so I always have time to pursue my passions beyond work, like spending time with loved ones, working out, joining volunteer groups, and playing on my Nintendo Switch. And that brings me a sense of happiness I haven’t found anywhere else.

To everyone reading this, I sincerely hope that you find happiness and contentment, if you haven’t already. It is always darkest before the dawn, but everything will fall into place as long as you work hard and never give up. 

Just remember that true success doesn’t mean having a fancy-pants job title or even being Team Member of the Quarter. Getting recognized for your hard work isn’t the moment when you achieve greatness — it is in all the moments leading up to that point. 

So instead of aiming for a gold medal that gives you five minutes of fame, make a commitment to constantly be better than you were yesterday. Be a clutch hero in your own way.

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