By Nina Eloisa Leuterio
Frando Luis De Lara Sarmiento never imagined that he would be in the world of sales after university. He has heard unsettling things from his contacts that didn’t sit well with him. For example, he shared how a company director affirmed that the corporate culture in a company is to put a premium on one’s ability to climb the ladder on the basis of who you know. Coming from a director who had “mestiza” features, to Sarmiento, the culture felt unfair and somewhat misogynistic.
But after having seen a company head be so well versed in his snake oil pitch, how he was able to play with the emotions of his then-to-be investors, he felt inspired. “Albeit his pitch was in the style that my senior high school English and strict grammar teacher would be horrified of, I thought I wanted something like that but in a more polished and enamored approach,” Sarmiento said.
Thanks to the consummate snake oil salesman, Sarmiento’s world aligned towards sales and business development. And this alignment was something where he found several enjoyments in, such as talking and meeting with people and the chance of not getting bound to a routine work environment. For Sarmiento, this path felt very rewarding. He shared that being able to win deals and to close a sale felt akin to the feeling and adrenaline-pumping satisfaction of doing extreme sports.
Why did you decide to work abroad?
Sarmiento shared: “When I was a freshly minted graduate, I told myself I will give it five years or so to test the career progression opportunities after university before I even entertain the idea of working abroad”.
And he did have quite the offered opportunities during this period—having been offered a good mid-level position in one of the top local conglomerates in the Philippines. He rejected this offer, however, and instead opted to work in a lower position with a lower salary in a globally known German company.
Unsurprisingly, this decision caused a ruckus to his peers who would’ve chosen the latter offer. Even as Sarmiento looked back, he too thinks that it was a reckless and irresponsible gamble. Through pure sacrifice and hard work, it was a gamble that he ended up winning. The high salary that was first offered to him by the latter local company ended up being reciprocated by the former through unforeseen benefits like business trips outside of the country.
What that money couldn’t have given to the young teen at the time, what he was thankful for sacrificing for, was the opportunities and the array of networks he made globally.
With the doors that have been opened, it was only a matter of time and heart before he would end up working abroad—2005 ended up being the year in which he moved to Dubai.
How was/is your career in Dubai?
In the 16 years that Sarmiento has spent in Dubai, he had quite the ups and downs. Having gotten his driver’s license on the first try, having offered a good and well-compensated position as his first job abroad, and having his next positions be offered with a doubled salary than the previous—things were going smoothly for Sarmiento. “I had it all planned out”, Sarmiento said. “However, not long after, in a sudden twist of life schooling, the heavens collapsed and I lost my job and did not have one for ten months. There were offers and interviews for even higher salaries and positions, but nothing materialized. It was the most grueling, stressful, and mentally deranged state I have ever been in my life,” he recalled.
For Sarmiento, everything is connected; everything leads to somewhere.
“If there is a highlight in my career, this time of my life is what I would definitely choose. What doesn’t kill you, will make you drink harder, err, grow stronger. I’ve always entertained the thought since my business management uni days, that I would want to manage my own business. Having been lulled with the successes and benefits of being a corporate slave, one just gets too comfortable and inevitably delay any business plans, which even as it almost always popped into my head, I never put into practice. Alas, the minute I’ve recovered my bearings with a new job, the stars aligned with various proprietary business opportunities and investments, and, as they say, the rest is history,” Sarmiento added.
Presently, he is in parallel being employed in Dubai with a hybrid combo of an Italian and American multinational as senior business development manager, alongside bring a proprietor of a luxury car garage maintenance and repair service centre, while remotely managing investments in the Philippines in various trading outfits such as clothing/textiles, fish, and other agricultural by-products, oil and gas, among others.
This story has been featured on the 12th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.