I’m so excited to share today’s interview with Aleph Tan, my best friend from high school! Aleph grew up in the Philippines, works in finance, and loves to travel and cook. Read on for his insightful advice for those looking to change careers, a kitchen recommendation that I’m also obsessed with, and more:
What are your multitudes?
I’m often told I really give off Virgo energy. And that I give off only child vibes. (What does that even mean?! Haha!) But my friends also tell me I am a great host. I will feed you if you’re ever at my place.
Tell us about your current role:
I work as a Loan Coordinator in the mortgage industry. Never thought I’d ever say I work in Finance, but here I am.
We both started out in retail and made big pivots in our careers; how did you land in finance?
It was totally random! I had been working in retail since high school until the pandemic; the first few months of not working were nice as I got to relax. Then I got so bored so quickly that I started looking for jobs. I knew I didn’t want to go back to retail, and I also wanted to find a job where I could work remotely and have a regular work schedule where I didn’t have to work the weekends.
Thankfully, I managed to land a job as a VOE (Verification of Employment) Analyst. It was an entry level job, but it had three of the most important things I wanted: working remotely, weekends off, and not having to deal with rude customers anymore!
I did very well and became number one in the nation in the VOE department within 3 months. Four months in I received an email about my current role. I signed up for it thinking it was only going to be an hour long seminar to learn more about the role. It turned out to be a five week long course. Here I am now processing people’s mortgage loans. It was a huge learning curve at the beginning, but I’ve recently started to enjoy it now that it’s been a couple months since finishing the course. It’s nice to know I’m helping people during one of their biggest purchases they’ll ever make.
You originally went to school to study bio; how did that contribute to your path?
I majored in biology and the plan was to continue on to pharmacy school. My mother studied pharmacy so I was influenced by her to go on the same path. Luckily, she never forced it upon me.
Along the way I completely lost interest in going into pharmacy school. I also really hated chemistry, which did not help. So I decided to just get my bio degree as I was already in my third year of college, and I couldn’t wait to graduate and start making money.
My parents have sacrificed so much to bring us here in the US, and that’s always been a big motivator for me to work hard. I want them to know that their decision to bring us here wasn’t in vain.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a big career move?
Don’t be afraid to switch industries or leave a job where you’ve become consistently unhappy. It’s so easy to stay at a job that we don’t like because we get so comfortable, and we already know what our job entails. There’s a whole world of companies out there that’ll treat you so much better, and sometimes you can’t put a price on that.
Moving on from work – let’s talk about travel!
One of my biggest passions is traveling. It’s been really tough not being able to do that because of the pandemic. I’m hoping to pack up my suitcase later this year when traveling is allowed and becomes safer for everyone. I’m actually going to someone’s wedding in Paris this September, but I can’t remember whose wedding it is… Hehe! I plan to go somewhere else right after that. I’ve been thinking about Portugal, but I’m open to suggestions. If you want to meet up that would also be dope!
I’ve been entertaining the idea of moving internationally and working there for a few months. I’ve been doing a lot of research of where to go, looking at nice Airbnbs that I can’t afford, and hunting down the best eats and sights. Honestly, just finding any excuse to travel.
What else do you dedicate time to since we can’t travel yet?
Nurturing all of my relationships, but also knowing when to cut off unhealthy ones.
Any good tv shows you’ve watched lately?
I started watching this show called Superstore. I already went through 5 seasons in one month. The show revolves around employees working at a big box store. It sort of reminds me of when I used to work in retail, and all the ridiculous things we did, not to mention the crazy customers I came across. Everyone needs to work in retail or any customer service job for at least a year. The world would be a better place!
Are there any charities or organizations you’d like to highlight?
I’ve actually been thinking of raising funds to buy school supplies for kids in the Philippines. The plan is to raise money this year, and kick-start it the following year when I go back home to visit. I figured it’d be my way of giving back to my home country where there are so many underprivileged students.
Lastly, what’s the best product you discovered during the pandemic?
I highly recommend the Always Pan from Our Place. I’ve introduced it to a couple of my friends, and they all love it. I have two pans myself. It’s made me love cooking even more.
Thank you so much, Ale, for dedicating precious time to this interview and sharing your perspective (and for being a truly magnificent friend).