• Institute of Corporate Directors

Thought Bubble | June 2020

The Thought Bubble started out as a small social experiment designed to identify the emotions and statements of different generations and what they have to say in a specific topic or issue.

The thought bubble is a fun and engaging activity which captures the voices of all generations about trending issues in today’s society. The thought bubble’s results are shared in ICD’s website and published on its quarterly governance newsletter.

(Visit to read the thought bubbles of twentysomethings- Millennials & Gen-Zs)

Since the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), ICD has been providing free webinars to help boards and directors with their professional development. Due to the challenges and restrictions brought by the enhanced community quarantine, this quarter’s thought bubble was conducted in the guise of a survey, which the webinar attendees were encouraged to answer after the session. The short survey was designed to get their experience on the COVID-19 pandemic and how they think it has affected their future; And to know what their aspirations and fears are after the COVID-19 pandemic.

From a total of 69 respondents, most were composed of people who were in their late twenties to early fifties, with whom majority are women. They also have a nice and diverse background, from people working in operations, as a staff, management, C-suite executives, and board level positions, to entrepreneurs and owners of their own businesses. We also have people working in the government, banking and finance sector, research, and human resources. There were also risk management and compliance officers, business and market analysts, consultants, law practitioners and policy makers, and last but not the least, corporate governance practitioners.

A big chunk (30%) of the respondents’ experiences as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic affected their lifestyle, career and personal financial stability.

I've been working from home ever since and it has affected my work-life balance greatly. All our floorball trainings and national league games have been cancelled since March, so I haven't played my sport for months now. I also haven't seen anyone else I know since the lockdown except for my housemates who I've been stuck 24/7 with since.

COVID-19 has tested my organization's resilience in managing operational risk so by the end of this pandemic, it would either make or break my future as Operational Risk Management Unit Head.

The experience moved us to revisit our processes to ensure that we are able to perform our functions effectively despite working from home.

Affect my lifestyle, able to manage schedule in going out and follow new normal health protocol even my residence.

Currently on a WFH arrangement. But it will be difficult with kids at home, especially as schools are gearing towards distance learning/online learning which requires more parent involvement.

Impact on how to do work in "New Normal".

Work from home pose more challenges than I can imagine.

It has affected financial insights. Realize that in these times, you need your savings and to buy only essential things.

It has a great impact on our day to day living and the challenges of “New Normal”

These lifestyle, career and personal financial stability experiences also negatively affected their Personal and Professional Development.

This pandemic brought a great challenge to my future in terms of my career, self-development, and personal plans. There were plenty of opportunities that I had to postpone which could have made a huge impact to my life.

I sold out of the firm I founded in December and was expecting to join two Philippine boards in January - that of course was delayed and I have been unable to attend meetings in person which makes it hard. Other than that delay, and the fact all the companies I am on the Board on are losing money, no other change. I do miss travelling though. (I live in Hong Kong).

I sold out of the firm I founded in December and was expecting to join two Philippine boards in January - that of course was delayed and I have been unable to attend meetings in person which makes it hard. Other than that delay, and the fact all the companies I am on the Board on are losing money, no other change. I do miss travelling though. (I live in Hong Kong).

My role as acting head of CorPlan has become more clearer with our WFH arrangement. I'm at a cross-road now if I should apply for the position or opt to go back to my previous sector, Marketing and Promotions

… combined with a mix of negative emotions and uncertainties.

This pandemic makes us worried on how safe are we when we got out of our homes and resume work. Work life in the office will have to be conducted with extra care and precautions. We have to consider home schooling our kids. No local and foreign travels for now until there's cure or vaccine.

To be very conscious in the possibility of virus transfer (to myself or to others); to be physically fit; to be always spiritually right with God.

With the global health crisis and economic crisis looming, there are a lot of uncertainties. Before COVID-19, we are very much confident for setting aside educational funds for our kids. Now, I am not sure if we would be able to get our investment from the insurance company after this is all over.

Everything has become uncertain. Any future plans have been put on hold. There are also financial uncertainties

There is a lot more where that came from. People feeling a mixed of negative emotions and a lot of uncertainties were second on the list (25%).

Even though I am in a stable job because I work for the government, there are still uncertainties in pursuing this work due to the poor systems that are being implemented in the office prior to COVID-19. I am still not sure if these systems will still be in effect now that we have a pandemic. Sometimes I want to quit my job but given the situation that we have now, I guess I may have to remain in this job until everything returns back to normal.

There's a little uncertainty on how things will be after the pandemic, but I believe my company is secure enough to withstand this.

Uncertainty of the future.

COVID-19 has affected my views of the future since everything in my life had a 360-degree turn. I feel worrisome for the future of my son, and my family. Can we survive this pandemic? Are we safe? How long can we last?

There are more uncertainties now than ever.

Negative emotions mixed with both positive and negative effects on their personal and professional development…

I became anxious about my future in the workplace and how will I live my life in this kind of situation. However, it gave me more time to reflect on certain areas of our school , to plan with the owners and to do a lot of brainstorming with the key persons. In my personal life, I had more time with the spiritual dimension.

It disrupted my momentum at work. Progress or development of skills, outputs generated seem to be insignificant thereby affecting chances of getting promoted. It seems like I am back to zero. Second, it also disrupted my academic endeavor. Third, it has add up to my stress as I live with immunocompromised and bedridden family member

COVID-19 affected my future like you’re in a room with peach black environment, like walking that you might hitting something hard as you walk forward or walking in circles without knowing it. The term is "undetermined".

These negative emotions and uncertainties also stemmed to concerns relating to Sustainability and Financial Stability.

COVID-19 affected future financial growth prospects due to uncertainties in the market. For now, I've been very conservative with my investment options and shied away from big ticket purchases.

It made me realized how important it is to belong to a stable company which provides necessities to the people. It also made me realized that it is indeed important to build your own business as a fall back in any case.

The COVID-19 experience has brought a lot of uncertainties and worries. It has me worried of how life will be after this pandemic, how it will affect our work, how it will affect the tourism industry of the country, how are we gonna bounce back from it, the challenge on how we can do it better than the other countries and stuffs like that.

Everything seems surreal, like everything's on pause. You keep track of the old plans waiting for things normalize and yet you have to make and implement new ones to survive.

Economically speaking, you can't do the normal routine you are doing in your work. Financially, business is very affected. Workers like the small farmers and planters already sell their land. Everyone is in critical situation.

The market price will definitely increase while the salary of will almost be the same.

Revenue dropped because of halted projects, employees are greatly affected

Supply chain issues

The third biggest contributor (17%) to the respondents’ COVID-19 experiences were related to familiarizing themselves on online and digital innovations.

It has made me more "techie", more meditative, more "trustful" of online banking, and more dependent on Grab etc.

It made me quickly adopt to a work from home arrangement and transition to use of multiple digital platforms available.

The "new normal" has created so many new challenges and need for innovation.

It forced us to try non-conventional work arrangements and made us regulators think of ways to manage risks in the financial system that originated from non-financial factors.

It is really challenging on our part as teacher because we need to use new styles and strategies using online platforms in terms of teaching students. It is very difficult to adjust situation from face to face then now due to covid 19 we are starting to embrace new normal platforms. In education ,we want the safety of our learners therefore we need to take actions on how to help our learners .Our department launches DepEd Common and other Online platforms to cater the needs of our leaners but still the most ideal is the classroom setting.

Because of the lockdown, people had more free time on their hands and this has affected them in such a way that it has both positively and negatively affected their personal and professional development.

Due to COVID-19, future for me is going back to basics. It will be mostly local (more time at home with family, home prepared meals, doing house chores, gardening, enjoying the village park and shops), and online (shopping, payments, banking, and other transactions). More healthy and economical, less travelling, less exposure to noise and pollution.

Learned to be more addicted to news.

Listening to free webinars like this really helps a lot and I got a lot useful information that can be applied immediately.

This COVID 19 pandemic disrupted the future of my work, and professional career. All of the scheduled client visits and activities until 3rd quarter of the year were postponed and some booked trainings were already cancelled. As a starting freelance trainer who delivers the services face to face, the COVID crisis has made this mode quite impossible at least until the end of the year. Although, I am still exploring the virtual approach to deliver training and consultancy services. Other design projects coming in are all web-based so moving to digital platforms is the future of work.

Graduate studies have been postponed to a later date this year, much to my dismay, but unavoidable. In the meantime, MOOC's and podcasts are great alternatives to formal education and with great discount in fees, I find myself dabbling in data analytics, strategy, CAD, and Advanced Excel. Given the lengthy development time of vaccines, I don't see the near future without COVID at the back of our minds, and if the situation worsens, my utmost priority is survival and that of my family.

Sees opportunities to grow.

given the uncertainties, exploring a potential business opportunity is put on hold

In terms of work, COVID-19 has put more relevance in my role.

It has prevented me from resigning from my current company because of freeze-hiring elsewhere.

The prospect for promotion/career advancement in the company is uncertain

Limited networking

You can't move to do your work and update on the company

Others highlighted their experiences related to their companies’ branding and strategy, and their concerns over customer relations and service improvement.

Requires us to pivot our strategy.

Unless a vaccine/medicine is found, personal hygiene and sanitation including mask wearing and social distancing is a must. We still have to innovate on our products that will be aligned to our new normal life.

Refocused goals and objectives.

Customer relationships and product branding sustainability.

It stalled our Company's ability to effectively service our existing clientele

Respondents also talked about their fears and aspirations post the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the responses (23%) were fears related to the country’s economy and growth stagnation, unemployment and hunger, the government, and policy development.

Develop new services, help rebuild economy

Another source of mortality risk which can't be addressed by lockdown alone. I hope the government will develop more risk-based policies to address it.

What is the shape of the new market.

Despite our technological advances, we are vulnerable to a lot of things. I am afraid, there will be more deadly pathogens coming, and so we should strengthen our surveillance and control system. There should be more funds allotted for research.

Respondents also expressed these fears mixed with concerns over the ‘new normal’ and fears of possible worst-case scenarios of the pandemic.

I am concerned about how long it would take for the economy and the people's lives to recover and return to its pre-COVID-19 state.

Uncontrolled increase in COVID-19 infection and fatalities; as well as worsening economic situation, bankruptcies, unemployment, and hunger.

I hope that a cure/vaccine will be made for COVID-19 and the global economy will become bullish again.

I hope that everyone will have their own discernment on this pandemic event that everyone will learn their lessons. In this trying times, we saw who among our government officials are true and have a genuine heart for our countrymen, I hope we will also learn the importance of having a clean election. As to fears, this COVID 19 have really an economic effect to our country and its people. Reality wise, I'm afraid that more Filipino people will be drowned to poverty.

Staying relevant, contributing more to society and the community. I'm worried about the extent on how COVID-19 affects the economy and the communities we all live in. I hope we all learn good lessons from this experience, and be able to improve the quality of life we lead post pandemic.

I am aspiring to continue the operation of our Learning Site & make it into a School for Practical Agriculture. At the same time i am aspiring that i can develop the farm into an Agri Tourism Park. This are all for the purpose of helping the farmers in the countryside. I hope i can make a difference in their lives, that their social status will be uplifted & they will live in better homes & they can improve their farm production. My greatest fears is that...Can i make it without so much challenges especially that most of them now have reacquired the dole out system mindset? For example the 4P's Program which is being practiced for so many years now have only produced lazy people. Those families are not working faithfully in the farm in order to produce the food that they need instead they are counting the calendars when are they going to the bank bring their ATM's to get the money that they are waiting. The fear of our economic collapse.

The second highest on the list (22%) were fears related to one’s personal and professional development. These people expressed their concerns over their careers, opportunities they might or might not miss, their financial stability, and the effects on their loved ones and lifestyle.

My age group includes young adults who have just graduated from college and either just starting out in their jobs or were still looking for jobs and those whose graduations are uncertain with the state of the educational institutes as they are now. We are all just still fumbling into the adult society and so we are most uncertain and afraid now of how we can stabilize ourselves, financially and socially, post-COVID-19.

Financial stability

Not getting the promotion due

Stability of work status and company

I hope to still get promoted at work despite this situation.

losing my job is one of the greatest fears

I would be interested in seeking out opportunities that would provide me a wider scope of influence.

aspirations - career change; fears - job market and the economy.

Fear that the world is entering into another great depression that might take many years to escape - not a good time for my radical career change.

career pathing, health, opportunities

To be able to help more, be more financially stable.

Fear of how the next generation can cope, I have a 13y/o son in terms of their education. What will happen to senior citizens? Hope that our government will address or provide better health services. Hope that citizenry be more disciplined and more responsible.

Fears for my family's safety and security of our income sources. How secure is our environment? I actually imagine post apocalyptic scenes just like in the movies and it seems those scenes are becoming realities. It is quite scary actually to even step out of our front yard.

I'm afraid that it may not be easier than before to move out to other region as to permanently living there and finding a new job. My current position as contract of service also may be at risk due to possible plans of the government to limit some program implementations which may become less practical during this pandemic.

I was supposed to do the field work for my thesis so that I can graduate this October, my fear is my chosen thesis topic will not be the right topic (travel of international vs. Domestic) given the situation.

I have the fear of not having to do the same activities as before on how we travel, buy things, eat outside, etc. I will be quite sad if we have to adjust some of our usual routines to adapt to the new practices in living our lives. But I hope that the lessons we get from this pandemic situation will enable us to appreciate more our health and the environment around us.

We still wish to travel together as a family. We still pray for everything to get back to normal as before. But there's still fear that as long as there is no cure or a vaccine to protect us, we can still get sick.

Post covid-19, I would just like to be able to spend more physical time with loved ones

My aspiration is for my children to remember how to survive the worst of times. They must learn what they can to thrive in uncertainty. My fear is my 89-year old mother getting infected by us who need to venture out for essentials, or receive deliveries. We can only do so much. The rest we leave to God.

Of course, people were not only worried about their own personal careers. Proprietors, entrepreneurs, executives, and boards of different industries expressed their concerns on how they can keep their businesses afloat. Business strategy, sustainability, planning, effective communication, and customer retention were some of the main recurring themes from their concerns (17%).

Effective management planning and decision making. Strong collaboration among officers and staff.

Aspiring that we will be able to streamline and improve all our processes with our customers and stakeholders in mind. Fear of losing the trust of our customers and stakeholders, which may lead to loss of business.

Our family business might not thrive considering we have to pay for our employees. And it's a challenge to continuously get payments from clients. Some clients might close if no properly handled during this pandemic.

Sustainability of work due to industry

As a family business, we are doing great lengths to keep everyone afloat, and as long as feasible, no layovers of staff. There will be businesses that end up as casualties and I do hope we are not one of them.

resume networking

My aspiration is that industries take this pandemic as a time to reevaluate and post COVID have more resilient business strategies. My fear is that we experience a great slump in our economy and our poverty index will rise in unexpected numbers.

People would become more responsible but drastically impact the stock market and business would experiencing significant loses.

Besides the surge of second and many waves of the virus, businesses and organizations will have a hard time bouncing back and pivoting. This will definitely hit macro- and micro-economic activities. The government should be able to shoulder all this challenges, because the private sector and international funding agencies can only do so much. We also might need to reshift our priorities and purpose when it comes to the agenda and mission of our own organizations.

My aspirations post CoVid19 is to apply my learnings that I acquired through different webinars that I participated and that the government to invest in improving health services and facilities for immediate response during situations a like.

My fears is that many people will struggle to start again since many companies was affected by the pandemic which result to huge losses so most of the people need to look for new jobs to support their families.

The need to immediately restart the business but there is fear of getting employees contracted the disease

Aspiration: That after Covid-19, insurance claims from our existing clientele will not significantly bloat.

Fear: The probable influx of OFWs (with existing insurance policies with our Co.) who will be repatriated back to the Philippines due to contraction of Covid-19 disease.

It showed that they’ve given healthcare a priority. Some have expressed their concerns not only for their friends and families, but also for the safety of their employees and the workforce in general (13%).

I think COVID-19 has accelerated the journey for digitizing business in the country. I see a lot of opportunities for improving work and upscaling businesses. There is a need for agility in leadership so as to properly take these opportunities in perfect timing and apply it to the business. There is the common fear of change and fear for safety and health. But with always keeping safety and health first and foremost in mind, things can only get better.

How workplace safety and health will be addressed Are we even ready to transition to GCQ

I have fear of returning to work knowing that there is still no vaccine and that we are inevitable and this virus can be caught by anyone.

Of course, everything will not be the same again. You can't do what you want. Health wise your not safe

Be digital. Health should be prioritized

Aspirations - that our country is able to put under control the spread of this virus, an effective vaccine is discovered soon, and for the families of those affected to be able to recover and bounce back.

Fears - the opposite of the above

Safety and health of our family is my main concern esp. That there is no vaccine yet.

Others chose to express their concerns over the worsening development of the pandemic, given that there are little to no improvements at all. Some feared that people would not learn from this crisis, creating the fear of having another pandemic very much like this one. Fears that come with a lot of uncertainties brought by the ‘new normal’ were also ever-present in a lot of the responses.

Fears that I may not be able to adapt to the new normal.

Too much uncertainty

To accept what is in store in the “New normal” and be resilient … since we are waging war with the unknown.

New normal

Aspirations that this COVID-19 will be erased by man, or fear that this pandemic will be part of our daily lives.

The unavailability of a vaccine to cure and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We shouldn't be returning to our "old normal" lives because we're not sure how long the virus will be around.

I fear that severe pandemics will become more frequent.

fear - that another disaster may strike

The virus might mutate and the country will suffer longer.

It is very alarming most especially covid19 is a threat to anyone mostly the old people and they are much more affected. I fear much about the safety of everyone and we don't know when it last.

To end this on a good note, these are the statements from people who, despite the ongoing crisis, chose to have a positive outlook on things and hope for a brighter future.

We can all succeed in fighting this COVID-19 and we can learn a lot from this pandemic crisis and use these learnings to change our way of life.

We should always love challenges. This is a new challenge to all of us on how to cope COVID-19. For sure we can look for things that will improve our situations and at the same time be cautious/prepare to defend ourselves from COVID-19.

I hope we can all weather this pandemic.

Filipinos are very resilient and we can overcome this.

Looking forward to have a vaccine & recover the state of economy

I aspire to survive this pandemic though the fear of the unknown has given more anxiety in me.

I hope that the crisis will not be wasted, that people and companies will use it as a launch pad for doing good in the world; I fear that people will just go back to old ways after a short while.

I’m contemplating how we can smoothly transition to the ‘New Normal’. COVID-19 is a nightmare that took everyone by storm and as a result, majority of the companies, institutions, households, etc. are going through moderate to serious financial downturn or even mourning over a death of a love one. I hope that once this pandemic and crisis is over, we will still be able to continuously keep our head above water, faithful and even more motivated to pursue whatever we put our minds into.

That a vaccine for this disease will finally be developed; more opportunities will be available for individuals and organizations to cope with the requirements of the new normal situation (e.g. digital skills). My only fear is that the social/physical distancing will stay even post COVID 19.

I look forward seeing our school thrive in this pandemic scenario though fears are inevitable at the moment. With the light to be given by our Lord Almighty, the school system will eventually rise and flourish if not too soon, in the near future.

To get our kids to learn from school even in a different way than the usual classroom settings.

Did you enjoy reading this?

Each statement above came from different persons with their own different views and personalities. If you enjoyed reading through their responses as much as we did, you will surely enjoy reading these statements from feisty and strong-minded millennials.


“This generation is a generation of entitled, job switching, directionless cry-babies.”

(click the link below to read now)

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