beauty, fashion, & lifestyle

Digital content and communications strategist.

"Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all nighttelling itself stories." -Jonathan Gottschall


I am so touched by all of your reactions to my previous post, which, though I had fully written for weeks, was sitting in my drafts because I just didn’t feel ready to share it yet. So first: thank you again. It was that sense of fear I mentioned - a fear of being judged or dare I say it, being too vulnerable, that was holding me back. I’m taking it one day at a time to condition myself to take action with less fear. I have so much to be proud of and know I need to do a better job of simply just believing it for myself.

It takes time and conscious practice, though. There’s been something else on my mind for weeks that I’ve held pretty close to the chest— again, that feeling of “not being ready” to share. But it’s all good. The news is that I have returned to a familiar and familial place.


This photo was from a party that my colleagues at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) thoughtfully threw for me in March 2015. The occasion: I was leaving the company. To go to another company. And yet here I was still being celebrated! I remember my last day (and many other days at J&J) vividly. To be surrounded by such warmth and camaraderie was something I didn’t know how to fully appreciate in the moment, but there’s a reason I chose to save this photo and have it to look at now after three years.

I’ve returned to J&J and it has been quite the emotional journey to find my way back. With a renewed sense of purpose and outlook on how my career fits into the rest of my life, I am now several weeks in to my position as the Chief of Staff for the company’s enterprise design organization. It’s a tremendous opportunity that I am so grateful to have as part of the career story I am continuing to write.

So much of what I have learned about myself as a professional and what it means to be a leader has roots in the fact that I started my full-time (I cannot bear to skimp on the mention that I had a total of 8 internships as an undergraduate student, so the mention of “full-time” is intentional!) career at J&J, having exposure to people who beyond being brilliant in their fields, exude what it means to have empathy and to lead by example. I’m anxious and excited to leave my own mark. Week number 8 - there it is again, that lucky number 8- here I come…

As for that mention of it being a familial place… there’s also the fact that I met my husband at J&J. If you’re curious about those details, our wedding website is still up and you can find the story there!

© 2018 Pauline L. Ma
Background image by Alexander Leong