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Jobs and Self Improvement in the Philippines

Here in the Philippines, if you are out and around town you meet Filipinos at different employment levels. Most you meet are clerks, waiters and support staff. Then as you get to meet and talk to people you get to know more from all walks of life.  Some are just comfortable with their lives and some who try to improve. The problem here is they have to make a decision and work hard on their own to improve. Yes, the friends and associates can assist them if needed and many works in groups to make their dream or idea grow. But there are difficulties.

Unfortunately with the class system many large businesses exploit their employees without compensating them in any way. They are over worked and tasked to complete their assignments. Many have to work long hours and weekends to complete their duties with their basic salary.

A problem here is the fact that employment is so hard to find and how employers take advantage. I know someone that had a full scholarship to Ateneo de Davao University with a degree in Marketing. He is in his upper 20’s and has had a few jobs in the sales and marketing areas. Currently he is a sales rep for one of the beverage companies. He has been working there for almost two years and is still at temporary employee status. With this he receives no benefits such as PhilHealth. When we talk, I think in American attitude and tell him I would demand my status upgraded or I will seek different employment. He looked at me and asked where he would find another job. Plus there is a network here where upper managers from different similar businesses know each other. If he interviewed with another company, someone would slip this information back to his company and he could lose his current job.

Some with strong initiative many Filipinos have side jobs that at times are different from their occupation. There are also some that are in constant learning to improve and increase their knowledge and ability.

One good case is my friend assisting me with my 3D Architectural Rendering business. He comes from an average Filipino family. I am not sure of his training but I know he started our working as a graphic artist. With his income, and his families help he went to the University of Mindanao for an Architectural Degree. With his Computer graphics knowledge and architecture he continued to learn on his own and with a network of friends locally and online forums he learned 3d modeling and rendering. Once he was competent in this area he continues to increase his knowledge and abilities and now is learning Flash and video. He is young enough for quicker learning, patience and a desire to improve.

One day we were talking and I mentioned with his 3d modeling, rendering, graphics and architecture knowledge, he could make a great living if he went to America or some other first world nation. He just looked at me and asked why should he leave his home? He helps put his sister through college, and is now married with a child on the way. I mentioned if we could get the rendering business going with a few good clients, we could make good income. I asked him if he has any goals to have a more modern home in a nice subdivision. He looked at me blankly and told me he just enjoys doing well and does not dream that way. I tried to explain it is nice to make goals, not so high they might be unattainable but as kind of stepping stone to improve your life. Again he looked at me confused so I dropped it.

Life here for many Filipinos is difficult, many college graduates doing basic jobs and in many cases not in their chosen profession. The competition for employment is huge and the availability to work abroad is even more competitive. Then there are so many fees involved many cannot afford.

14 Responses to “Jobs and Self Improvement in the Philippines”

  1. Hi Bruce, A Filipina friend of mine down there is a structural engineer working for the government, but again, only temporary (for the past 10 years or more). That means no paid leave and no pension, and she can be let go at any time. Not right, but that’s the way of life down there. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it from her for the first time.

  2. Jason says:

    Hi, John. It’s quite sad to think about poor employment prospects back home, and with so many people with potential, it’s such a waste.

    Have you heard about Get Real Philippines? It’s a good analysis of the socio-cultural issues of Filipinos, written by a Pinoy based in Australia.

  3. carmela says:

    Some Filipinos are afraid/scared of the challenges working in any foreign countries. I don’t know why if they are educated and able to immigrate legally. I know many educated Filipinos working outside their field of expertise.

    Many Filipinos live with the “bahala na” or “que sera sera” attitude. They do not have ambitions or visions of what tomorrow can bring for their prosperity.

    I do not have regrets migrating my family to America in the early 70’s. I worked my butt off to send them to college and now they have their own lives to live. I gave them a headstart in life. I do not expect them to repay me which some Filipinos do expect from their children.

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is nice getting comments from Filipinos either living in the Philippines or abroad. Your thought and insights are welcome on this site.

  4. cebu image says:

    Many Filipinos like me are satisfied living with family than going abroad. We did not aimed to get rich, what we want is a decent living with enough salary for the family.

    And you are right, Filipino businessman, Chinese businessman and even foreign companies are taking opportunity of Filipino professionals. That is also the reason why ERAP win the election before. We can not find any good leader anymore.

    • Bruce says:

      Cebu Image,
      I do not know about your past presidents and what good or bad they did to this country. Unfortunately in all countries big business and the rich have control of the country.

      I just hope someday here the people stand together and demand better government policies and laws to help the people and help more and better foreign investment so all can be helped. Large industries equals more jobs.

  5. Expat 21 says:

    I suspect people in the Philippines are having LARGE families. This makes a LARGE labor pool. If they were to cut their birthrate it would reduce the supply of labor and employment conditions would rise. Isn’t the Philippines mostly a Catholic country? Maybe that explains it…

    Expat 21 at Expat Abroad

    • Bruce says:

      Expat 21,
      First, you do not need to place site at end of comment, your link becomes part of your name.
      Since there is no decent retirement pension in the Philippines and many are self employed or underemployed one feeling is the more children the more to help the elders support. Then there is the Catholic “no contraceptive” doctrine.
      Lately I find younger Filipinos plan for smaller families of 2-3 children. It is unfortunately the poorest families making too many children, but we see the same in the states also.

  6. Bruce says:

    that is fine, but continuing a saga about someone in CDO is not needed here especially since I am in Davao and not CDO. There are crimes committed by some expats and some Filipinos. I do not report on CDO since I have no first hand knowledge. Also if I am going to post news, I need sources to prove the information.

  7. Bruce
    I understand you are Davao and not CDO and respect that. You have a good site.

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for understanding. I am open to Expats living in other city’s to write a “guest” article about life of an Expat living in the Philippines. I enjoy articles about life, experiences and observations. Not about the lawless unless it actually affects us.

  8. Its true that most Filipinos are stuck in dead end jobs, because it’s so hard to find employment. Most graduates also don’t pursue jobs related to their field. I graduated with a degree in Broadcast Communication and Literature, but I worked in a call center right after graduation. I believe that Filipinos are looking for security rather than chasing their dreams. However, with the help of many self improvement books, I realized that there is actually no limits when it comes to working and fighting for the career you truly want. =)

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