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The Good and Bad Working in the Philippines

As I posted a while ago, I am now working here. I am doing AutoCAD drafting for an Engineering and Architectural Firm.

The main workload is outsourcing for projects in America. Most of them are Motels such as Comfort Inn, La Quinta, Holiday Inn.

The funny part is the Filipinos work on the American projects and me, an American do the Local projects. I am currently working on 3 houses.

The Architect loves the way I use AutoCAD by using intelligent walls instead of just drawing lines. With the program I can use Door and Window schedules and Area calculations that are part of the drawing and attached to the items. If you change a door window or building size, the schedules update automatically.

I was afraid that being a “Foreigner”, older than most and not a graduate of Architectural school, I would be treated with contempt or as an outsider. It turned out my fears were never realized.

At first everyone called me Sir out of respect, but I tell them, I am just one of them, and just a draftsman and they can call me Bruce.

It is nice, while my car was in the shop, if I didn’t realize it was lunch time, one of the guys I eat with would come over to let me know it was lunch time and to come join them.

One day as I was leaving for lunch the Architect stopped me to go over a design element. I had to stay and let him finish. As I came around the partition towards reception, one of the guys was waiting for me and as we left the building, all of the waited for me to go eat.

Talking to them about it and mentioning how I thought I would be treated, they told me the office is like a family and I am part of it.

Now for the bad parts, here we work 6 days a week. Sunday is my only day off and that is busy taking Elena to the market for the weeks food shopping.

Another thing is I am used to a cubical or office with counter space for the computer and to lay out papers. Here is is like a Internet cafe minus the dividers. We sit on a long table with a hutch shelf, shoulder to shoulder. There is not much room for papers and a lot just have them on their laps.

Here in the Philippines, the Architect is also the project manager on site and has to go out most days to make sure it is built to plans. The Architect has told me he is going to take me with him to learn how to manage a project and will also teach me how to cost out a project. This way if I am ever let go, I could do projects myself.

One thing interesting is I am drawing in metric and the architect tells me to add items in feet and inches. I smile and say, “Oh, 4 inches, you mean 100 millimeters.” before someone writes in and corrects my conversion, all things are rounded except where we dimension.

Well it is a learning process and accepting Filipino style of houses. At times when I comment of something being to small or things I find strange, the architect lets me change to what I feel is more logical. For instance, one Master Bedroom, to go to the Bathroom you go through a door to the walk in closet and then through a door to the bathroom. After commenting he let me change it to have a door to each right from the bedroom.

I hope I did not bore you all too much.

3 Responses to “The Good and Bad Working in the Philippines”

  1. Thomas Shawn says:

    “It turned out my fears were realized”

    Were your feelings realized? or unrealized? From the post it sounds like they were unrealized.

    Yeah, working 6 days a week would kill me … I can put up with a spurt for a month or two but I don’t need that drudgery anymore.

  2. [issa] says:

    great blog u have here! =) its always nice to read / know how foreigners find davao city and filipinos in general. keep on blogging sir!

  3. Graham says:

    Hi Bruce

    keep on posting it was not boring and get some adsense on here as well

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