Working Abroad… Why Not?

Episode 152 – Monday, May 15th, 2017 (7440)

working abroad

It’s hard to find a right place where I can rent a computer in an internet café because it might contain computer virus when I insert my USB and obsolete operating system (OS) which is still using Windows XP (ewww…). There’s no internet connection at home, so that I need to rent for an internet to publish my new stories for my journal (blog). I use to publish only once every week instead of twice per week due of having losing my job last month. And while I’m still looking for a new career/job, I have a lot of free time to explore job openings around, mostly in the metro (well, I miss working in the metro because I had worked in the province for three years). Recently two weeks ago, I explored far places in the metro from my home in Laguna to look something that will be my “forever” in my working career (and in my love life, too). But most of the times, I just enjoyed my leisure to take back some places that had been once part of my “past” (not my past love) that had been part of my life (mostly from during the first years of “Post-Deaf World Era”). Last Tuesday, I visited a non-government organization in Ortigas that helped me to bring me in the United States to become an exchange student back in 2004. When I was there, I saw many new faces that were far different from the last time when I visited almost 12 years ago (although one of my former batch mates (who also became exchange student) was not present, and she’s now their head director, I think). And then last Friday, I went to Commonwealth, Quezon City to visit a government agency for persons with disabilities (even though I was scolded by one of my beloved coordinators after confessing about being jobless and my financial problem with my family).

I didn’t have to apply during that week (although I went to a far place like Marikina to apply for graphics), but I just spent my free time to explore around the metro (and to have my own freedom from the heat, noise, and distractions at home). I have been applying some job openings for my desire position online, but I’m still waiting for their response to call me for the initial interview. But I’m still hoping that a great opportunity will come for my working career, and I’m still praying for it.

Well anyways, I’m the one of million Filipinos who is currently jobless as of this moment (most especially those who are fresh graduates from college). And not only that, this is my second time this year to be jobless after the first one just recently last March due of dissolution of my beloved job in San Pedro after three long years. Because of this situation, I have now joined with my elder brother to be jobless and staying at home where it’s so hot like hell (especially during summer). He’s still jobless for three years after working overseas. I feel I’m just going back in 2010 where it was the same situation for us being jobless (but now, it might become worse because of financial problems in our family due of the health of our aging parents).

But there’s only one solution to get rid from poverty (and having financial problems, as well) – working abroad. That’s true. According to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2015, there are estimated of 2.4 million Filipinos working abroad (around 51% are female workers). Many our beloved Filipinos are willing to work abroad where there are lots of good job opportunities, higher salary, and experience to travel different places rather than working in our country because of very low salary and contractualization of the employees which last for only at least 6 months. They are called Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW and considered as our “heroes” because of their sacrifices for our country. And they’re working for their careers almost everywhere around the world. (Is there any Filipino in Antarctica? Hehehe!) They also help and provide their families’ financial needs at home to rise from their poverty and to live in the normal way of life. In my family, my two elder brothers had already been working overseas starting in 2004 where they provided financial needs of our family and brought pasalubongs for us every time when they came back for their short vacation.

ofw-overseas-filipino-worker

However, since I’ve been jobless right now, I’m thinking what if I’ll apply for a job… abroad? Is that possible? Hmmm…

Back in my family, there already have two elder siblings who had been working abroad. And if ever I’ll decide to work abroad, I might be the next after these two. That will be obvious because I’ll follow their footsteps to work abroad. But take note, working abroad is somewhat nothing new for me. In fact, when I was an exchange student in the United States back almost 13 years ago, I had been working for my school subject at Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD), my host school where I studied there for my high school. I was working in a school library with my host mother’s close friend who was also a librarian back then, and I was also working for one-week summer camp at school (just few weeks before going back home). Fortunately, at least, I had a salary from these two (around $50, I think) because my job was way easier back then. Thus, I had already experienced to have a job like these outside my beloved country. But that was in 2005.

Fast forward to the present, I’ve been thinking about working abroad for a long time especially after being heartbroken in June 2015 (to forget the hurt feelings though). There are lots of better opportunities in abroad. Unlike here at home where most companies give low salary which is not enough for the income of most Filipinos, OFWs have their better jobs in abroad because of higher salary, better benefits, having a great leisure to travel some places, and of course, giving better lives for their families (supporting financial needs). They also boast our country’s economy thru remittances that they send to their families at home. Mostly every time, they deliver balikbayan or pasalubong boxes from abroad where they bought and shipped at home with lots of imported stuffs such as new gadgets, electronic items such as appliances, personal hygiene such as boxes of soap, bottles of shampoo, etc., clothes, and accessories. I still remember in early 2007 when my elder brother delivered a large box that contained a brand-new personal computer. It was brought from his income on his overseas job, and it was my first PC that ever used (in which fulfilled one of my dreams to have a PC at home).

ofw-remittances-05012014_3f935812955e44bea40a307e8bfef493

Because of higher income from overseas job, most OFWs can spend anything that they want for their own and for their families at home (only if they’re too smart to save their income), and they can explore anywhere abroad together with their fellow Filipino friends. However, there are some disadvantages that not all of them have their great success in having their job abroad.

Some of them have bad, traumatic experiences when they work abroad. There are maids, caregivers, and helpers who serve their foreign employer/boss, but in most cases, they’re abused verbally and physically like slaves. And the worst is that they’re beaten too physically which might cause their major injury or even death. So, mostly they intentionally escape from their employer and go to the Philippine embassy for their help. Another one is homesickness where they miss everything that they had at home especially their families. Even though there are lots of Filipinos working abroad, they’re still homesick with their loved ones at home. Additionally, strict regulations in other countries are the ones that they feel uncomfortable especially they’re working in the Middle East because of the Islamic laws. And most of all, danger is their risk while working abroad. It is either natural calamity or terrorism that they don’t know the place that they’re working at.

homesick

And it’s hard to apply a job in abroad because of many requirements that every individual must require – applying working Visas, exams, orientations, paying replacement fees, etc. (I don’t know if the airfare ticket and accommodation of stay will be provided by the employer or paid by our own.) But they must choose the right employer that helps them to work abroad wisely because there are lots of illegal recruiters that might harm them in danger and ruin their job opportunity.

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If ever I’ll decide to leave my beloved country and to work abroad, where shall I go and what country will be my next working place? I had been working on graphics (layout printing) for almost 7 years, and all of my workplaces were located within or near in the metro (my last workplace was in Cabuyao which is just far from the metro). But because of inconvenience at work (night shifts, system inconsistencies, ending of working contact), lack of public transport (most companies are located in the metro while most workers are either commuting from their far places or renting small rooms), and low salary, it is probably not satisfy for me to work in my beloved country (except for my former beloved workplace in San Pedro where I had worked for three wonderful years). Job security is the one that we must be worried for our future if we lose our beloved jobs especially the stability of a company. Working overseas might be the one of the best options that we might grab the opportunity to have a stable job. But there are some dangers and discomfort that we might not stay to work last longer outside the country. Based on my observation, some OFWs have their success working careers abroad, but some don’t because of abuses from their employers (or even fellow Filipinos who victimize for scam), company instability, or danger (such as terrorism or war-torn places).

It will be risky for me to pursue my opportunity to work abroad. I don’t know because some of my friends are having their successful jobs overseas like the one who is my former officemate when we’re working in Alabang years ago. I’m not trying to follow what my two elder brothers’ fate in working abroad, but if ever, why not I shall try to do this for the sake of my family and also in the finances. However, I will sacrifice the things that I have here at home if ever I’ll work abroad such as staying comfortably at home (even though there are some distractions), hobbies that I usually do, and attending and serving at the Feast that I will really miss my beloved friends. But it’s up to me if I’ll pursue to have a great job opportunity abroad with lots of sacrifices or staying at my beloved country to work hard and having enough time with my loved ones at home.

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