I Quit the Hated Job – A Reprise, A Conclusion

For months people had grown tired of hearing me complaining about my job – I soon grew tired of hearing myself complain, too. Thus, I had changed the blog’s theme to something out of this world. Still, for one last time, let me reprise my role as the Job Hater.

Lessons Learned, Blessings Received

This time, I am not going to repeat all the pains and sufferings (as if!) brought about by the job at The Company. No, this time, let’s go over the positive side of working at the company for even when I hated the conditions of the work, I did gain a lot from The Company.

  • The experience. Everything happens for a reason – so, it is best to make the most out of something. Yes, the experience of working in a BPO company may not be priceless, really, but it helped me take stock of my life – made me appreciate the good things that I have. In short, The Company helped me take a more positive outlook in my personal life, feel happy for little things that might have previously gone unnoticed.
  • The knowledge. True, the work I had dealt with editing – something that helped me take the proverbial English rust off my brain. I learned a lot from the articles I’ve read. That is priceless.
  • The friendship. My brother, upon learning that I would quit, told me how my life would be sad sans the social aspect. Really? Friendships and social bonds need not occur at work alone or physically with the other people – one can afford to be social yet alone – alone but not lonely. On the upside, I will actually have more time for socialization now that I have no one to answer to, no almost-non-existent-leave-credits to stretch. Yes, I can afford to socialize more.
  • The money. True, The Company pays us more than the minimum wage – no questions.
  • The extra job. Here, I would say that I am actually grateful that I worked at The Company. Why? Well, I wouldn’t have known Lurchie who would introduce me to Maree who would eventually become my cool boss 😀 No regrets.

The End

Today marked the start of a new chapter in my life. As Maree said: Welcome to the world of freelance! I love it! Yes, it is the end of my life as the Job Hater – I had quit the job. Actually, the official end is on August 31 but, as luck would have it, I got sick so I didn’t have to work – then, August 31 is a holiday.

I love my life. Call me, The Freelancer 😀

Sick and Jobless…for a week, anyway

My pelvic inflammation is back 😦 I’ve been sick since Sunday {sigh}. Because the pain forces me to be stationary most of the time, I was not able to go to work since yesterday, Monday. The pain was sometimes tolerable and sometimes not. It is difficult to describe how it feels but you can imagine some 100 needles pricking your left abdomen – something like that 😦

I was supposed to go to the doctor yesterday but I have no driver because Bobby was at work – no motorcycle, too, as he brought ours. Our other motorcycle was used by my father-in-law and because my mother-in-law has fever, he couldn’t bring me to the doctor, too. By nightfall the pain was really excruciating that I was having difficulty walking.

It was even more painful when I woke up. Bobby and I went to the doctor this morning. As usual, we had to wait for around an hour or more as the doctor was still doing rounds then went to the OR.

I was prescribed with my old Dalacin-C medication once again plus some medications for the pain 😦 I was also given the rest of the week off to rest and will have to go back to the doctor this Friday for further check-up and ultrasound. Well, at least now that I’ve got medication the pain is almost gone.

So, for the rest of the week, I’m jobless. Anyone care to give me a job? 😀 Oh, I’m supposed to be resting 😀

Business Process Outsourcing, Philippine Education System, and the Economy

I wrote this article several months ago – in June 2008. I just couldn’t believe that some of those dire predictions are becoming more of a reality.

Business Process Outsourcing: Its Effects on the Filipino College Students

Don’t get me all wrong, I am glad that these Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies have sprouted here in the Philippines and gave jobs even to those who did not finish college. I work for one. However, this has mislead college students so that they stop going to school and go to these companies who promise them a good future with a good salary. But the long term effects may not be as good as the present advantages.

The educational system in the Philippines may seem shorter to those from the States and from Europe but it is far below the levels of their education. For example, we have preschools to teach the children to read and write and 6 years of grade school. You graduate from grade school at around 11 years old and proceed to high school for 4 years. Then you choose your college degree: either vocational or a real bachelor’s degree. Here’s the catch: The usual English, Filipino, Science, Maths, History and Arts are taught until high school but I just don’t think that these students are prepared for work. And jobs here in the country – jobs that pay minimum wage – are offered ONLY to those who have finished College. Because if you compare the education we are getting here the equivalent to your high school graduate are the college graduates here! Even secretaries in offices need a college degree. Even where I work, they don’t hire those who have not finished a four year course. The usual trend is that people who have not finished school (or just high school) become sales ladies, drivers and hired domestic helpers – they are paid around half the minimum wage!

But then the call centers came. It was good that they hired people from all walks of life with at least one semester of college only. They don’t care as long as you have a good command of English. And because Filipinos usually have that then a lot get hired. I do not think that this is negative because this has given those who could not afford the rather expensive college education to obtain a job. A lot of students are not interested to go to college anymore because of this event. So what is wrong with me being mad at this?

One big major problem: eventuality. Right now call centers are booming and people are getting jobs. Yes, you did not have a degree and yet here you are receiving minimum wage – which is alright because you were not able to graduate anyway – happy thoughts. But in reality, this event may not be here forever. India is always outbidding Philippine companies because they bid insanely low on jobs and they know English. Of course, their English as far inferior that the Filipinos but the companies from Europe and USA do not care if they speak perfect English as long as they are cheap and can understand and be understood by customers. And we know that that is just alright. So, to whose disadvantage is this? Filipino BPOs. By the way, a BPO means business process outsourcing or jobs from foreign companies being done on countries who offer cheap labor and processing costs.

A lot of companies are having a problem struggling with the competition from India. A good example? Well, let us just say that the minimum wage here in Dumaguete City is around Php 34 an hour or $0.78 per hour. India can bid as low as $0.5 or less an hour and get away with it because that amount can buy a lot when converted to their currency. However, in the Philippines even that $0.78 dollar will not buy much – only less than a kilo of rice (which is not enough for a family of 3 the whole day) or less than ¼ kilogram of meat (imagine that little!) or just a pack of corned beef. You see, even the dollar is converted to a lot of pe$o$, still the prices of commodities here are also high in terms of pesos. Gasoline is around Php 60 per liter or $1.4 and that will not even get you much even on the budget priced motorcycle!

So what happens when India outbids the Philippines? Well, they get the jobs. Then what happens to call centers? They lay off people because the customers have gotten fewer. The next year the same thing happens, India outbids the Philippines. Employees are laid off again. And then again and again until the Philippine company stops the operation because costs are higher than the income generated. What happens to the employees? Well, they can always find another work, “Alright, I am a Chemist, Oh I will send an application to that new food processing company and I will most likely be hired”. But the other scenario is “What? Oh, I will apply at the grocery store as shelf refiller, I hope they will hire me even if I haven’t had college.” This is a very good projection, really. I am not an economist but I see the trend.

Even online jobs are being filled by people from India. I registered to this online job market placement called ODesk.com – you can check it out if you like. This place is good for those who want people to work for mostly computer-related jobs such as designing a program, or a website, or writing or data entry or hiring a virtual assistant – stuff like that. I was looking of some jobs that would allow me to write on my laptop and then send them to the clients. But in this site, you have to bid. You put in some amount you bid based on the client’s assignment. For a writing job let’s just say for example that their rate is $20 per hour (customer’s declared rate). A writer from the US and from Europe bids $20 or higher or $18. Well, that is fair enough. A Filipino bids $10 or $5 – that is very high as per hour salary (see the usual $0.78 above). But the one from India bids at $3 and some at $1! The job that was worth $20 was given to the lowest bidder who will charge the client $1 for 1 hour of his time! The client will take on that writer’s offer because it is cheap and the client can also edit that article for grammar errors as long as the initial material is worked upon. I have seen a lot of providers leave the site (I left too as there was no way I could get a job there as I had tried to bid countless times but was never approved – and I will never bid for $1 an hour on such a difficult job) with comments that you can never outbid Indians. It is a sad reality really.

BPO companies may have brought revenues to the Filipino government and hot jobs for the people but it has also encouraged a culture of less educated youth.

(Published in Qassia)

After the economic crisis in Europe and the US, a lot of countries in the world are also suffering. Companies – a lot of them – are already cutting back on the manpower or are already closed. Even my job currently faces the same blow from the crisis. With uneducated or undereducated youth joining the ranks of the jobless, is there still hope for the country and for its people?