9
Mar

Jobs in the Philippines: April and Michelle Find Employment

Jobs in the Philippines are extremely difficult to find. With widespread age discrimination running rampant across this archipelago, my twin nieces, April and Michelle (seen in the following photo), age 19,  are fortunate to be in the prime hiring bracket. If you’re 30 or over, your chances of finding a job become that much more formidable. (The girls were bored last Sunday when we had another long brown out, over 10 hours, and since Michelle had an extra uniform, they decided to do this pose.)

 April and Michelle, Savemore uniforms

Many Pinoys and Pinays, such as my sister-in-law Marjorie in Kuwait, age 44, have to work as Overseas Filipino Workers, OFWs,  in able to support their families. It is estimated that over 10 million Filipinos work abroad.

 Marjorie and the crew

(Back row, Marjorie, far left, her sister Alida, Marjorie’s daughter, Shaina and Michelle.  Middle row, left,  Alida’s daughter, Din-Din, standing next to Sharwen, Marjorie’s son. Front row, far left, Alida’s son, Jorreal, and daughter JalAmiel)

As noted in previous posts on this website, my own asawa worked as a domestic helper/caretaker in Singapore and Taiwan for several years before we were married.  She has been “retired” since our move to the Philippines in July 2009. If you call “retirement” doing housework such as cooking and cleaning and taking caring of her lazy American expat husband. My biggest daily chore is deciding what I want for breakfast,  lunch or dinner or what to watch on television at night.

Melinda in Singapore

(My asawa, when she worked in Singapore years before we were married. Her boss had treated her to a rare outing at a restaurant. She absolutely hates this photo and does not know I am posting it.)

But we do not want our twin nieces, April and Michelle, to have to go the route of the OFW. It’s a lonely life with harsh and dangerous working conditions for many.  But to my surprise, the twins, who call me “Dad,” have found jobs in the Philippines. I am quite proud of both of them for beating the odds and finding gainful employment here.

Michelle went to work this week as a cashier at one of the local Savemore Stores, a division of SM Department Stores, in Jaro. Jaro is one of the six districts that comprise Iloilo City. She has a five month contract.  Upon my suggestion, she had attended a job fair held last month.

At the job fair, Michelle interviewed for a call center job which she unfortunately did not get. She also spoke to a representative from Savemore.  Last week she received a text message from Savemore and passed all of her pre-employment tests and was hired. 

Sister April had worked at the SM Department Store at the SM City Mall in Iloilo during the last quarter of 2012. She only had a four month contract but the job gained her some customer service experience and it was something she could add to her resume.

April, who recently completed classes at PCCI, a month long course for call center training, will be working at Teletech, whose Iloilo office is located at SM City.

Teletech logo

Our niece is one of the youngest employees ever to be hired at this call center which bucks the trend of many businesses in the Philippines and has employees in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s employed.  She will initially be fielding calls from T-Mobile customers back in the States and has the potential to become a regular employee after one year.

April had an interview with SPI Global before securing the job with TeleTech. She passed all of the tests for SPI but was told she needed more “exposure.” I would have substituted the word “experience” but I was glad my niece did not give up and went to two other call centers to apply, Transcom and Teletech. 

April had gone to Transcom first and passed her initial interview and then went to Teletech, where she also passed her first meeting with human resources.  She was called back for  testing with Transcom the same day she was scheduled to go to TeleTech for testing. I advised her to go to Teletech first.

April passed the battery of tests which included call simulations and was hired. No need to go back to Transcom. With a starting wage of P12,000 a month, 294 US Dollars, she will make almost twice the salary she had at the SM Department Store and will have two days off a week versus the one day off a week she had at SM. 

The twins deserve this break. I’m positive they will do their best and excel at their new jobs. Finding employment in the Philippines is not easy, but not impossible. For the record, the girls do not have a four year college degree, but did previously attend a two-year “computer secretarial”  school in Manila.

newuniforms.jpg

I’m hopeful that more jobs with better wages will be created in the Philippines and not just the four-five month contractual jobs that are so common here.  It would be great if some of those OFWs would be able to return home and be with their families.  I don’t want them to have to endure the years of being separated from their loved ones as my own asawa, sister-in-law and millions of Filipinos have done and continue to do.  

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30 Comments

  • Dave W says:

    Dave – A big congratulations to them both. When I asked my fiance, who is graduating from college with a B.S. in Business Administration this month what she had planned to do after graduation (before I came along) said she did not know and would take the best job she could find “maybe in a call center.” And that is with a 4 year degree.

    So you have every right to be very proud of the twins’ accomplishment!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, DaveW. Good luck to your fiance. Unfortunately, I’ve talked to many sales associates at our local SM City that have four year degrees. Some of them have nursing degrees. Jobs are hard to come by in the Philippines but many of the call centers in our area are hiring. The twins are off to a good start.

  • Todd says:

    The OFW deal is really tough. I know of so many personally that have to endure years at a time away from their families. Very tough situation…but as you said, jobs are not easy to come by in the Philippines. And even if you do get one, the wages can be so low it is impossible to support a family on what they make.

    Hopefully this starts to change but it is going to be YEARS and YEARS before it changes enough to make a real difference.

    And I have to say this…although it will be a bit controversial. Many many many people seriously look down on women that work in bars. And I understand why.

    But what many of you do not know is that MOST of these women do not have many options. Geez, just to get a job at 7-11 darn near takes a college degree.

    These women don’t have a lot of choices. They can find employment at the bars, go overseas and not see their children or families for years, or basically darn near starve.

    The reason I say this is in my many travels to the Philippines I have met many WONDERFUL women that happen to work in bars. Many are now VERY VERY close friends, some of the best people I have ever known. It is easy to judge and say “bar girls are just whores and really bad.” But not all bar girls have sex with men that go into the bar…and if they do…many do it out of real desperation. They are not proud of it…but sometimes it is what they have to do to feed their families and have a roof over their heads.

    I just had to speak my mind a bit on that subject because many that go to the Philippines…and even many that live in the Philippines do not completely understand how dire the work situation can be.

    What is the saying about walking a mile in another persons shoes?

    I am happy your nieces found employment…certainly many in the Philippines are not as fortunate.

    • Dave says:

      One of my favorite all-time songs was the classic “Walk a Mile in my Shoes” by the late great Joe South, Todd. I know of some expats that have found the love of their lives at the bars you mention. I’m grateful that the twins have found jobs. We have a friend that lived in nearby Guimaras that recently went to work in Egypt, where riots in the streets are escalating. Her father needs money for his medications. Many OFWs have to work in dangerous countries and conditions and make great sacrifices for their families.

  • EQB/USAFRetired says:

    April, Michelle… Congratulations to the both of you!! The hard part is done. “You’ve done good!” My old First Sergeant used to say. “Now go home, rest up. See you in the morning and dress for work” Many years passed with those words in my head. A bunch old NCO’s messing with the young recruit. Now I think it really means be prepared and always give it your 100 percent best effort… Your “dad” is probably beaming with pride. The same dad that kept bugging you to make sure your cell phone is always charge and personal conversations to a minimum, just in case a potential employer calls back. The same dad that says, Practice your short bio, sit up, back straight, maintaining eye contact with the interviewer during job interviews. Congratulations.. April.. Michelle…,, Dave, now I know what you must feel I have two daughters of my own. Nurturing is not an exclusive women trait. I’ve just open a can of worms. Dave, it’s wonderful you are there for them, teaching them right from wrong, personal responsibility, and encouraging them to be all that they can be. What you and Melinda are doing with your extended family is both laudable and commendable!!!!!!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Eric, they’re sincerely appreciated. Yes, ol’ Dad and Tita Daday (The Sainted Patient Wife) do keep “bugging” the twins and offering them our advice. Surprisingly, even though they are teenagers, they do listen to us. Isn’t life in the Philippines amazing? Now, “Dad” has been working on April to get up early and not rush around to get ready for work. Michelle is doing fine on her own, but her sister needs a bit more “fine tuning” in that area. Since April is getting rides to work from the son of Jesus, Mike, our neighbor, in the morning, she might be using that as a reason to slack off and not get up as early as she should. Michelle has to use public transport, the jeepney, and has to make sure she arises on time.

      I’m also “helping” out April by giving her advice on how to field calls from upset Americans. During my last ten years with AT&T I was a Marketing Support Specialist. I was a liaison between our field techs and call centers from other phone companies. I spent a lot of time working on the phones and was told by some I was a master of B.S., something I’m quite proud of. Now if I could just teach April some of those “skills.”

  • clarrie in bacolod says:

    This is a nice post .The twins look delightful and you are justifiably proud of them .Thanks for sharing so much of your personal life with us ..this is why i like this site .Todd…no argument from me ..some of the neighbours of my inlaws work in bars to support the families ..Its all very well to have high morals when you and all your loved ones have a full belly .I chat to some of the neighbours occasaionaly and with very few exceptions I find the girls sincere and charming ..which is more then i can say for many of the grubby self rightous sexpats who look down on them or treat them badly …I doubt any of the girls are proud of what they are doing but..as they say .. “that is the reality,sir Clarrie”. ……(I cant resist this one)..I wont judge somone until I have walked a mile in his shoes………then Im a mile away with a free pair of shoes ….

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, Clarrie. Sometimes I share too much, like that photo of Melinda back in the OFW days in Singapore or when she was under the hair dryer at our local Ricky Reyes Salon (but did I catch some heat on that one!)

      Unless someone has lived in the Philippines or visited and seen firsthand the extreme poverty millions of people face, they have no idea the conditions many people face. Personally, I have no use for self-righteous people.

  • Marty says:

    Dave,

    I am so glad that your nieces have found work. On my last trip to Manila, I went to a 7-Eleven to buy a drink and they had a job ad. They wanted a 4-year-college-degree to work as a cashier at 7-Eleven. I told my fiancee that back in the USA, if you spoke some English and know how to count from 1 to 100, you can get a job at 7-Eleven. It amazes me how difficult it is for people in the Philippines to have a good job. Best wishes to your nieces, it is good that you are there giving them some guidance. You don’t get to be a 61-years-old Kano without having hit some bumps along the road.

  • Fearless Frank from Florida says:

    Dave,

    Please give both girls my congradulations on finding jobs !!

    Fearless Frank from Florida

  • Anne says:

    Hi Dave,
    Its great, congratulation to the twin sisters, they got finally a job, i know they can make it. im happy for them. also i like melinda picture when she is in singapore. i remember when i was working there, i really want to live in singapore. i found peace of mind there and healthy living. regards to all of them.

  • Kaltehitze says:

    Congrats and best of luck to the two of them. Man, i really wish i could help out financially, like a scholarship grant for the twins at a local university. That’ll give them better better opportunities, especially if combined with their associate degrees. I really can’t help but be messed by this post…but in a good way though. Again, best of luck to them.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, Kaltehitze. I’ll relay your congratulations to the dynamic duo. We hope to enroll Michelle in one of Iloilo’s fine universities next year to complete her college education. I’m hoping April will have a career with Teletech and could possibly go to school part-time.

  • EQB/USAFRetired says:

    Dave, interesting to note your old job description from your previous employer. April is blessed to have you as her mentor. She’s got a legged up with her colleagues at work. I am certainly assured that April and Michelle will excel at whatever they do! Tita Daday and Daddy watching…Yeah!!! Call centers, Omaha was inundated by the dozens in the 80’s and 90’s. In 2000 and on, outsourcing was key for corporations to make money for their stockholders. Manufacturing, service jobs such as call centers, et al, all went offshore. Omaha’s call centers is down to less than a dozen today. Dave, I am probably oversimplifying this since you and I know they were lots of mitigating factors that led to the crash in ’08. Fine and dandy, my 401k was going thru the roof. In the end, the rich got richer, the middle class poorer, and the poor well they ended up poorest. Dave, if you have the time Wikipedia America’s wealth distribution.. Thanks again for sharing your expatriate experience in the Philippines. See you later.

    • Dave says:

      I was fortunate to have a job with AT&T, Eric, that gives me the opportunity to share some of that work experience with April. If wasn’t for Ma Bell, I doubt that I would be sitting inside the PhilippinesPlus command HQ with sunny skies and temps in the mid 80’s outside surrounded by a beautiful asawa and plenty of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Life is good my friend.

      Thanks for sharing the info about the call center situation in Omaha. It’s unfortunate that millions of American workers have had their jobs outsourced. I hope the U.S. can pull out of their current slump. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Philippines and plan to live out the rest of my years here, but I will always call America my home.

  • EQB/USAFRetired says:

    Dave, don’t ever lose that sense of humor! I’ve felt that dig, warm sunny days with a cold San Miguel… Iloilo or bust, my soon to be fellow expat friend, Iloilo or bust…. But allow me another rant,., Less than one percent, maybe two percent of our so called congressional leaders had ever served a day in the military service. Yet they were quick to give us two wars on credit card. I have been blessed not to have been wounded, and/or maimed. But, yes. I feel their pain. These people do not represent me at all… Their agenda is to keep the status quo. Dave. I feel so much better… Again, Iloilo or bust!

    • Dave says:

      Didn’t know that fact about our congressional “leaders”, Eric. Not the kind of guys I would want backing me up in a bar fight. Looking forward to your arrival in Iloilo. Take care and hope the times passes by quickly for you.

  • Steve A says:

    Dave, Glad to hear that both have now are employed. My congratulations to both of them and to you for helping push them in the right direction. Best of luck to all of you.
    Steve

  • Lee says:

    Thanks for sharing the good news!! Something I love about the Philippines is how you become part of the family, in this case you and your wife the guardians of Michelle and April, insuring they are going in the right direction. Obviously you guys are doing a great job!

  • Gary says:

    Great news Dave… The girls staying with you has helped them. They know American English now. Make sure they thank you for all the help you have given them.

  • Gary says:

    Three new posts and I didn’t get ONE email about them. Fix this Dave…

    • Dave says:

      I’ve checked with Feedburner, Gary. Lance, who was having problems with his email, and your email are listed as “active.” Feedburner sends the subscription feeds and emails. I’ll have to troubleshoot with them to see what can be done.

  • Gary says:

    What do you really say to them Dave? Bring me another SMB??? 😀

    • Dave says:

      Don’t even have any beer in the house, Gary. But when I come in from outside after a walk, I ask them for a glass of water. They’re quick to bring one to me. Remember, the “old days” when we were kids back in the States? In our household my two brothers and I were the “remote control” for the TV. The kids here wait on me hand and foot, like my Mom and two brothers used to do for Dad, and I don’t complain one bit. 🙂

  • PapaDuck says:

    Dave,
    I’m so happy for the twins. They are such good young ladies. You don’t see that very often here anymore. Looking forward to meeting April and seeing Michelle again. Anne and Myself will take everyone out to eat at a nice place of your choice. It looks like we maybe coming there sooner, maybe end of June or early July. Let me know before we come if there is anything you want us to bring back for you. Stay safe

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, PapaDuck. We’re quite proud of the twins. I tease April that another bonus for “Dad” is that I won’t have to listen to her singing Justin Bieber songs during the day now that she’s at work. She has an extensive six week training course with TeleTech that begins at 6am and ends at 2pm.

      Looking forward to visiting with Anne and you again. Glad you’re retirement plans worked out and soon you’ll be in “paradise” before you know it. It sure beats working. Thanks for the kind offers regarding dining out and for any supplies we might need. It’s sincerely appreciated by all of us. Take care.

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