The OFW Option

Moving away from the Philippines to work in another country is a difficult process. You need to adjust to a new culture, learn to speak a new language, and rely on yourself and a handful of friends in your new country.

But I also believe that your twenties is the best time to go out of the Philippines, travel abroad, earn a lot of money as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and save for your future.

Government agencies & their websites you need to know:

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) – This agency can verify the license status of your recruiter. Don’t trust just about any agency who recruits you to work abroad. Check with the POEA if they are legitimate and if the duly accredited.

Overseas Workers Welfare Authority (OWWA) OWWA is not under the wing of the POEA, but of the Department of Labor and Employment. OWWA provides assistance, not just to the OFW himself/herself, but also to his/her dependents.

Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System (BM Online). Before you leave the Philippines, you will need to have some clearances and forms. In order for you to avoid paying for the Travel Tax (P1,620), you need to have an Overseas Employment Certificate. Thankfully, you can have this document done online now. Although, you still need to visit a POEA office in person for the first time.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Make sure you know the address of the embassy in the country you are going to. List down all the emergency contact numbers you need to know just in case an emergency happens and you need to evacuate.

Other Tips as You Go Abroad

  • Thanks to all the technologies available now, it is easier to communicate now. Before leaving, prepare your Social Media accounts and messaging apps and give them to your friends and loved ones.
  • Put all your important documents in a safe, plastic container. Scan them. Take a photo and store them on your phone. And make copies. Send the copies to people who care deeply about you.
  • Get more information about the country you will visit–culture, customs, food, and any potential difficulties you will face once you get there.
  • Develop a plan to save money and for how long you intend to work abroad. Please prepare this plan now so that you will not make the mistake of spending all your life abroad.
  • Make friends in the foreign country where you will be working. Proverbs 27:10 (NLT) states ” It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.”
  • Do not upgrade your lifestyle right away. It’s easy to buy all the gadgets and spend a lot of money on yourself and on the people depending on you. Resist that temptation.
  • Educate yourself on how best to manage your money.
  • Do not send too much money back home. I know it is hard to resist sending lots of money. But always remember that you also need to live and prepare for the future. Do not be too consumed by the present.
  • Set a deadline for working abroad. It will help if you have a plan. Don’t make working abroad as your life-long job, unless you intend to be a Permanent Resident or a naturalized citizen of the country you are going to.

 

 

 

Employee Option

A lot of blogs and books encourage Filipinos to start their own businesses. But the path to Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. There are still some benefits to becoming an employee. The truth is, majority of new graduates will be following the employment path. There is nothing wrong with that. It can be a good way to start learning about yourself–your work habits, observe supervisors and managers at work, and build your expertise and career.

Here are some books you can read that will help you ease into your new role:

Jumpstart Your Career: The Handbook to Finding Your Dream Job by Jobstreet.com.ph

Your First Job by Nelson Dy

You can also read my interview with Aleks Tan, who used to be a ‘Powerpoint Guy’ but now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of OMF Literature, arguably one of the most successful Christian businesses in the Philippines.

From Powerpoint Guy to CEO

hen I started out at OMF Lit in my early 20s, I easily became the unofficial “PowerPoint guy” who created presentations and operated the multi-media set-up for the CEO. Financial reports and strategic documents would find themselves on my desk as I worked with the CEO to design his slides. At my job level that time, I wasn’t supposed to be privy to such information. I understood this and was careful to consider myself privileged that I could learn more about the organization’s operational big picture. As “PowerPoint guy” I sat through many board meetings to set up the LCD (which entailed dismantling one of the PC stations so we could use the CPU at the board meeting; laptops were a luxury back then, and only the CEO had one.) I was a fly on the wall, a shepherd-boy David who suddenly found himself in the royal courts. Little did I know, that my training to become CEO years later had begun.

[Mighty’s notes: Don’t consider any job “too small” for you. Sometimes, small things really lead to great opportunities.]

How did you invest on your career growth?

I did not. Well, at least not consciously. When I started work, I was not aware of the concept of a career path. I was drawn to publishing work mainly because I believed in the power of words, especially words anchored in Scripture. I’ve seen how words have transformed my own life. And getting a front-seat row to see how words can also change other people’s lives was too good to pass up.

When I was starting out in publishing, I just did what I was asked to do as excellently as I could—and a little bit more. I worked hard and stayed away from fence sitters and complainers. (I called them “nega-stars”.) I did not count the hours or keep account of the extra things I did on top of my official duties. I was young, single, and hungry (literally and figuratively!) and so I devoured all the new things I encountered. During my job interview, I remember telling HR I would work for books. Thankfully, they paid me in cash.

I enjoyed what I was doing, and I learned to enjoy what I didn’t know how to do. When I was asked to do something I felt I didn’t know how to do, I… Googled. Seriously. And at the risk of dating myself, I should say that not everyone back then knew the magic of Google! I researched and learned and did the job. You can say that I invested in my career growth by giving my heart to it. I looked at what I was doing as a life vocation and not just a livelihood. Cliché as it might sound, passion does yield very good returns.

The organization also invested in my growth, for which I am exceedingly thankful. At 26, I was sent to the US for training in the sales and marketing aspects of publishing. I now see this as a turning point—by this time, I had fallen in love with Christian publishing and OMF Lit, and there was no turning back. That trip—my first overseas (and yes, I saw snow)—was to be first of many in this ongoing journey. We’re a practical company, and so everyone travels economy. But, just as I’m learning how to navigate this new life as a CEO, I’ve learned how to get a good seat on a long-haul flight, one that has more legroom and away from the noisy flight crew reheating food. I’ve also devised a strategy for dealing with jetlag. I will share that with you if you promise to buy me coffee.

On the matter of investing in career growth, I would like to point out that this is mainly the responsibility of the professional and not his or her organization. Sure, you should convince your company to send you to training events, but you should not let the lack of those opportunities hamper your growth. There are books (lots at OMF Lit!). There are online resources like TedTalks, YouTube, and websites such as this one, that offer an impressive wealth of insight and information to help yuppies better themselves. In this age of accessible information, crowd-sourcing, and free content, there is really no excuse to stay ignorant or professionally stunted.

Why Filipino Young People Leave Traditional Christian Denominations

After the Christmas Institute season in 2014, I decided to look more deeply into the reason why a lot of United Methodist youth and young adults are leaving the United Methodist Church and moving to newer, more exciting church movements such as Victory Christian Fellowship (VCF), Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF), and Doulos for Christ Ministry among others.

I’ve heard a lot of stories from friends, former co-leaders in the National level of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines. The more I talked with friends in the ministry and young leaders in the grassroots, the more I am convinced that we are losing our most passionate young adults to these groups.

 

The big question is WHY?

But before attempting to answer this big question, I want to lay down some facts or perhaps assumptions (MY assumptions, that is…) would be a better term to use here.

Continue reading

I find it difficult to be vulnerable and here’s why…

These past couple of days, I’ve been trying to build a morning routine, which consists of a simple set of activities. I put the morning routine on Trello, one of the new productivity apps I’m crazy about. I can write a lot about Trello or about this morning routine, but let’s reserve that for future posts, shall we?

morningroutinetrello

What I’d like to highlight, though, is the bits on Meditation and writing on my journal. Keeping silent and meditating for 5-10 minutes daily had been helpful so far. It’s helping me be more focused and mindful of the things I need to do. Couple that with the practice of writing on a journal and I become better at thinking through my goals, my frustrations, and even the source of my frustrations and personal issues.

It’s also helping me be more vulnerable. Continue reading