Insight & Reflections

Working Abroad? Be Prepared for Blood, Sweat and Tears

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One of the most difficult decisions in life is leaving your family behind in search of work abroad. It is a decision that should be thought of carefully since this could escalate to a very bad experience. A return to unemployment and poverty makes many swallow terrible conditions in “the promised land” of their choice. It is hard to lose face, so low-paid slave work and bad living conditions often appear as better solutions.

When I was younger, I attended a lot of free orientations on how to emigrate. It was just pure attendance and no action after that. Where would I find the huge amount required without any guarantee for work abroad? Are they just dream sellers? I can still remember the happy and hopeful faces at the beginning of these meetings turning to sadness because of the large fees involved.

I only found one immigration service company that was clear about what to expect abroad. During the orientation, all my questions were answered and the instructions were pretty clear. You must be prepared for jobs nobody else would like to do. A professional from a good university here often ends up as a cleaner but with hard work and a positive attitude, it’s possible to establish a good future abroad. All of us admire the ones who made it, but the not-so-successful stories are by natural causes much harder to see. I believe that there is a river of Filipino tears from all over the world flowing in the dark. My heart is with the hard-working breadwinners sacrificing more than we can imagine so they can send money back home.

Whatever your reasons are for going abroad, be prepared for the culture shock. You need to adapt to others’ way of life and not the other way around. Your GMRC (good manners and right conduct) will always be your best weapons and be prepared to swallow your pride.  Leave your ego behind, be flexible, and the light in the tunnel will appear faster. Do as most Filipinos abroad do: be together and help each other even if the backsides are the conflicts often happening in a Filipino gathering. Helping each other is a deeper instinct than envy and jealousy, so try to be a troubleshooter. With honesty, hard work, an adventurous mind, and a humble attitude, you will be able to do well abroad. First, be prepared for “blood, sweat, and tears”.

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