The employment practices in the Philippines promotes the very annoying “Out of Stock” syndrome that drives most of us, foreigners, at least slightly mad from time to time. It is not the staff members’ job to re-order, but they can’t remind the manager whose job it is that stock needs re-ordering as that would make them appear to think they are smarter than the manager.

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The manager should know when things need to be re-ordered and bringing to their attention their failure to have done so invites wrath and revenge, usually in the form of dismissal. Filipinos can be very (to us foreigners) childlike in their behavior when slighted, and many wouldn’t hesitate to be spiteful and wield their power to fire for such infringement as telling the manager basically that they aren’t doing their job! I know, to us it would make sense to advise the manager as the manager is human and can’t be expected to know everything, but it doesn’t work like that here!

Once a woman is 25 or 26 it is presumed she will be married and if she married then, of course, she would want only to breed, so why advertise for anyone older? Confident professional women may be available for hire into their 30’s, but it presumed they have a YaYa looking after their children and thus are free to focus on the job. Alternatively, the post will clearly state the incumbent must be single! What happens after 35? In three years of monitoring the position as I have only twice seen ads for someone aged 40, one was a senior accountant and the other a top chef. Both were for men, of course!

Perhaps one possible explanation for this age-ist mentality is that many Asian families expect that once the children graduate college, they will support their parents. If you have four or five kids all handing over most of their pay cheque each month, you can live very well without looking for another job. You make sure you keep control of this income source so that as they marry, they bring the new spouse into the family home or compound, and then you exert your influence over the new spouse and strengthen your position using the grandchildren. The alternative to that is that the employee stays with the same company up until retirement age, but often this is only possible for those lucky enough to be in professional positions. They probably enjoy some security from inherited wealth also, so they advantaged than the average Filipino.

Regardless of whether they employed at home or abroad, the Filipino with a job is a happy soul! Even happier it often seems it is Filipino without a job! Somehow they always seem to get by, one day at a time and they have a smile on their face and a ready laugh. Perhaps we can take a leaf from their book and choose to be happy, no matter what life might throw our way. After all, those of us too young to have a pension or retirement income can always fly back to the States or the UK or Aussie and get a job. For the Filipino that is often not an option. Even those who do win a coveted place as an OFW know that their income producing years limited including the clock is always ticking!

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