Category

Philippines

The Housewife

By | Philippines, work from home

Being a housewife means going over a daily routine with sometimes less excitement and personal growth. Especially for career-oriented women who believe that they deserve more than just staying at home and taking care of the children. In other cases, there are those who do not have a choice but to work because they are either single parents or their husbands’ paycheck cannot compensate for their expenses. In the Philippines, that is mostly the situation. The mother is required to help the father in terms of the family’s financial needs in order to survive. Through the years, women in our country have become more competitive, competent and highly-skilled. Come to think of it, I believe I know more women who earn better than men. And I salute them.

But then again, I wonder, at the end of the day when you have four growing kids, would you choose career over being a full-time housewife? Of course like I said, there are those who do not have a choice. If the mother doesn’t work, their children cannot go to school. But what about those who do not encounter the same problems? If the father’s
earnings are actually enough to get by? I had a short conversation with my husband’s aunt the other day, she said, “Michelle, if you’re able to fit your way of life into Don’s salary, do so. Instead of leaving your kids to a nanny just because you feel that you also need to work.” She even said that, “money can be earned in a different time, but the time you will lose watching your children grow up is priceless.” True enough. Right then and there I realized, she’s right. Weeks before she talked to me I was so worried about looking for a job, when to start, how much to earn, who’s going to take care of the kids… I wasn’t happy. It felt so wrong not being able to spend the same amount of time with my kids now once I start working. I may get a job at an office with an 8-5pm schedule, Mondays through Saturdays. In the morning I will be in a hurry. At night I will be too tired to take care of them. And the salary I get will mostly go to paying my nanny, the laundry and the like. Worst of all, my kids will be spending most of their toddler years (which I believe is the MOST important), with a nanny. The nanny will be the one to comfort them when they cry, not me. The nanny will teach them their ABCs. The nanny will know what’s their favorite food and how to make them laugh. And so it hit me. That is not the mother I want to be. My own mother (a single parent) used to tell me that I should NEVER rely on a man to provide anything for me. I will be at the losing end. I should have my own money, my own accomplishments. I firmly believed in that. But now that I do have my own family, I guess there are time when what we believed in doesn’t make sense anymore. We all make sacrifices. And at this point, I know I can sacrifice having a career or my personal achievements for my children’s sake. That is not being on the losing end, right? That is being completely selfless.

I am not saying that I will never work at all. I will have my time. Maybe I’m just trying to analyze my priorities at this time in my life. Chances may be small if I work later on because I got older already. But it is a risk I am willing to take. Besides, I think it’s true that good things come to those who are resourceful enough. Just recently I tried to get side projects from jobs offered online. It is not much. But it will help. And I will be doing something productive and worthwhile. It is amazing how perfect this can be for

people like me–mothers, housewives, even those with disabilities. No discriminations. Who knows, I might just get lucky and do this on a full-time base.

Being a housewife is not always “all that boring” and going over the same old routine. It is the noblest job in the world. And sometimes, it can even be extra fun.

Thursday at Bingo’s Place: On-Leave

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

When I woke up this morning, the first thing that got into my mind is how the smell of cigarette smoke will fill my 8 hours in the office. The thought of coughing all day is just unbearable so I decided not to go.

I went to Daniel a.k.a Bingo, because they have free WIFI internet. I spent my day downloading applications from the apple store and playing them over and over again. I had to re-charge my phone twice. That wasn’t really an exciting way to spend your vacation leave but I did enjoy it a lot. If only I got paid for playing these games, it would be perfect. If only I had a job on-line then I wouldn’t have to endure another day in the death zone. So let me list down some of the benefits about working at home:

  1. You can choose your own hours. Working online offers a flexible time for you to do a certain job. You are able to choose how much of your time you can commit to get the job done. Others do it part-time, while others prefer to make it their fulltime job.
  2. A more relaxed cosy atmosphere. Of course, it is where you are most comfortable. You don’t need to power dress for a corporate suit and tie. You can log-in in your Pyjamas and not too much worry about looking good or smelling fresh all day.
  3. No actual boss to breathe on your neck. Having a boss somewhere halfway around the world is different from having a boss who will physically harass you with deadlines. Working at home provides for you to own your job and be your own “boss” at certain level.
  4. No traffic. Driving around in traffic or commuting to work daily is stressful. At the comfort of your own office at home the only thing you will probably need navigating is your mouse. You will definitely save up on your fuel expenses.
  5. Balance. Being confined in an office cubicle for 40 hours a week somehow takes you away from the real life. For those who have a family with kids, working at home is definitely a good alternative to a regular job in the office since it will give them the time to take care of their children at play with them. Sometimes work gets in the way in personal relationships, too. Especially when a job demands so much time that it robs you of the opportunity to maintain human relationships.

I am sure there are tons of reasons why people choose to work at home. But before really going into it, I guess it is important to know what you can offer. I wish I had expertise on computer programming, web design, computer animation and the likes of it. These jobs are paid really well on- line. For the meantime, writing, like I am doing now, is one fun way of passing my time. Who knows where my writing will lead me.

This is the last article in a series of 7. I am crossing my fingers for more. 🙂

Tuesday Blues: Thinking of Business Opportunities

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

This is one of those days when I’m feeling blue. Despite being my favourite color, being blue has been associated with a general feeling of depression or simply being sad and low. Why? Because career-wise I am just lost. My friends in college are doing well in their respective jobs. Most of them are working abroad in countries like London, Dubai, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, USA, Singapore, Oman and practically everywhere else. They are employed in Companies like Ernst & Young and Deloitte. While I am back here in the Philippines for some reason I could no longer regret so I am thinking of business opportunities to put me right on the track to success.

My latest fascination is the Fish Spa. We will need the help of the Doctor Fish, also known as Garra Rufa-a tiny toothless Turkish fish, naturally nibbling your dead skin cells, leaving you with silky smooth hands and feet. Many people also believe that this fish therapy can cure skin problems like psoriasis. This is beginning to be a popular, ticklish option to clean your feet or hands or for those who can bare it, the entire body. It would a great business venture. It is something new, and people will definitely give it a try.

An internet shop is probably one of the most common business ideas where many people have made a modest success. 5 years ago this enterprise has been most in demand. Today, the selling price for an internet hour gets cheaper as the cost of electricity and other fixed overhead get ridiculously higher. If you do the math, you’re looking at a great risk of losing. Internet is now considered to be a commodity of the masses. More and more people have access to it from the office, at home and even their cellular phones. So I doubt if I still want to take a shot at this.

Since I like music and one of a good way to start a business is to do something that you like, I am also looking into starting up a karaoke bar. Filipinos are sing-along fans. There wouldn’t be a celebration without having karaoke machine to light up the mood and keep the party going. It is sort of a bonding activity for friends and family. The only problem I have with this idea is how alcohol gets into the picture. My parents have an issue against business selling booze and cigar or anything along that line. And people sing better under the influence of alcohol. Generally, they sing at their best or at least shamelessly, when are intoxicated.

I have bigger dreams like having my own commercial building or hotel. I would also love to have my own beach resort and a nationwide chain of restaurants. The more I think about it, the bluer I get.

I guess the key to a happy life is being content. There is no room for everyone at the top. When you look at a pyramid, the biggest and strongest part is its foundation. For now, I lost at the bottom.

Wednesday Out of the Office : Smoke gets in my eyes

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

The internet is such a rich resource of information. It is where I find out more about my condition called Allergic Rhinitis or hay fever. I have been diagnosed with this allergic reaction to pollen, dust and other air pollutants back in 2004. While some people have it seasonal I unluckily got the perennial type. I couldn’t research enough on it and if only there is something I could do to breathe easier.

I could wear a mask and filter the air but I would look a bit funny walking around with it. I could stay in the house with an air-filter and never come out. Drink antihistamines and feel like a walking zombie. I have a nasal spray in the morning and evening. Some decongestants may also help. Or I could just stop breathing, drop dead and be free from it.

It isn’t exactly a terminal condition it just makes your life less comfortable. It’s a combination of Post Nasal Drip, Sneezing, recurring cough, regular dose of throat infection and more. Of course the obvious cure is to stay away from the allergens. But how do you exactly do it when you have to go outside and walk in the streets. How do you avoid it when someone smokes consistently beside you?

Based on my research, passive smoking increases the nasal obstruction to those who have allergic rhinitis. Obviously this is true. When she starts smoking, I would start coughing as my post nasal drip is dramatically amplified. By the end of the day I just feel tired and my throat feels torn to the point of bleeding because of the uncontrollable series of coughing. This isn’t exactly a good working condition for anyone who doesn’t enjoy inhaling smoke in the office.

Everyone knows the dangers of smoking and even the packaging says “Smoking Kills”. I respect people who want to discard that health warning and continue with the puffing-spree. I tried smoking for the heck of it and gladly I didn’t find any reason to even start making it a habit. But I have been passively smoking for the last 20 months. Too bad, with my condition, I might end up dead sooner that the actual smoker.

As a sign of protest when the smoke started getting into my eyes and of course my nose, I stepped out of the office and didn’t come back. I now unofficially call the office, the Death Zone. For a change, the air outside the streets seemed clean and fresh.

It would be nice to work at home and not worry about developing lung cancer. I am ending my day with a Facebook post saying “I would rather smell Fart!”.

Monday in Bullets: Who wants to be a VJ “Video Jockey”?

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

When I was a lot younger than today, I dreamed of becoming a DJ or a radio Disc Jockey. It seemed tobe a pretty cool job. You simply just talk, play music, take calls, laugh at yourself, talk with listeners, giveadvice, play some more music, laugh at people, and get paid for it. Back then people really didn’t requirea pleasing personality to go with a pleasing voice on the air. That’s the beauty of listening to the radio,there’s a sense of mystery to it. But of course people, especially the girls, would get curious on the DJ’slooks that they would visit their studio and sometimes get the shock of their lives.
Then, came MTV! We still got the radio but as they say- seeing is believing! In the Philippines we’ve hadthe MYX channel for 10 years now- the longest running local music television channel. They have goodlooking personalities called VJ’s (Video Jockeys). They do pretty much the same things a DJ does- onlythey look so much better. Maybe because you get to see them, that’s why they need to look good andunique. I don’t watch the music channel as I did when I was in college. Watching it these days only makeme feel lost and old. I could hardly relate to the videos much more identify the artists on it. I’m not thatold yet, I was growing up in the boy band era, where the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync dominated thecharts with the more sober Britney Spears.
So there, I can’t be a DJ because whoever listens to the radio anymore? I can’t be a VJ either becausewhoever will watch me on TV? So here’s how my day went, I decided to put them in bullets this time:

  • I ‘snoozed’ my alarm 8 times in morning. This is a typical symptom of what you commonly callthe “Monday Sickness”.
  • I made myself a cup of coffee with an extra spoon of sugar. It tasted bitter and sweet, so Idrank half and left. I don’t usually take my breakfast because, in our house, at this hour in themorning, there is nothing to eat.
  • I took the local taxi to work because it started to rain. Instead of a jeepney, I rode the tricyclewhich cost me about 6 times in fare. I anticipated the “pueblo” to be soaking wet by the time Igot there; it was cloudy, but no rain.
  • I went to Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to assist my friend in renewing his expiredlicense. My License will expire 11/11/2012, which is about a month before the so-called end ofthe world on 12/21/2012 from the horrific movie 2012.
  • Eventually my breakfast was a local hot meal called “Satti”. It is basically red hot sauce with beefstrips on sticks. I had additional chicken leg on the side. It’s a regional best seller. A food by ourMuslim brothers and sisters but enjoyed even by Christians and other non-Muslims, too.
  • It’s hard to eat spaghetti with a spoon. That was my lunch. Instead of a fork I got a spoon withmy spaghetti. It’s the city’s famous paradise spaghetti. Any local would include a memory of thisdish and eating it with a spoon will definitely make it to the list.
  • To pass the night away, I played several games on my iphone to drain its battery.

To sum up this day in memory of my DJ slash VJ dream, I am playing the song “Video Killed The RadioStar” by The Buggles. This 1979 hit was also the first music video played on MTV on its launching onAugust 1, 1981. Check it out:

Monday in the University: Online in the Library

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines, work from home

It’s our official first day of classes and here I am, already doing a research for my marketing course. Good thing though is that it’s just basic topic for research for me to finish quickly and still have enough time to write for my online writing job before my next class which, is in an hour and half.

Thinking about it, I can say that I have one of the best jobs in the world and it’s the best job that I have so far. It’s not that my previous jobs were like the worst of jobs, definitely not for I had learned and especially earned to help my studies. But then, the difference with my previous jobs and this online writing job that I have now is that I own my time. I finally own my time, work according to when I am most free, and work wherever I am, thus, not being pressured in order to offer the best that I have. And I think that is every employee’s dream from which employers’ benefit as well. And I’m just so lucky to have the kind of job.
I applied for this job not more than a week ago. Lucky, indeed. It came to me just when I was needing another source of income. And what’s more to it, it’s something I am really comfortable to work for. Writing is really close to my heart, so I literally jumped out of my seat when I have read the email regarding my contract. I even had to check it more than ten times to confirm what I have read. I can’t remember if I was that excited when I got my previous jobs. I was really in cloud nine.

Since I am here in the library, I can’t help but compare my “good fortune” with the current situation of some of my fellow students. Here I am, having a chance to earn for my studies while they cram to get good grades to get a good job after. Of course, I have nothing against of them studying hard. Just like them, I value education as how I value my family. Mother will always tell me that I have to study hard for it’s one treasure one can’t take away from me. That is why, despite financial troubles, I keep on pursuing my studies. I am so thankful that I am living these days where you have a chance to work and study at the same time due to technological advancements. Technological advancements really paved the way for a company or even a simple individual to outsource whatever they need, may it be for business or personal use. And as long as they do outsourcing, people like me will have a chance to continue earning money, pursuing dreams, help others and most especially, continue living.

Sunday in the Philippines: Happy Independence Day!

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

Today the Philippines is celebrating the 113 years of Philippines Independence. So one of the first things I did in the morning was to write a relevant shout out on my Facebook Account using my phone. The post was “chunky” and meaningful but as I pressed on the send button thin air ate my post. It went a little something like this. “Freedom will never be absolute and it will be fair for all, but we must all be happy for whatever small slice of it we have; like the air that we breathe and the opportunity to be content with our lives. This celebration will make you realize that after 113 years the price paid for the freedom we have today has not yet been paid in full. But thank God for the rain, it’s for everyone. That, I am sure!”

There were flag ceremonies all over the country by which freedom dictated a required attendance to it. It’s a holiday, a Sunday, a day-off from work, but workers were required to be in their uniforms to
attend a brief hoisting of the flag. No further comment on that.

Moving on, I went to my friend’s place and luckily they have WIFI. So I went on the apple store and downloaded some useful applications like the HOLY BIBLE and a mobile version of SPEEDTEST.NET. I downloaded a couple of free games and updated my Plants Vs Zombies, they finally added the Zen Garden to it. I immediately put the SPEEDTEST application to the test, the present shared connection was topping at 450kbps. Thank you Daniel.

I went home to get ready for church. I tried to open the HOLY BIBLE and found no content on it. Apparently, I needed to download an offline version. So I used my 3G mobile internet and tried to download the content so I could browse the Bible inside the church. But it was not moving at all. I tested the speed at 0.001mbps! Wow that’s faster than the 54kbps dial-up back in the late 90’s.

Anyway I’m now back at home surfing the cable channels then I came across a show entitled “OUTSOURCED”. I think the show is set in India about a Call Center company with a white guy as their boss. This is supposed to be a comedy show but I will have to do some research on it. Or better yet, catch the next episode. When I was in London, all phone agents in the hotlines I called were Indians (based on the accent, I think you can tell). Of course, I remember that there are a lot of Indians in London, too. And guess what? As I changed the channel I saw a certain brain surgeon being interviewed on the TMZ Channel, His name was Dr. Sanjaya Gupta. I bet this is the same brother my boss, Bharat
Gupta, back in Bermuda was talking so proudly about.

Like India, Philippines is a top destination for outsourcing, basically because we are CHEAP or should I say more cost-effective.

Mabuhay and Good night.

Sunday at home: Most Special Gathering

By | Philippines

It is still the second Sunday of June, but we decided to have an advance Father’s day celebration. Our parents came to our place without any idea what’s about to happen. We didn’t inform even our mother for we know that she can hardly keep it from dad. Prior to this day, me and my siblings had already planned out to the smallest detail to make it a special to tribute the man of the hour, our dear father.

Knowing that our dear parents are simple people, we didn’t plan a very extravagant party. We know that a simple barbecue party will be more than enough for them, and we did so. What really matters most for our family is for us all to be present during special occasions.

The celebration was actually more like a children’s party. Instead of whine or beers, we drank fruit juices. We had spaghetti with meatballs and fried chicken. For a more mature meal, we grilled fresh tuna belly, pork belly and chicken breast. And we had ice cream for dessert.

It was a lot of fun eating on a paper plate and plastic cups. We really felt like we were kids again. And that was what we really our intention. To make not only dad but also mom, to feel like they are the children now, and us will be the ones to take care of them.

We, I can personally say that we have really succeeded in fulfilling our intention for mom later went up to talk to me in private, to tell me how happy dad is and asked me to make dad say something about it in front of us.

You might be wondering why she asked me that. It’s because dad, even how a “responsible, loving, and family man” dad is, he is not the kind of father to show he’s feelings or even speak of it. He never said a single endearment to us. Though we know how he really loves us, there’s still a need for us to hear it once in a while. And this day might be a good start.

So I asked my brothers and sisters to give simple messages for dad in front of us all and I opted to be last so that I could carry out mom’s favor. So as I ended my speech, I asked dad to come in front and give a simple message for our advance father’s day celebration.

All of us were like holding on to our seats, not knowing what to expect or what to hear. Actually, we were somewhat expecting for his speech to be his usual simple speech. But we were more than thrilled to hear when we heard him tell us that he couldn’t thank us enough for planning the event and how much he really loves us. And we were all in tears. Finally, after all these years, we finally heard dad’s heart.

Indeed, it’s our MOST SPECIAL GATHERING SO FAR!

Saturday at Home: Internet Disconnected

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

I asked my sister to disconnect our internet connection 2 days ago because it wasn’t delivering the minimum speed it promised. I subscribed for a slow connection of up to 512mpbs on the 3G network. The monthly fee is 995 Pesos or about US$25. I intended to get WIMAX (this is supposed to be faster) however service was limited so I had to settle for the older technology to help me connect with the world. The speed did pick up after 6 months at an average of 250kpbs (what a shame!). For simple surfing, chatting and Facebook games, I must say it is acceptable. But I never bothered to do video streaming or on-line gaming because it wasn’t just fast enough.

I am exploring the possibility of a new internet service provider. I have these options, 1. Get WIMAX (with speed up to 1mbps), at 995 Pesos or US$ 25 a month, 2. DSL bundled with a home phone (speed from 384kbps to 3mbps) at prices from 995 Pesos or US$25 to 3,499 Pesos or approximately US$85 a month. 3. USB broadband internet using 4G with prices ranging from 500-2,500 (US$ 12-60) pesos with speeds of up to 100mbps (this sounds too good to be true). It would be nice to get the faster connection but that is just above my budget. For now I am settling for a slow-dragging mobile browsing.

I told my sister about Odesk.com and the first job I have. She got excited herself as she is presently stays at home being the good mother and wife. This work-at-home will fit her perfectly! She did try on some freelance companies online before but majority of the sites out there are charging membership fees and/or software installation fees. I’m not aware of any other “free” sites aside from Odesk, yet.

Anyway, I already cleaned my small 900-liter Koi pond. I do this every 10 days to keep them healthy and alive. But I am still looking for a more effective filter so I won’t have to clean it as much. I got some of this carps online. I even found out that one of the sellers of premium koi lives just a block away, literally my neighbour. I get my Koi food from a supplier who lives about 20 minutes away. I also got his contact details online. It makes me miss my internet connection. I am not totally lost, but the internet makes it a lot easier to find things and your way around them. After writing this article my red laptop will sit like an ornament on my table.

So this is my Saturday so far, my Monkey (who is a dog, by the way) is waiting for his weekend bath. I think it’s going to be a pretty boring day, but I would prefer this day that any other day in the office. I will probably get my dose of karaoke later with friends. Get it recorded and send some my samples for people seeking voice talents online.

Friday in Zamboanga City: Got my first Job on Odesk

By | Outsourcing: an original view, Philippines

My day usually starts with me feeding my koi fishes. This morning they look eager to eat but I still ambothered by the white spots on some of them. I should continue on the water treatment this weekend. Ihad a warm coffee talk with my parents so I chose to report to work 30 minutes late. My mom is 55 andmy dad is 68, I love them.

The tardiness paid off as I open my Odesk account and found a contract to work in my notification. Wow!This is my first job ever in this site, so I am thrilled. It’s pretty easy because I am to write about my ownlife in relation to outsourcing. 1 article of at least 400 words a day for 7 days for 7 dollars in total isa pretty good place to start with this online job. My officemate Giselle has made 23 dollars by simplycopying and pasting. I suddenly wanted to play the song “I want to be a Billionaire” just for inspirationbut she started playing Don Moen on her speakers; divine inspiration, Why not?!

I am an accountant (a CPA) by profession. And with that I mean I passed the national board exam forCPAs in the Philippines but I am not exactly a practicing public accountant. I have worked on variouscapacities before with a manufacturing company, a World Bank Funded social services delivery programand now I am with a local government unit. I even worked in an outsourcing company in Makati City wayback in 2006-2007. I was trained in London and came back with a job that I had to do in the Philippines.I did trade swaps reconciliations and some other tasks that I don’t even remember anymore. Eventually Ihad to go out of the country into the remote Island of Bermuda where I stayed for 18 months.

This article is about to end, and I should be writing 6 more on the days to come. I hope that this will onlybe the beginning. I have made several applications from data entry, financial analyst, even voice talent.I have had responses but sometimes when you don’t have equipments such as high-speed internet, orrecording peripherals and other necessary gadgets to help you get an edge it could be challenging or evennext to impossible.

I have my regular job but having an online-job isn’t such a bad idea, too. I am amazed to see how muchother people are able to make by working at home. Well it all depends really on what you can offer. I amquite a well-rounded person so I’m crossing my fingers on this new “career”.

Thanks to Kasper Souren/Souren Consultancy for this opportunity! My yellow shirt today just gotbrighter! 🙂