Monday, June 13, 2016

Looking for a Job at the Age of 34: Going Back to the Labor Force from Freelance and Family Business

When the years were younger, my inner voice yearned for freedom from the 9 to 5 routine. I viewed real work as an inefficiency in time, marked by long hours of long commute, slow financial progress and a myriad of other things. That's the reason why I opted for the entrepreneurial freelance route.

Years have passed and today, with hordes of Filipinos discovering online freelance work, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve missed out on so many things by working at home. Although I value freedom, freelance work just doesn’t offer the same safety nets offered in a formal setting. Although if I factor in time spent with family, there comes a time when taking time for family should mean being able to provide for all their needs.

Working online and on a freelance basis made me miss out on these:
  • Health insurance, life insurance, SSS, PAG-IBIG 
  • Recognition that you could put in your CV
  • Social and professional connections
  • Regular and predictable income
With these downsides to freelance work and the difficulties of running a family business, I found that availing of loan facilities becomes problematic.

So now, I'm embarking on a new challenge that's really an old one, with one caveat: I'm already 34.

Whenever I write my 'sales pitch' to possible employers, I make sure that I sound like an old puppy willing to learn new tricks. But the age factor comes into play. With thousands of new graduates entering the labor sector, I found that competition is going to be really tough.

I'm mainly trying to get a job in the leasing sector, in the following capacities: leasing officer, leasing supervisor, leasing manager or property administrator.

There's so many things I wasn't able to put in my resume.

When our small family business was non-existent yet, what we had was a law firm that was imploding. My dad left a big gap and stood as the glue to 10 lawyers, an accounting consultancy firm, 3000 clients and so many relationships built over the years. What was left with the family was a small house cum office building.

I knew I had to act fast.

Broke with 2 kids and a need that had to be filled, I was driven.

We converted my dad's office to a commercial leasing business, and the conversion was very hands on. I borrowed 100,000 from my grandfather and turned the garden of the building into a parking lot that can hold 5 vehicles. We turned the garage into another partition. We had to move a bunch of desks, filing cabinets and other office material elsewhere to maximize the space.

Then came the marketing. I scoped out the competition and took note of their rental rates. There was a lot of vacancy along Aguirre because their prices were really high. I took the average rental prices of the nearby properties and came up with a more competitive offering.


I found that the most effective advertising was through print media and physical banners in strategic places. Online ads generated a lot of inquiries that didn't really lead to something, but they were important nonetheless.

Face to face encounters were the clinching point.


I believe that I've taken the family business to as far as it can get and have bowed to my mother who now manages it. It has come to a point that I feel that I can contribute my hands on experience and dedication outside our family business.

Online freelance opportunities are still there and some are promising. However, with the loss of our Internet connection (I use a pocket wifi that isn't so good), I feel that I won't be as competitive as I want to be.

At this age and after more than 8 years of freedom, I am now ready to serve a company loyally and with dedication. My specialization is leasing and I'm driven to serve in that capacity.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ultimate House Makeover Contest by Real Living Philippines (

We all dream of having a beautiful house with lovely details, an efficient design, and a cozy vibe that we'd love to come home to everyday. If you've always wanted to change the look of your home or if you need help in giving your space a much needed redo, here's your chance!
Join the 2016 Ultimate Makeover contest and get a chance to win a free home makeover from the Real Living team in partnership with BlimsHandyman, and Boysen.
Join now and be guided by the complete mechanics below.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

How New Zealand Can Benefit from Philippine Agricultural Education Partnerships

The relationship of New Zealand with the Philippines is a mutually beneficial one with many aspects. Foremost among these is NZ's reliance on Filipino agricultural labor, most notably in the field of dairy agriculture. Quite recently, it has been having some concerns with these particularly with regards to vetting candidate qualifications. 1

"That's our prayers - that Immigration will focus on recruiters, because they're the ones who entice people and give the wrong information."
Immigration New Zealand said there were about 1700 Filipinos in the dairy industry on work visas.
Federated Farmers' Otago dairy chair, Stephen Crawford, said a mass exodus would be devastating.
"In the south, we rely pretty heavily on migrant workers and it's quite difficult to get skilled workers on our farms and these guys are very good," he said.

Fraud, especially with migration consultants has resulted in an influx of spuriously documented workers with questionable credentials and experience. As a result, Immigration New Zealand had to reevaluate the statuses of many Filipino workers with regards to their Visa Status. An article from Radio New Zealand about a Filipino migrant worker's conundrum, is very telling: 2

"His assumption is that he has been caught up in a hold placed on new visas by Immigration New Zealand, which is investigating the use of fake documents by Filipino workers.
Last week, the department arrested a dual Filipino and New Zealand national and charged her with offences relating to immigration fraud. She will appear in court in Hamilton today.
Immigration New Zealand has said more arrests are likely. It also said dairy workers who remained with the same employer would not be disadvantaged by any delays in processing applications, as their immigration status would be preserved by grants of interim visas.
However, workers who change employers need changes to their visas - and it is here that some are striking problems.
Imposing more stringent requirements has a good raison d'etre. But it has also constricted labor availability at a very critical time. According to a Fonterra report, the dairy industry of New Zealand accounts for 25% of its economy. 95% of dairy production is exported to the international market.3 It was in 2012, when the dairy industry started to skyrocket. Both demand and value for dairy products increased at that time, heralding the impressive growth of the industry. 4

Here's where Juan the Filipino comes into the picture. 

An increase of 1 million cows necessitates a very significant increase in labor requirements. Some of that has been filled by Filipino Veterinarians or Agriculture graduates seeking greener, or in the case of New Zealand, whiter pastures. 

The heating demand for labor, unfortunately, has also given rise to opportunistic entities who would like to cash in on the need. While the Philippines has historically been an agricultural country, that is certainly no longer the case now. Most farmers in the Philippines barely meet the educational requirements and the work experiences required for New Zealand's labor requirements. The young adult population of the Philippines aspire for the swank office jobs with high pay created by the Philippine BPO industry. The glitz and glamor of the city has dampened most youths' aspiration to pursue a noble and dignifying occupation as a farmer. Both the educational and industrial requirements of the Philippines have shifted. Thich relegated agricultural education and production to secondary status. 


  • 1. Focus on strategic industry and educational partnerships to help Filipinos meet NZ labor requirements. 
  • 2. These strategic partnerships could come in the form of grants, scholarships and work training. 
  • 3. The new Duterte administration's pledge to bolster agricultural production in the Philippines could run in tandem with New Zealand's goals. 
  • 4. A partnership with the Philippines Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as a training institution could also prove to be beneficial in the long term. 
  • 5. A partnership with dairy producing companies - which are sparse in the Philippines, could also help potential candidates get ready for a New Zealand like work environment. 
1. "Dairy industry says expulsion of Filipinos would be 'devastating'" October 22, 2015. 
2. "Filipino dairy workers' struggle in 'paradise'" October 27, 2015.
3. "The New Zealand Dairy Industry" - New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2010-11 
4. "Dairy Industry Moooving Forward" NZ Official Yearbook 2012