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.

Advertising

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.

Today

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.