So You Want To Own A Business Huh?
Jobs here are done ever so slowly, as the thinking of the workmen is, if we finish the job, there will be no more work to do. In any other country, of course they know if they fiinsh quickly, they can move onto the next job and their reputation for doing the work fast will help get them more work. Let’s examine this further:
On a daily basis, many comments are uttered, sometimes in a constructive manner, sometimes just as a complaint or expression of frustration directed at foreign business owners and managers, as to job performance or customer service. I wanted to shed some light on the “WHY” of “why can’t this place be run professionally”.
You may come to the Philippines from ANY backround in ANY business, military, entertainment, human resources, whatever. You have NEVER run into what you will experience here.
Believe me or don’t, as a business owner or manager you are dealing with a whole new dynamic, and whole new set of rules in dealing with people, that you cannot fathom. At first you go into denial, then shock, and usually fall into apathy when trying to accomplish the simplest compliance to RULES and REGULATIONS with Filipinos.
I’m generalizing here and there are exceptions to this. And I generally LIKE Filipinos and hold no ill will against them.
You, coming from any western society, have some basic tenants. After getting the job, you show up on time. You work while you’re on the job. You learn as much as you can about every aspect of the job so that you can handle anything that comes up. You make suggestions to make the workplace, product, delivery, and customer service aspects BETTER, etc, etc…You strive to make your customers happy so that they wil return again and again, and you do all of the above in an honest and pleasant manner, and take pride in doing so…
Ok, now THROW ALL OF THAT OUT THE WINDOW.
Imagine living and working in a society where they have not learned these things, and do not necessarily agree with them, or even understand why you would want to act in that way, and in fact, it’s DISCOURAGED!!!!!! You know that little talk your parents gave you when you were about 9 years old, about growning up and acting like an adult? THAT NEVER HAPPENS HERE.
The Filipino work dynamic goes more like this:
1. Having a job is the goal….not actually performing any tasks.
2. ANYTIME, is PLAYTIME.
3. It is perfectly acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, bare false witness, even sabotage the workers, and the workplace if you feel in ANY WAY, you have been insulted or asked to DO SOMETHING beyond or different then what you (or others before you) have been told in the past, or if being told makes you lose face, in the slightest way.
4. If you DO a good job, you will be told you are boastful, or a showoff, and you will be alienated from the rest of the employees, and attempts will be made to get rid of you.
5. ANY CHANGE is immediately rejected and complained about.
6. Getting the salary is the MOST important aspect of having a job, with no thought to earning it, or deserving it.
7. Show up late, if at all, then take a meal, take as many breaks as you can get away with, and sit on your ass as often as you are not being directly supervised, then leave work early.
8. Do not find out about, or learn anything else about your environment, so you will have fewer responsibilities.
9. When asked ANYTHING, say YES, or OK so you will stop being asked, with zero intention of carrying out the thing asked of you, or knowledge of what was being asked.
10. There are no consequences for doing things that would normally get you fired in western society, so do whatever you want to.
11. The BIGGEST CRIME you can commit as an employee is RAT OUT ANOTHER FILIPINO for doing something wrong.
12. Yelling ANYTHING across a room is the norm.
13. Interrupting is normal and the next person to say ANYTHING misdirects the conversation or task. If called to task for interrupting, saying “excuse me” FOR THE PURPOSE OF INTERRUPTING will now be standard.
14. At any point from A to B during a task, the task may be interruped or even forgotten about if ANYTHING occurs in the environment, such as, a friend talking, a loud noise, a sudden movement, or anything else deemed more FUN occurs etc…
15. Tagalog ALWAYS takes presidence over ANY other language especially if there is an ongoing conversation.
16. Cutting in line, or bumping others to get to where you are going is normal.
17. The foreigner owner or manager is “RICH” so this justifies any theft or income related problems.
18. It’s all up to “GOD’S PLAN” anyway, so there is nothing one can do to change anything and ZERO precautions should be taken
19. If it rains on Monday, Tuesday many persons will be absent because of the changing weather.
20. Reasons to be late or absent for work: too much traffic, rain or puddles of water, washing clothes, it was dark, no transportaion available, no electricity, no money, dead, sick or hungry baby or relative or next door neighbor or the slightest fever, headache, runny nose, or bad mood, had to travel somewhere to give money to family, or friend.
21. Superstitions are TRUE and the REAL reason for bad performance or low income is due to whatever superstition was not observed.
22. The environment MUST be noisy.
23. If told to do the duties of the job too many times, a mutiny, coup, or strike is necessary.
24. If Friday is a Holiday, then expect things to start falling apart on Wednesday, as workers get ready for the Holiday. BTW, they won’t ALL return to work until sometime around Tuesday.
25. If your business closes at 9pm, then wrapping up work and getting ready to go home begins at 8pm-8:30pm. This includes putting the cash in the safe, so no change is available, all the way to locking the doors, or pulling down the security shutters. AT 9pm the building will be absent of employees
26. If you try to fire someone from their job, they must be given verbal warnings, written warnings, and suspensions, and all have a certain number of issuances that comply with the Dept Of Labor, or the person can sue for damages.
27. Staff is to work no longer than 90 days or 6 months on the job (depending on the job) so that they are not eligible for benefits. This explains why it’s no one knows what they are doing, since they are new.
28. Anything considered childish in Western society, is cute and fun and desired in local society.
29. Anything not chained down or padlocked is free for the taking.
30. Any new manager or owner that asks anything of any employee is now the target of gossip and rumor. Usually along the lines of, the new manager/owner is not nice, and I wish the old one would come back.
31. If employees are EVER rewarded by management, it will now be EXPECTED and comments will fly about as to management being cheap if the same reward is not repeated. No thanks will be given for the reward.
32. If something gets broken or is stolen, there will be NO witnesses. If broken in the vicinity of a customer, the FIRST thing that happens, is a long pause in activity to determine who is NOT at fault so as to avoid blame and re-payment.
33. If a regular customer orders the same item/drink/food, time after time, no matter what he orders on his next visit, he will get what he ordered last time.
34. When spoken to by management, staff really hear something similar to the Peanuts TV series when adults are talking. Imagine a muted trumpet/trombone wa-wa sound….”Ok, here is what I want you to do. Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa. Ok?” “Yes sir.”
35. Every comment/request to get compliance will be answered with a justification or excuse.
36. An argument with staff, will escalate to “Go Back To Your Country”, or “I will report you to Immigration/NBI/Police” within seconds to get you to back off.
37. If items A/B/C are sold in the store. And those items are the main thrust of the business’ sales, unless acted upon by a manager or owner, those items will not be re-ordered, or “in-stock” and no one will notice or comment on the fact that there is an upcoming shortage of those items.
Hope I haven’t left anything out, and the longer you live/work/shop here, the longer your list…
Note: To retain one’s sanity, you are only allowed to ask ONE “why” question per day…Published in