The Common Pros and Cons of being an OFW

Dec 18, 2012 by at Jobs and Career

OFWs working in SingaporeHave you been thinking lately to work as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker)? Well, whatever reasons you have in mind as of the moment, kindly evaluate and have a self-assessment if your next action will be worth it. I personally believe working as an OFW is never an easy job. Working abroad can be prestigious as it sound but in reality, it lays never ending situations where you have to face a lot sacrifices just to secure a better future for yourself as well for your love ones. Even though it is the trending nowadays and the most common solution to improve one’s economic status, please do not be misled to jump right into a conclusion and to impulsively decide to fly out of the country. Working abroad has its benefits and can be really rewarding but you also have to weigh-in other issues, the consequences, and uncertainties along the way.

Various conditions exist and the level of responsibilities may differ from one person to another. A single person may have problems that are more manageable and have lesser accountability than those of couples. But in general, somehow, they are experiencing common advantages and disadvantages working as an OFW. Well, I write this article to serve as a guide and according to a broad point of view for your better understanding of what’s waiting ahead if you’re aiming to work overseas. The following are the common Pros and Cons of being an OFW:

 

Pros of working as an OFW

1. Higher Income and better employment benefits
The primary reason why we’re willing to go abroad for work in spite of all the odds is that working abroad can be financially rewarding. What you will earn in a year in the Philippines can only be earn in a few months working overseas. Further, if you’re lucky enough to find a great company, there are some overseas companies that provide excellent benefits that extend up to your immediate families, such as travel expenses, housing allowance, sponsorship and health benefits. One of the outstanding benefits I am looking forward and greatly appreciate is that you can even bring your family with you abroad at Company’s expense.

2. Travel and experience abroad
Working overseas will provide you great opportunity to discover new places, meet fresh and foreign faces, and learn their culture, traditions and ways of life.

3. Global career and profession marketability
An overseas work experience will always have its advantages than locally employed. Having an overseas work experience can give you a unique understanding and will prepare you to develop the sets of skill required in a global perspective.

4. Independence and better life style
When you’re far away from your home, you do not have a choice but to live on your own. Being away from your families and friends, you surely will have no one to depend on but yourself. However, to live and survive overseas has its advantage for it will greatly polish your independence. Another thing about working and living overseas is that you usually decide to settle in or for the countries where the economy and security are far better than your native land.

5. Prestige and recognition
Have you ever been into a situation where somebody look-up into you because of the accomplishments you achieved in life? Well, my friend let me tell you that working overseas seem to be another man’s dreams in which you are living it. And for some reasons, it may lead you to recognition because people around will see you as a successful person having a good economic life, though they do not know the real story behind. Nevertheless, such scenario will give you the excitement and can boost your self-esteem.

 

Cons of working as an OFW

1. Homesickness and loneliness
Indisputably, even only for a thought of not seeing your family for a very long time can put you in a very depressing situation, how much more if it is already a reality? It’s not an easy decision to work abroad leaving your love ones behind because you will never know what will be its effect to you and to your family. In reality, specifically to couples whose partner is far away from them and do not take such condition positively, working abroad usually results to a shaky relationship or even worst. Relationships are destroyed and if they have kids, they are usually the ones who suffer the unpleasant outcome. So, it’s up to you to decide which is better – you take your family with you abroad or you return to your own country and be reunited with your partner or family? But while you’re apart from them, take time to spend with them no matter how busy you are through constant communication.

Another thing is that when you’re in a foreign land, you are obviously alone. You may or may not like the place where you will stay maybe because of the environment conditions or as the saying goes, “A place is only as good as the people you know in it”.

2. Culture Shock
More often this happens when you are new in a place. The place and environment may seem to be mysterious and hard to cope up. Just don’t get nervous for its normal and for whatever will happen, you’ll get used to it in due time. Be positive, make friends, familiarize yourself and once you get used to it you will have different perspective of your surroundings.

3. Discrimination
Unfortunately and I hate to say this that most foreigner (especially in first world country) treat OFW as third class and cheap labor  In terms of job positions, compensations and other benefits, they tend to give us fewer opportunities and offer us lower labor rate for the same exact work that are usually highly paid in other nationalities.

4. Temporary employment and underemployment
Being an OFW is a volatile situation where your contract can be cut short anytime with or without notice. What is scary about being an OFW is the uncertainty of your employment or your employer – for there are less fortunate OFW, who receive less than what they signed in the contract or their employer are crazy and mad enough to treat them not as an employee but a slave.

5. Spending hard-earned money recklessly
Now that you’re receiving more than what you earned before, are you spending it wise? One of the typical Filipino behaviour is that we tend to spend and buy what we like when we receive our hard earned money and save what is left. Why not do it around, save first, then spend what is left. If you are already earning and have set aside some extra cash, you may consider investing your money to any of this business ideas for OFWs.

Another reality check for OFW is that you must be cautious when you’re sending huge remittances to your family and relatives at home because there are those (one of your relatives) who will take advantage of it. They think that just because you work abroad, you are well-off, which is usually more often not the case. They think that giving them financial aid would not make a dent at your finances. This is where the conflict usually begins.

 

Conclusion

Working overseas has its happiness and challenges. There is anxiety and fear at the same time excitement and pleasure. Well, it is in fact a mixed emotion. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide if being an OFW will suit you but as I mentioned earlier do not be misled to think that this is the only way to improve your current situation. There are still a lot of ways and opportunities out there to be successful. For I do believe anyone can be a successful person if only he or she can focus on his or her area of expertise, doing the proper approach with a firm dedication and outstanding perseverance.

Fritz Natividad is an experienced accountant and seasoned auditor for various companies, organization, and institutions in different industries. He shares his expertise in accounting, audit and other business related matters towards his clients and other interested individuals. He is proactive and always willing to learn new things. Connect with him at LinkedIn

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1 Comment

  1. Arvin Troy B. Madronio

    It’s better to work abroad while you’re young and single. It would lessen your homesickness on spouse and children, aside from most of the earnings abroad goes to savings and investments which will earn higher passive income. Once they get married, they can afford to get back to the Philippines with a comfortable and stable financial life without the need of leaving them behind. Father will work here as office professional while mother will start business here so they can supervise their children personally.

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