When eating out there are always 2 awkward moments for me:
1. When the server asks “Will these be separate checks or together”?
2. When they bring the bill and both of you reach for it.

It’s weird.  

Money across relationships is weird.

Filipinos feel the same.

Here’s what my content manager said:
I don’t like talking about money. It makes me really uncomfortable. And I’m not alone. We moderate a Facebook group for Filipinos who are on Onlinejobs.ph and one question that pops up regularly in the community is how to talk about salaries with their employers.

It’s not just an issue of inexperience. Even experienced VAs don’t like talking about money. Not having to talk about money ever again is one of the things we love about having a full-time job.

But talk about it we must. I know this must be frustrating for employers. But it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of prodding, we will talk and negotiate. We just need a bit of help.

If you want to encourage your new hire to talk about salaries, here’s what you need to do:

1. You have to initiate the conversation. In Filipino culture, we think it’s impolite to talk about money amongst ourselves. We’re afraid it’ll make us look greedy. But if someone else (usually foreigners) initiate the conversation, we don’t mind because we know that it’s normal for American culture to talk about money. So if you start the ball rolling, we’ll take it as our cue to participate.

2. Set the starting rate and let us know if you’re open to negotiation. Again, this has something to do with our culture not wanting to appear greedy. It’s rare to find a Filipino that would set their rate. Those who do know are experienced freelancers. But most would throw back the question at you, asking you what a fair starting rate would be. 

If you’re expecting your new hire to give you their rate, it’ll be a really long conversation. You can use our updated salary guide to give you an idea on what starting rates you can.

3. Iron out the details as soon as possible. A lot of the disputes we’ve encountered at Onlinejobs.ph are the results of simple misunderstandings. We hate talking about money so much we want to end the conversation as soon as possible. Because of that, a lot of details remain unresolved. We’ve seen VAs work unpaid for months without knowing what salary platform they would be using (PayPal? EasyPay? Transferwise?) or how often they’d be paid (weekly? twice a month? monthly?) because they’re too afraid to ask their employers. And the employers were just waiting for their VAs information so they can start sending salaries.

Don’t wait for your VAs. Tell them right away what platform you’ll be using and how often you’ll be sending their salaries. Tell them whether they should be sending an invoice or not. If they’re serious about working for you, they’ll adapt. 

But if they make excuses about not being able to make an account or that they need to use some else’s account, consider these as red flags. Our verification process at Onlinejobs.ph was designed so that the jobseekers would have the documentation they need to create verified accounts in payment platforms. If they can’t (or won’t) comply, this means they could be using a rented account or it’s a scam operation.

Thankfully, John only asked me to write about this topic instead of talking about it. Still don’t like it but at least it’s tolerable.

I’ve even gone farther with this after the relationship has begun. 
When someone asks us for a loan, or to receive their salary early this month, I’ll often talk with them about their financial situation.  
What are your bills?
What’s fixed and what’s variable?
What expenses do you have coming up?
What’s the total income situation?

Then I can better gauge how to help.