Behind the devastating headlines, what most people don’t know about is the silver lining of how jobs outsourced to the Philippines have helped hundreds on online workers in the affected areas rebuild their lives.
Tacloban City, one of the most affected places by Typhoon Haiyan, is also home to roughly a thousand online workers and relatives of Filipino online workers. Though they may have lost their homes, these workers have still something to look forward to because they know they have jobs waiting for them as soon as they recover. And even before that, employers of Filipino workers from all over the world have been looking for ways to help the Philippines, even if their workers were not directly affected by the tragedy.
From Paul Woodall of PaulWoodall.com
I told my first Philippine employee that she was hired the day before the Typhoon hit on the 8th of November. I told her she would start on the 11th of November (a Monday). Obviously that was impossible after the storm hit, not only because of the lack of resources (power, water, etc.), but also because of missing family members (later located) and just because of the massive devastation that was caused. So we postponed her start date until the 18th to give her time to recover (somewhat) from the storm.
I was told that some of her family had lost shelter and income because of the storm. It was not said in a pleading way, but because I had asked how she and her family had fared. Turns out they did better than a lot of people, but her Grandfather lost his home (and was missing for a while). This is not intended to be a long story, but some background was necessary.
My wife and I decided we wanted to help and thought the best way to do that was to backdate our young lady’s start date to the 1st of November. We paid her half a months salary on the 15th, even though she had not actually started to work, and we were blown away by the grateful response we got. She and her whole family were (and still are) extremely grateful. We felt like it was just the right thing to do. It was not a lot of money to us, but to them it meant a great deal.
From Richard Mathias, President and CEO of Rich Mathias Enterprises, LLC
I have three guys working for me and they were pretty close to the hit zone in Tanjay City. While they sustained wind and water damage, they are all ok. As part of our effort to bring some hope to the survivors, I gave my three guys a week paid time off to organize relief missions to the hardest hit small islands where they delivered food, water, and medical supplies. It was a great way for us to do a little something for folks who were really just totally decimated. The island they helped the most was home to 300 families and the storm took out all but 2 buildings. The entire island population was essentially left homeless. Here is a link to the Facebook Page that my manager made of the relief missions. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.321434181331305.1073741825.168526866622038&type=1&l=c7cb23da22
The experience brought us closer together and allowed them to realize that although virtual in miles apart, we are spiritually connected closely as one.
The other side of this amazing story is how dedicated these Filipino workers can be despite of tragedy. JR, a worker from Leyte, saved his hard drive with his loved ones, to make sure that the tasks he has done for his employer is saved and can be retrieved once they have access to electricity.
CJ MacDaniel of Adazing Design
I have a worker in Tacloban that I found through onlinejobs.ph. While at the same time worrying about him I have been rushing around trying to meet deadlines by recreating projects that took him 2 months to build. As I saw the pictures online I had resigned myself to the fact that I had probably lost months of work of client’s projects and was hoping that everyone was safe. After a week of reading the horror stories and wondering if my worker and friend were alive, I finally received an email. He described that first week as bittersweet since all of his family are safe but a close friend had died. He recounted fleeing the city with his wife and two daughters on a C130 with nothing but an extra shirt and the computer hard drive with my work files on it. He told me that he had been worried that he wouldn’t have a job waiting for him when finally got back online. He was super grateful that I had paid him for the week he couldn’t work plus some extra for urgent needs. He said that I would never be able to understand how much it meant to him to still have employment because of the long road ahead of him to begin rebuilding their life. He and his extended family about 25 people are all at his brothers small apartment in Cebu. He doesn’t yet have access to a work station where he can plug-in the hard drive but it is a major relief to know that we won’t be rebuilding 6 months worth of client projects.
Donna, a virtual assistant from Tacloban, was one of the lucky ones to be first relocated to Metro Manila. Her first concern as soon as she had internet access, was to email her employer that she’s okay and that she can go back to work in a week, after she has her family settled in.
In light of criticism of how outsourcing to developing countries like the Philippines, stories like these show that these jobs have been lifesavers for Filipinos. They may not have the same pay as their Western counterparts, but they are earning well enough that would allow them to rebuild.
If you’re looking to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan (or looking to hire staff members from the Philippines), try www.onlinejobs.ph which has the largest database of online Filipino workers.