From my OFS, Julia.

Close family ties are a good thing. But it has caused us problems in some cases.

In the Philippines, family takes precedence over everything. The family has influence over every important life decision. Even deeply personal decisions.

Deciding what course to take in college, for example. That should be a personal decision. But not in the Philippines. The entire family has a say on this. You’re lucky if what the family wants and what you want match. Or your family understands your decision. But if they don’t and you insist on taking the course you want, they’re going to talk about it for YEARS. 

Your parents aren’t happy with the fact that your boss can’t extend your time off? It’s easier to just quit your job and give in to familial pressure. At least when you quit, your boss stops contacting you. Your parents are never going to let you forget about that ONE TIME you put your job over your family.

Online Filipino workers have it worse because the older generation still can’t wrap their heads around the idea that you can have a real job working from home. 

Let me give you an example. I have a neighbor who’s a single parent (husband works abroad) juggling 2 full-time jobs. She’s the designated caregiver for her sick mother-in-law. She’s also responsible for running all the errands related to her in-law’s medical needs. On top of running errands for her own parents who can’t go out due to the pandemic.

Doesn’t matter that she’s juggling 2 full-time jobs and she’s also taking care of her son. Doesn’t matter that she has siblings and siblings-in-law who can share in the responsibilities. Working from home isn’t “real” work. Her siblings and in-laws work in an office. They have ‘real jobs’. 

If she has time to stay at home, she can take on one more responsibility. And another one. And another. 

That’s why some of us just quit. At some it point, it’s just too much work. 

I agree, it is frustrating to have an OFS quit because their grandmother/cousin/uncle got sick and they have to take care of them. It doesn’t make sense. Why should we shoulder that responsibility? We have jobs too and they’re just as important.

Because in the eyes of the family, we’re the ones who can. We work from home so we can afford to take one one more responsibility. It’s easier to just give in.

Be nice to your people. 

Diego emailed me this week and said 
“I have been too hard on my VAs for too many years and it has backfired on me.”

Cut them some slack.