I am an Australian who has lived and worked in Makati for about five years, and have managed a call centre operation of up to 300 people in this time. Although I have worked for the same company throughout my time here I have always been curious about the experiences our staff have had throughout their working life. I have always tried to do things a little differently to what could be considered the stereotype for white expat bosses in the Philippines.
When I arrived in the country I knew nothing about the culture or the people. I would have hardly been able to point to the country on a map! Since then I have come to learn a lot about the country through the people I have had the privilege of knowing along the way. I have grown to be continually intrigued by the Filipino culture, and how this filters into the workplace.
I have made countless mistakes in management since I arrived in the country. These mistakes have taught me some valuable lessons about people in the Philippines, how they think, and what they value. The contrast between individuals, and the different personality types all contribute to the fascination I have with this country. This website is my way of sharing these observations, and hopefully continuing to learn by engaging both Filipino workers and expats in a broader discussion.
This blog is intended to be a starting point for discussion around some of the quirks of the Filipino culture. I have observed some reluctance online from many Filipinos when a foreigner makes comment on such issues. So I will say upfront that I do have a great respect for the fact that I am just a guest in this country. I accept that things are different here than in my home country, and that is something to be celebrated. There are many things here that make no sense to me, and I am sure Filipinos would find the same if they lived in Australia. This is not a bad thing, and my opinions expressed on this website are not intended to criticize the way of life here. They are just my opinions and observations from the last few years of my life. I hope they can be a starting point for open minded discussion about cultural values and differences, and the Filipino workplace in general.
The final point I would make by way of introduction is that I acknowledge that many of the issues discussed are in no way isolated to the Philippines. Many of the issues are relevant to workplaces all over the world, and can be observed in human behavior regardless of the country you are in. However, the Philippines is the primary source of my observations.