Does Hiring Help Change You?

A unique luxury that comes with living in the Philippines is the relative ease with which you can hire household help compared to most western countries. If you could pay someone less than a few hundred bucks a month to do all of your cooking, cleaning, ironing (I would pay for this part alone!), driving etc. Why wouldn’t you right? Unless you enjoy housework, you may as well make the most of the luxury while you can.

The idea of having full time house help is almost unheard of in my home country. I have never even met anyone who enjoys this service, and my assumptions were always that this would be limited to the super rich. Someone like Bruce Wayne comes to mind. So if you are settling in for a long stay in the Philippines and avail house help for a long time could this lead to a change in your conditioning? By conditioning I do not mean your willingness to clean up after yourself, or perhaps reaching a new level of laziness. People adjust to their surroundings quite quickly and this will be the case for most people when they arrive in the Philippines, as well as when they return home. The change in the conditioning I am referring to is how you look at yourself, and how you treat others.

Your perception of your own status will play the biggest role here. Does it give you a greater sense of self-importance when you have your very own house help? Is it something you brag to others about? Do you talk down to your house help? While the thought of acting this way will make many people cringe, most of you will know someone who would act like this. However, is this a response brought on by their newfound sense of status? Anyone who felt that having house help elevated them to a new level may demonstrate a similar attitude towards anyone who is serving their needs such as waiters, taxi drivers and subordinate co-workers. Employing house help may not change them; it just provides another opportunity to act like an asshole.

Having full time house help is a privilege, nothing more. Like any privilege you enjoy it is something to be grateful for. A major contributor in the standard of living enjoyed by expats in the Philippines stems from the comparative advantages many western economies enjoy. Higher salaries, and a favorable exchange rate avail greater luxury than could be attained elsewhere. However, a reality check may be in order. In the context of the Philippines economy hiring house help may not even be considered a luxury. A large number of Filipino middle class workers also engage some kind of house help. It is an accepted norm here, and not a luxury that will see others looking at you like the new Bruce Wayne.

Having full time house help may be quite revealing of someone’s character, but whether it would lead to a change in their character is unlikely. While some may live in a bubble, and over time start to believe their own narrative about making it to the upper echelons of society, perhaps all they ever needed was an opportunity to show this side of their true self. If you value and respect other people, then this will shine through in many aspects of your life. This will be at the core of your character and is not something that will change.

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