Betty Reyes (not her real name), a single mother living in Pasig, stacked a collection of fliers and classified ads on her wobbly desk. While doing so, her son ate instant noodles and pandesal for breakfast. Nearly three months ago, she used to be call center agent working in Ortigas. But after an altercation with a number of her colleagues and one of her superiors, the company she was working for had to let her go. And now, with meager amount of cash on her savings, she cannot help but fear what’s to come should she fail to get a new job anytime soon.
“I know that it’s not as bad as it seems,” she told The Manila Times after sparing a tired glance at his son. “But I know that it will get worse given the situation [of our country].”
As the economic downturn continues to harrow a number of industries in the Philippines, more and more companies have found the need to lessen their manpower in order to save money. As a side effect of this transition, finding suitable work opportunities in the country is far more challenging.
“It’s so dramatic,” says Jeanne de la Flor, a fresh graduate from a Santolan. “Last year, when I used to look at those websites that list down available jobs in the country, pages are usually teeming with offers. Now only one or two remain posted.”
These days, keeping a job is more essential than ever. But for most employees, in order to accomplish such a feat during these hard times, it is not enough for one to be competent enough to accomplish his or her duties. Given the competitive nature of most industries, it is also important for people to be able to contribute to the growth of a company.
“Sometimes, your worth as an employee is not measured solely on your ability to do work or how eagerly you do your work,” said Minette Areja, the Administration and Finance Manager of M2 Communications Inc. in Quezon City.“ And regardless of the misconception, it’s not even important whether or not you came from a prestigious school. What matters is whether or not you’re value-adding to the company. There are people who are effective but not efficient. So, we might as well look for someone who can be both.
Fidel Hernandez, a business owner in Quezon City agrees with Areja’s sentiments.
“The problem kasi with some employees is that sometimes they settle for [what’s adequate],” he told The Times. “They don’t consider what would be best for a company in the long run. Sure their efforts could help the company survive, but to improve it, that’s not enough. And for me, as the boss, that’s not what I need [in these difficult times]. Because of that, I ended up firing a number of my employees in the past.”
Hernandez, however, also believes that another factor weighs more than a person’s contributions and that is his or her ability to work with others.
“My [workforce] is like a family,” he said. “We help each other, we support each other. But there is a big difference, I can’t kick my daughters out of my family should they fail to mix well with my wife and I. It’s a totally different thing for my employees.”
Remembering why she was laid off in the first place, Reyes recalled her experience as an employee.
“I have to admit that I was a bit [over-confident.] I didn’t take my work seriously and I wasn’t very respectful of my colleagues when they point out my mistakes. I guess that was one of the reasons why they had to let me go.”
Luisito Salonga, owner Ultimate Sign, an advertising company in Cubao affirmed Reyes’ speculation.
“For me,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether or not you are the best. What matters is you know how to get along with your fellow employees because being insufferable creates tension in the office. And tension is never good for a company’s productivity.”
“If the problem is performance,” said Areja, “most companies are more lenient compared to whether or not that person can work with the team. In our case, the fastest stint we got with a person who had a hard time working with everyone is two months . . . As a company, you have to be able to work together. You can’t have people going solo because every single thing that person does can and will affect the company as a whole.”
However, in a number of cases, like that of Reyes, an employee’s inability to get along with others and his or her inability to do his or her work well can also be trailed to the nature of the work or the company’s culture.
“Looking back,” said Reyes. “I regret the number of times I disrespected my colleagues. But I think that most of my wrongdoings [stemmed] from the fact that I never wanted to be a call center agent. I’m not in love with the things I was tasked to do and I couldn’t relate to most of the other employees. We just like different things. So, I guess that’s important as well; for you to pick a job that you like so that you can excel at it.”
But while her son continued to eat his meager breakfast, Reyes shook her head.
“Still,” she said. “It would be nice to have work considering how hard [life is] nowadays.” — Angelo Cantera, Reporter, Manila Times