As an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), there are several things you can do to succeed in your job and make the most out of your experience abroad.
Importance of succeeding as an OFW
First, OFWs often leave their families behind to seek employment abroad, and their success can provide financial stability and security for their loved ones back home. Their remittances also contribute to the Philippine economy, as they are a significant source of foreign exchange and help boost domestic consumption.
Second, success as an OFW can lead to personal and professional growth and new opportunities for career advancement and learning. Success can translate to better career prospects, higher salaries, and improved quality of life.
Third, a successful OFW can positively represent the Philippines and Filipinos in their host country, contributing to better understanding and stronger relationships between nations. They can also help dispel negative stereotypes about Filipino workers and promote the image of hardworking, skilled, and reliable professionals.
Lastly, success as an OFW can provide a sense of accomplishment, pride, and fulfillment, knowing their hard work and sacrifices have paid off. It can also inspire others to pursue their dreams and strive for success, regardless of their challenges and obstacles.
Adapt to the culture.
Every country has its own culture, so learning about your host country’s local customs, practices, and values is essential. This will help you better understand your colleagues and clients and navigate any cultural differences that may arise.
- Be open-minded and curious: Try to approach the new culture with an open mind and be curious about it. Learn as much as possible about the culture, history, and customs.
- Learn the language: If you are in a new country, try to learn the local language. This will not only help you communicate better, but it will also show respect for the local culture.
- Connect with the local community: Try to connect with and make friends with locals. This will help you understand the culture better and give you a support system.
- Respect the local customs: Be respectful of the local customs and traditions, even if they differ from what you are used to. For example, in some cultures, it is considered impolite to speak loudly in public.
- Embrace differences: Embrace the differences between your culture and the new culture. This can be an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
- Stay true to yourself: While adapting to a new culture, it is important to stay true to yourself and your values. Don’t compromise your values or beliefs just to fit in.
- Seek help if needed: If you are struggling to adapt to the new culture, seek help from a professional or a support group. They can offer guidance and support to help you through the transition.
Good communication skills are crucial in any job, especially when working with people from different backgrounds. Be sure to listen actively, speak clearly, and ask for clarification if you are unsure about anything.
Manage your finances wisely.
As an OFW, you will likely earn more than you would in the Philippines, but managing your finances wisely is essential. Create a budget, avoid overspending, and save as much as possible for your future.
Stay connected with loved ones.
Being away from your family and friends can be difficult, so stay connected with them through regular communication, such as video calls or messaging. This will help maintain your emotional well-being and a strong support network.
Be a good representative.
Remember that as an OFW, you are representing the Philippines and your fellow Filipinos. Make sure to conduct yourself professionally, respect local customs and laws, and positively impact your workplace and community.
Take care of your health.
Working abroad can be stressful, so taking care of your physical and mental health is essential. Eat healthy foods, get enough rest, exercise regularly, and seek support if you feel overwhelmed or homesick.
Build your career network.
Building relationships with people in your industry and community can help you learn about job opportunities, gain new insights, and create a support system. Attend industry events, join social groups, and volunteer in community activities.
Learn a new language.
Learning the language of your host country can help you communicate more effectively with your colleagues, clients, and customers and help you adapt to the culture.
- Take a class: Enroll in a language class either in-person or online. This can provide a structured learning environment with a qualified teacher to guide you and other students to practice.
- Use language-learning apps: Several language-learning apps, like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone, can help you learn a new language. These apps offer lessons and exercises that can help you improve your vocabulary and grammar.
- Practice with a language partner: Find a language partner who speaks the language you want to learn and who wants to learn your native language. This way, you can practice speaking and improve your listening skills.
- Immerse yourself in the language: Immerse yourself in the language by listening to music, watching movies or TV shows, reading books or newspapers, and speaking with native speakers. This will help you become more comfortable with the language and improve your comprehension.
- Attend language exchange events: Look for language exchange events in your area where you can meet other language learners and native speakers. These events often allow you to practice speaking with others and improve your language skills.
- Learn vocabulary related to your work: If you are an OFW, focus on learning vocabulary and phrases related to your job or industry. This can help you communicate better with colleagues and clients and improve your job performance.
Build a career plan.
Set long-term goals for your career and create a plan to achieve them. This can help you stay focused, motivated, and on track, and it can also help you identify new growth opportunities.
Manage your time wisely.
As an OFW, you may have to juggle multiple responsibilities, such as work, family, and personal needs. To succeed, you must prioritize your time and use it efficiently.
- Set priorities: Identify the most critical tasks and activities, and prioritize them. Focus on completing the most important tasks first, and schedule the less important tasks for later.
- Create a schedule: Create a schedule for your day or week, and stick to it as much as possible. This can help you manage your time better and ensure enough time for both work and personal activities.
- Use a planner or calendar: Use a planner or calendar to keep track of your tasks and appointments. This can help you stay organized and ensure you don’t forget any critical tasks or assignments.
- Break tasks into smaller tasks: Break down larger tasks into smaller tasks, and focus on completing one small task at a time. This can help you manage your time better and make progress on larger tasks without feeling overwhelmed.
- Eliminate distractions, such as social media or unnecessary phone calls, when you need to focus on an important task. This can help you stay focused and be more productive.
- Delegate tasks: If possible, delegate tasks to others to help you manage your time better. This can help you focus on the most important tasks and ensure that all tasks are completed on time.
- Take breaks: Take regular breaks to recharge and avoid burnout. This can help you stay focused and be more productive over the long-term.
Keep up-to-date with news and events in your host country and in the Philippines. This can help you make informed decisions, stay connected to your home country, and better understand the world around you.
Be open to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This can help you learn, grow, and adapt to new situations and can also help you build strong relationships with people from different cultures.
Maintain a positive attitude.
Staying positive and optimistic can help you overcome challenges, focus on your goals, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Continuing education and professional development are essential to staying competitive in today’s job market. Consider taking courses, attending seminars or workshops, or earning a certification to improve your skills and knowledge.
Build a support system.
Create a network of friends, colleagues, and fellow OFWs who can offer emotional support and advice. This can help you navigate challenges, stay motivated, and feel less isolated.
Take the initiative to identify and solve problems in your job or personal life. This can help you stand out as a problem solver, build credibility, and achieve your goals.
Life as an OFW can be challenging, so it’s important to build resilience to cope with stress, uncertainty, and setbacks. Practice self-care, cultivate a positive mindset, and seek support when needed.
Respect the law.
As an OFW, it’s vital to abide by the laws of your host country, including immigration and employment regulations. This can help you avoid legal trouble, protect your rights, and maintain a good reputation.
Take advantage of technology to stay connected with loved ones back home, collaborate with colleagues, and improve your productivity. Use video conferencing, social media, and other digital tools to enhance communication and work efficiency.
Have a plan for your return.
Whether you plan to work abroad for a short or long time, it’s essential to have a plan for your return to the Philippines. Consider your career goals, financial situation, and personal aspirations to make the most of your experience abroad.
These are practical tips that are not hard to do. Even the lowest-paid Filipino abroad can still be a candidate to succeed in life overseas. It just commences with forward-thinking and a little self-sacrifice and focuses on achieving dreams.