Let’s shed some light on the real, dark, difficult side of being an overseas Filipino worker.
1) Homesickness and separation from loved ones causes sadness and sometimes, depression. If given the choice and opportunity, OFW’s would rather work in the Philippines to earn while being within arm’s reach of their family, friends, and comfort zone. However, that’s not the reality. Homesickness is the number one enemy of the emotional OFW. After all, we’re all still human and social beings. While we are resilient and find our own set of families here, our blood families are our real fuel.
2) Abuse and discrimination still exists. It is not uncommon knowledge that our Filipino workers still get abused and discriminated against almost everywhere. The news shows us how our domestic workers get physically hurt at work. Stories amongst our friends tell us that our color, accent, even names, still get labelled third-world even with our top-notch skillset and work ethic. Stories of inhumane treatments to our OFW’s most often get buried in the dark.
3) Money is not endless. The cost of living in many countries is often greater than the decent salary we receive. But still, OFWs find their ways around it through side hustles, freelance gigs, and extra hours at work. Filipinos anyway are strong-willed, and this setback has made the OFW spirit more ambitious than ever.
4) Any job is still a job. Most kababayans find jobs way different from their educational background and because of factors involving nationality rank more than skillset, Filipinos sometimes get the shorter end of the stick in terms of opportunities. The market need is also a huge factor. Doctors in the Philippines become nurses in the US because this is what is needed most in the medical field. But then again, Filipinos fight and find our way through each time – always ready to shine.
5) The OFW life is not forever. Contracts, abrupt terminations, companies closing, bankruptcy, expired visas and visa problems. The OFW life is not a lifelong possibility for most Filipinos. We only work through both the best and worst days until we know our time is up being home away from home.
Being an OFW is not for the faint of heart. As they say, it’s not always greener on the other side.