Philippine Jobs and Productivity — Mutually Exclusive?

One of the things I love about running this blog is how much it seems to write itself.  Fascinating just to sit back and watch, at times.  Here’s a great question from a reader:

Ive been a Broadcast Engineer for the last 31yrs..I have been a vendor to the industry supplying Television stations and networks with Microwave transmission and I have also worked at a Television station doing maintinace and repair..I was wondering if there would be any opportunities for me working in the Philipinnes, as I intend to more there soon..I really dont have to work but I would love to do someting productive..Best regards, Dana

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

And my answer:  Hello Dana, thanks for reading and for writing in.  I’ve written thousands of words in answer to your question .. this article is one of them.  Think it through and read some of the “related Articles” listed here.

The short answer is, foreigners can’t work here (with of course exceptions, which I have also written about extensively). The major criterion for an exception is, having a skill or talent that can’t be provided by a Filipino.  So what would that be?  Broadcast engineer? Have you any idea how many TV stations (and how many staff engineers) there are in the Philippines?

Answer is, a heck of a lot.  So the question back in response to your question is, what would you bring to the table?  What would convince an employer to certify to the Philippine government that your skills are unique and unobtainable here?

Remember, Philippine citizens have the right to work here.  Foreigners do not. We operate under the Philippine Constitution here, not the US Constitution.

Now don’t take those words the wrong way.  I’m not trying to insult or demean you, but I’m trying to put things into perspective.

TV station control room

Something Productive

Could you get a job in the broadcast industry here?  It’s very likely that you could.  The TV industry, in particular, has had a large percentage of foreigners since its beginning.   So if you really want to, research the major corporations, then the individual companies, find yourself some likely ‘targets” and begin selling yourself.  It’s certainly not impossible, especially with your experience and background.

I guess the part that puzzles me, though, is why a man who says he doesn’t need a job would want one?  Especially in a country where the salary, if you succeed in your search, is liable to be equal to what you were earning 30 years ago, or even less.

Jobs are a bad deal for people of ability and knowledge.  In my experience, jobs and “being productive” are often diametrically opposed. And as we progress into the 21st century, they are even a worse deal, every year.  I can fully understand the idea of doing something productive … I’m 65, technically retired, but I’ll never be “retired” in the sense of doing nothing.

I’m probably a LOT more productive today than I was back in 2003 when I last held a J-O-B.  Then I kept the bosses satisfied, kept myself out of trouble and waited for that retirement date to roll around.

Today, I’m working on and building up a number of ventures.  And now that 2011 is here I intend to roll out several more projects, some of which may eventually employ other people who need income and “something productive” to do as well.

But to me, a ‘job’ and ‘something productive’ are diametrically opposed.  My advice?  Start thinking outside the ‘job’ box (you might want to start with 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job and perhaps 10 Myths About Self-Employment and look at the opportunities that surround you today where you could put your knowledge and years of experience to use.  You may be surprised.

As a final editorial comment.  I think the broadcast TV industry is on a very short lease.  The industry is changing massively, in ways the senior leadership is often blind to.

In electronics stores here a huge seller are various cell phones/mobile devices that bring what was formerly “broadcast TV” to the user’s pocket.

New Year’s Eve I watched a top of the line broadcast TV special about the New year’s festivities in Lueneta Park, Manila.  Know what a huge percentage of the show consisted of?

The two famous “talents” who were hosting the show spent half or more of their time showing and commenting on the Twitter messages scrolling in on their iPads.  Twitter is free and a worldwide resource.  If I want to read a stream of Twitter messages, why would I need the overhead and infrastructure of the broadcast TV system to bring it to me?

Broadcast TV today is a lot like a buggy whip factory at the turn of the 20th century, unwilling to realize that the Internet is the replacement for the broadcast horse and buggy, and possibly way sooner than many executives seem to think.

Or so Dave opines.  Best wishes for 2011 and beyond.


  1. says

    You’re certainly the “go-to-guy” when it comes to job opportunities in the Philippines, Dave. So many people have unrealistic expectations of finding a job when they move here. And if you are fortunate to find one, do you really want to work at wages earned 30 years ago in the States (or lower) as you stated? You absolutely have to research, research, and research some more. I’m with you, too, in that broadcast television as we know it is on the way out.

    • says

      @Dave DeWall (ID 4717): Hi Dave. Welcome to 2011. Hope it becomes as great a year for you as it is going to be for me. I really, really, really can’t understand the propensity for so many foreigners to build their life around ‘having a job’ in the Philippines. You know I’ve even been offered work hear? What? YGBSM! (Google is your friend for those who don’t know that acronym). If some circumstance in my life made it necessary for me to actually go back to a j-o-b, you can bet your bottom dollar my first job hunting expense would be to climb on the first flight smoking and head back to the USA.

      And so far as my TV prediction/comment? Anyone else notice how many TV shows, especially in the news and current events area, look like (usually poorly designed) web pages. Sometimes you can’t see the programming for all the crawls and non-pertinent trivia on screen. If only Google could figure out a way to collect clicks from TV remote controls, I expect we’d see a lot of Google AdSsense as well 😉

  2. says

    It seems like an obsession to some people (finding a job in the Philippines). I am not there yet but the last thing I want to do is to have to work once I get there, that would take all the fun out of it!

    Dave thanks for your links to Steve Pavalina. I have seen his site a few times and of course heard of him online. This is the first time I really spent any time on his site. I went ahead and subscribed. I think it is important to read other peoples stuff that are definatley smarter than yourself. Steve is a brainiac.

    Hey everyone! Follow Dave Starr on Twitter!! Thanks Dave.

    • says

      @Randall (ID 4724): Hi Randall. I’m glad you enjoyed the articles from Steve. My cut on hm is, he’s pretty much a crazy man in lot of ways, but he has tons and tons of truths hidden away for those who take the time to dig them out.

      Also, although many don’t even realize it ((becuase you never hear about him from the Darren Rowse/John Chow crowd, Steve is one of the larger, more consistent online moneymakers. At one time he was making over $100k a year from AdSense and threw it off his blog becuase he could make more from the real estate in other ways.


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