If you are mystified about where the title comes from, you probably should refer back to the first article in this series, which explains what we mean by the phrase, “There’s a pony in there somewhere”.
No matter how much I write about the futility of ordinary “jobs” and in particular the disadvantages for a foreigner trying to find employment in the Philippines, pit is still about the second most searched phrase that people use to find this site. People want a job, any job, and if it is in the Philippines, hey, so much the better. So I try to keep abreast of the market.
Today I was reading the classifieds on jobs in the Manila Bulletin and I noticed a big display ad for a number of different jobs at a call center. Most demanded advanced degrees and previous experience in an international call center, but the lowest level job caught my eye. “Collection Care Representatives”. These are people being hired to “dun”, or try to collect overdue credit card payments from US debtors. Doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun job. You are going to have to call people who are in hopeless situations and try to make them pay their overdue bills (credit card bills are the last bills to worry about if you are in a bind, since they are unsecured, what can they rally do to you if you don’t pay … can’t take your house or your car or anything serious like that). Or you are going to get people who are really, really mad at how things are going for them in today’s economy and are going to lash out at telephone bill collectors with a vengeance. Or both.
But these jobs are readily available. They are going to pay somewhere around P13,000 to P18,000 a month to start … you do the math, that size starting salary depresses me. And unlike many jobs here, you don’t have to be under 25 or over 5’6” and your gender doesn’t matter. Great. You just need, to start the process:
- Certified copies of all school records
- Philippine Social security Number
- Formal Clearance from your last Employer
- PhilHealth registration number
- Philippine Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- And, of course, for a foreigner to even get inside the door for the testing process, a Work visa or, if you are a Permanent Resident, a Work permit (Permanent Residents can accept work, but you must apply for the privilege and pay an annual fee .. kind of like getting an H1 visa in the US.
For P18,000 a month, less deductions and commutation costs to Makati? Rotating shifts also? YGBSM.
(If you can’t figure that one out, Google is your friend … I’m an old Wild Weasel maintainer)
So what would my alternative be? Well I make money from a number of online Internet marketing ventures. This is just not palatable to a lot of people. If it’s not your cup of tea, fine. But with the power of knowledge you already possess just be reading this far in my blog, there’s something else right on the same page in the employment section that will work for you … in the Philippines, in the USA, or anywhere else you happen to be reading from. Hint. It’s spelled E-N-G-L-I-S-H.
Years ago my mom had a job she really enjoyed. She was the “one woman staff” of a fellow who never had a job in his life and was making a nice living selling “how to” information way back years and years before the Internet was even a dream. In fact this guy was in the process of transitioning the business over to his grown son at the time my mom worked for his little company.
The main product? A little 30-something page booklet entitled “How To Repair Hydraulic Jacks”. It sold in those days for something like $12 and part of what my mom did was take each day’s shipment to the post office on her way home … sometimes she had to ask for help to carry the box of outbound manuals. Now I am not telling you to write a book on hydraulic jacks (although my friend Jack Reed could show you how to make $200k a year from subjects even more arcane, like football game clock management).
I met the owner of the hydraulic jack book several times and he gave me one business tip that has stuck with me all these years. If you want to find a niche, a specialty, to start a profitable business in, read the ads in a newspaper or technical magazine that interests you from several years back, and then look for the same ads in a current copy. If there are any, you can be sure those folks are making money.
(By the way, the jack business owner had a certificate on his wall that fascinated me, it was a little scroll of appreciation from Popular Science magazine for being an advertiser for over forty years … he followed his own advice).
So, back to the Philippines. The ad I noticed I have seen in the Bulletin for several years now. It’s a US-based correspondence school offering courses in basic English, English refresher training, accent polishing, employment test taking and so on. I don’t know their prices but considering the size of the display ad they have been running for years, they aren’t cheap. Looking further I also see several other similar Philippine-based services, some offering formal classroom training and some offering telephone or on-line course work.
I’ve talked before about language training for Korean, Japanese and Chinese target audiences, but with all the rhetoric that says English skills are common in the Philippines, I see a number of businesses, year in and year out making money teaching (or coaching) English to Filipinos. Actually, it is a proven fact that you can sell refrigerators to Eskimos.
I’ve rambled on long enough for one article here. Please remember something before you do any rushing about or worse yet, investing. If you want to set up a language school in the Philippines, it may be a good business idea, but it’s far, far more complex than I would chose to get into, and your paperwork trail of “mother may I’s” will be long and arduous.
I am not talking about any sort of school or business that would violate any of the existing laws and regulations regarding business in the Philippines. But that being said, how many of you have seen the ears of the pony starting to stick out?
Yes you certainly can make money teaching, coaching, or consulting in the field of English education … regardless of where you live or what degree you hold.
Tune in tomorrow, same time, same channel and I share some more thoughts on this.