Be an OFW or live with dignity? For one ex-OFW, the choice was clear


OFW – a tag that I once inevitably wore but never really proud of. A few months ago, I came back to the Philippines because I got fed up with working for Arab employers. My set principles, values, and limits does not fit with how my bosses want me to work. To sum it up, I just got tired up with being treated as a “beast of burden.” Unreasonable expectations and multi-tasking, coupled with asking me to lie to some companies we were working with every now and then just to gain some advantage, are just some of the insane work practices I experienced in the Middle East.

A few weeks before my resignation and flight back to the Philippines, a lot of Filipino (and Indian) friends advised me to reconsider my decision because of the economic situation in the Philippines, i.e., low salary.

I took note of the advice and arrived at a question: “How much money is worth a man’s dignity?” For me, I’d rather be dirt poor Filipino than be treated as a glorified slave in another country.

My homecoming is also a sign of protest because of how I was treated in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE to be exact). True, my act may be just another of those that is unnoticed but I think I owe it to myself to say that at least I stopped from being part of it.

Leaving employment in the Middle East may indeed be scary especially if one is maintaining a “kind of lifestyle,” but I can say there is life after it.

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