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I packed my bags and went to the Philipines

After many years working in sales roles in the advertising industry, In 2011, I was hired as the Marketing Manager for MiniMovers, a removalist company. With the directive to expand the marketing team, I was introduced to outsourcing in the Philippines. Mike O’Hagan, founder and owner of MiniMovers, decided that to put me on a plane to Manila and show me firsthand what could be achieved with off-shore workers.

We arrived in Eastwood, a 17 hectare private business development in Manila, and I was instantly at ease. This was nothing like the vague memories I had of my 2 day stopover back in 1995. It was modern, thriving, colourful and so exciting. We met the various Filipinos that worked for MiniMovers through a BPO (Business Processing Office) staff leasing arrangement. I was immediately impressed by their sense of humour and eagerness.

On day 3 of our trip, I rang my husband and suggested we should move our family to Manila. Fortunately for me, my husband is adventurous and jumped at the idea, risking his own career to pursue mine. Upon returning to Australia, I suggested to Mike that I could move to Manila to help build the team offshore.We’d always been looking for an opportunity to live abroad as we knew it would expand the minds of our children, and us.  A few months later, my husband and two kids (11 year old girl and 7 year old boy) arrived in the Philippines.

Not long after relocating, I was promoted to General Manager of Eastwood and took over all aspects of running the offshore team for MiniMovers. I helped expand the office from 12 staff to over 30.

The Philippines was perfect. The culture is “Western” enough that the change wasn’t too dramatic, but we were still able to learn many things. We were told about the Mango Tree School and Orphanage just outside of Manila, and arranged to visit them and spend a day playing with the children. We continued to visit the orphanage throughout our 2 years in Manila and each time remains one of my favourite days overseas.

One of the most impactful traits of the Filipino culture was their devotion to family. In western society we say that we put family first, however in truth we are willing to put work concerns before them regularly. The first few times I had staff not come to work over what seemed like small concerns in their family, I found it really frustrating. Why would they leave the security of a job for something like a cousin arriving from overseas, or wanting to spend more time with a new boyfriend?

However, over time I learnt that the support network of the Filipino families gave them freedom to not need their jobs as desperately as we do. They truly come together as a community and help each other through everything. Filipinos know that at the end of our lives we won’t look back wishing we’d spent more time working. It was inspiring to my family and one of the best lessons we could learn.

My family and I returned home to Brisbane in May 2014. I still work with MiniMovers and will now be managing my team remotely. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed our overseas experience, we are also sincerely happy to be home. The Philippines taught us to appreciate Australia and our culture more. I am grateful for the wide open spaces we have around us, the fresh air and clean roads. I love the laid back, easy humour I have with my friends and have enjoyed the luxury of a glass of wine at a friend’s backyard BBQ more than ever.

I still consider myself career minded and enjoy my job at MiniMovers, however the next time one of my children is feeling down and just needs a day with Mum – I’ll be taking the time off to do it.

WORDS BY TATIA POWER. MiniMovers is Australia’s most recommended local movers. With 29 years in the industry, MiniMovers are the experts at short distance, door to door moving. We let you help so you control the costs, and we are so confident about our quality that we guarantee – if we damage it; we will fix it.

Visit www.MiniMovers.com.au or call 1300 366 000.


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