By Daphne Jalique
Althea: Ate Daph, puwede bang magpatulong gumawa ng résumé? (Can you help me write my résumé?)
Daphne: Oo ba. Sa’n n’yo ba balak magtrabaho? (Of course. Where are you planning to work?)
Paulo: Kahit saan po. (Anywhere.)
Daphne: Ilang taon na ba kayo? (How old are you?)
Paulo: 16 years old po.
Siblings Althea and Paulo Emeterio arrived in Winnipeg in October 2007. After having this conversation, I was astonished by the fact that these two teenagers, knowing that they are just 16 and 18 years old, are looking for summer jobs. When I asked them the reason why they wanted to apply for one, they told me that they want to be productive this summer. Now a question arose, is being productive the real reason why some immigrant Filipino youth yearn to consider new career opportunities? Or are they just fascinated by the new financial means Canada has to offer?
Tons of logical reasons for young job-hunters are placed on the table. As a matter of fact, some of these are influenced by the people surrounding them. Peers, as I may say, give encouragement to those who want to enter the labour force. Let’s use Althea and Paulo as an example. Once Paulo finds out that Althea works at a certain workplace, he will be encouraged, and more importantly, will be more confident to work at the same workplace because he will know that his sister will be there with him. This set-up is not rare, based on the experience that most of the people I know underwent the same situation. Moreover, once other work opportunities come their way, these young go-getters will not hesitate to leave their current jobs for new and better positions. Another good reason why young newcomers yearn to join the workforce is excitement. This may be because children 18 years old and below can hardly find part time jobs in the Philippines. In Canada, there is no reason for them to not jump at the thought of this opportunity.
The job search means dreams of buying a new cell phone, I-pod, or even a laptop for some young people. Acquiring these material things through one’s own perspiration becomes the main objective for most because it instils a sense of self-pride and independence. One no longer needs to depend on their parents for monetary assistance. It also teaches responsibility and the value of the money one earns. For instance, one can contribute at home by giving presents or pasalubong to their younger siblings, which is effective in making them closer to each other or, one could help contribute to the household income by paying some of the family’s monthly expenses.
I cannot deny the fact that there is much enthusiasm and happiness when these young folks receive their money come payday; because in reality, it lightens up their spirits for their hard work has paid off. I bet that they are giggling with exhilaration as they count their self-earned riches. They also express amusement or the “I can’t believe it” reaction once they realize that they are actually earning something. There is indeed a feeling of self-satisfaction when they can proudly tell themselves that at this young age they can do what their parents are doing and that is to earn a living. No objections are made that Canada can definitely provide the means that our young Filipino immigrants desire. However, this can still be debated.
However, most of the youth workers tend to put their education on the back burner because they are gravitated to the monetary rewards and responsibilities their occupations can give. As a consequence, a number of these youth workers opt out of pursuing a college diploma or university degree. This issue is hardly accepted by most parents who consider education as their number one long-term investment. So in my opinion, working can teach someone how to be professional, enthusiastically responsible and independent, but no matter how indulged we are with our working environment, we should always remember that the kind of work we have right now as teenagers is only temporary for there are much better and more exceptional jobs that await us. Furthermore, always keep in mind that employment competition is tough especially in today’s demanding economy. Therefore, the majority of high-paying companies prefer to hire educated workers and not just educated graduates, but exceedingly qualified graduates. To conclude this matter, we should shape our future by relying on the fact that we are now in a much diversified and highly competitive world. So prioritize your education because education will bring us to a higher level.