16 habits OFWs need to change in 2016

All nationalities have certain habits attributed to them. It has become a norm to define the character of a person by his nationality. Not right at all, but this seems to be inevitable in a melting pot country like UAE.

Forget inferiority complex, maniana, ningas kugon, and crab mentality for now. Let's look at 16 specific habits, attitudes and behaviour that we Filipinos need to change to cope up in this heterogeneous workplace and community.

1. Ok Lang
Apathetic. Oftentimes, we say OK LANG to 'play safe' and avoid hurting others. We thought we care, but actually it shows the lack of it - lackadaisical.

At work,  it's a sign of lazyness to challenge the status quo and strive to deliver better results. It also reflects our inability to make decisions. Bahala na si Batman!

Try to proactively say more than 'ok lang.' The people you talk to would surely love to hear more than a halfhearted response. Don't be passive.

2. I'd Still Say Yes
One of many reason why we cannot easily say 'No' even if we already have too much on our plate is to avoid creating negative impressions.

We cannot please everybody. There's no harm in saying no, or in turning down 'favors.'  Sometimes, because of 'hiya' (shyness), we just keep accepting whatever comes to us.  In the end we become inefficient and we suffer. Sometimes, saying 'no' is wiser.

3. With a Smile
Some Filipino employees when scolded by the boss still leave the room smiling. Do not justify that we are among the happiest people on earth. Smiling after the boss' meltdown sends wrong signals. It could be perceived as insensitivity or unresponsiveness.

Some people admire the trait. There are also those who feel that the gesture is quite insulting.

Let's keep our emotions checked at all times. Be sensitive in a good way.

4. Lifestyle Upgrade
We have a tendency to upgrade everything when we receive pay hikes or when we move to higher-paying jobs. We change cars, buy more shoes, upgrade mobile phones, coffee and dine out more, etc.

What's funny is we are still complaining how tough life is.

The best things to upgrade if we receive bigger salaries are actually our savings and investments.

5. English Only Please
We 'downgrade' our English to reach out to other nationalities who are not well-versed in it so they could understand us. There's really nothing wrong about the humility. Some of us though have the tendency to absorb the 'carabao English' in the way we speak day by day.

"Like this, like this," "Same same," "Different different," please stop.

Learn from the Americans and British. They don't break the language yet they are always understood. At least in this aspect, be the influence, not the influenced.

6. Ikaw na ang Busy
It's a blessing to be busy. But not finding time to learn new things because they're always busy is already becoming a lame excuse. If there's a will, there's a way.

Set aside a time for personal growth. Weigh the invites, opportunities knock only once. Being an OFW should not hinder these learning and growth opportunities.
7. DSF - Dubai Splurging Forever
We always look forward to the 'sale seasons.' Seems like some of us are irate about money that we want them gone in no time.

Please save first before you spend.

8. Accepting Defeat
We don't equip ourselves with the right knowledge about (working in) the country we are at, or about the rights of OFWs, that we tend to fold up when arguments happen. If we're not aware of our rights, how can we fight back when we're oppressed?

We easily back down and settle to accept defeat.

Gain that confident attitude and winning mentality by keeping ourselves informed about our environment and all that govern the things that we do.

9. Tourism Enemy No. 1
We talk unpleasant things about our country like trying to win the 'worst' crown for the Philippines. When Indians talk about how bad traffic in Mumbai is, we respond by 'boasting' Manila's traffic is the same or worse.

Sometimes, we brag about the wrong things. We unconsciously discourage them to discover our country because of the things we complain about. I do not say to candy-coat. Just do not exaggerate our displeasure that it affects others badly.

OFWs are the best 'natural' ambassadors of the Philippines, supposedly.

10. "Pa-Star" Filipino Time
Need I say more? I've seen worse here in Dubai. People are becoming disrespectful of others time. Birthday parties, meetings, out of town trips - if you don't care about your time, respect others.

People have grown disrespectful that they come late for hours and hardly notify the concerned parties properly. Setting the meetup time earlier is not a solution.  It's encouraging the 'pa-stars' to carry on with their habits.

And please, don't say you're "on the way" if you're just about to take a shower.

This is one of the reasons why I left some groups in Dubai. It's not cool when we're non-productive.

11. Celebrations to the Moon and Back
We love to celebrate everything - new job, pay hike, pay day, new car, moved to a new flat - everything is a milestone. We easily give-in to 'treats' - libre naman dyan! We prioritize their happiness (and impression) over our true financial capacity.

Look at the weekend drinking habits. It's not about the drinks or the tradition actually. It's about the money spent because we are celebrating Thursday too much. 

12. Balikbayan Box Mentality
Many items in Carrefour or in Lulu are already available in the Philippines these days. I understand the sentimental value in sending material things to our loved ones, especially if they are gifts for special occasions. But doing it regularly is tedious.

Instead of spending time shopping for olive oil, detergents, toothpaste, etc; and enormously packing the boxes, just send the money. You also save yourself of worrying if your package will reach its destination in good condition.

13. Double Standard on Racism
When other nationalities talk bad about our country or us, we take offense, raise our voice and do petitions. We feel insulted when Filipinos are given the bad light even in fictional TV shows. We condemn bloggers and celebrities who express their dissatisfaction in our food, our culture, our country.

But we do mock them of their attitude, habits, hygiene, etc. like we are the only 'perfect' creation on earth.  Wake up, even those fictions don't lie.

Let's move on from hypocrisy please.

14. 'Plus One' Surprises
Bringing a friend to a party isn't bad if you politely ask the host about it ahead of time. Surprise the party host with your presents, not with your uninvited guests.  Consider that the reservation is for limited number of attendees only, and the venue might be conducive only to that size of the expected crowd.

15. Kabayan Favor
Many of us sees having a kabayan in any situation an advantage. Why not? Finding compatriots is one of the happiest things to happen, especially to those living without their families here in Dubai.

In the pro world, SOME Filipino business owners try to bargain freelance services of Pinoy photographers, event planners, web designers, and others because "kabayan naman tayo eh." Being a kabayan is not a discount card. Always consider their invested study and the time and effort they have to give to provide your required services.

Let's not bring down the profile of our compatriot because they are "kabayan naman."  Instead, uplift and respect and feel the pride on what they do being a kabayan.

16. Bitterness
Bitterness is the new language of the envious. Just look within the Filipino community, there are some who feel unhappy for others happiness. They who can't focus on the positives. Instead of celebrating the achievement, they look at what could be wrong.

You can't taste the sweetness of cake with a bitter tongue.


Guilty? We all could relate in at least one point above. Start the change. We have a lot of better attitude than the negative ones. Overcome these habits before they become totally tagged to your personality.

I sure did miss a lot. Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

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