I was inspired to write about this because I heard of many talented people who get exploited by ruthless businessmen by telling them that they are in for a good deal, even when they are being ripped off professionally speaking. Somehow, I think I have this obligation to reveal certain practices I have witnessed in the course of my job hunting and freelance experiences. If I can give a short summary to the topic of this post, it might run something like this: why money should be the last priority when finding a job and why a desperate job hunter must watch out for certain opportunists who exploit people subtly and professionally.
Two days before I started working full-time, I was invited by a friend to do a writeup about a resort somewhere in Visayas. It was an exciting thing for me, because I have never been to that particular resort and everyone else has been telling me that it’s one of the world’s most idyllic places. So I went to their main office to inquire and discuss the particulars of posting about their resort in my website in exchange for a free three-day vacation to the same.
I thought it was just another moonlighting marketing writeup that most bloggers do in the Internet. I totally made time for it, considering that I had some requirements to process for the company before my first day. I thought W-R-O-N-G.
Some introductions have been made, a little chit chat to break the ice and I have been offered a cup of Milo chocolate. That was the most bitter cup of Milo chocolate I had to drink, not because it was mixed wrongly, but because the conversation that ensued over it was distasteful and stomach-lurching, at least from my perspective.
In certain situations and with certain people, I am pretty good at concealing my disgust and displeasure. I can actually sometimes say I love the idea even when deep inside I feel I’d rather drink acid than do it. I try to be honest most of the time, but with people who like to take advantage of the words I use when talking to them, I like to keep things short and put on a mask to make sure I don’t get exploited any further. It’s not really entirely lying; it’s more of self-defense and wisely holding in reservations about a certain person or thing that can do you more harm when you talk some more.
And I believed it has helped me survive in many instances where there are abusive people in one way or another. We are not always required to tell everything to everybody, especially when they do not need to know about it.
Such is the nature of this business owner. He is abusive through and through. He was rude and arrogant. Actually, those were understatements. I lack words to describe him. He was hideous because he PRETENDS to be helpful to people who do not have jobs.
As two-faced as this:
He rubbed me the wrong way in all aspects. For one, he inquired about my current job as an assistant editor. And what do you know? HE BELITTLED ME for having an “employee” mindset. He totally badmouthed the job which I tried so hard to get in to. His career was in BANKING, not publishing. He had the temerity to insult my dreams. I knew already at that point that it was going to be his last chance of conversing with me and all possibilities of winning me over to any form of proposal is gone. But I went in for the ride and just continued talking with him in my most well-behaved way because I have already promised my friend that I will talk to this man.
I had a thousand bad impressions against him but I believe I did my best to stay as prim and proper. And this was such a struggle for me.
He said that people are stupid when they want full time jobs and that his way of getting rich is the only way to go. He did not even let me defend myself. He arrested me and imprisoned me in that dingy office of his to listen to his self-laudatory monologue and how I am so privileged to be talking to him and being offered that job, which we can objectively call SLAVERY.
He also continued by telling me that he is not interested in a single writeup for his resort. He said he wanted someone who can do the consistent writing work and at the same time, sell portions of that resort they were developing.
Let me expose to you here what “his way” meant, at least as far as I have deduced in that dragging conversation with him. Actually, it was not a conversation because he was just lousily and greedily serving his interests in our entire conversation.
1. He sells properties that he does not really own. He just grabbed it because nobody has been brave enough to show his Certificate of Title against those who have power and money and grabbed their lands unjustly. He wants to sell millions off the properties (and he wants ME to sell them, mind you) and will only give the customers A TAX DECLARATION as a form of ownership.
He says that in that particular area, there are no titles to prove ownership, only tax declarations. He excuses his despicable practices by saying that everyone else there is doing it anyway. His ethic runs like this: Join the bandwagon of leeches who take advantage of another person’s land just because it was not claimed by the rightful owner.
2. He pays models to wear skimpy bikinis and pays them just as skimpily. He knows that women will be morally exploited in such a place. They are not directly involved, but I have implicitly gotten the idea that he will not give a damn if the women he hired as bikini models get pimped in the beach. And so many women have gotten pregnant under his tutelage. He only cares about profit and how many foreigners those women can invite to that place.
He says he helps the impregnated models by providing for finances. But you know, that person would not have been pregnant if not for his careless way of doing his business.
3. He wants me to work for two months and do online marketing work for the resort in exchange for a three-day vacation. Food and fare not included!
Imagine, I will write, answer incoming tweets and Facebook inquiries about the resort for hours on end and I only get a single three-day trip!?! He said something about getting a 600 pesos allowance weekly if I go to their office (which is two rides away from my house) and getting some sort of “points” equivalent to free lodging nights in his resort.
And he said that if I do all that hellish work for a year, I get “SHARES” of stock from the property. Mind you, shares of the so-called beach front property with NO title, and with a crying owner somewhere who has unjustly been deprived of his property.
It’s like, you work to spend more nights in a resort. And if you have gotten so used to the resort, you will be forced to sell your “points” to your friends so that you can monetize what he “paid” you. You don’t actually earn, HE EARNS everything back. It’s win-win but only for him.
Honestly, I can just ask one of my rich friends to take me there without having to go through hell just to have a vacation. If I really wanted it that badly, I can get it without having to sign up as a slave for the devil’s right hand man himself. He actually thought ganun ako kaatat pumunta ng Boracay resort niya na hindi naman totally legally kanya.
In addition, he wants me to work for him full time and give up my dream job for them. He expected me to be so honored and flattered at this “opportunity” he is offering me. He said that offering a vacation in his resort is a “moral crusade” to help your sad and brokenhearted friends to cheer up with a place. I have learned in life that even if I can be at the top of something as majestic as the Eiffel tower, if I am heartbroken, I cannot fully enjoy it.
This “moral crusade” of his involves asking your depressed friend to go to an obscure place, spend all of her money and possibly get harmed by drunk guys who take advantage of weak and vulnerable women in an isolated place. You actually use your depressed friend to earn a commission.
I will never ever trade this wonderful job, even if it pays me one-third of my earnings when I was a freelance writer in college. I especially do not see myself working for a man who hides under the guise of helpfulness to advance purely his own business interests. He did not even try to be subtle about it. Ang kapal talaga ng mukha.
And that’s the painful reality for job seekers here and abroad: there are people who will take advantage if you seem so desperate. So if your intuition alerts you in some way that the deal is bad, back out. And even if it’s hard not to be employed easily, tiisin mo lang muna kaysa magtiyaga ka sa mga walang kuwentang nagnenegosyong katulad ng taong binanggit ko kanina.
Hindi pa ako nakakapunta ng Boracay sa buong buhay ko.
Pero kahit hindi na ako makapunta dun kahit kailan, huwag lang mamayagpag sa kawalanghiyaan ang mga abusadong negosyante na kagaya nitong taong nakausap ko.
I just hope that job seekers will not actually say yes to these types of deals, which are not really deals, but SLAVERY at its worst.
Be wise as a serpent and meek as a dove, job hunter.
And let the two-faced monsters eat their white sand.