airportLauren will arrive at the ungodly hour of 4:00 AM tomorrow. I hope she’s all revved up, motivated and raring to get back to job hunting. The couple of days before her short vacation in Singapore, she kept on whining how difficult it is to look for a job. How bored she is etcetera. How depressing it is etcetera. There is nothing more annoying than to hear a bored child‘s rant. So I have been asking my friends if they know of job openings for fresh graduates.

The problem is not the lack of job opportunities. Blogger-Friends in the publishing industry like Cathy, Jayvee and Annamanila have asked for Lauren’s resume.

The problem is , she doesn’t want to get a job because of connections.

Sighing, I explain ” In Filipino work culture, most employers look for referrals or recommendations. Sometimes a job requires someone they can trust. Besides they will still have to look at your qualificiations.”

She muses “I will think about it”

I told her as I drove her to the airport last wednesday “Let me tell you… how I ended up in the best job I ever had.”

The best job I ever got was a lead from my dad’s friend (Eduardo M. Taylor) who was the director of the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP ISSI) in the early 80’s. While visiting their library, I chanced upon their research papers and felt I had a lot to contribute to the institute. Armed with MBA units , a technology background and ethusiasm, I felt I was qualified. Filled with romantic ideals for the country, I felt my contribution to the Philippine economy was by working on research or feasibility studies for the entrepreneurs. The challenge then was the freeze hiring by the government for new employees. I moved heaven and earth to find a way to be part of UP ISSI. By sheer coincidence, my dad knew the director . Armed with confidence and a referral, I asked for a job and immediately, I got it through their foundation. My salary was a pittance compared to my previous salary but I was happy and fulfilled. Four blissful years with UP ISSI was shortlived . I got terminated by the new director. I was really heartbroken and angry. He terminated anyone associated with the previous director. It was terribly unfair because in my department , some people even sleep on the job or play pacman during working hours. And here I was so devoted to my work and I got …fired!?!?!?!

Newly married and pregnant with Lauren, I left with a heavy heart. The good news was Mr. Taylor hired me four months after I gave birth to Lauren. My salary was so much higher than UP-ISSI. A few months later, my boss was appointed by Pres. Aquino as the SSS head. Mr. Taylor wanted my husband who was then a law student to work for him . That was good news since I was pregnant with my second child and would be unable to work for months. Once again, Mr. Taylor was generous with the salary and working hours.

We would not have made it through our precarious financial situation without those years working for Mr. Taylor. Butch worked for the next four years with SSS until a law firm hired him.

So I tell Lauren “something good comes out with getting referrals from connections. It’s not a bad thing. It’s bad if you get the job and are not qualified for the position. Sometimes , employers just want trustworthy employees”

Lauren just nodded “Maybe you’re right.”

But really…

Is it bad to get a job because one got it through a lead or referral from a family connection?

How did you get your first job?

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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