How can you work if you are hungry?

I had a staff member start working for us last week. 

According to her, she was living with her aunt in Caloocan, and the aunt was forcing her to find work. “I only have php 5.00 in my pocket,” she said with tearing eyes. “I have to find a job.”

I hesitated to give her an offer. People who are destitute usually find it difficult to keep working, often because they don’t have the money to commute to work or to sustain themselves. They usually have many financial problems and have to resort to debt at usurious rates to live. The small money that they make are used to pay for a high interest, and once you’re in debt, it’s so hard to get out of it. 

Against my better judgement, I had her start last week.

I later found out that she walked to work. Given her call time at 12:00pm noon, she woke up early and walked three hours to get to the store. When she got there, she was tired and hungry and was so exhausted to work. 

She didn’t bring anything to eat, Ma’m,” my supervisor reported. “She had no money to buy food.”

Given her sorry state, she wasn’t able to sell anything. In fact, she came to work for 3 days and sold nothing at all.

It’s hard for people to sell if their stomached are empty and their mind is light due to hunger,” my supervisor said. “I even asked Myra to bring some extra food just to share with her.” 

Managing a business is a big responsibility. Presently, we are supporting around families and providing people their livelihood. Through their jobs, our people find confidence and security, and have a chance to raise a good family and to arise out of poverty.

But at the same time, it’s hard to help everyone else. A business is not a charity and it hopes that people can perform. And it’s hard to sell if you are hungry and exhausted. 

In the end, the girl left work. As predicted, she didn’t even last 5 days and she couldn’t sell. It’s hard to sell if you have nothing in your pockets or your stomach. 

This is one of the more heart breaking parts of our business. That you encounter people who need work BUT cannot work. They cannot perform or deliver, and hence, remove themselves out of the workforce. 

And without a job, you have no money. And without money, you have many problems. You want to help, but you can’t help everyone. All you can do is provide them with an opportunity and hope they can make it.

It’s days like this that make managing a business hard. But we trudge on as so many people are still depending on us.

Have a good week everyone!

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