Work Series: Look at the Man’s Character, NOT merely What They Say

A person’s character can be seen not because of what she said, but rather what she DOES. 

A person can come all sweet and giggly, but underneath, is a snake in disguise. Whereas they may greet you with smiles and happy cheer, underneath, they are boiling with jealousy, insecurity and paranoia.

You cannot change them anymore. THIS is who they are.

The trick though is having the wisdom to see a person’s true self, instead of what you only see at the surface. Because people can say all the nice things, but if they do the opposite, then that’s really who they are.

My mother has always asked me, “Tina, why do you not give so and so a chance? Kawawa naman sila.” To say “kawawa naman” means, do you not have any pity? in Filipino.

Actually, I do not think anyone should preach kawawa naman to me.

Our company is just a small- to medium-sized enterprise, but hires at least 40 women.

Many of them when they first come to us are aged 18 to 55 years old — we have no age limit — and are coming off from poor households, already with 1-2 kids, single parents, and are the sole breadwinners of a family that’s mostly unemployed.


Many of them are only high school graduates, if so. Their family had no money to send them to college or vocational school. They were primarily ignored as they were growing up and got pregnant at 15 or 16 years old and are forced to work just to take care of their babies.

Most companies will not even give them a chance.

So the work that’s due them is actually just to be in a palengke (Public market) that only pays Php 150-250 per day, if ever. They have no government mandatory benefits, no IDs or no sense of self-worth. All their life, nobody really gave them a chance, and they are forced to stay at home and take care of babies with a casually employed partner who cannot keep a stable job.

So it is annoying when someone tells me to have a heart for the poor. Because if I did not have the heart for the poor, I would not be providing a safe and stable income for at least 40 women.

Business in the Philippines is a delicate balance and a slippery slope

That’s why I need to be very careful when it comes to hiring people — Yes, I hire for the skill but mostly I hire for the CHARACTER and ATTITUDE.

Given that I have to take care of 40 other women who depend on the company for livelihood, I need to be very careful when it comes to adding people into the mix.

Add a poisonous, malicious person into the mix, and drama immediately enters the company and destroys the company dynamics.


As a manager, the benefit of all trumps the benefit of one. If the one person cannot follow the rules and regulations of the company, then they can go out and work somewhere else. Better yet, they can set up their own business and employ women of their own so that they too can be helpful to their fellowmen.

The problem of people is that they complain too much, and does nothing to help their plight

Take for example this woman named Jocelyn**.

Jocelyn used to work as a OIC for a successful chain of doughnuts. She came to our company because she felt that she was good but was kept into her role which was OIC of such doughnut company.

We agreed to start her as a Sales Staff, with the intention of looking into promoting her if in case she is actually very capable.

For awhile, she was okay. She was never late, worked long hours, did not really complain and gave satisfactory work. Underneath that smiley face however lay a heart of discontent, entitlement and a victim attitude.

She complained to us that the agency did not pay her Pagibig  contribution for four months. She threatened to complain to DOLE in case that this matter was not settled immediately.

The agency deducts my benefits, so they should also remit them,” she said with a huff.

After investigation, it turns out that she gave the wrong Pag-ibig number. She wrote the wrong Pag-ibig number to all her application forms, and hence, when the agency remitted the Pagibig, it was not credited to her.

I gave my other companies the wrong Pagibig number and yet they were able to remit,” she complained. “Why was the agency not able to do so?”

Uhhhhh….. you give the wrong numbers and Pagibig will NOT remit it properly. You ‘d have to wait like everyone else for the Pagibig office to correct the number you wrote, and the Pagibig Cubao office said it will take 1 month before everything is reconciled. Because that’s how slow the Philippines government is.

Just make sure they correct it immediately,” she told our agency.

Waaaah, and this was our sweet and bubbly woman? Underneath that sweet face lay a very negative and complaining person who feels that everyone should do her bidding and snap into attention, when in fact, it was her who made the mistake and not the agency.

Secondly, she refused to get her final pay at the agency, insisting that it should be deposited to her ATM.

I am already at the gate and flying to Cebu for good,” she whined. “Why do I have to go to the agency and get it?”

It is your pay for final pay,” the agency explained. “DOLE indicates that for final pay, it is safer for the agency for the staff to go and get it, make sure the amount is correct, and sign for a waiver and quitclaim before the final pay is released. If ever there is any mistake, you can always ask for clarification on the spot.”

But I am leaving already,” she said. “Is there any way for the agency to just deposit it to the ATM?”

Well, the law is with the agency on this side. This is the final pay after all, so it’s best to do the final payment of any staff face to face, to prevent any legal issues later on.

Anyway, the final pay is your hard earned money. You can pick it up anytime when you return.”

The next day at 9:00am, she was there at the agency taking her final pay.

So basically, Jocelyn lied about being on the boarding gate of Cebu Pacific on her way to be in Cebu in the hopes that the agency will just drop her final pay on her ATM.

I do not care if you’re the President of the Philippines. But when you lie about things like this just to circumvent the rules, you are a LIAR and your words are NOT to be trusted anymore.


The problem is, many of the people in the Philippines lie everyday.

They lie about being sick just because they do not want to report to work. They lie about their families just because they want you to approve their immediate resignation. They lie about flying to Cebu so that they can spare the expense of going to the agency to get their final pay. They lie, lie and LIE.

Back to the Kawawa question of my mom… who is indeed kawawa? Me or them?

Many people may look kawawa but are NOT kawawa at all. And if you take pity on them, they you are the kawawa one, not them.

Whenever I am frustrated though, I look at the rest of the staff who is not like Jocelyn. To be honest, where there is a Jocelyn, there are other Filipinos who work properly and try to get their lives in order by maintaining stable jobs.

They are the ones who are kawawa and need help, and the best help you can give is to provide them with jobs.

So people, please, do NOT lie just to get away with something. Stop saying things you do not mean, and cannot push through.

If you cannot make it, don’t make promises that you will.

If you cannot deliver, don’t promise that you can.

If you cannot be good, just don’t work for me.

I would rather invest my time on those who really need help, than someone who says she needs my help, but does everything to sabotage it.

Have a great week ahead.

***Name changed


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