Family breakdown in Australia

by Menchie Montierro

What happens when there is a family breakdown?  As anyone knows, partners, and even children divorce each other.  Parting ways is the easy way out.

In one renowned global establishment in Australia, numbers may provide clues to its family history: with 8 employees starting-up in July 2004 (3 from overseas and 5 local Filipino staff); growing to 22 employees after 3 years; and now with about 17 employees after years, to service a supposedly growing number of subscribers.

Here’s the human toll: In less than 3 years, 15 employees have left the fold: 4 redundancies, 5 (practically forced) resignations, and 6 voluntary resignations “because anyone who is not happy is free to leave”.

For a small company, one can imagine that 15 staff turnovers versus the current 17 staff in less than 4 years would have somehow left a trail of human tragedy if a dramatic plot was chosen, even to rake in TV show ratings.

But this is real life and real persons, and there were 15 ex-employees who felt that they have given more than their worth for a chance to be a part of the family serving the Filipinos worldwide, but ended up feeling betrayed. After all, parting ways is the easy way out. But not that easy really for those who had to stay or leave considering family financial commitments, significant professional and personal investments in their careers, perhaps a visa class 457, or being a new migrant with no local work experience.

Being given a “Fair Go” remains the pride of the Australian worker. A Philippine (global) company in Australia would do well to adapt to the work values that has proven effective in Australia, while in Australia.

Yes, we may all be guilty of taking our own family members for granted one time or another, not realising this until after they are gone.  In the corporate world where mission and vision statements supposedly bond varied personalities and schools of thought, there can be no real harmony when profit motives precede the complex ideals of a “family”.

After all there is a saying, you cannot choose the family from where you are born, but you can choose where your heart belongs.  Maybe it’s time for this Filipino-owned company to move on to another “creed” or faithfully live up to the ideals of the Filipino family.

On the positive side, these 15 ex-employees have chosen a happy ending with the support of their real families who helped bring them back to be happy and productive members of the workforce in Australia or elsewhere. Following their hearts, they have all moved on, with gladness but in a way with a hint of sadness for their colleagues who stayed, praying that for all its worth, the lessons of the past would work for the best – in everyone’s interest.


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