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Observations Of Philippine Corporate Culture Part 1 - The Government

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There's a stark disparity in culture among the different corporate spheres in the Philippines. On one hand, we have the government agencies. On the other, we have the private agencies. And the recent boom in the BPO industry has introduced a new corporate culture to the country. These three different spheres bring three very different work cultures to the collective plate, so to speak, and it's fascinating to note these differences.

Just a disclaimer before we go on, we're not here to be critical about the government, or the practices of the different companies in the country. We're only stating things we've observed from our meager encounters with these.

Government Agencies. The Philippine Government Government agencies probably employ the most number of people in the country. It is understandable that in order to keep a country running smoothly, manpower is needed. For the government employee, the motivation to work for the Philippine Government most likely lies in the factor of job security.

One thing I note about the corporate culture in the Philippine Government agencies is that these have a very laid-back atmosphere. People here don't seem to have anything to do! Having observed a City Secretary's office from the inside, I was incredulous that at 8AM, people were having breakfast on their tables and talking about the telenovela from the night before. As a kid who hung around an NFA branch, I noticed that people loved taking long, happy lunches. Come 2PM, some employees snooze at their tables. Other employees watch the clock restlessly. What's up with that?

It also saddens me that some government agencies prioritize politics over actual productivity. I know of someone who was "benched" despite his genius and brilliance, just because he was not an explicit ally of the incumbent administration.

I felt the height of how glamorized laziness is in government through a discussion with a friend, who told me that he was aiming for a day job in order to focus more on his online jobs. At that time, he was a sales representative for a local call center. Working in a BPO plus moonlighting as an online outsourced worker is double the stress, compared to working in a regular day job plus the moonlighting career. We discussed and chuckled at the idea that he should be working for government, because the work culture is lax.

True, most of the time, people in government agencies do nothing but sit and wait for the clock to strike 5:00 PM.

And it beats me how, when you ask for their people to type one simple letter, they need around 2 days of turnaround time to submit it to you. I experienced that, when I had that privilege to be part of the City Secretary's team in a local Rotary Club program for student exposure, the prestigious Boys and Girls' Week. It's an event where you get to live in the shoes of a government official for a week. That experience cultivated my disgust for the corporate culture in government agencies.

It is no wonder that people who work for the government have enough time on their hands to start Facebook and forum flame wars. It's happened to a few blogger friends of mine.

I would hope that in PNoy's administration, a major shift would happen.

Part 2 will discuss my observations of the work cultures of Private-owned companies and the BPO Industry.

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