If you are in close tabs with the Young Filipino Community in Hong Kong, you are already probably familiar with the dominance of the F&B industry to our fellow young Filipinos. Of course, nothing is wrong with this but I know a lot who would like to get out but struggle to due to education matters, comfort zone, or lack of knowledge and support.
This is by no means to offend anyone who works as a bartender/waiter/server, but instead to serve as an inspiration that you CAN get out of it.
So, the person that I am referring to in my headline is my husband. I'm blogging on behalf of him as his story wowed his own friends and I'd like nothing more but to share this out there to you!
A brief profile
1. High school graduate
2. Worked as a server/waiter/bartender since 16 (he's now 25 years old)
3. Worked at yoghurt time, triple O's, shore bar & restaurant, terroir parisein and mana fast slow food (Ha! yes, he job-hopped a lot)
Why do people want to leave F&B?
The obvious reasons are of course the long working hours, pay, constant standing all day, rude customers, late salary, no higher opportunities and so on.
Hong Kong is a service industry and they should really thank the Filipinos and other ethnic minorities as they serve one of the biggest industries in Hong Kong (clubs & bars). This just happens to be a physically demanding job and after a while, people get sick of it. It's just a matter of time when one becomes physically old for the job.
So how did my husband leave?
1. STRONG DETERMINATION
I've been with him for 7 years now and I've seen how EAGER he was to leave the industry! He would tell me, 'this is not gonna be my life forever, I have to get out of this, I don't know how but I just can't stay here forever'. His intrinsic motivation to leave was the foundation of everything. So, if you want to get away from it, you gotta want it enough to be able to take the next step!
2. GET A DIPLOMA
He started looking for options and he did apply for several jobs like office jobs, admin, etc. but no callback. He was very down and frustrated at this time so I suggested he apply for a diploma course so he could at least have that for his education background. Yet, applying for a new job and going back to studying are two different things! Boy, it took me 3 YEARS to convince him to apply for a course! His strong determination left him when it was time to go back to school because that would mean attending classes after work. Despite my constant nagging, his determination came back and FINALLY, he got into Royal Brisbane International College. He finished his diploma in business within 2.5 years.
3. EXPLORE OPTIONS
It was time to start applying for other jobs and so he did again but no callbacks again. This time, he just had it. He thought that his diploma would get him somewhere but a lot of the jobs required Cantonese/Putonghua. He was losing hope again until one day he was hired to be in accounting. Hurray! He stayed there for 3 months but sadly, they let go of him. His transition from F&B to suddenly working in the corporate world overwhelmed him. So, he went back to F&B.
4. REACH OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS
Since I was a teacher already, he asked me whether he could enter this industry but I told him it's difficult unless you have a degree. His spark of hope was diminishing bit by bit, I could tell! Suddenly, I remembered I helped out one of my best friends with her TEFL and she got into teaching with no experience or degree as well. So, I told my husband that maybe he should take the online TEFL course. We reached out to my teacher friends but we got mixed feedback. Regardless, I told him that he should try.
5. DON'T STOP & DON'T LOSE HOPE
With the thought of going through studying again, he wasn't sure whether he should go for it or not but his strong determination was still here and I could tell he wanted to give it one more try. He then applied and of course I helped out (obviously). During this process, he would message me every night about him wanting to leave and how his job was just killing him mentally and physically.
6. THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
After successfully finishing his course, we immediately applied. He got interviews but no callbacks for months. Ooooooo boy, the hope was really starting to flicker as to him it was the final straw! Until one day, a very good friend of mine messaged me and said she could probably hook him up at her old job. So, we gave it a try and after his 2-hour-long interview with the boss, he GOT THE JOB!! Then, another offer came to him after 1-month in during his new job (a little too late). He is now an English teacher at Eye Level Tutorial Centre and has been doing great (4 months-in now). Goodbye long working hours, late salary, constant standing for the whole day and rude customers! (well now he's facing naughty kids but it's worth it)
All in all
It wasn't an easy journey, you'll need to keep your determination steady or at least always look back as to why you want to progress! Here are other tips for you:
1. Have no fear in changing, be excited for the new things to come.
2. Surround yourself with people who can lift you up and learn from them.
3. Get to know more people in other industries and have an open mind.
4. When one door closes, more doors will open for you.
5. Failure is not negative, but rather a learning point to do better!
Hope this inspired you somehow! Whether you're in F&B or not, perhaps you're someone who's looking for a career change, just DO IT! Life is too short to be worrying too much, step out of your comfort zone and be excited to explore! You never know what's waiting for you at the end of the tunnel!
If you possibly want to know more about the TEFL course my husband took, feel free to chat with me or leave a message at the contact form!