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THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS

th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis

by
Hector Teodoro Miranda
De La Salle University-Manila

Introduction

Amongst the greater majority of us are the Filipino Youth who are confronted with a
diversity of conflicts, leaving them in great career dismay and anxiety. This paper raises an
array of coercing factors that pulls down the career hopes and opportunities of the Filipino
Youth, hindering them from making quality career goals, and pushes them to adjust, cope,
and change. This paper also highlights what we educators and formators can do to
transform these threats to opportunities.

Presentation Objectives

At the end of this presentation, we should be able to:


• Define the Filipino Youth’s understanding of Career Development and Career
Anxiety;
• Highlight the diversity of conflicts, and the array of predominant factors that
causes great career anxiety amongst them;
• Clarify and validate career trends that affect the making and achievement of
quality career goals;
• Enumerate how the youth adjusts, copes, and changes,
• Emphasize the roles and responsibilities that we educators and formators have
to transform these threats into opportunities

The Filipino Youth’s Definition of Career Development and Anxiety

What is a Career?
At least during my generation, and the generations of the people I lived with, career is
translated in Filipino as “Karera”. I believe that there is much truth to what this translated
word implies. It impresses that pursuing a career involves competition. There is that almost
automatic mode of thinking in us that says that one should aim for success and win; one
should be able to meet the expectations of the parents and of the entire family if not the
whole clan or the abundance of do’s and don’ts in our society. One or “Juan” is confronted
with all the pressure that he himself did not set, but were just passed-on as norms for
making a career. Career is sociologically defined as the sequence of occupations in the life
of an individual or a group of individuals. (Super) It is a means of earning our daily living
as well as a job or vocation that has a long-term impact on our search for meaning.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
1
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

What is Career Development?


The Filipino youth' s understanding of Career Development is rooted from various
experiences, which molded them to become who they are today. It starts from the concept
of the Self, our understanding of our roles and responsibilities in the family and society,
and our readiness to become part of the career world. These mindsets tell the Filipino youth
that one’s career is composed of a whole stretch of life stages; in each one, he caries life
roles attached to some defined requirements; yet to be fulfilled.

What is Career Anxiety?


Another series of definitions that add more colors to how the Filipino youth defines the
meaning of work, the need to earn for a living, gliding through our different reasons and
personal and social motivations for establishing ourselves in the eyes of our significant
others. Career Anxiety can come-in anytime and it is that unwanted pressure in the career
development of the Filipino youth that caused his career crisis.

It can be better understood if we enumerate some reasons why people experience career
anxiety thus making it difficult to implement a self-concept. Super identifies these reasons:
Self-understanding; lack of occupational information; lack of opportunity or of resources;
social expectations; social adjustment; adjustment to authority; adjustment to co-workers;
family and home demands; and community adjustment.

Sino Ba Ako?: Lack of Self-understanding


Self-discovery and understanding can be one of the most difficult human processes that we
have to undertake, especially when we start to recognize how different we are from others.
The difference that we see becomes an on-set of how we think and feel about ourselves.
Recognizing our difference from others can sometimes be very painful knowing that what
you have, what you are or what you can, is less than what others possess.

Gaya Ni Nanay! Gaya Ni Tatay!: The Lack of Occupational Information


Occupational information though may be available in media or school, may still be not enough for
the Filipino youth. On the other hand, the information may be available and yet, the appreciation of
it may be suppressed by our unassertiveness to go beyond our comfort zones. Super says that most
beginning workers are limited at parental socio-economic level. Children tend to have jobs that are
limited to jobs similar to their parents, relatives, and neighbors.

Gusto Ko Sana Pero… : The Lack of Opportunity and Resources


Assertiveness may be an important key to widen one’s capability to establish a career edge.
However, no matter how much positive attitudes the Filipino youth have, career
opportunities and one’s resources may not just be available. In all things, there are always
areas or aspects in life that are beyond our control.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
2
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

Dapat Ganyan! Dapat Ganito!:The Endless Social Expectations


The Filipino youth lives in the house of expectations. Standards are just so hard to live-by
especially if social acceptance comes as a very important anchor for the Filipino youth. A
study in 2003 on the Filipino adolescents revealed that the adolescent’s self-concept and
socio-economic status were significant determinants of family perspectives. They generally
had positive views of themselves and of their families. They remained optimistic; despite
admitting that parenting at present is more difficult than in the past, they continue to
believe that the lives of their children would be better in the future. (Gastardo-Conaco et al
2003) How we answer or adjust to the family norms or expectations extends outright to the
bigger picture. Social adjustments therefore, disregarding from whom the demands are
coming from, whether it is from the family, colleagues, authorities, and the bigger
community, are built-in sources of anxiety of the Filipino youth.

Minding all these intra-personal and interpersonal conflicts have given the Filipino youth a
career journey in life that is full of career anxieties and a lot of crises. Moreover, there is a
myriad of difficulties that sprout from the local and global trends. These diverse conflicts
brought down the Filipino youth to crisis; the same reasons why we all had to be here
gathered in this conference. It has become a very important concern for all of us who know
that the Filipino youth have become the helpless and hopeless victims of the same system
that was suppose to hone them to become the next better generation of our society.

Career Trends Affecting the Career Goals of the Filipino Youth in Crisis

Emerging Career Trends


An array of socio-economic changes brought about various trends in the career world of the
Filipino Youth. Highlighted here are just some of the disturbing career trends.

Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging..?


Gone are the days when we hear the common answers to the life-building question: "Ano
ang gusto mong maging paglaki mo?" saying... Gusto ko pong maging duktor, engineer,
titser, piloto, scientist, etc! And who will forget the famous follow-up question..."Bakit?"
The Filipino Youth has a different Q&A experience so different from our generations. I
think some parents would not even want to ask the question "Bakit?" anymore. Because
why ask when you know that you might just end up giving false hopes of college education
to your child. Why ask when you know that the future of your son as a doctor will end up
as a nurse in New York?

Tara Na Biyahe Tayo!


It seems that the local tourism song jingle is an irony to what has been the direction of the
Filipino youth in search of a career. Career Opportunities overseas are just so ordinarily

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
3
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

tempting. Where else will you go if your own country cannot provide clear local career
possibilities?

Ito ang Uso Ngayon!


Local career opportunities were out-rated by the global scene. Going abroad for work has
become a fad if not a rather automatic route for anyone who’s looking for greener pastures.
About two decades ago, it became a fad to take the course Physical Therapy. And then we
heard of the need for Nurses; and some more years after, everyone’s shifting to Education
and takes specialization in Special Education. If this is what we call as “Uso”, no wonder
that now local government and private hospitals have been undermanned and are
threatened to close down.

These trends affecting the career goals of the Filipino Youth put them into crises. There are
other emerging trends that we have yet to as what it benefits or distraction it would do for
us all. But what is clear now is that we recognize that there is a growing need for all of us
to know where these trends are leading us.

The Quality of the Career Goals of the Filipino Youth


With all these given trends in our socio-economic systems, the Filipino youth’s goal may
have changed up to a certain extent. Clarifying what makes-up the career goals of the
Filipino youth may help us understand what developments have effected change.

Ito Ang Gusto Ko!


The goals of the Filipino youth are focused on finishing education, helping their families
and being gainfully employed. Obtaining a degree is viewed to be highly important in the
competition for jobs and for the improvement of one’s quality of life. Being married and
being self-actualized are also among their aspirations. (Gastardo-Conaco et al 2003) These
are what make up the motivation

Yehey! Ako ang Nagwagi!: Defining Success


Success when defined and clarified by the Filipino youth would tell us of the cultural
impact we have acquired from our Asian history. Cultural uniqueness of Asians is worth
noting. In a study, Asians were found to desire meeting parental expectation which makes
them spend more time to study, value it, focus on excelling, but would have less self-
efficacy. (Eaton & Dembo, 1997) Having less self-efficacy and negative attitude towards
academics would lead to lesser motivation to learn. The Filipino youth, though highly
socially motivated, gain too much pressure from the expectations. Success for the Filipino
youth is highly socially motivated. We can therefore also say that the Filipino youth’s
definition of success and the quality of he’s goals may be confined within the definition
and quality of the goals of his parents.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
4
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

Gusto Ko Yan Kasi…?: What Influences the Filipino Youth’s Goals and Aspirations
Conaco et al identified factors that influence the goals and aspirations of the Filipino
Youth. These are: (in rank order): monetary remunerations, desire to help family members,
self-actualization needs, influence of significant others and lastly, awareness of the needs
of the community. Parents exert the strongest influence on adolescents’ aspirations
followed by teachers and friends while relatives are rated last. (Gastardo-Conaco et al
2003)

How the Youth Adjusts, Copes, and Changes Today


The “karera” journey seems like a path that the Filipino youth half-blindly take, not
knowing what is in store at the end. Equipping them with some internal and external
anchors may help them adjust and cope from career crisis. Here are just some:

Pagka-Graduate ko...
Without research data to show, all of us here have at least one or more member of our
family who has finished a degree that is not in anyway related to what he was academically
trained for. It is quite an advantage if you end-up getting more than what you’re supposed
to get with the profession you trained for. On the hand, it is a tragedy if you end-up getting
less, at the same time, humiliated with the unwanted job. Academic training can no longer
hold an assurance for you to land on a good job. Different industries have sprouted
everywhere demanding more than the diploma that you wished for. Employers have
matured so much that fresh graduates are bombarded with expectations, the toughest of
which is to have the ready working skills after graduation. The “karera” does not end after
graduation. It is simply the beginning of the series of the hurdles the Filipino youth has to
jump-over to.

Kahit Hindi Ako Tapos...


If the graduate’s career options are already slim, I don’t know how I could imagine the
options of the Filipino youth who can’t afford to finish any degree after high school.
Tuition fees are soaring high and educational tools have gone-up so expensive that we
could say that education is not really a choice but a privilege to a few. But call it blessings
in disguise, a new industry emerged and offered career possibilities not requiring a college
degree. God Bless the Filipino tongue for its ingenuity in the language of the West, it gave
hope to a significant percentage of our jobless Filipino workers.

More than eighty Call Centers are now the new source of income of the Filipino youth who
have not finished college degrees. “Better than nothing”, call it the defense mechanism of
the Filipino youth, but this attitude is commendable. However, this new industry is yet to
receive approval from the different sectors especially from us Educators and Formators
who want our graduates to land on jobs that will allow them to utilize their academic
training.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
5
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko: Our Social Roles and Responsibilities


Filipinos are highly social beings. Our circle of significant others stretches out so wide to cover the
whole clan, not to mention our circle of friends, and acquaintances. With all our dealings, we play a
lot of social roles that are attached to sets of responsibilities. Maintaining and establishing a career
would be difficult if one would try to salvage all his roles and tasks. Crisis comes in when the
Filipino youth can’t seem to prioritize his roles because of the pressures caused by social
expectations.

The Roles and Responsibilities That We Play

Educators and Formators: Mentors or Tormentors?


Super values the twin goal of satisfying the self and the need of our society. In support of
this perspective, we Educators and Formators are expected to hold a wider understanding
of the Filipino youth’s personal and social development. We are builders and not destroyers
of hopes, dreams, and realities. We collect and connect everything that has significant
value for the Filipino youth.

The Academe’s Response and Contribution


Globalization in general effects pressure on the individual as to how he can better
understand, accept, and adjust to the various changes happening around the globe.
Different perspectives have already emerged as seen with competitive countries, and in the
extreme, countries that remain firm in their values and culture. These are just some of the
realities that may have an impact on what the individual needs to co-exist in the world.
The mediation of the school gives opportunities to appropriate their abilities and interests
to relevant jobs in the career world deviating from those of their parental social status
group. Members of the academic community react to socio-economic trends differently.
The outburst of computer schools is a reaction to the growing need for manpower support
on information technology, one of the most colorful fruit of the twentieth century. History
shows other traces of reactive and sensitive support the academic community in all parts of
the world has given. Here are just some of the initiatives of the academic community to
mediate responsively to the prevailing world situations.

Tailor-made Academic Programs


Devoted Universities in all parts of the world have insisted on providing programs for
students that are holistic, value-driven, formative, and other idealisms in education. Some
Universities have become successful in pioneering tertiary degree courses that assure the
companies with employees who are versatile, competitive, and multi-skilled. A person’s
specialization in a field is outstanding, but a person’s add-on support skills is much more
appreciated and commended. A certified public accountant holding a Bachelor’s degree in
Psychology will be much more preferred by accounting firms who need to maintain a good
working relationship with their clients.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
6
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

De La Salle University-Manila is one of those Universities that offer double specialization


degree courses as a response to the growing need for multi-skilled graduates.
Reengineering of academic programs entail the maintenance of a competitive pool of
experts. Faculty members are usually those who practice their profession in their respective
fields of endeavor. Universities have learned to focus on course offerings that they are
good at and earning that reputation is already enough to maintain its market for incoming
students. Many names of Universities have become synonymous to different
specializations in the fields of medicine, engineering, liberal arts, law, education, and even
to specific specialized skills like culinary arts, fashion, and others.

Co-academic Programs
For a long time it has been realized that extra-curricular activities are also related to job
getting, in work in which ability to meet and work with people is considered important.
(Super) A graduate’s record of participation in student organizations and development
activities is seen as evidence of different skills. Leadership experience in school would
mean getting sales, junior executive, and educational positions. Schools have become
critical at implementing developmental frameworks or models that will give graduates
needed advantages. Developing skills on communication, thinking, and social skills in
school have become a prerequisite for employment assurance.

Universities know the significance of co-academic programs. In fact, the usual prefix extra
has become unacceptable already to educators, believing that co-curricular programs are
as important as the academic curriculum in making graduates become real learned
individuals. No wonder why student affairs organizations in all parts of the globe have
been critical at designing and reengineering development models all geared toward the
improvement of the students’ academic life. Career development programs have not
stopped from getting enough improvements and updates on the current needs of the
individual. Some schools have already advanced steps forward to integrating co-academic
programs in the regular academic curriculum. One of De La Salle University-Manila’s
prides is having a very strong co-academic program for its students. Students are trained in
the various levels of personal management as well as leadership skills. Students are
prepared to become better decision-makers, communicators, leaders, and members of
society.

The Academe and the Industry: Partners in Developing the Best Employee
Schools have also become more sensitive to the needs of the different industries.
Networking between academic institutions and the industry has become a fruitful source of
data supporting changes in the way students are readied for real life situations. Orientations
on real employment scenarios such as multi-tasking, and most especially dual career set-
ups are usually presented to students as they explore on their possible career spots in
society. The considerations to the employee as a family representative tasked to provide
other members with financial support, is already visualized.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
7
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

Emergence of Community Colleges


In the Philippines, it has been an advantageous development that some cities and
municipalities have started opening local community tertiary schools catering to the less
financially capable families. Having limited resources and funds make it difficult for these
government schools to compete with private schools. The growing support of local firms
somehow mediate to provide employment opportunities to local graduates. Community
colleges in cities like Malabon, Kalookan, Quezon, and Manila are proofs to this trend.
Students in community colleges are advantageously exposed to having dual careers since
they are usually those who are forced to become working students to sustain their financial
needs. The emergence of night schools is one of the clearest initiatives the academe had
done to answer their special needs.

Transforming Threats Into Opportunities

Facing Challenges by Continuous Research


L. S. Hansen on his paper “Changing Paradigms in Career Development: Finding Work to
Do in the 21st Century” impresses on the drive to review our line of thoughts as to how we
view the individual’s role and goal in the society. Super endorses the twin goals of
"satisfaction to self" and "benefit to society" as what Hansen believes to be one of the
individual’s primordial reasons for living. Educators’ and Formators’ paradigm shift is to
refocus not on self-satisfaction but on the neglected societal improvement. Super described
career as life roles, and emphasized heavily on the values of the individual. The challenge
for us is to take part in the growing yet forgotten concern for social development.

Alternative Careers
Having alternative careers is now the trend in some universities in the Philippines. Schools
offering a wider perspective in life trigger the school to mediate sensitively to ensure
acknowledgement of the different aspects of the individual at the same time noting the
significance of our role in nation building.

Seeking Opportunities with What’s Available


The individual passes through life stages as an adolescent and matures to look more like an
adult and become as strong as an adult. Before the individual experience the different
forms of dual career at work and involvement in social groups like courtship, and marriage,
He can already be assisted by responsive teachers to develop socially and emotionally,
through acculturation. A better grasp of what society and culture provide may be one of our
prime resource for improvement. As discussed, the academe and the industry are partners
both concerned with the vital role of the individual as a member of the society. Educators
and Formators may still have other options to improve on our processes. Professional
organizations help update our knowledge and skills on the field. But, tapping our local

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
8
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

resources might just give us more if tapped. Networking and benchmarking may be our
best opportunities that are always available.

Proactivity: We “Make” Our Choices


Super has always valued the self-concept of an individual and any undertaking like making
decisions is infected by it. The role of the educator and formator is to assist the Filipino
youth in decision-making would require sensitivity to the development of the individual.
Making wider perspective of things may help generate more alternative choices or
solutions to problems. Information technology offers a promising range of solutions with
easy access. We are also driven to make changes in their practices and approaches to
challenges.

Finally, career crisis may be looked at as a chance to initiate positive change. Educators
and Formators are challenged to become keener in providing venues for assimilation, and
other socio-cognitive processes that the individual should undergo to contribute in the
process of personality integration.

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)
9
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CRISIS
th
The 27 Annual Conference of UGNAYANG PANG-AGHAM TAO (UGAT), Inc.
Anthropological Association of the Philippines
October 20-22, 2005, University of the Philippines Visayas, (Miag-ao) Iloilo City

REFERENCES:

Eaton, M. J., & Dembo, M. H., Differences in the Motivational Beliefs of Asian American
and Non-Asian Students, Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 433-440, 1997

Fox, M, The reinvention of work: A new vision of livelihood for our time, San Francisco:
Harper, 1994.

Gastardo-Conaco, Ma. Cecilia, Jimenez, Ma. Carmen C., Billedo, Cherrie Joy F., Filipino
Adolescents in Changing Times, University Center for Women’s Studies; Philippine Center
for Population and Development, http: www.childprotection.org.ph, Featured Paper for
July 2003.

Hansen, L. S., Integrative life planning: Critical tasks for career development and
changing life patterns, San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, 1997.

Santamaria, Josefina O., Career Counseling: Cases and Techniques, Makati City: Career
Systems, Inc., 1993.

Sunny, Hansen, Changing Paradigms in Career Development: Finding Work to Do in the


21st Century, 2000.

Super, Donald E., The Psychology of Careers, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1957.

Tao, V. & Hong, Y. Y. (2000). A Meaning System Approach to Chinese Students’


Achievement Goals, Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies, 1, 13-38, 2000.

Contact Details:
Hector Teodoro Miranda
Saint Joseph’s Hall (SJ) Room 115
De La Salle University-Manila
2401 Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila 1004
Direct Line: 523-42-86
Fax: 536-0271
Trunk line: 524-46-11 Local 416
Mobile Number 0920-912-5250
Email Address: mirandah@dlsu.edu.ph

Career Anxiety: The Filipino Youth in Crisis


by Hector Teodoro Miranda (De La Salle University-Manila)

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