Anxiety will always be part of every new experience. And for a first-time domestic helper here in Singapore, this anxiety can hit hard on your very first day at work.
Expect to feel those butterflies in your stomach, but do not get too nervous to the point that you’ll forget what you need to do. In this post, we share some tips that every domestic worker should know on their first day at work here in Singapore.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina domestic helper in Singapore, Yaya Jhin on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Singapore.
Here’s What Every Domestic Helper Needs to Know on Their First Day of Work in Singapore
Whether you’re an experienced worker or a first-time OFW hired as a domestic helper, the first-day work experience will always be different for everyone, so here are some useful tips and reminders to help you ease into your new job as a domestic helper in Singapore:
1. Expect to make mistakes, but learn from them as fast as you can.
Nobody gets everything right on their first day so don’t expect that you would, too. But, even if you mess up at first, take this as an opportunity to learn and to improve.
If you can’t figure out how to do something properly, feel free to ask assistance or for guidance from your employer. Remember, they’re not there to do nothing so if you can properly communicate with them and ask for guidance, they would appreciate it in the long run because not only do you know how to do things the right way, but you would also know your employer’s preferences and unique way of doing things.
2. Set goals.
As part of your mind-setting, you need to prepare yourself for what your work will entail. This includes long hours at work, having to deal with stress, lack of sleep, and tiredness.
If your goals aren’t clear or properly laid out, you might easily feel stressed out, tired, and depressed in the long run. So, having a clear goal in mind will help you power through the challenges that you might and will face as a domestic helper such as getting reprimanded, shouted at, or pushed to your body’s limits.
Knowing your goals and priorities for working abroad will help you bear the struggles and sacrifices more than you think you could. If your goal is to provide for your family, send your kids to school, or support a sick family member, then focus on those things. This way, you won’t easily get affected by the small things at work because your mind is focused on your goals.
3. Set boundaries with your employer.
Others might think that getting close to the employer is the way to go. But Jhin warns us that not all employers are comfortable relating with their domestic helpers on a personal level right away, so try to keep your relationship professional at all times – noting your employers’ personalities, needs, and preferences. By doing this, you will learn how to deal with your employer professionally at first, and not on an emotional or personal level.
Remember, the first six (6) months or even up to a year is a period of adjustment. As you are trying to figure out your employer’s personality and attitudes, so will they towards you. That said, it’s best to keep things strictly professional at first. By being professional, you need to be respectful, courteous, and kind at all times.
4. Let your employer teach or guide you, especially when preparing their food.
As you know, each household has its own set of rules, and every employer has their own way of doing things. As a new addition to the household, you need to familiarize yourself with the house rules and how your employer does things or how they like things to be done.
House rules could include not bringing your footwear inside the house and following a schedule for meals. If you’re not sure about these things on your first day at work, try to be on the extra careful side, attempting not to dirty the house with your footwear and luggage if you’ve just arrived in the residence. Also, it’s good practice to ask these things if your employer does not inform you right away of their schedules at work and at home. Do take note of the other people’s schedules in the house, if your employers have kids or if they’re living with their parents.
5. Be sensitive when cleaning their religious items or altars.
As you might know, Singapore is a multicultural country so you might get to work for an employer who’s not exactly from Singapore. Considering this, you need to pay attention to your employer’s religious practices and be careful in dealing with their sacred items or place of worship (if they have an altar at home).
As mentioned, the key is to ask if you do not know what to do, say, when cleaning their bedroom or the room where they worship. According to Jhin, if not instructed to rearrange or organize, it’s best to keep things where you find them, especially when it comes to personal and religious items.
6. Expect to be compared to the previous domestic helper, but do not be too sensitive.
Expect that not all employers are easy to deal with or get along with. This is true especially when they are coming home extremely tired or stressed out from work. So do be considerate and try not to be very sensitive when they flare up at times. Try to understand where they are coming from, and do your best to address issues related to your work performance, if any.
7. Learn how to manage your emotions properly.
To follow up the previous point, when working abroad, especially as a domestic helper, you need to be a little bit thick-skinned, or at least not too sensitive because as we’ve mentioned, earlier, everyone will go through a bad day, and when things don’t go according to our plans, we tend to easily get mad, frustrated, or even depressed.
And while these things are normal to experience, so we need to be on top of our emotions as much as possible so that we can focus on our goals and do our best at work. Sad to say, most of the time, it is true that emotions only get in the way.
It takes extraordinary sacrifice and dedication to one’s goals to become a successful OFW, no matter the kind of job you have. At times, your patience and determination will be challenged to their limits, but even before you reach that point, you need to help yourself regain control over your emotions so that you can better manage your situation. By reminding yourself of the above tips, we hope that you can develop a meaningful and harmonious relationship with your employers as you work as a domestic helper abroad.
Did we miss anything? Are there any helpful tips that you would like to share to other domestic helpers or overseas Filipino workers for that matter? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!