Today is the first day in a while that I’m finally allowed to breathe.
Here’s the news:
I’m suddenly Bangkok based.
I got a job or should I say the job found me.
Long ish and short ish story at the same time. Let’s just say, from mere tourist, I became a foreign employee in 24 hours (less even). Thanks to some string pulling (tugging) of my former hostess now turned guardian.
The official title is Production and Design Assistant to a farang (local slang for foreigner here in Thaliland; not exactly equal to the Japanese term, gaijin as farang doesn’t readily connote anything particularly derogatory; more in the league of the [really annoying] Filipino slang, ‘joe’) owned factory that does in-branding, OEM/ODM, etc to certain retailers (department stores).
To be honest the title (as always) is a much more glamorized term for factory worker. 🙂
The factory supplies basic shirts and polo shirts… so the design part isn’t really rocket science. Just switch the trim, make the neckline a little deeper, change the colors blah blah blah. My role really has little to do with design.
Most of the day, I cut and cut and cut and cut (on the floor). Just yesterday, I cut a recored total of 22 shirts and polos… if I can help it I will never allow something like it to happen ever again. My thumb is still pretty sore from the cutting and the blisters! On the plus side, today, I’m merely lounging under the Thai heat while yes, blogging- again, a first in xx days… before today I woke up somewhere between 530 and 8 am and go home on average 1030pm, EVERYDAY. (except Saturday and Sunday, fine)
I’m in no way implying that I’m working in a sweatshop (though im seriously underpaid, I’m just hoping on the incentive per winning design scheme my boss set)… the factory while far from perfect and primitive in some aspects and treat people not as nicely as I would want to (my already simple life back in the Philippines seems like a luxury now) isn’t sweatshop bad; and by judging how today has gone so far, should be bound to be better.
Why accept the job despite the not so palatable conditions and working environment?
Training. It’s a rare glimpse on how production flow works (even if all the communication is all done in Thai) and how the manufacturing (post design; post sale) business generally works. I tried it once late last year and failed logistics wise. Plus this is my first real job! I can finally put something under work experiences on my resume! (It does help that the job title looks super good on paper too.) Plus the pay despite being low is about the same amount I earn in Manila every month minus the stress of making ends meet (worker wages). [The pay is a little higher than a general entry level call center agent when converted to peso to give you a rough idea.]
I already learned a few tricks in my first 10 or so days. So I’m guessing my decision to stay is a good one so far. I kinda like the rigidity sometimes too. It makes me more disciplined and focused on things that I need doing that I always skip and pass on to my seamstresses in Manila.
I have to commend my boss despite his apparent short comings (the factory is quite frankly over capacity the way I see it) for putting his trust on a noob like me. Although I reckon he put a little too much trust that I ended up doing jobs supposedly for 3 people (design, pattern and cut)… I know I deserve better pay but the only way to demand that is by proving my worth as someone indispensable and crucial to the expansion of his not so little enterprise.
Im giving myself end of the month. I have to see if he fulfills his end of the incentive deal. If not I might be seeing you guys again soon. But for now Bangkok is my new home 🙂
Oh, and if anyone know any fashion designer, I’d like to find my seamstresses new bosses. It’s the least I could do for them. My head seamstress is really really really good.