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Musings of a millennial: Working outside NCR rocks

Musings of a millennial: Working outside NCR rocks

by Danielle Uy

Here are all the things I love about working outside the metro.

I grew up a Manila girl. The majority of my life, I’ve spent haring through bright red headlights⁠—almost always making me late for appointments. At an early age, I came to accept that shopping malls were the biggest attractions, and fast food was life. By nine years old, I already had my very own Personal Computer. And since then, the hustle has been very real.

There is a certain charm in the vivacity of the Metro, but I guess it’s just never been for me. Right after college, I refused to accept any job offers that required me to stay in Manila. Fortunately enough, I found myself in a full-time job away from the city⁠—and here is everything I love about it!


1. No more traffic jams and stressful commutes

As someone who has had to deal with heavy traffic for decades, I was initially surprised when I first moved to the province. I had difficulty wrapping my mind around the idea that it would only take me 15 minutes to commute to and from work. In the city, it always takes me at least an hour to arrive at my destination. Personally, I feel like driving in Manila is the worst. Public transportation isn’t any easier, either.

According to JobStreet’s Laws of Attraction (LOA) Data Lab, the traffic condition in the National Capital Region (NCR) is the third worst in the whole of Southeast Asia. Further, more than two million vehicles clog the roads on a daily basis. This said, I know of many other millennials (and even Gen Zers) like myself who want to escape this mess in the city. Traffic and commute woes contribute to a lot of stress—I can personally attest to that.


2. More time for interests and advocacies

With less time I have to spend traveling to and from work, I now actually have a life outside of work! Before work, I have enough time to read a book and take my dogs for a walk. After work, I even get to hang out with my friends. On the weekends, I volunteer for various environmental and charity groups.

Since leaving the bustling city, I’ve found more opportunities for my personal advocacies. I also like that my employer is very supportive of my environmental advocacy, to the point that our whole company started joining me in refusing plastic and participating in beach cleanups! If you’re an employer, you have to know that more than half of all Gen Zers appreciate a company with a high sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Of course, that includes me! (Disclaimer: I’m a young millennial, and some sources consider me a Gen Z baby, too).


3. Low cost of living

Many young adults view the metropolis as greener pastures. After all, the salary range in the city is usually higher than in the province. Reports of the LOA Data Lab show that most millennials and Gen Zers are hesitant to consider working outside NCR because of the lower salary and compensation benefits.

What most young employees overlook is the fact that the province has a very low cost of living compared to that of living in the city. In fact, LOA Data Lab reports that “Metro Manila now ranks 109th out of 210 cities in the 2019 Cost of Living Ranking.” 

For me, the low cost of living in the province makes up for the lower salary range. However, I can’t say I’m unsatisfied with the rates I’m getting. More than that, I’m quite happy with the growth opportunities I have in my job right now. Unfortunately, it isn’t regular yet for non-NCR workers to have a higher salary and job ranking than those who work in NCR. This is probably why 44% of GenZers are hesitant to pursue non-NCR jobs.


4. Natural attractions are accessible

Boy, am I tired of rambling across shopping malls. One of my favorite things about working outside NCR is the abundance of unspoiled natural wonders! I’m minutes away from the beach, where I spend my afternoons eating corn-on-the-cob. On the weekends, I bathe in rivers and gaze into rice fields. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

“Metro Manila ranked 95th out of 100 cities in overall sustainability, 93rd in the people sub-index which gauges quality of life, and 91st in the planet sub-index which measures pollution and green spaces,” a report from the LOA Data Lab revealed. Needless to say, Metro Manila might not be the best place for employees are the most productive near nature.


5. Growing possibilities

It’s amazing to witness first-hand the growth of a rural community. More and more businesses are branching out regionally; thus, one can definitely agree that many provinces are developing quickly.

Confirming my observations, the LOA Data Lab reports that “ there has been a steady increase in the number of employment opportunities outside the NCR from 2014 to 2019 (…) For its fiscal year 2019, JobStreet reported a growth of 30% in the number of unique jobs posted for provincial placement.”

I must admit that working outside NCR still has its cons. For one, my parents live in NCR—I miss out on some fun family activities whenever I’m away. On the other hand, I’m happy that I’m pursuing work outside NCR while I don’t have a family of my own yet. As per the LOA survey, married employees are much more hesitant to pursue non-NCR jobs if it will entail moving their whole household to the province.

This said, I find that working outside NCR as a millennial employee is enjoyable. As long as employers provide reasonable salary rates and mandatory government benefits, career opportunities and self-development programs, and enough space for a good work-life balance, young adults will definitely enjoy working outside NCR, too!

Danielle Uy is a travel writer and social media manager for TripZilla Philippines, a digital travel magazine. Also an environmental advocate, she is a core member of Ocean Care Movement, an organization that conducts beach clean-ups and raises environmental awareness in Baler, Aurora.

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