As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea on February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, reality TV star, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company (Flipside Fitness), CEO of my own boxing club (Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing), and now I'm launching my 3rd business -- Empowered Clubhouse.

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again. This time it was for the Philippines. That's where I am now, living in the land of the happy people. The struggles are real and the struggles are many but I'm living life on my terms, I'm calling the shots, and I'm doing what I love. Life is an amazing adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Anything But Normal... Tuesday, June 20

I was as motivated as I was heartbroken walking into Elite Boxing at 9pm and seeing Coach Bogs still working.  He starts work at 6am everyday.  Fifteen hours later and he was still there and he'd be there till closing, 10pm.  "This is normal", I was told.  If normal is him working 16 hour days, 6 days a week, 96 hours a week then I definitely don't want "normal" for the crew I hire.  Sure Coach Bogs makes much higher than expected because he gets paid per client he trains but 96 hours a week means he sleeps in one of the six bunkbed beds stuffed away in the back room that's stuffy and crammed, he only gets to go home once a week and his wife and child back home continue their life basically without him.  He's got a wife that surely must miss the companionship that comes with having a husband and she bears the burden of raising their child as if she's a single parent family.  And then there's the child that's growing up with limited interaction with their father.

There is no shift change at the boxing club, not at Elite and not at Elorde either from what I've heard and seen.  Whenever the coaches have a break in clients they go to the sleeping corridors provided at the boxing club.  And the thing is this doesn't strike them as harsh or draining.  This is "normal" to them.  I don't want to be one of those foreigners and come in thinking I know better and I have some magical solution for the problem.  This isn't even a problem for them, that's the thing.  This is life.  At Elorde, sure the coaches were often tired, for the most part they worked from open to close, but I never once heard them complain about their job.

This is the Philippines.

Just because I live in the Philippines and am opening a business here doesn't mean I have to follow the ways of the land with how companies treat their employees.  It's time to challenge what is considered "normal" here.

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