From Factory Worker to Sajangnim

SAJANGNIM (사장님)  is a Korean word which means BOSS in English. If you are the BOSS, that means you are either the owner of the company or somebody with the highest position.

How would you like that sound?

Being a factory worker here in South Korea is not a joke. Sure factory workers in Korea earn more than the Ayala employees in the Philippines, but the job is not a joke. You are going to do odd jobs that fall under the category of 3D which means Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning.

But there’s more to life aside from being a Factory Worker.  I mean, working in a manufacturing industry is not a bad job especially if you are earning good amount of money from it. However,  I think all of us would rather want to be a sajangnim than a worker. Isn't it too much for an ambition? Why not? We can use our fate as a corporate slave for a better opportunity, and the only way for us to become a sajangnim, or an owner of our company, is to build our own business.

Is it possible?

A big YES!!! It is very much possible. We have been hearing a lot of horror stories of OFWs from South Korea going home without money, or some even opted to stay as illegal workers just so they could continue earning money from doing 3D jobs. But there are also success stories of Factory workers who went home and established their own business and became SAJANGNIM.

In the dissertation "Status, Sacrifices and Success of Filipino Migrants in South Korea" of Pastor Jerry Yusi, a minister in one of the Christian churches here in Korea, he cited the fate of Filipino workers. He also presented in the paper the stories of successful EPS workers who made their way to build their own business in the Philippines using the knowledge and the money they saved when they were working here in Korea.  Let’s take for example Mr. Jimson Arce.

Jim’s Chicken on the Road

According to Pastor Jerry, Mr. Arce owns a rolling store with roasted chicken. He calls it “Jim’s Chicken on the Road.” He bought the chicken roasting equipment in Korea and adopted the technology in the Philippines.

Pastor Jerry also shared the story of Mr. Odilon Tamayo. According to him, Mr Tamayo was a factory worker in Korea. He worked in Korea from 1991-2012. He was an overstayer (TNT) for that period. He now owns a store in Baguio, a jeepney and a recording studio inside his house. How awesome is that?

This is their store in the Maharlika Market of Baguio City. Odilon is on the right most and his wife on the left.
The jeepney he bought out of his savings from working in Korea

These are just two of the many inspiring success stories of OFWs in Korea. There are a lot of them who started as a factory worker, and with proper discipline, knowledge and determination, they managed to step up the ladder and became sajangnim of their business in the Philippines.

How did they do it?

Honestly, I don’t know. One thing is for sure, they’re now the boss!!!

Starting a business is not simple. Money is not enough, you also need to have the idea, a goal and most of all, proper knowledge. It’s like a battlefield and requires a lot of preparation. You need to read a lot of books, observe a lot of things and attend a lot of seminars.

Korea has opened us good opportunity to work but for a limited time only. After the expiration of visa, you must be ready to face another chapter of your life, this time not as a factory worker but a Sajangnim of your own business. Start educating yourself as early as now. It’s time to build your own empire.


  1. Thank you for sharing such inspiring stories of Filipino business owners in Korea. I'm sure aspiring entrepreneurs here in the Philippines could learn a thing or two from them. :)

  2. Very inspiring. Hard work really pays off.

  3. A hands-on technique in doing business and facing the difficulties on how to build an empire. Luckily, huge capital business comes from this kind of strategy.

  4. This is an inspiring story. I envy people who have courage to do go farther to earn more for the benefit of their families.

  5. Being an employee abroad should not be the ultimate ambition of OFWs. They should have a plan to be an entrepreneur when their contract ends and they come home. - Fred

  6. Honestly, anything is possible when you put your mind to it. These stories are very inspirational and I hope it moves more Filipinos to dream big and make proper choices to get there.

  7. We can surely be a boss if we only strive to do what we want to do. This should inspire others to be an entrepreneur. I am inviting you to guest blog as well in my biz blog and inspire more people.

    1. wow, thanks for the opp sir. I don't know what topic to write though.

  8. Those are inspiring stories of success. I hope people will share more of them. Being the boss of your own business is a great thing.

  9. Wow! very inspiring of another rags-to-riches stories. Yup, I agree, starting a business is not that simple, but with a proper mindset & equipped with knowledge, anybody can do it! We can start by attending business & financial literacy seminars like this one. Hope marami sa mga kababayan natin ang mag-take ng action to fix their finances & start their own businesses..Mabuhay! :)


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