Monday, November 22, 2004

Unemployment Blues.

"You load sixteen tons, and whattaya get?
Another day older and deeper in debt..."
- Lyrics from Sixteen Tons, by Merle Travis (1946)

I got fired last week. Hmm... that was technically not quite correct. Well actually I resigned. But for all practical intents, the end-effects are identical. Unemployment. Again.

Did not come as a surprise. Had been expecting it. Been at this job for a couple months now and it was becoming obvious that the the job fit... well, did not fit. Best to part ways on amiable terms ASAP than to let things drag on.

So why did I chuck away a perfectly good job? In short: the revenues were there but profit margins were marginal due to high fixed costs. Years ago, inspired by a young-but-wise friend, I have learnt to more accurately measure my income using the ratio of amount dollars divided by amount effort. There are just some jobs that are not worth it after you factor in the emotional / psychological / physical toll. That I am up to 8 cups of coffee a day to stay wired should be indicative of a much deeper problem.

Just a few days ago, my colleague and I were talking outside the office over cigarettes. (His cigarettes. I do not smoke.) He was bitching on and on about the company culture, the workload, the unfair job distributions, verbal abuse from the bosses, etc. The tirade went on for a good three cigarettes' worth. The poor guy chain-smokes when he is under stress. At least he was polite enough not to blow smoke in my face.

He, like many of my colleagues, is unfortunately "locked in" no matter how miserable the working conditions. The man is married and has a HDB, car and kids to support. The cashflow is required from both spouses just to maintain their standard of living. And from looking at the people around me, it would seem that such a setup is the norm and not the exception.

Ironically my unhappy colleague's boss (whom was at that point being derided for verbally abusing employees) is in exactly the same situation, where even on a much higher salary - has to pay for his more expensive car, more expensive condo, more expensive country club, etc. He cannot quit either, no matter how much grief his overdemanding bosses and his insubordinate, uncooperative and demoralised charges create for him.

What a total situational FUBAR!

So in a couple weeks I will be joining the ranks of the unemployed in Singapore. One of those good-fer-nutings spoilt brats that our local politicians and media would love to deride as choosy, fussy employees who refuse to work perfectly reasonable jobs for a mere pittance.

In happier news... SO is back!

I am going to take a couple days to let things settle down a little before deciding what next...


Blogger Yangkwan said...

Very well written. You are now Liberated.
You have writing skills as evidenced from your blog - this is your strength to exploit further. Good luck !

January 23, 2006 7:18 PM  

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