Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recession, Regression, Depression

Now you see them, now you don't...

There were recessions before, but like many fortunate souls, I escaped unscathed. I kept going, building my career to where I am now. Nothing stupendous but I regard myself as blessed.

The recession is here again. It has become real and a crisis. It is not about to led-up anytime soon and also not without dragging many casualties down with it as well.

This time around, I still cannot feel the fear of loosing my job. My livelihood. This time around, I am not so sure if I will be spared like the recessions before this. Time will tell.

The much rumored list from management had been passed down to HR and reality sank in late last week. Execution time was done like clock work.

"Please tell J to go to HR now." One of the managers from my department told me over the phone. I sent my subordinate, J to HR with a very heavy heart. I had difficulty breathing at one point... some thing I had never felt before. The palpitations. It was a horrible feeling. Helpless.

He cried upon seeing me to say goodbye. I cried too. A sole breadwinner to his family. He is having his new home on the way. The timing just was not right for him. For several others too as soon as the "chosen" few emerged from HR.

Senseless, inhumane, everything dirty I felt.

It must be a terrible job for somebody to do the dirty job of telling the unfortunate souls of their fate. It was definitely even harder for these people that were released... ten folds!

What will they be doing? How will they pick up the pieces? Do they have a plan?

Do I have a plan? I am like walking on a wire.

Yes, I do have a plan... but during this recession period, the plan is not exactly ideal. Where there is no demand, it will be pointless to supply.

A plan B?
Nope. Must start to conceive a contingency.

My iPhone tinkered this evening. It was an SMS from an office friend.

"C got the axe today." It read. I was shocked not because the exercise is over, but because she released a long sigh when she told that she was taking over A's job after A got the axe last week.

It was just yesterday that she told me during a meeting. I was happy for her because she has an ailing elderly mother to care for, being the sole breadwinner, they only have themselves. It is painful to think of her fate tonight.

Nothing but bad news this week. One after the other...

Being off work last Friday. I took Dad to National Cancer Centre for his first check-up. I missed seeing and saying good bye to a few close friends when they were let go immediately.

My dear next cubicle neighbor was gone when I came back on Tuesday, after the AidilAdha public holiday. I called her cell phone but it was turned off. I left her a message but have yet to get a reply. I guess she needs time and wants to be left alone for now.

Today, I realize that the office was colder than normal days. There were empty cubicles. The work files were all there, but no traces personal to the previous occupants. Just cold.

It was tough to concentrate on work these past few days with so much unpleasantness going on behind the scene. It was even tougher to put a smiling face with visiting Customers today and throughout the week with them being here.

I do not fear of loosing my job. I am a survivor, my family is too. I have discussed the possibility, God willing, we will be alright. I have Wifey's support. Like my Dad with Mom, I realize I get my strength from Wifey.

Wifey and I both came from not a well-off family. We lived our growing up lives watching our parents made ends meet. We learnt to be tolerant, we learnt to be patient, we learnt to persevere.

We live a much good life now, but it will not be a tough transition to go back to being more prudent with our choices and spending as a family. We got everything we need. The house has already been paid for in full. We have no debts and we saved ample enough for ourselves to hopefully keep dry during this rainy and trying times if it has to come to that.

I am blessed because with my rather extravagant spending especially with the techno gadgets, I have Wifey to fight my urge to splurge. She is the strength that pulls me back to the ground. She is the voice of reason even when I wanted to lavish her with expensive gifts. She is my total opposite.

She is so sane about money, it drives me crazy... crazy jealous of her self-control!

I am blessed regardless. I am wealthy. My family is my fortune.


  1. what a great way of looking at life. it is a scary time right now, everywhere. it's tough seeing bad things happening to people around, knowing that you're going to be ok. good for you, but it eats at you. your outlook is wonderful, thanks for sharing it!

  2. I think we're all looking over our shoulders, hoping the axe doesn't fall our way. We will survive, as you say. I don't expect to starve or do without necessities. But who knows what tomorrow will bring in times like these?

  3. we have our home paid too but if our pension were gone we would have to go back to our old ways too... Im thinking of that and spending less now just in case.... I hope you keep your job... Good Luck

  4. I love the way you put family first. They are, after all what matters, no matter what. We all are feeling the pains of recession . I hope all is well with you my friend.

  5. Yes God willing we may get knocked down but we will stand back up...I feel connected to others as we have struggled at times when others have not and vice versa... On a small island we can survive with the resources God provides on see and land. Bible teaches not to worry about tomarrow for today has sufficient enough provisions for today and responsibilities so if your okay today Praise God..It's about love and giving of self to all God, Family and so on.. We are so blessed , it's harder to live than it is to die so lets just get busy LIVING TODAY...In the now pack it all in nobody has tomarrow.. Thanks for stopping by with kind words and a big heart full of love...

  6. I will keep good thoughts that you won't lose your job Imran. You are so lucky to have paid your house mortgage off! This will help you and your family down the road. That is almost unheard of here in the U.S. unless you are over 55 or a senior citizen!

    I feel almost guilty as a lot of this seemed to have started here in the U.S. first. Because along with our screwed up government here these many years, we also were not paying attention and instead buying and acquiring material things in this life that we don't need nor do they make us happy on the "inside" look where we are.

    I've always budgeted almost my whole adult life..I'm very good at it..and when I lost everything about 2 years ago I had too in order to survive! I can survive on an income amount that most would not comprehend..maybe in time people will "downsize" and learn what is really important in life. I can do without so much of the material things that I used to think were important to be I know better.

    I lead a very simple life and when I get my own little apartment (that I'm on a list waiting for) I will be happy just to have my own little place and "space" and my small bed and chair and the necessities of life..I've got my spirituality and that's the most "precious" and important feeling in the world to me.

    we also have not paid much attention to the environment and being "Green" here in the U.S.. Now look at the problems we have helped create.

    Hang in there my friend...I know it's hard with having a family and it is good your "wifey" has her own store and that income. She does sound like a strong solid "common sense" woman...please give her my regards.

    Love and Blessings to you and your whole family,

    With Angelic Blessings,


  7. I'm so sorry to hear of the many who are losing their jobs right now. My dh works in the airline industry. He too is our only source of income, as I stay home with the children. We have been through two layoffs and one involuntary transfer to another state, 6 hours away from family by car. It's not fun. It's not easy. But like you, we witnessed thrifty examples in our parents. As a result, we are practical and have the strength to endure. Our house isn't paid off, but we were wise to save a large downpayment so we should be able to keep up, should dh ever have to take a lower paying job.

    These are very trying times, indeed. Your post made me more aware of others who are hurting outside of my own reality, the "little world" that is mine where I live. And your post also inspired me. It's encouraging to know that others are also concerned but determined to make it through. As I pray for our own family, I'm also praying for yours, that you would not lose your job and that you would know when and how to reach out to those who have. Keep your focus and positive outlook.

  8. HI Singaporean Friend!
    Oh my I hope you don't get the axe!
    We were to come back to Singapore for 2 years this past June, but it was not to be because of the companies finances.
    My husband loved working in Singapore.That's lovely what you say about your wife and not wanting to spend money. I am that way too,
    my husband does love his gadgets as well. Maybe its the man thing!
    Your family sounds lovely.

  9. At last...I've arrived on your blog. Been wanting to but have been so pushed for time just lately.
    Yes...the recession is deepening and taking all corners of the globe.
    Earlier tonight my boss phoned me and said there was no need for me to go in tomorrow as we had no customers!!!
    So it's a day off but with no pay...
    These are very unsettling times.

  10. Hello Friend, thanks so much for feeding Powder! Vlad felt a little left out though, what's the matter, you don't like bats? ;oD
    Re: all the gloom and doom heard around the globe (and I don't make light of it) ... working for 2 psychiatrists, I hear lots of life situations that are difficult, and where I live is the "seat" of the U.S. automotive industry and it's a domino-theory where if the car makers go down, it has a huge ripple effect on many other occupations in the area. I was already moved from 30 hrs down to 12 hrs at one job in 2007, my husband was pushed out of his janitorial business he had for 11 yrs because his 3-story bldg contract (which he cleaned almost always by himself!) was sold and the new mgmt wanted someone cheaper, so he gave up his business after we planned ahead by remortgaging at lower interest with escrowed property taxes and house insurance (1st time), simplified our life as best we could, turned the thermostat down, gave up purchasing things not really that important, and for the 1st time in 10 yrs, he and I took a vacation fall 2007 and then he took 4-1/2 mos as a "break" before he found a job working for someone else, pay not that great, but no quarterly taxes, many insurances, etc. and lots less work on his body PLUS! he gets holiday and vacation pay and weekends off! Not so with his own business. I found another job just down the hall for 18 hrs a wk to = 30 hrs+ and we are hanging in there. In all this long, drawn out post, I'm just saying, we are still paying bills constantly (credit cards needed when none or little work) but we ARE paying them and still having meals now and then at local restaurants. We shop at the Salvation Army store which is clean, modern and has lots of great finds 1/2 mi from home. We drive 2 1994 vehicles. We aren't buying Christmas presents this year but I chose to donate $400+ to my chosen charities for my gift.
    When asked what I fear, I've been saying that I fear being afraid. Fear-based beliefs run rampant throughout many cultures and countries and families, producing worries, some of which would do well to "look beyond appearances" to see "what goodness can come from this?" "what is the lesson here?" "how can I be part of the solution?" I am hearing people say they have lost $50,000 in the stock market and then say, "oh, that's not much, it could be worse" ... and I think, "that's not much?" What? I don't even buy lottery tickets, not the gambling type ... not lots of savings "for the future" but for the Here and Now, living and breathing and grateful for that. So...let's all do our best not to be afraid, or afraid for each other, but let's affirm that we are going to be uplifted in whatever way we can choose. I have a little worn-out calligraphy hanging on a wall, "Some people look at the muddy bottom of the swamp, others look at the lotus flower blooming on the surface. It is a choice." a quote of the Dalai Lama's. See the lotus flower, dear ones. And Muhd ... you will do all right, your heart is big and open to others and you have a wonderful family and support system, and lots of bloggie friends. Affirm good things for yourself and those around you ... you and all of us with hold ourselves up in the highest esteem and we shall BE ... (the joys of simply BEING!)
    Best to you and your Wifey. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm sorry to take up so much room here. Got up early to let Tuffy out in the frigid cold and am in hopes he'll come back in when I'm done Mama can go back to bed.
    Highest and best blessings to you!
    SisSTAR Kyle

  11. as long as you keep that in your mind, you'll be fine. I guess we're all facing this now. You never know, though. Maybe it will go away soon.


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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger