Friday, February 13, 2009
Darkest Before Dawn
Today is Friday 13th.
A bad day for the superstitious; a gruesome reminder for the movie buffs and just a one unlucky number for the oriental people... and many, many more bad stuff if one wants to think of any.
I am not superstitious, nor have I thought this date has any significance at all. Yes, the movie was scary, but that is just about it... until today.
My boss called me into the meeting room this afternoon. She had some serious matters to discuss with me at HR. It was about our jobs, the people under my charge.
After a lengthily opening and justifications and what not, it came to the nitty-gritty of what the meeting was for... there are simply not enough jobs for everyone as each day goes by. There is no job security for my people and me included... lay-offs are in the cards, only when.
Since we are still needed for now to do the fast diminishing jobs, the eventual people that have to go will need to be identified. Objectively, I went through with my boss the different scenarios until the very inevitable of practically nothing left to do.
The company has lots to do, but just not in Singapore. This place has become just like any developed country... too expensive for manufacturing activities. So our jobs go to the lower-cost country by choice - our neighbor, Malaysia.
At one third the cost and the deepening financial crisis already presenting itself here, the rate of our jobs being transferred there is lightning fast. By next week, many of our projects would have been safely transferred. And by next month, many of us will be staring at the walls at work.
As much as I think I know how it felt for the people in the US and Germany where I had gone to move the projects here, it is my turn now to experience job loss for real. It is inevitable and I realize that, but I only hope for a far and just compensation package for the years of dedication and loyalty, for my hard work I have put in for the company for the last 17 years.
From the stages and scenarios we went through, it is obvious that the first few people identified will have to go first... that included me. It was not suppose to be my turn yet, but I took the spot in replacement of my assistant.
Yeah, it is stupid to be heroic when well-paying jobs are now scarce, but I just cannot live with myself if I have to let him go.
Besides his loyalty and support to me, he has more financial burden over him than I do. He needs this job more than ever since he has some health problems that may not fair well in interviews with a younger, healthier and much more cheaper, fresh graduates.
Having a baby and a child that has started schooling, having a wife that is an only child, his mother-in-law is staying with them after her husband recent passing, he has more mouths to feed and a steady uninterrupted income, is the way to go.
Tonight, I told Wifey about it and what I did.
She was silent and showed no emotion at first. Most probably trying to find the right words to say. Most probably she was fuming inside for my actions... I should protect my family first?
"What do you intend to do?" She asked after a long pause.
We know we have enough reserves to live for many months without income, we know we do not owe any dept on our home or any credit cards... we know we can down-scale our living and be prudent with our spending to tie us over and ride the storm safely, but why the sacrifice?
We have this plan of opening our own little shop, we tried it and it was fruitful, but the plan is not feasible during this economic downturn. No demand, so why supply?
I do not know, but I know we can survive this and come up better as a family than we have ever been. I truly just know it!
"I'm thinking of taking up some courses," I answered, "several of them that the government is heavily subsidizing... spanning over 3 to 6 months."
Wifey looked interested to know more...
"Why don't you join me?" I suggested to her.
Since I wish to get out of the dwindling manufacturing industry, I am thinking of switching to another career path that will eventually make us open our own shop one day but selling a commodity that is far-reaching and in demand. Something that we both like to do.
"Show me more..." Wifey replied, interested.
We need to plan. All plans have risks, rather calculated than forging blindly. It may not be an easy path, but we have to journey through it.
It will be darkest before dawn, but there will be light and a new day... God willing, an even brighter light, an even brighter day.
Like today is the dreaded Friday the 13th, but tomorrow is for love - February 14th, Valentine's... the true test for us lies in the days to come.