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.


  1. Cliff and I have been in your position. In fact, he's in manufacturing right now, and it could happen again. It's interesting to know that it isn't only the USA in this mess, but in this case, misery does NOT love company. It makes me feel bad to read that things like this are spreading like a cancer over the globe.

    There's a song I never hear sung any more that says, "No man is an island; no man stands alone. Each man's joy is joy to me, each man's grief is my own."

    You have a great attitude and a loving and giving spirit. You will overcome!

  2. I think you did a great thing by letting your assistant come before you. Not many people do that. May God bless you and your family richly in the days to come. Helen

  3. It's a cliche, but things truly are bad all over, Muhd. I'm sorry you're losing your job and I hope you find another good job and/or have much success in retraining for your future.

    My son in law still doesn't have a job and he's earnestly searching for one. He's staying at home, taking care of his daughter while my daughter works. As bad as things are, they could be much worse.

    Take care and please don't let this bad news ruin your weekend. I hope your Dad is doing well....



  4. My husband had an auto accident and our lives changed forever. We moved to a rundown piece of land and began a small farm. We worked in labor for our animals and use our creativity to make all work well. We will be growing once again much food native to our region.

    Best of wishes to you and yours.

  5. I wish you all the best Imran and I keep you and your family in my prayers! Keep your chin up my friend. God Bless you!

  6. I think you are a wonderful man and human being for what you did. And I wish you all the luck in the world.

    Hubby was in a horrid paying job, that treated him aweful for 12 years. We finally made him take the plunge to a job at the garbage company, and they worked him almost to death with the hours. 65 or more hours a week. He now has this job at the dam, and it is wonderful, it took us a while, but we got there.

    Have faith and dedication and love and it will all work.

  7. Dear Little Brother ... you are at a great advantage with no debt on your home or credit cards! And you have great love in your heart and family. Your writing is excellent and you have gratitude and kindness. So many blessings do you have. You also just gave the gift to your associate who perhaps doesn't have all these things. YOU, my friend, are in store for a great adventure. There really is no security in life and that doesn't have to be a bad thing, in fact it can be very good to realize and to stop worry over it. I won't go into what happened with me and Jeffrey (he too was let go after 17 hrs as foreman of factory--12 yrs now?) and the changes he made...last yr at this time he'd been without work for 4 mos after letting go of a cleaning business he began 10-11 yrs but worked sooo hard. We DO have heavy credit card debt and still owe $60+K on our home but have little by little paid many things off and are working less hours with less taxes, conserving and simplifying our lives ... and have more time for each other and to rest. Had not had a vacation in 10+ yrs when he had his own business (so be careful re: commitment of time) and had one to visit Virginia where his parents were from--1st time he could visit their burial sites since they died. My hrs at work had been cut from 30 to 12! and I ended up with an extra 18 hrs on the same floor of our bldg for another dr and I love them both and my jobs. Do not be afraid. You are very right to KNOW that all will be well. I know that for you also. You are already Wealthy beyond measure in so many ways.
    Blessings on your Valentine's Day ... and I always liked Fri the 13th (never watched the movies) things that seem ominous can be blessings in disguise.
    So ... sand, sea, sun guy ... think of the possibilities!

  8. p.s. From the Old Farmer's Almanac, a quote:
    "A change of fortune hurts a wise man no more than a change of the Moon."
    (author unknown)

  9. So sorry to hear about this piece of news. Your act of kindness will be remembered and it will come back to save you. Hang in there, there's always light at the end of the tunnel.

  10. Hello. I found you through Donna's blog.
    I think that you are a wonderful person for giving up your job for your assistant. I also think that your wifey is a good person too.
    The schooling sounds like a great idea.
    I do hope that you and your wife had a wonderful Valentine's Day

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  12. Praying for your career change, and that everything will work out perfectly and for the better....even brighter as you said. Thank you so much for all your visits and for being so kind while I was away.... the husband challenge was awesome for Jason and I

    Have a great week, and tell the wifey hi for me!

  13. Looks as if all of your very supportive friends have beat me to what I was going to say. Best of luck to you and I look forward to the stories from school!

  14. Oh I am so sorry.
    As you know my husband lost his job of 25 yrs in November.
    I know you sound positive but it is hard.
    Thinking of you and your wife.

  15. You and your wife and son are in my prayers this week, Imran. I feel sure that you will all be okay - probably better than okay. Please keep in touch with all of us in your blog circle as you begin your new journey together.


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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger