Is the Salary Cut Worth It?

When you’ve been wanting for a job for the longest time, there’s a tendency to just get any job that comes your way. To date, I’ve got a thousand applications and 95% of it didn’t work out. After a year and a half of being unemployed, it all feels natural to me.

After my contracts ended, I was able to get jobs where some of the clients pulled out. It was a short time though, so I can’t consider it a J-O-B, which left me in a position to be a nomad who can take on any vacation. Yes, for the nth time of my life but that’s not the case. I have to be wise due to my limited funds.

And another fateful day came. I got a job in line with my field. I love the job to bits even if it’s tedious working as a quality assurance specialist. The job description for this kind of job differs from company to company, but the bottom line is it is a job that makes me feel needed. I’ve had several jobs that made me feel sooo taken for granted, even if those were the jobs that I really like.

Here comes the salary part. Since I am now working in my home country, the salary dip is way beyond drastic. It pales in comparison to my salary abroad. While many would think I am sourgraping, I still consider this job as a blessing in disguise. I told myself that I have to see the good in bad things. Simply because there’s always a silver lining to every dark cloud.

The great thing is I am working in a nice startup company. I’ve been hearing topics and jokes about salaries. But it is normal to be handed a low paycheck, especially if the company is just starting to have a solid foundation and finding its niche in the market.

The employer asked me several times if I am amenable to work extended hours given the very low wage. I took the offer without any hesitation out of despair. Who am I to reject something that would sustain me and my family for the days to come? If this happens to you and you’re frustrated, that’s natural. Just learn to swallow your pride. I assure you that it’s better to have some small funds than to have nothing at all. Swallowing one’s pride becomes easy once you get the hang of it. Always remember this: It’s easier to swallow our pride than to be penniless. 😀

I am now working for a week and though some people may find the job toxic, I feel relief. I am learning a lot and I love that I am using tools that I haven’t used before. Finally, my hands have landed on the soft keys of the keyboard. It feels like the first time and I felt gratitude in my veins. Oh, just like magic and a dream come true.

This is not the first time that I had a lowered wage that is way below average. Though this is the lowest offer that I have got in my entire life for a hard to do job, my performance would definitely not falter. I would just show them that I am worth more than what they have offered. Of course, it is normal for companies to give low wages. Business is business. For now, I have to enjoy myself as an employee and as a happy camper!

How would I know if the salary cut is worth it? Because both parties are happy. Though they earn more, I learn more. I am more than just any job offer in this world and the difference is I fucking know it. 🙂

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How to Survive if You Are Living in the World’s Most Expensive City

I should not write this post but then maybe I should. Many friends and acquaintances have asked me countless times about Singapore. As much as I wanted them to just google the information about this “fine” city, I don’t want to offend and sound like I don’t want to help. After all, I am not an authority to give tips and useful information about SG because even if I am barely breathing here for 3 years, every day feels like a new day as if I am a tourist. Add that to the fact that I don’t know until when my expat life here will come to an end.

When I came to this beloved merlion island, I only have the things present in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — even fewer. I know nothing about living abroad, not to mention that SG is the first country I have ever visited aside from my home country, Philippines. Even back home, I chose not to live on my own so I could save more money and be with my family. Although most people associate independence living on their own, I have my own predicament and eccentricities to deal with. I have my own definition of independence and more of it to be discussed on the bottom part of this post.

I am just your average overseas worker struggling to make the ends meet. I am also the typical Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who works everyday, gives some portion of my money to my family and live life from paycheck to paycheck. I assume many people are also like me even in the other parts of the world. Until it dawned upon me that I should do something to break this cycle or else, I’d be a beggar all my life. As the adage says, “It is not your fault if you are born poor but it is your fault if you die poor.” There’s nothing wrong about being poor but poverty really bites as many people have financial problems. Come to think of it, most people in this world have financial problems aside from the personal problems we have by default.

On Homesickness
Homesickness happens for real and for some people, this is the core reason why they don’t want to try their fate moving/working in another country, especially to countries that are literally miles and miles away. If you think you are not yet ready to leave your home, you have to condition yourself. Otherwise, there will be lots of things holding you back and you’d never walk out that door and do your luggage. You will be sad, they will be sad and tears will be shed (that is, if you’re emotional but it’s perfectly okay). The good thing is, your tears and their tears will dry up, too. And then, you’d embark on a new journey and have new experiences that are all unknown to you. But then, here comes another problem — when you’re staying abroad for so long and you miss them so much that it hurts or to quote other people, “so much that their hearts bleed.” That’s just life and some drama eating you up. All you have to do is call your loved ones and write them missives. What if all these won’t work? Book a ticket and have your much deserved vacation to be with them.

On Learning
Singapore is a great place to learn new things. Some people say that there’s nothing more to do or learn here because after a year or so, this island becomes boring. I beg to differ although I get bored at times, I do acknowledge the fact that there are lots of things to learn and do here, only if we are looking. As a worker, learning is crucial because getting a job here is very hard. The competition is tough as we cannot blame employers if they wanted someone who is a local or a permanent resident (PR), to which obviously I am not. One of the advantages you could have over the other candidates are your experiences and learning. I do believe that everyone can do a job but one who continuously learn would do the job better. You could enroll yourself to classes that would hone your skills, attend seminars and trainings, have new hobbies and activities and so on and so forth. The lists are endless and it is up to us if we wanted to learn or be mediocre at something forever.
We must not stop learning, whatever that is. If your problem is your budget, the government hosts free activities islandwide. Just keep looking. Further, if you want to learn on a broader scale and gain a new perspective, go travel. Singapore is a travel hub connected to different countries in Asia and this is your chance to travel a lot cheaper if you are here. Some lessons about traveling will lead you to a bit of independence and self-discovery (if you think you are lost for quite some time).

On Independence
In my own definition, independence is living a life that you have dreamt of without having to rely on other people most of the time. I get it, we all need help but not to the point where we get too complacent and be dependent on others whenever problems get the best of us. Problems and trials will always be there, dilemmas will always be present and no matter what we do, these so-called tribulations are here to stay. It is just about us bouncing back, adjusting our sails while we are dancing in the typhoon (not just rain) and getting back on our feet. Your heart will be broken and your ego will be dumped and you’d be very disappointed that things don’t work out as planned. But this is just the start of a wonderful journey and if you continue to improve yourself for the better, you’d find your journey to be one of the bests you’ll ever have. Independence is a subjective matter and the above definition is pretty much how I define it. As an expat here, I have to admit that there are times I find it hard to live in SG (mostly due to the demands of work since I am working in IT) but most of the time, I love it to bits. That’s the reason why I am maximizing my stay here and enjoy every single day, just as I would if I am in my hometown. Now, I can say I am used to it though. Adjustment takes some time and we have to be patient.

On Work
Being jobless sucks, it is a well known fact and a general truth proven ages ago. Due to the nature of my job, each project that I am on ends at a given time to which I have to be prepared. Finding a job nowadays is such a pain in the ass and it frustrates me that even if there are lots of jobs posted everywhere, we have to realize that most of these are just plain job posts. Some of the jobs posted by recruiters and employers are created for pooling only. It only means that they are collecting jobseekers for the said position and would call you once they urgently need you to fill that position in. So, you get the picture, a job post is just a job post at that and nothing more unless it is job offered to you in black and white. You’d be lucky if they urgently need you because that only means you’re on your way to bagging that coveted job. Next step is to have your work pass (visa) approved — which is pretty hard, too.

On Finances
Whether we realize it or not, there are just lots of money matters to deal with, even rich people have money issues. The only difference is that rich people learn from their money woes and remember their mistakes and lessons very well. True enough, we don’t have to be rich but we must be responsible for our own finances. To answer how much money should a tourist bring to SG, all I can say is that it depends on what your purpose is. To have a work here, I went with the safest option of getting a job through a licensed job agency by paying a placement fee. Back to finances, a general tip I could give is to just mind the basics – food, shelter and clothing. Actually, clothing is not that needed, unless you are a fashionista or you need to buy clothes to follow the company’s dress code. You could rent a bedspace and not a whole room if you want to save a lot. Although privacy is priceless, the money you pay for a solo room can be used for other necessities in life or better yet, save the money for emergencies. Salary is given only once, every end of the month. It is definitely wise to save a portion of your salary every month because nothing is sure here even if it is stated in your contract that you have to work that long for that employer. Retrenchment, restructuring, redundancy and other issues arise at any moment.
I suggest that we use our money wisely by spending money on our needs first. Treat yourself, too, so you won’t feel deprived. Being a shopaholic is perfectly fine — only if you can afford it. What I have learned a lot about money here is not about how much we earn but how we handle it. Even if you get to earn a S$10,000 (7928 USD) and above each month, you’d be a pauper if you get a lifestyle you cannot sustain. How do I know? Because I know some people who earn a lot and have lots of debts even if they have bigger salaries every year. I have been jobless for 2 to 3 months and I can say that living in SG is not an easy feat. I am tempted to go back home but luckily, I got a job. So, I am just enjoying my journey here until it lasts. 🙂

Summary
In reality, any city can be just as expensive if we cannot manage the lifestyle we choose. Besides, even if we own all the riches in the world and not have the responsibility and knowledge on how to manage our funds, every place would be very expensive. To cap it all off, I don’t regret anything the moment I set my foot on sunny Singapore. I am humbled enough to be living in the world’s most expensive city. 😀

When Too Much Work Kills

I feel for this talented lady because her death is not even justified. I feel for her because I understand the pressure she have undergone. For some who do not know, it is a tough job being a writer not to mention the unrealistic deadlines we encounter. I have experienced working for nine to twelve hours straight, break time not included. I felt like a haggard and just like Mita, I felt I have no life. My friends also experienced the same thing for they have worked 24 hours straight. All the more to her, for working 30 hours and for keeping up with the unfeasible timelines.  When do we draw the line and say that enough is enough?!

Her untimely demise is a loss to her company – more so, to her family. We cannot bring back her life. And, even if the employer gives her family a big sum of money, Mita will never be back on earth. My only hope for the future is that all the work martyrs will be lessened and more people would value their health more than their jobs. A job lost can be recovered by having a new job but a life  lost can never ever be recovered. If your boss fires you just because you cannot keep your pace with him and tells you that you are an ineffective worker, consider it a blessing in disguise. Your life is valuable compared to that sick asshole. If you ain’t got a life, now is the chance. Live well. Cheers!

See Mita Diran collapsed and died.

10 Life Lessons From A Nomad Working Abroad

When I was a kid, all I wanted was a simple store where I can sell my iced candies (aka frozen iced juice) to our neighbours. That was until my parents showed me a bigger picture which is the place we call mall. My folks said that I could have it after graduating from college and that after earning my bachelor’s degree, it would be easier to have my own business. They thought it was easy to which the gullible in me believed in. Some years later, I left our country to earn money. Being abroad is a far cry from my plans, it is my last resort when it comes to work. However, a sense of euphoria fills me in knowing that I have fulfilled my mum’s dream when she was my age back then. Here are the lessons I have learned (and heard) the hard way to which I know my mum is smiling from ear to ear. Oh, if you only see her smile when I left our house as she hugged me tight! Is it because she knew that another headache (me) is gone?! 😀

1. Attitude

My attitude sucks big time especially my “patience quotient.” If there’s a cookie and mum promises to give me one more when she gets back home, I think I could wait for her. Another cookie sounds enticing to me so what I would do is I would lick the cookie then put it back on the plate. She would not know that I have tasted it, right?! Voila, another cookie is waiting for me! Of course, what happened in real life is the exact opposite! I am restless and not the type who can wait. Traveling and working abroad tested my patience, so much that it hurts. It may not entirely changed me but I could say that my patience have upped a bit. A good attitude will either make or break us and that’s what I am working on until now.

2. Skills/Work

Not having ample skills will get us nowhere. I am not an authority to say what is skilled and what is not. However, I have observed that we must be flexible or else, we perish at the workplace. When you start working, you would be surprised that you are working for more than what you have signed for. If you are going to learn from it, take the challenge and learn everything you can. You may not get an increase but at least you get to have another work experience or another skill to master. And what if the company does not appreciate you? There’s a thing called choice and another thing called gut — get moving. You already know what to do.

3. Adventures

Adventures can be found outside the confines of our home unless you consider breaking your own furnitures an adventure on its own. Adventures and getaways may mean different to each and everyone of us yet its common ground is fun. By fun, means having a worthwhile experience that will always make you want to do it again or simply reminisce why it happened and how it made you happy. Adventures also mean that you have tried doing things you never thought you would do whether it’s jumping off a cliff, diving, eating exotic foods, singing/dancing in front of a large crowd, making fun of yourself, the list goes on and on… <insert whatever you want to do that you haven’t done yet>. Go give it a try or you’ll regret that you never did.

4. People/Culture

Each individual is different. What is good to you may mean otherwise to the other individual so it would be better if we acknowledge where a certain person comes from. I have learned not to judge them and gained a broader understanding that cultures differ. Interacting with other people enables us to learn a lot from them, as to why they act and think that way. Another perspective is brought out in the open wherein we know that the world is not just revolving around us but to other people as well.

5. Communication/Relationships

We are close to nothing if we do not know how to communicate. Without communication, there would be no relationships. While some people are innate with communication skills, it could also be learned diligently. By learning to listen, one can start communicating well. Most of us are avid talkers, not knowing when to keep our mouths shut. Why can’t we just listen eagerly to what the other individual has to say? We cannot form good relationships if we do not know how to communicate. What more getting a job if all we could do is talk about ourselves and not let the employer/recruiter have their chance to utter their sentences? What is good cover to a blabbermouth? A very sticky duct tape.

6. Health

Without good health, forget working abroad unless you have a backer who would put you into employment and say that you are fit to work. Health is definitely wealth here. There is no point earning lots of bucks if your health suffers. Invest in healthy foods and foods that could benefit your mind and body. Supplements and medicines can only take you far and will just give you a run for your money. Stay healthy or say buh-bye to your visa/work permit. Being healthy is self-explanatory.

7. Independence

Being on your own is surreal and liberating. Having your own money and having to send some of it to your family back home is an achievement. I maybe shallow but I feel happy that I could give back something to them. I am not a self-acclaimed independent bloke but at least, I never ask someone for alms. I have learned to spend my money wisely and to spend within my means. It is perfectly okay to indulge on something only if you have paid your dues and paid yourself (savings, investment, etc.). Living abroad is very expensive and we should be aware that this kind of life is not forever unless you have become a permanent resident or a citizen to which there are no guarantees. Choose a lifestyle that you can sustain and support in the long haul.

8. Freedom

Freedom is the kind of feeling where we could do what we want without having to worry what happens next. It is similar to independence but freedom is quite subjective. Freedom happens when we are in control of our lives and that happens when we know what we want and how to get it.

9. Appreciation/Gratitude

Being grateful is what keeps me going until this day. I appreciate the little things and feel happy. I feel blessed that I am able to wake up every morning. Not everyone does and this not a cliché. Thank yourself, thank your friends, thank the world. All these will love you back and make you appreciate yourself more.

10. Self

After a hard day’s work, all we have is ourselves. There are times when there’s no one to talk to and nostalgia sets in. You gotta give yourself some lovin’ and do what makes you feel loved. You are an individual worthy to be loved and you deserve it. Don’t you ever forget that! I think I love myself now and so, I am preaching it.

No matter what age you are in, being a nomad once in your life is a one of the best experiences that would make you experience life. The lessons are indeed priceless and no amount of money can give you all these challenges. Changes, good and bad combined and all the other adventures might not have happened have it not for the nomadic life you have experienced. And even if you are home buddy or a so-called patriotic who never want to leave the country, being a nomad at times has its own rewards. After all, there is nothing to lose but only to gain, unless we are dead by default.

P.S. Mum, I know that your stomach ached from too much laughing after reading this. I could hear you fart now. Okay, you won. My life is never the same again! 😀

When Sorry Is Just A Word

Daily Prompt: Sorry, I’m Busy

There will always be this one time where we could have helped someone but did not. I know the feeling and the frustration but I was too nonchalant about it. Imagine a scenario when by all means you could have helped this someone but you chose not to and stood by that decision. If you were that person who turned your back to the one who desperately needed your help, how would you feel?

To start with, people in our company are nice and happy people until some of turned out to be bad, sour and sort of dumb. These people commit a lot of mistakes and I am not an excuse to this. We have wrongdoings and have been wronged by bosses who do not know how to manage people. This is also the first time in my life that I have seen friends and colleagues working 24/7, devoting their lives to a project that we do not know where the hell we are headed. Silly and real, sad and painful because our partners and loved ones are complaining that we have less time for them. When a colleague has asked me to help him write his design document, I declined. I felt sorry because I wanted to help but I couldn’t just because my plate is already full. He understood right away because we are in the same boat.

We do not need awards or recognition just for us to know that we are doing good. We do not need a raise just to bribe us that we extend our hours to do more work and do other stuff not specific to our assigned projects. Further, the medical card given to us is nothing compared to the sickness and lost of time that we have lost. Lost time and health can never be recovered. What happened, happened. What is lost may not be found. Now what?!

What I have learned from this is loving myself. I have forgotten myself when thinking of other people especially the ones who mean the world to me. How ironic it is that they are the reason why we work when they could also be the ones we could lose? Work would not be there to take care of me unconditionally when I am sick. It won’t buy me the time I should be spending with my loved ones. If you have kids, you lose the ‘time’ to bond with them and you missed seeing them grow up all because you poured it out to your work and to the blokes in your company who would never appreciate what you did — and so on, and so forth. How do I know? A good friend of mine who’s been working for them for a year, got terminated. Call it office politics but their reason of saying that it was due to his poor performance is lame. I am one of the witnesses when our client commended him for doing his work so well. Logically, whether or not we do our best, we still could lose our jobs. There are just some things that are not within our control. I can bear to lose a job in more than ten thousand or million ways but the thought of losing the core reason of my existence here on earth is unforgivable.

This only means that I am devoting more time to myself and to the ones who matter to me. Sorry to my family and friends. Most of all, sorry to myself. I perfectly remember this adage, “What we allow is what will continue.” I guess I forgive myself now. Sorry is just a word, a word that is often taken for granted for its meaning and essence. I hope I have learned that by heart many times ago.

~ School is not…

~ School is not real life. Real life is learning more about life when you are outside the school. – Bliss Steps, on comparing her life in school and in other places where people are required to have skills, esp. in the workplace

When the Dog Blinks

~ Just like a dog, I obey my master. But I have to bark or bite if my master asks me to do shit. – Bliss Steps

For cute photos of dogs, cats and other cool animals, visit http://www.cuteoverload.com.