What’s in a job

I’m aware that European economies are in the shitters, and even in the US, the economy is only slowly recovering and unemployment remains relatively high. Many foreigners, including those from US and Europe, are here in Singapore looking for jobs. To many Singaporeans, it appears that our country is the employment center of the world, providing jobs to the foreigners. The government is also really generous in approving employment passes for these white-collared workers. In fact the country has seen a huge influx of foreigners, especially Indians and Filipinos, in the past few years.

You may be excused to think that there’re not enough Singaporeans to take on the administration, IT, or any of the thousands of white-collared jobs. Truth is the locals are sidelined. How the hell do you explain why many IT departments consist of mainly Indian nationals? Or why does a company hire a Brit or an Aussie for secretarial jobs? Does it make sense that Singapore doesn’t produce enough Computer Science grads? Or are Singaporeans not qualified to be a secretary or don’t want to be a secretary? Even for the blue-collared or menial jobs, many are taken up by PRCs. And there’s a joke going on that you don’t have to go to the Philippines to experience Manila because you get that in restaurants and eateries here. The waitstaff is predominantly Filipinos.

I’ve to say my country is really generous to help relieve the high unemployment problems in many other countries, and Singaporeans are so altruistic to offer the local jobs to these foreigners who need them. Expectedly the propaganda is that Singaporeans are pretty picky in their job selections, asking for high pay, no long hours and no long travel time. Well you know what? I’ve related a job experience encountered by my friend, Pauline, in an earlier post ‘stories‘, where the pay is less than S$2,000 for the job of an office Admin Manager, with miserable benefits of only 7 days of annual leave a year, 7 days of annual medical leave and medical fee capped at S$30 per visit. I’m sure a foreigner from developing countries is willing to take this up since the salary is higher than what he/she would get in their countries. But Singapore, touted as a first world developed country, is not offering first world salary to most of her people.

Anyway a job to me is, at the end of the day, a business transaction between the company and myself. The reason I said this is because I don’t have any passion for any of my previous or current jobs. They’re just a responsibility that I fulfill to get a fair wage in return. There’s no emotion attached regardless of how long I work in the company. I don’t buy any of the bullshit about company culture, part of the family within the firm or building a strong team spirit. Yeah, there may be companies who truly embrace these values, but they are few and far between. What matter to all companies is meeting the bottom line and that’s what the employees are hired to do.

It’s not to say I’ve not built relationships with people whom I have/had worked with. I made some pretty close friends with colleagues over the years, and the relationship is built out of trust. Even after they left the company, we still keep in touch and meet up regularly. But I mostly keep an arm’s length with colleagues in general, seeing them as just people whom I work with together. As I mentioned earlier, I view the job as a commercial transaction, and naturally the work relationships stay within the office. I fulfill my responsibilities as per my contract and I get paid so that I can pay the bills. Yeah you may say I’m pretty cynical, but I feel that at least I stay above the politicking and bullshit, and it makes sense for me when the job is not about life and death. What matters to me is I have a life outside of work, where I have my passion and family and friends. I don’t mix work with my personal life and I want to keep after-office hours for my personal life. What I wish most is that I’m able to quit the job and do something I like eventually.


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