Jobless bankrupt 42-year-old NUS engineer thrice retrenched wanted to commit suicide
Posted by temasektimes on June 17, 2012
I am a fellow Singaporean, 42 years old, who is out of job for the 3rd time now. I was retrenched on two occasions and recently I was again asked to leave as I was not able to perform as well as the “FT”s and the younger generation in my company.
I am an engineering graduate from NUS, and I would say my career was smooth sailing since I graduated until about 10 years later. I was working in MNCs with good perks, and I have never thought about what it’s like being unemployed until the year 2003 when I was retrenched from a company.
At that point in early 2004, I started out in real estate as a property agent as I thought it is good to be self-employed instead of risking being retrenched again. Besides, I know that this career will pay well if I am able to succeed. However, I was not very successful after trying out for close to a year although I did sell some properties.
In mid 2005, I re-joined my previous company as they happened to have an opening for a similar position I had before. I happily started my employment again. However, this did not last long either as the company re-structured in end 2006 and I was asked to leave.
As this was a second blow to me in my career, I was really, really down at that time. I started gambling and before long, all my retrenchment benefits went down the drain. To make things worse, I chalked up a lot of credit card debts as I was starting to use these credit facilities for gambling. I started finding difficulties in repaying even the minimum payment at one juncture.
At that time, I did not know what I can do except to try something risky in an attempt to recoup my losses. I started punting in stock markets. Because I had no capital at that point in time, I was again only doing contra trades and was looking at locking in profits within a few days.
Initially, I did considerably well and I managed to get about $10k on a monthly basis. This helped me clear my credit card debts. However, good things never last long. I did one very bad trade on one of the occasions and I lost everything. I even incurred further debts with the security firms.
I was totally devastated as my total debt at that time amounted to more than $300k.
I did not want to approach my families at that time although I know they can afford to help me. Main reason was I felt too ashamed to do so. I opted on the path of personal bankruptcy and allowed the creditors to file bankruptcy suit against me. By mid 2008, I was made a bankrupt. This was a time when I lost totally everything… literally everything.
I could not find full time employment then, and I therefore could only try going back to property sales at that time. I managed to sell some properties but the income was really pathetic and I could not survive well. At that time, I signed up a full time IT course sponsored by WDA, and I spent the next 11 months studying in NUS. I did quite well as I managed to become one of the top students, and I graduated with distinction.
After the course, I started full time employment again, with an income that was close to what I was getting when I first graduated. After 2 months, I realised that the job was getting me nowhere as I was assigned tasks that were totally unrelated to my studies, For example, I was asked to do presentations internally, review the processes and I was totally unhappy and I knew I had to seek other alternatives.
Before long, I was offered quite a senior position in a recruitment firm and I immediately moved over. However, I left this company after about 5 months as the management was not pleased with my performance. Basically, there were lots of FTs there and lots of micro-management, and I was considered not good enough for the role.
After this last job, I have been spending my time searching for a new job. Although I do get interviews (more than 10 so far), I did not manage to land anything suitable. Now, I am again at a juncture where I am lost and not sure where else I can go. I am solely dependent on my wife who is working and my finances are depleted again.
There are often times when I even considered ending my life as I find no meaning in living anymore.
Michael, an NUS Engineering graduate
*The above was first published as an article on Transitioning.org, a support site for unemployed Singaporeans