Being single is …

There isn’t anything wrong with being single. Just as there isn’t anything wrong with couples who don’t want kids or not being married even though one has kids.

But yet the world at large and even crossing different cultures, societies make it seem that women or men who do not get hitched or are in a relationship are failures somehow. It results in such men and women having to find all sort of excuses.

  1. I like being single
  2. I ‘m single by choice for career, freedom etc.

etc, etc.

I’m single. Not in a relationship. And it is not by choice.

The advice and comments about my singlehood from friends are not positive. If I ask advice from  them, they would say things like I am too picky or not casual about sex enough or not making the effort.

It is disheartening enough not to be able to meet someone you like who likes you back but worse when your friends make remarks as though finding a partner is as easy as picking up groceries and that the entire problem must be 1. i am just not pretty enough or 2. I have a horrible personality.

The funniest thing is that such thinking does not just come from married people or people in a relationship, it comes from people who are single themselves and finding it a hard time to find the right guy themselves!

Relationships are not easy. It is even  harder to find someone who wants the same thing as you do and be attracted to you (and you to that person) at the same time. I still harbour the hope of finding someone who I can share my life with at some point but in the meantime, I am happy with being single too. And even if I never find that someone special, I will still live my life as best as I can.

The world doesn’t always give you what you want despite you checking all the boxes and I just want to reach out to all those singles out there who are not single by choice that you have nothing to be ashamed about or be beating yourself up about.

 

 

Men are confusing creatures

I met a guy at a gathering the other night.

We had a really good conversation and he asked for my contact which I willingly provided. He also said that he would like very much to meet up with me a few days later for lunch and I went off getting the impression that he was interested in me.

Prior to the “date”, he messaged me a few times and asked mainly how my day was and what I was doing.

Today, we finally met up at a cafe which I recommended. His attitude seem to had a 180 degree change since he last messaged me.
He seem impatient to get the lunch going and he said he made plans with a friend to meet at the gym.

The cafe we were in was meant to be one where you can slowly take your food and enjoy the meal and maybe have a chat later.

But he seemed to anxious to get the food ordered and once he noticed I had my last bite of my chicken, immediately ask for the bill…

After the one and half an hour lunch, we parted with him giving me a handshake.

I have a strong feeling that I am not going to be contacted by him anymore.

Men can be such conflicting creatures sometimes.

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I was offered a job three months ago.

It was a job that I had been seeking for the past two years. I wanted to go back to being a trainer and a company offered me a chance to do so.

Things did not start off well and I knew by the end of the first month, it was a wrong choice.

I decided to stick with the choice anyway , but did bring up to my boss the problems that I faced working in the new environment. He seemed understanding and supportive up till one day my probation was to end. He didn’t even drop the bombshell, he got into a meeting room with HR, half the world across from me and had HR give me the news that they don’t think I am a good fit.

It would have been nice to get a “Good luck and Goodbye ” from the man who hired me. But it looked like he was too much a coward to do so.
I amicably accepted the compensation offered and left the office, after packing my stuff.

My life currently has screeched to a stop.

I was looking back at my Changing Directions articles and realise it was the one thing I was secretly wishing for. Being pulled forcibly out of the corporate environment. But in taking the new job, i had to let go of the online part-time work as well and so my fall back plan had disappeared too.

I wanted to make sure I do not lapse into non-activity and decided to start journaling my Jobless days.

http://journalofjobless.wordpress.com

 

CHANGING DIRECTIONS : PART 4

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Changing Directions : Part 3

            I’m contemplating leaving the job scene for a year while I concentrate on trying out something else. When I mentioned this idea to someone, the first thing he said was “Mid-Life Crisis?”

           I wondered if that is what most people think, that whenever someone starts questioning if their current way of life is for the best, it means they are having a mid life crisis.

          I don’t think I am having a mid life crisis ; as much as I am examining my life base on my five year look-back. I do this almost every four to five years, looking at what I have done, what I am doing and whether it is a waste of my time and whether I have done anything I really wanted to do. I did this when I was in my early twenties, after the “look back” I left a really well paying job, went to London on  a working holiday visa and looked for a job.

        My reasons for leaving were very different then. I wanted to see the world and test my resolve to be a truly independent person for the first time in my life . I had no friends in the UK, I found lodgings , got  a job by myself and made friends . I did feel the experience gave me a lot of confidence in being able to take care of myself.

        This time round, I woke up in the middle of the night  one day and found myself asking what I was doing with my life.

        It can be an exhausting and depressing project, this search for meaning.

        My work is neither challenging nor interesting nor moving anywhere. I’m equally ambivalent about searching for a new job, afraid that I would end back up in the same “crisis” five years down the road.

       This decision would probably be a lot easier, if I know what is the alternative to this mundane existence. The opportunity, the motivation and the drive is just not lined up yet.

       And the fear of watching my hard earned savings start  to depreciate has also created a huge block that slammed back any impulsive jumps I had decided that I wanted to make.

      But I haven’t been completely idle; while going through life and its banal routine, I churned out a book and is on my second attempt at creating another universe with another book.

      I haven’t sold one copy of the book yet, not sure if that is a sign from the universe or society telling me to keep my day job but it IS an option.

      I also started working part time online, earning an extra income. It isn’t much but I thought it would provide me with another option to survive if indeed I am to go ahead with plans to quit my job and spent more time on non-income generating activities.

     It’s still not the perfect set up yet, but I think I’m starting to stack up a solution that I could live with (literally).

Changing Direction 1

Changing Direction 2

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Changing Directions : Part 2

My mid-life career crisis is unfolding before my eyes. I decided I need to do something about it despite not knowing what I want to do or what I like to do.

I like to follow a logical process whenever I am stuck so I decided to at least write down what I KNOW I want about my job.

I think for most people, even if they do not know what type of job or career they want, they do have an idea of how they would like to work.

How I would like to work

1) Flexibility in hours

2) Ability to work from home when required.

3) Able to take leave without having to check my emails or be in contact every day.

4) Work that challenges me

5) Work that earns me enough income that I can lived on

I did noticed that this list has changed a bit since I started working. This is after all a mid-career change crisis. I find that I am less willing to take compromises especially in regards to flexible working hours and work that will challenge me. Also I am mentally prepared for a drastic paycut if I can find something worthwhile and satisfying to do.

Unfortunately, the reality of the current job market has decided to crash in on me. Despite a few promising interviews, I have yet to land a job yet. It doesn’t help also that most HR practices silence when it comes to giving post-rejection feedback.

I found the difficulty in getting a job really contradicting to what i am reading in the news. Which is that there are still several opened positions and companies are having a hard time filling them. I spoke around with a few friends in HR as well as with recruitment executives who had called me up. They confirmed my suspicion that companies now are extremely picky. No longer are they happy with a 60-80 percent fit in a candidate, they are now looking for a 100 percent fit. Expectations are much higher now and with more curbs on foreign workers, companies thus are having a harder time to fill positions. Yet companies do not seem to mind taking six months to

one year to find that perfect candidate.

Sigh…not good news for me I guess.

 

Changing Directions : Part 1

Changing Direction : Part 1

change

change (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

There are plenty of jobs available in this world, even in the U.S whose economy is not doing so well currently. Companies make all sort of effort to make a less glamorous job appear more appealing. Human resource personnel seem to have believed that a nicer sounding title will make up for that lousy paycheck and lack of appreciation. It’s the easiest to implement solution that has been taught and widely used by the HR practitioners.

This rings especially true for mundane, repetitive work.

Sadly the thrill of having a nice sounding job title typed in Arial 12 in your resume only goes so far to fill that hole in your soul.

When asked what is the most disappointing thing about my job, I wrote down satisfaction and appreciation.

Years of selling out to a stable job and salary have finally taken toll and I officially declared my soul numbed and quite possibly I am but a shell of a person left.

A few months back, as I faced impending retrenchment (the threat of which still looms like a black cloud above my head). I approached the threat first by panicking, second by checking if I have enough money to tide me over and for how long. Eventually I arrived at the third stage which was figuring out what I was going to do next.

I have to say I am still stuck at this stage(been probably stuck at this question for the past 20 years). Although my job is currently going to remained safe, the thought that I might get retrenched and that I would no longer be required to go into the office and be another unappreciated , under-utilized employee with no career advancement actually lifted my spirits. I attempted one or two interviews before I realized that I would just be placing myself back in a environment where 80 percent of the time I am not fully using my skills, am numb and feel utterly colorless.

This brought me back to the same question which I was not able to find an answer to all these years and the inability to answer the question held me prisoner to society’s (and my parents’) idea of how I should earn my living.

What SHOULD I do?

A job which I love or  A job which I do what I am best at.

Figuring out what I am passionate about is another conundrum. Figuring out what I do best is worst, fire sirens sound at the smoke coming out of my head.

Let’s be honest , I am mediocre.

And as Albert Camus once said “Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.”

Working without any interest or passion for your work results in the idleness of the brain and it has indeed proven lethal for my soul.

But can one who is mediocre metamorphose into something else?

To be continued….

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Deliberate amnesia

IMG_0043

IMG_0043 (Photo credit: Wong Kee Wee)

I often bring friends who are visiting from overseas around Singapore.I do this, maybe once of twice a year. Each time, I noted there would always be a new place of interest or new shopping center to introduce to them to.

Some of my seasoned travelling friends have made observations about how they felt a disconnect between the glittering city and how people behave or dressed here.

I tried to explain and paint the picture for them that Singapore had not been this glittering city for many years. It was not like Europe whereby they had taken centuries to develop to the stage they are currently at. I told my friends, how I still remember going to the wet market to see live chickens being de-feathered and killed on the spot,people going to markets in their pajamas,the power outages that would occur every once in a while as well as the buses with conductors.

I realized as I went through some of my memories with my friends that I sounded like an old woman telling young people about how things used to be. But many of the experiences and places I was re-telling were only 10-20 years old.

Singapore has changed and is changing so fast that its own people are unable to keep pace with it.

People I meet who are just a few years younger than me are not even able to share the same memories of a place or experiences with me. The difference in ages between people who causes the disconnect of shared memories and experiences seemed to be getting narrower and narrower. It is no longer a generation of people who can share the same recollections, rather it is the year that you are born.

It is one thing to renew and another to preserve simply for tourism. It is as if Singapore strives hard to wash the slate clean every few months. History is for the romantic while the pragmatic sees only the future, the past need not be remembered, unless of course, lots of profit can be made off it. (Check out Chinatown for a concrete example of what I mean)

Singapore sounds callous (hey, voted most emotionless country! I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed of this fact) but then again I have never known anyone or country to do middle ground well.

In a small island with limited space, can we really be afford to be sentimental or it is just inevitable that what are just old buildings for many, would have to go and make way for taller and more space efficient replacements.

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