21 May 2015

What Do You Do If You Get Laid Off?

Last weekend, wifey and I were at a neighbourhood coffeeshop for a cuppa. This coffeeshop is always crowded on the weekends. Families having a weekend breakfast, gatherings of elderly folks having a coffee and a smoke, and the occasional individuals and couples. As it was crowded, we shared a table with another gentleman. The gentleman was enjoying his own cuppa and welcome us to join him.

It turned out to be quite an unexpected morning as he had quite an interesting story to share. He used to work as a technician at a telco earning $2,000 per month. Unfortunately, his work was outsourced and to his great disappointment, he was laid off. For months, he could not secure another decent paying job. With a family of five to feed, this was a very serious problem for his family.

He decided that some income was better than no income. So, he finally took up a job as a bus driver, earning an income of $1,200 per month (early 2000). It was tough work. He had to wake up at 3 am in the morning to get to work, where he then drove a bus for 9 to 10 hours each day. It took quite awhile for him to get used to it. Eventually he did. The pay sucked.

But that was then. Today, he said that the pay has improved dramatically, especially in recent years. Now he earns well over $3,600 a month after deducting CPF. That kind of explains the increasing cost of operations for public transportation companies.

He has a few daughters who are still at school going age. So long as he has good CPF savings, he felt he could afford to use his CPF to pay for his daughters education. So having a job that also contributed to his CPF was important for him. He was very appreciative of the safety net that CPF has provided him.

Seems like a tremendously hardworking gentleman. Somebody who embodies the spirit of earning his keeps, living within his means, responsibly bringing up and supporting his family, and an emphasis on providing for his children's education.

I like him. A nice conversation to start the morning. Great to have made his acquaintance.


Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Sometimes we meet the most interesting people if we just stop and listen to their stories ;)

Lizardo said...

A most interesting encounter. Just like a previous case with a taxi driver.

Jimmy L said...

Thanks for sharing

Money Honey said...

Lamenting one's own so called ill-fated life is disastrous.

Letting failure overtaking then not just one suffers but others will get dragged into it as well.

Hardly anyone is born useless so it is better to fight on and facing whatever issues bravely.

la papillion said...

Hi Lizardo,

Great sharing :)

It's great to hear pple who don't take no for an answer, and still find his own way out in spite of his circumstances. These are all lessons we can all take away from.

Anonymous said...

The future of transportation is driverless.
If this future happens within the current generation, then it might be difficult for countries to adjust and cater for the jobless to have an easy avenue of quickly finding a job that does not require additional training (or much additional training).
Now there is always the relatively easy fallback for countries to provide driver jobs via taxi and other transport services. Next time will be different when driverless taxis and buses come about (already happened for MRT drivers for the new lines - no jobs there).

Lizardo said...

Jimmy L,

You're welcome.

Lizardo said...

Money Honey,

Resilience is necessary. Glad he moved forward.

Lizardo said...

la papillion,

Indeed, life lessons to takeaway.

Lizardo said...


Agree that autonomous vehicle will be a disruptive change. It's still 3-10 years away from reality though.

Not going to be consequential to bus drivers in a big way since they can't even find enough people today and have to hire substantive foreigners.

There will be greater demands for technicians to maintain all these equipment.

I don't think it's going to be significantly consequential. Hopefully, the pay in the service industry will improve and provide the counter-balance. As it is, they can't even hire enough people. But in part, that's because their pay sucks for now.

Yatırım said...

Thank you for your article.

Lizardo said...


Thanks for your comment.