Updated: Jan 4
Indeed there are many ways of putting food on the table, though majority in Singapore's highly risk-averse society choose to toil under the wings of others- simply because it would seem relatively safer and far less hazardous compared to building an enterprise from scratch for themselves. Then again they really cannot be faulted for possessing such mindsets; after all our working culture has unequivocally demonstrated a near zero tolerance for failure. Folks who rough it out on their own terms and tanked in the aftermath are often viewed as smart-ass rejects who should have known better, rather than aspiring adventurers who haven't quite yet figured out the formula for success.
That being said, having expectations of remaining gainfully employed throughout one's entire life is at best an unrealistic, romantic notion. The iron rice bowl of the past is now a myth in the present day where everyone is always in a rush to reach their next destination, and markets evolve on the terms and conditions of dizzying rapid technological change. So endure the headwinds, run Forrest run, else be prepared to get chewed up and spitted out.
If you are trapped in a 9-5 job, the following probably apply to you:
1. You are merely a minion slaving away as you countdown ever so loudly in your head to the moment its finally time to knock off on a daily basis.
2. You are helplessly subjected to the whims and possibly unreasonable demands of superiors.
3. You are a dispensable item in the larger scheme of things; you are ridiculed, criticized and unappreciated. And of course not forgetting to throw in suffering undesirable wage cuts, brutal overtime hours and a constant fear of being replaced into the mix.
Or perhaps the stars have aligned and you actually end up getting hired by one employer of the year so these come across as nothing more than half-baked horror tales ? Well, news flash: companies do undergo restructuring (a less kinder term obviously would be downsizing), get swallowed entirely or go belly up. So one day you got a job, the next day you don't. Well, the same stars can eventually fall out of alignment - its called the laws of Physics.
Yes you may argue that you are so very burdened with numerous financial obligations to the extent you can't simply bail out altogether, however you must wise up and convince yourself that an exit strategy must be plotted. Unless of course you are contented with playing the chained animal for an eternity, existing solely as just another cog in the wheel. Slogging till you finally drop dead? Ain't too pretty a picture. Oh yes...........inertia kills.
If you are sufficiently terrified, that's always a good sign. Question therefore is, what should you do? No single trashy bestselling self-help guide or "transformational guru" will be able to offer you the perfect solution on a plate, neither do we have all the answers. As the universe spins, you are defined by your ability to take advantage of opportunities that come along and reconfigure your circumstances. Having said that, it isn't harmful to consider the following recommendations:
1. Dial down on the unnecessary personal luxuries. Starbucks coffee sucks by the way, and the latest iteration of the iPhone can wait.
2. Attempt baby steps into the world of investing; read and acquire as much knowledge as humanly possible. You want to INVEST to grow your retirement pot, not speculate.
3. Alongside hopping on the investment bandwagon, hold yourself accountable for every penny going in and out of the pocket. In other words, track your cash flows and spending habits closely.
4. Let your passion for that special something blossom into a viable business through careful planning, accumulation of resources and thorough research. Be tactical and bold, yet refrain from taking shortcuts and hungering for mere short-term benefits.
5. Network baby, NETWORK. Get out there and make some friends, because who knows one of them might just happen to be your lucky break.
Wrapping up, we shall leave you with a quote from the movie A Violent Year (2014) to ponder over:
"When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life, and that I can't do."