A series of unhappy events at work

At the start of the new year, I am counting down to the day when I leave the company. The chairman who is my Managing Director’s Uncle tried to use a scare tactic on me yesterday. He told me that my situation is kind of embarrassing. I am considered the new “middle age” group. 

1) A new industry will not want to hire me as it involves training and by the time I am competent, i will be around 40 years old. I can only work for another 10 years in the company or industry.

2) There are a lot of very experienced 40+ years old candidates out there.

3) On the other extreme, the young fresh graduates commands a lower pay, they are more energetic and filled with drive. 

Therefore he told me either I cut my pay by half or I start my own business.


Today, it took a drastic change, the chairman told me that he doesn’t have any money to pay me for my three months notice period and ask me to leave immediately in order not to waste my time. Even if I wait on till the end of the money, he told me the money will not come.

I checked with other friends who used to work there previously. Similar situation happens to them as well. One of them told me that he was not paid for the last three months and everyday he turn up at work begging them to pay him the salary. He suffered in 2016, the family did not enjoy the Christmas and Chinese New Year.  

I cannot understand why an employer can just drop you if they do not have any need for you anymore and declare that “I do not need to fulfill my part of the contract and do not need to pay your notice period”.  

I am feeling more settled down and I have called MOM. I spoke to a lady called Pamela who is not the best customer service representative. All her questions were targeted to understand whether you are a PMET or not. I just have to wait till the end of the month.

In short, our government is pro-SME and businesses. They will take care of employees with lesser than SGD 4,500, which are covered under the employment act. However, if your pay is more than SGD 4,500 and you are a PMET,  you need to take care of your own self. 

I concluded it is never going to be easy for the middle class population. Yes, you may have higher than average pay but you will be the first to go when the company wants to cut cost. You will be taxed the highest which is fair. You will not get to enjoy all the government subsidies, buy BTO, etc. All these I understand and it is a fair system. 

All in all, this strengthens my belief that I need to move into self employment or business. 

Internally I am not used to not receiving a pay check at the end of the month. Never in my decade long of employment, I have a single break with no salary coming in. I have pride myself for able to have full employment one job after another. I did reach out to industry friends to ask for jobs. 

There is another stress factor when my wife told me that her work may further be outsourced. We are all vulnerable. Worst case scenario is for both of us to go out of jobs at the same time. I suffered during Christmas and New Year. I think I will be kind of sad this Chinese New Year. 

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