Today I traveled to KL for a short business trip and caught up with one of my ex-colleague, he used to be my boss in 2011. He is currently working in KL and this year he is 39 years old.
His family is based in SG while he spends Monday till Friday in KL. He will commute to and fro, he has been doing this for the last 1 year. I have another friend who does that for the past 2 years. The key reason why their family is not with them in KL is because of the children. The children are all studying in SG primary school and they want them to complete their education in SG.
We were having coffee when he shared with me that by next year, he wants to return to SG. He wants to get a lower pay job, without traveling and get to end work on time. He wants to spend time with his child and not miss her growing up years. He mentioned,”What is the point of having a million but when your family is not with you?”
He mentioned that he had spent a decade trying to ascend the corporate career but finds the ladder getting narrower and narrower. There is a lot more politics at the top and it is not just about work anymore. He does not want to climb this ladder any further and wants to take a step down, probably to another ladder.
The Two Ladders
In adult life, there are two ladders. The first ladder is labelled “Employment”, the ladder starts wide and easy to climb. There is a lot room at the bottom of the ladder. As we start to climb up the “Employment” ladder, it starts to get narrower. There are more politics, more back-stabbing, longer working hours and more work load. At the top, the ladder is very narrow and few makes it to top. If you can reach the top, you will be handsomely rewarded while trying to stop your competitors from pulling your leg down.
The second ladder is labelled “Entrepreneurship”. This ladder starts out narrow and it can be very slow and difficult to climb. You may not see results for a very long time but it is like a bamboo which takes years to get established and grow up over time. At the top of the ladder is wide enough for everyone. There is room for different business owners up there. The key is to get started and even failure means you tried. If you never stop trying, you will not fail.
The above figure shows a man forgotten his login password and the reminder question was “What is your dream?” He typed in “money”, “property”, “car”, and “career”. All are wrong. He did not forget his password but forgot his dream.
After talking to my ex-boss, I was doing some reflections during dinner. Are we all tired of our work because the industry is not doing well? Are we tired of all the traveling? Or just plain tired? I asked myself, “What was my dream when I was younger?” I remember I used to have a good friend whom I never speak to now, we would always discuss during university days what we would do after graduation. He went on to start his own agency in Prudential. I used to tell him that I wanted to start a small business which will pay me S$5k/month. I used to dream about starting my tuition center because I had taught tuition for a decade since 19 years old. I used to dream of becoming an engineer when I was 7 years old.
How about you? What was your dream? Do you remember your dream when you are young?