They didn’t really have much of a choice. There simply hadn’t been enough sales to meet the overheads; not for well over a year. It was a small wonder that they retained us for as long as they did. Personally, I would have made the same decision; only difference is, I would have done it much sooner. Under the circumstances, I guess bearing a grudge would not be very appropriate. This was why I didn’t torch the place down on my last day at work.
That was ten harrowing months ago. During that time, I’ve had my car re-possessed (twice); my credit cards have been cancelled and I’m waiting to for my date to appear in court; my insurance policies have lapsed, leaving my insurance agent none too pleased; and I’ve had to sell-off my entire collection of vintage Montblanc pens so that I can continue to have two half-decent meals a day. Oh, and about two weeks ago, my fiancé ran off with a plastic surgeon from Singapore. Apart from that, everything is just fine, thank you for asking.
So, during the past ten month, I’ve been circulating my resume to almost every company in the English-speaking world. I guess in a recession there simply isn’t a market for a lawyer who can also double-up as a Linux systems administrator, and who is also desperate enough to do anything (no matter how menial) as long as he is gainfully employed. And so, I am very thankful to the owners of this business for having offered me this job.
OK first off, I am drawing close to a quarter of what I was earning at my previous company. This isn’t too bad considering 25% of whatever I had been earning before is always going to be better than 125% of zero. But here, I no longer have a company car at my disposal. No big deal; I already have using public transport down to an art. I know public transport isn’t very efficient, but it sure beats having to walk all the way from Gombak to Ampang – and back again everyday. I will, however, miss my old corner office that came with an excellent view of the Shah Alam skyline and an ever-willing secretary to do my every bidding. But hey, this is a recession – I mustn’t be too picky. Just having a job – any job at all – ought to be good enough. However, since my new bosses insists on me wearing a suit to work, I have had to dig out my old two-piece Hugo Boss so as to comply with the new corporate culture. Still – no big deal.
On the plus side (let’s be positive for a minute), instead of a dishy secretary, I now have two very able-looking lads assisting me in my responsibilities. I guess they will do. Come to think of it, without them, I think I’d probably die. So, I shan’t complain. Every little bit helps.
But unlike my previous place of employment, this place has a corporate kitchen and bar tasked with keeping the food and drinks coming. As long as I keep it within reason, my boss will not question whatever I consume; I do have to sign for it, though. Just how cool is this? Now I can look forward to pretty decent meals while working – without having leave the office, or even having to pay for it. Maybe this is a new corporate strategy for keeping our noses to the grindstone. Whatever it may be, I am not complaining.
My first day on the job hasn’t been too bad thus far. At the briefing I had conducted earlier, my two assistants warned me about the volatility of the Korean market. Simply put, that particular segment can get pretty nasty – and things have been known to get ugly on more than a few occasions. The boys made it very clear that several Korean clients were way beyond their capabilities to handle, and that they had often end up on the wrong side of a beating. They also made it abundantly clear that if there is going to be any trouble with Korea, they will have to rely on my skill and experience. This means I will have to deal with it, thank you. I told them I did not intend on letting them down – and tried very hard not to show any apprehension while doing it.
The early part of the day was spent in my little corner observing how my charges went about their work. All seemed pretty routine and business-like: So far, so good. But for good measure, I occasionally exercised the tried and tested technique of ‘management-by-walking-about’ – walking through the office floor and visiting the various departments to make my presence felt, thereby making sure everything was ship-shape and, at the same time, averting any potential trouble. Often, in my new line of work, this is all that’s needed to keep things humming along. To ensure operational success in this business, you need to let everyone know that there’s ruthless maniac running around with a very big (metaphorical) stick. It also helps, too, if everyone knows that he isn’t too inhibited in wielding it.
As I sit down at my desk to enjoy my Chinese fried rice,fried chicken wings and beverage of choice, I am glad that quite apart from my legal and IT qualifications, I had been crazy enough to train for the qualification that has allowed me to secure this current job. It may not be much of a job – but at least I do have one. Just goes to show that one simply cannot learn too many skills.
But even before I can get in my first sip, there is a tremendous sound of crashing and people screaming coming from a room not too far away. One of my boys rushes in, pleading desperately, “Sir, it’s the Koreans again! And I think they’ve hurt Zaki real bad…”
I nod my acknowledgement, discreetly palm the ‘yawara’ stick in my pocket, and rush to the scene. It is time to put my qualification as a Shotokan karate instructor, and my experience as a semi-professional kick-boxer to work – in my new profession as a chief bouncer at a karaoke lounge.
Hopefully, I won’t have to hurt anybody – least of all, me.
The above is a work of fiction. I still have my current job (for now) 🙂