Rather than engage in the simple vanity of letting Facebook decide what my 2014 was like, I thought I would tap it out for myself, warts and all.
2013 was a pretty good year with the exception of some medical issues for both myself and family. These issues left us at the end of 2013 fairly hale and hearty although with severely empty bank balances and well maxed credit cards. I had a melanoma removed … twice, The first time the dermatologist made a small incision and took the lesion off my back. That healed quickly. However, after several rounds of pathology and an argument with Australian Quarantine (it seems that Australian tissue is expected to come back into Australia still attached to the Australian), it was discovered that not enough tissue had been removed.
I went to a proper cutter this time who seems to have learned his knife skills from Mac the Knife (queue the music) which resulted in a great hunk of my back being removed (about a $30 steak worth). Literally, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
I returned to Singapore from Christmas in Australia. I was promptly retrenched. The company I had worked with for five years had decided that there was no role for Business Development any longer in Australia, Indonesia and a couple of other locations. OK, that’s a fair cop I suppose, even though that same company had pulled me out of two potential deals in 2013.
I asked about retrenchment benefits which are not required by law in Singapore but which are encouraged by the Ministry of Manpower. After two weeks and I guess a few thousand dollars spent on legal fees, I was told that they were not required by law to pay them and anyway, I was being dismissed for poor performance (even though I was the only sales staff to have received any bonus in the past 4 years and in any case, had been pulled from two deals by the company).
My company lied to me – at least one bald-faced lie so I pity any customers – how can you trust a company that lies outright to their staff’s face?
To compound the problem, they screwed up my final salary calculation twice, have short-paid all their Singapore staff over the past few years (and still owe me funds for that matter) as well as breached Singapore tax law (a matter that I am pursuing currently).
Anyway, I left. I had two good prospects for new work over the first six months unemployed – and ran second in both races. Both employers are currently regretting not having selected me as I understand.
Around July 2014 things started looking up and I started work with my current employer in August in Manila so we moved city and country. This has brought much relief to our abysmal financial position. The Philippines is, however, an exciting place to live and in our first three months here we’ve had the tail-end of a typhoon, two tropical rain depressions, an earthquake (which we barely noticed) and Mayon, a volcano near Legazpi City, and only 200 kms away, has been rumbling!
Over that period of February to July I came to truly appreciate my friends – those that found some temporary work for me, those that lent money against some temporary work I was doing, those that just lent funds with no real expectations of when and if I could ever repay them and those that helped out with the odd lunch, the odd beer and the odd session of morale building and those that paid me way over market rates to paint some soldiers. You all know who you are and understand how much I appreciate the help, burgers, figures to paint, whisky, beer, massages, more excesses of beer and tequila drinking, lots more Auchentoshan …. well, you get the idea. A bloke really would be hard pressed to find a better set of mates.
So, what of 2015?
Wargaming and painting I’ll cover in a separate post. Work-wise, consolidate this project in Manila and get the tasks complete. Ensure that 2015, 16 and 17 continue to be better than 2014 and trust to karma.
Thanks guys and gals for all the help, the love, the warmth. Now on to 2015!
Happy New Year!