How Much Are You Worth?

Just because you’re out of job, it doesn’t give you the right or an excuse for selling yourself short.

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to have had 4 interview opportunities. To be shortlisted from a pool of how many applications, it’s a good recognition.

One question I got asked over and over again is: What are your salary expectations? This premature question often makes me uncomfortable but I can see the logic behind it. My answer has always been a standard one: I gave the number in line with my last role as Office Manager, plus I said if they can’t meet my expectations, I’m willing to negotiate for a mutually accepted number within their budgeted range or can review it in 3 months. So, you can see there’s a room for everyone to come to an agreement.

Somehow, my salary expectations must’ve scared them off. They decided to chicken out or avoid me altogether. Well, if they prefer to hire someone cheap, fine by me but just not me.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a good tactic of tackling this type of questions going forward. Won’t say too much here but I’ll let you know how it went at a later day.

So, Office Manager, almost every company has one. It sounds like a fancy title, but till you do the job, you realize it’s one of the most under-rated or least-appreciated roles in the office. Ready to get your hands dirty? A faulty light tube, a leak in the toilet, a dishwasher problem, a swipe card not working, the front door not opening, the lift not working, here and there etc. All these represent only a small fraction of what I used to do in my last role. But I did it anyway. Because I regarded myself as a problem solver and I got paid (enough) to do the job.

Now, I’ll swift gear a bit. Since I posted a long note about my redundancy news a few days back, I got to learn that a friend has also suffered the same fate recently. Everyone deals with their own personal issues differently. We should respect that 100%. For me, an issue like this, I’m very open and transparent about it. There’s no shame. Zero. Of course, I thought for a while before posting it but I’m glad I did. An outpouring of support from friends, colleagues and family has been amazing.

I remember back in January, I had a candid, heartfelt one on one conversation with my reporting manager – the CFO. In our meeting, he complimented me on my ability to handle the bad news – the grace and the dignity that I’ve conducted myself with during the difficult time. He even said: Ted, this is something I can learn from you. I was flattered of course, at the same time, I knew he meant it. He’s not someone known for giving compliments freely.

I said to him: the reason why I’m not worried about life after redundancy is this:

Let’s look at the evidence: None of my ex colleagues or friends (I’m talking about a big number of people from different companies and sectors) including myself who were made redundant or became jobless for that matter continue to be jobless forever. None. Everyone landed a job at the end, unless they decided to retire or not to work for a while. As long as you don’t give up, there’ll be an opening door for you.

This is the same sentiment that I’ve been carrying with me from day one since I heard the “bad” news. I know it sucks, but it’s not all that bad. A couple of days before I left the company for good, I had a chance to speak with someone high up from the head office. Already had 3 experiences under her belt, she said being made redundant is one of the best things that has ever happened to her. I knew she wasn’t exaggerating.

Having said that, not everyone is coping. One of my former colleagues said on the email that his anxiety or depression from the teenage days has resurfaced as a result of it. Amid the uncertainty ahead, he decided to open up and share his vulnerability with us. And? None of us was judgmental about his mental status, we all lent our support to him in our own private way.

One important thing I’ve learned from this journey is: Do not assume.

Do not assume there’s no use going on. The truth is quite the opposite. There’s plenty of use going on and on and on. Just because you don’t see the result you want straight away, it doesn’t mean your effort of doing it has been wasted. It’s just stored somewhere for improvement next time.

Do not assume people don’t care. The truth is: Yes, some don’t give a shit but most do. Choose to be around those who do care, stay away from those who don’t. But bear in mind, those who don’t care perhaps it’s not usually their fault. They may have enough shits to deal with in their life already. Your problem is probably something too small to care about compared to their own.

That’s all from me today. Before I started to write this post, I’d sent off one application. So I’m using this writing thing as a reward. I think I deserve giving myself a pat on the back. Till next time, watch this space…

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