Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 16th 2018

Dismissed 49-year-old equities trader don’t want to end up as a cabbie


Hi Gilbert,

I was retrenched back in Oct 2011 and have not being able to  find a salaried job. since.

I was an equities trader with a Japanese investment firm for four years and was asked to leave after they replaced my Japanese boss with a much younger Singaporean.

We didn’t see eye to eye on many issues and soon my appraisal took a real beating without me knowing about it until it was too late.

I am 49, and he is 40, and I guess he felt threatened with me around because he couldn’t push me around like he did with the younger ones in the team.

Hence, the point that I am trying to put  across is that sometimes  older people like myself cannot find work  because the hiring manager is much younger and not necessarily a foreigner.

So our locals do play a big part also in boosting the unemployment figures among the older Singaporeans.

We need to emulate Japan. They have an ageing population but they have a good seniority culture in their system to ensure that older people get to keep their jobs.

We must introduce that culture into our society and do it fast. Otherwise, when more and more young people in their 20′s and 30′s become line managers and head of departments, our older citizens will face terrible consequences.

Anyway,  I would appreciate if you can point me to a place where there are real job opportunities for matured professionals like me.

I have tried applying for junior positions in finance industry which i am more than qualified but have not received a single reply.

I had work hard for my pay. Always on time and only leaves after everything has been done. Mentored younger subordinates and took all the raps for their mistakes.

So hence, I do not deserve to end up as a taxi driver…




Hi Patrick

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear of your predicament at work.
I am also alarmed at the circumstances surrounding your dismissal – have you seek the advice of MOM officers?
Its true that Singapore is very age-bias against older workers as if they are useless once they reach a certain age.
Thats probably the eason why many experienced well educated PMETs take to driving cabs in order to survive.
Of course, some younger bosses felt threatened by their more senior older sub ordinates and may resort to drastic mesures to remove that threat to their position.
Besides the many  government-sponsored upgrading programmes on healthcare and construction sectors, I am unsure how you can really do a proper career switch here as our employment environment is rather narrow-based.
Moreever, after upgrading, there is no guarantee that you can find a proper job and if you do so, the salary may be very low as you literally start from scratch.
Another way is to look at opportunities abroad as I heard that third world countries like Vietnam and Myarmar are keen to hire experienced Singaporean PMETs like yourself for managerial positions in their companies.
Its actually ironical that we are better appreciated by companies located abroad than local ones.
We also  have occasional enquiries from employers asking for jobless PMETs to take up certain vacancies locally.
So its best that you can forward me your resume so that I know whether it has match our positions available.
The job market has indeed changed alot and even masters degree holders have to drive cabs now.
The influx of younger and cheaper third world graduates means that many of our jobs are being taken over  by foreigners nowadays.
Its certainly worrying and discouraging but sometimes there is no other viable choice available.
Many drive cabs  unwillingly as they have being searching for jobs for many months without any success and moreover cab driving is rather independent and flexible.
You are like y our own boss…
One could earn close to $2500 if he drives seven days a week for around 10 hours daily.
Its a good  stop-gap temporary job before you  land a proper job of your desire.
Can I also provide a career coach to you for guidance?
Its free of charge for Singaporeans. Let me know.
I have also attach my ebook How to survive unemployment for your reading pleasure.
Thanks and take care. Stay positive.
We are here for you.
Gilbert Goh
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Reader Feedback

32 Responses to “Dismissed 49-year-old equities trader don’t want to end up as a cabbie”

  1. Johson - Australia says:

    Sorry to hear that but it’s good to lower one’s expectation as the famous saying goes : beggars can’t be choosers. Despite having a degree, decent work experience, good English and a brilliant work ethic, I was unable to find a job in my field since migrating to Melbourne about a year ago. I took up dish washing, car washing and currently factory work to pay the bills. Have tried for applying for jobs which were offering half my last drawn salary or entry level jobs but no luck. Know of project managers, accountants with CPA qualifications etc ending up being a healthcare attendants, cleaners, car washers,dish washers here in Melbourne but they take up any job till something better comes along. There are many highly qualified people without jobs now due to recessions worldwide but some are able to drop their pride and take up a lower paying job to make ends meet. Hope you are able to do that if you need to.

    • Ice says:

      Hi Johson-Australia,

      Out of curosity, can I ask how you manage to migrate to Australia without first securing a job? I would like to consider migrating to Australia but not sure if I am qualify, especially without a job.

      I am not so worry about getting a job in Australia as I can always falls back on my savings and also do some internet venture.


      • Johson-Australia says:

        Hi Ice,

        Its very difficult to migrate over now as they require high IELTS bands and you must have a skill on the demand list and enough work experience.

        If you are applying for 457 visa, they need to prove that they cannot employ a local to fill the job thus must get someone from overseas to do it.

        From my understanding,DIAC has changed the polcy to anyone who is interested to migrate over/457 visa, you need to submit an expression of interest in which will be forwarded to a pool of applications. Should they call you within 2 years, your application is successful if not, means the application was unsuccessful.

        *I managed to migrate over due to my spouse having the necessary skills needed for 457 via/PR. (Although I would prefer to be Singapore for the sake of my career – at times one has to decide between family or career)

  2. Ice says:


    Since you are an equity trader, why don’t you try trading for a living?

  3. jj@39 says:

    i see nothing wrong in becoming a cabbie.

    One cabbie uncle in his 50s told me he was rich bizman before he went broke when biz venture failed. This is the second times his biz venture failed & also his second times as a cabbie. He drove 13-14 hours per day & 6 1/2 days per week. He told me he can earn about 6-8k per month!

    Those views of “older people like myself cannot find work because the hiring manager is much younger and not necessarily a foreigner… We must introduce that culture into our society and do it fast. Otherwise, when more and more young people in their 20′s and 30′s become line managers and head of departments, our older citizens will face terrible consequences.” sound strange to me. I’m unsure whether these views are correct or not?

    In today’s workforce, age 40 years old also not consider young too. Patrick, are you the only one who is over 40s in the team?

  4. jj@39 says:

    So what if you have a PhD?
    So what after working 16 years as a researcher at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star)?

    I see nothing wrong in becoming a cabbie.

  5. charmer says:

    When it rains we sell umbrella’s. We need to adjust with the times. Some of us have to work for the money while other have to work to keep the mind occupied.

    I was Vice President , Asia Pacific of a global MNC and Chairman of an industry association but now at only 53 I’m working as a daily rated packer in the airport.

    For ex high flying executives…please read “How Starbucks Saved My Life” to understand to value life and the changes we have to face. I am fortunate and can still use my BMW today. The only difference is that the initials stand for Bus..Mrt..Walk.

    • Johson-Australia says:

      To Charmer: Like your attitude, at times its this attitude which sets aside the successful and unsuccessful people when the going gets tough. Good Luck! (Am in the same boat but alot younger, hard work always pays off one way or another)

  6. manson says:

    Everyone on reaching 50 sooner or later will be replaced by someone younger and better but also cheaper.
    Don’t guage about it , just think back and recall the time when you are younger and some older senior staff had to leave because you are than cheaper to replace them. We all have our turn when times come. So don’t feel victimised.

  7. John Lim says:

    It is really difficult to lose a job when you’re above 40. There is no way that any companies would want to take you in unless the hirer is a close friend or a close associate that you had worked before with and they know you have a very good track record that they are very confortable with.

    Driving a cab is not bad but to drive for 10 to 12 hours a day for a 40 or 50 something year old guy will be too much physically.

    Don’t constraint yourself to opportunities only in Singapore.

    Eventually Singapore is NOT the best place to retire when the escalating cost of living is going higher and higher.

    Why not start to build a life elsewhere? Only under this circumstances now you are force to go out of the country to look for survival.

    Give yourself a shot at it and godwilling you might succeed where nobody else has failed..

  8. Global_Sg says:

    I am in my mid-50s and have been back in
    The UK for one year now.
    I have lived in a few western countries in my younger
    Days and hope to go to live in China in a few years time.
    Every Sg who is unhappy and underemployed or
    Unemployed should consider avenues to leave
    Sg, to anywhere, eg China, India, Malaysia, Europe,
    Philippines, Thailand, etc
    If you want to discuss your possibilities with me
    Without obligations, Skype me at swechua
    State who you are and what is it for as I need
    To know as I do receive spammers
    I am not here to give you a job or ask you for money
    By Discussing your options.
    If you still dont believe to make friends at 40, 50,
    Well, so be it.
    Dont bother if you are not serious as I dont want to waste your
    Yes, I know of many Of my peers in those days were arrogant,
    And many dont even have a degree, local or overseas
    Look at it now, your local degree cannot even compete with
    Any degree Philippines, China or India or your skills and
    Experience cannot match those of the foreigners , is not because
    You became useless for whatever reasons, there are many factors
    But I am not here to discuss those factors.
    Let see how they are doing with the mass influx of
    Immigrants to Sg.
    Good luck and hope to hear from you.

    • choosy says:

      U should marry pinoy or china

      • Sg_USA says:

        I did it more than 15 years ago, are some Sg
        Daft not to do it ?

        • choosy says:

          Perhaps Sporeans prefer to marry fellow sporeans or maybe they’re smarter to cast their nets wider than just pinoys and china. Would be daft to just narrow their choices?

          • Sg_UK says:

            So who is narrow to mention pinoy or China?

          • choosy says:

            Ironically, someone said Sporeans are daft not to do it as in marry Pinoy or china. So who’s narrow?

          • Sg_USA says:

            Read the sentence,
            Are SOME Sg Daft, NOT ALL Sg daft?
            Who Is suggesting pinoy or China and contradicts
            Himself by saying other options
            Period. Pathetic !

          • choosy says:

            Since U said U did it 15 years ago and some sporeans are daft for not doing so. So what? Should everyone live by your recommendations? Look who’s being overbearing.

          • Sg_UK says:

            Who say Sg are daft?
            I read a question fron Sg_USA “Are some Sg daft
            Not to do it ?”
            It is a question and not asserting a statement.
            A question is not asking something, not stating
            A something
            So he did make a statement but ask a question
            Surely you understand that.
            Another thing is, the issue is about marrying
            Some kind of foreigners and you qualify yourself
            To extend to more kinds of foreigners, which
            Really was not the issue
            The issue, to be daft or not to be, is about marrying
            Any kind of foreigners or not to marry at all
            Indeed, period.

            Signed off
            Sg overseas

      • Sg_UK says:

        Should everybody live by your recommendations to
        Marry pinoy or China?
        You are the one telling ag to marry pinoy or china
        I am only answering that I have !

        Who is recommending ??
        I quote ”
        U should marry pinoy or china

        • choosy says:

          For someone who claims to be very busy and ask people not to bother him if they are not serious, certainly got lots of time to monitor this thread and make sure to post long rebuttals. And also in other threads on this site offering your “service”.

          Are some Singaporeans daft not to do it? already suggests some are if they don’t isn’t it?

          I presume you are a post grad student in UK? I do have the feeling you are based in Spore…sweechuaed

          • Sg_global says:

            First, you must be a daft Sg to think
            That I am offering my service, haha,
            You mean like I will charge a fee?
            Is stated mu post?
            So u hv farkIng nothing better to do than to
            Comment on where i am ?
            I see, you must be an arrogant Sg who had lOst
            His job to foreigner?
            So u think i need u service? Want do u mean?
            Cin your money?
            Pathetic cznt !

          • Sg_global says:

            Btw, pse fuck off and dont bother me ! If you
            I am offering my service or trying to cheat,
            SOME GIRLS FOR U TO FUCK ?
            I dont think a retard like u can get a girl for
            Any service
            Should report to Gilbert or the police!
            Otherwise I suggest u go to timbuktu to look
            For a job instead of farking around doing nothing
            Constructive here

          • choosy says:

            Read properly. Service with inverted commas. As in trying to dish out immigration tips.You know what it means you daft retard? Highly pathetic and arrogant to use vulgar words.

            Keep a civil tongue lah. 50 ++ years old still cannot engage in civil discourse. I will not sink to your level of vulgarities.

            Why so defensive? Did I say something true, Ed?

  9. john lim says:

    Just want to share abit of my feelings which has been boiling deep inside me inside some quite some time.

    I love my country..singapore..i am born and bred there..i will even die for my country if i am needed to.

    But after the influx of FT, i have lost my singaporean identity, my patriotism….there is nothing for me to fight for for this country…alas i have to l have to leave

  10. SL says:

    It’s disturbing to see many well qualified ones in the 40s or 50s not able to employ the skills and experience that were developed over the years. Other than cab driving, property/insurance or looking for opportunities in other countries, the means of survival here in our own land are somewhat limited. Though far-fetched, do wish for flexibility to unlock our CPF savings instead of waiting till retirement age. It’s our hard-earned money anyway.

    • againsomeone says:

      Concur. It is disturbing to see a waste of skills and knowledge. I have had more than few instances where cabbie was a former semiconductor engineer with 20 or 25 year experience with former employer going out of business or relocating completely out of SG and have worked with most of SG based semicon manufacturers to see loads of young foreign (I can tell by English accent) engineers there. One has to wonder why they were brought in when older but with relevant skill set guys are readily available, I can only assume that they brought at wages < what cabbie earns.

  11. Anon says:

    The crucial question is during the good times, whether the ex-equities trader voted for pro-business and pro-GDP PAP or not???

    If so then too bad, you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  12. Sye says:

    Today it is reported that the unemployment rate falls to 2% (Again!!). Singapore is the only country in the world to have falling unemployment rate and crime without having it raise in the first place. How odd.

    • jj@39 says:

      For me, i don’t really believe Singapore unemployment rate is only 2%.

      For those that are employed, many are struggling to make ends meet.

      Those that are earning $1700/mth or above aren’t entitle for welfare workfare income supplement. How did the govt determine that earning $1700/mth is a cut off point for one unsuitable to receive welfare workfare income supplement?

  13. Sg_USA says:

    Let call a referendum on the question of
    Mass influx of immigrants, stricter checks and
    Controls, etc
    Can somebody petition to the President?
    Please don’t ask me, I am overseas, I never took
    Up American or Australia citizenships as I did
    Not give up Sg citizenship as Singapore land belongs
    To me. Hope I can live till the day it happen.
    If I can live till 75, I can wait 20 years but
    I want it by 2016 !

    Signed off
    Sg overseas

  14. Sal says:

    Let taxi driver be a temporary work (transit after retrench) before getting the job that you like to do. Sometime its good to have 2 sets of resume, 1st for Junior position and 2nd for Senior position. Not every job need a Master/Degree to do it…from experience (48years old)

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