This is Jean.
I am 51 this year. It has been very tough for me to get a job.
I resigned from my job last Monday 24 March as an office manager. I was paid $7.50 an hour in a recruitment agency (not for domestic helpers.)
I was hired as an admin executive on 6 November 2013.
The job scope was just admin work: sending cold email soliciting for business from newspaper ads through email, issuance of invoices and answering calls.
Initially, I was paid $7.00 an hour. I asked during the interview if the company covers annual leave, medical benefits etc.
The owner said no as the company is very small.
He promised that if the consultants close account, I will get $50 as he could not pay me.
I needed a job badly and thought it might not be so bad.
But I was wrong.
During the first month, I asked for my appointment letter and was told there was no need for one.
I was given a raise of 50 cents. After my probation of 3 months, I was not given a confirmation letter, too.
I was ‘engineered’ towards another new business arm — which the owner has set out to do.
This was a total new area for me. It is called Business Brokerage and I have totally no experience at all.
Nonetheless, I took it in stride and trudged on. I felt that I did a good job.
I took care of the office on my own to make sure it is clean. I did the office cleaning job and I had no complaints at all.
I am an experienced secretary / personal assistant for many years. I had no problem doing the job.
There were 3 guys who were the pioneers with the company. They left shortly after I joined.
Soon, there were only Mr X and I. We worked really hard to close the accounts.
The owner is not a pleasant person to work with. We were not spared from his constant scoldings. This was in the form of verbal remarks and whatsapp messages.
He was always annoyed when we didn’t reply to his messages. Mr X was scolded most of the time.
For me, he felt I was not service-oriented, even though I was hardworking.
I was appalled to learn that as I was not informed of the sales part during the interview.
The owner said I was not good enticing people to use the agency.
He kept scolding me on that.
I kept quiet all the time.
The owner was fully awared that I needed the job very badly as my husband has retired due to health problems.
He has walking issues and my younger daughter is going to polytechnic next month.
My son has just started working as service crew. I had to bear with the scoldings and suffer in silence.
I only had Mr X to turn to and he was my confidant at work.
He saw the amount of work I put in, despite being paid so miserably. He was the only one I could speak to.
On 10 March 2014, he told me to see him early before the office started.
I had no idea what the meeting was about.
His opening statement to me was: Do you think I am afraid of you, Jean?
I was shocked to hear.
Subsequently, came the snide remarks that I said to him. It was about how I had only a pair of hands and shared on Facebook.
I said it in a light hearted manner.
Unfortunately, he took offence. The meeting lasted for almost 45 minutes.
He promoted me to office manager. The pay is still $7.50 an hour, and with no other perks.
He said the promotion came with more added responsibilities.
He has the habit of calling and sending us messages through whatsapp after work and early in the mornings.
On Friday 22 March 2014, he called me but I didn’t pick up as I was really tired.
He sent a message via whatsapp and I did not reply, too.
On Saturday 23 March 2014, he called me while I was with my kids.
I hardly have time to spend with them as I was working full time and that on day, it was my son’s off day.
He sounded unhappy as I didn’t answer his call. Next, his wife called me and I said I was with my kids. Both of them didn’t sound pleased.
I knew something was up, but I wasn’t sure.
MR X mentioned to me that he has a very strong feeling that I might be terminated on Monday 24 March 2014.
I was prepared to resign before the termination.
He knew I have not deleted my designation and company information on my Facebook page and he immediately whatsapped Mr X to ask me to put it back.
Facebook is a personal page and not the company’s one.
He knew I was in and called me.
I handed back the 2 hard drives to him and told him as a matter of fact I did not delete any files in the 2 hard drives.
He said I was totally defensive. I said I liked to inform him straight that I didn’t touch the files in case I was blamed again.
We had a long and unpleasant chat.
He felt that I was too negative.
He asked if I wanted to continue to work. I said I have decided to resign.
There was no point for me to carry on since he is always nitpicking over me.
He is really a control freak.
He softened his tone and said since I know the whole works and the office, I should reconsider to work part-time
He then asked if I could work from home.
Again, I declined.
Gilbert, I am mentally drained working with him and his wife.
I had to sleep at 8 p.m. each night. I had no interaction with my family. I was very quiet and withdrawn even during dinner.
I am very distressed. Everyone I know saw that I have lost my usual cheerfulness.
I thought it through very hard why I am being taken advantage of even though I did my work diligently.
I have no leave. If I need to, it will be an unpaid leave.
I tried not to take as it means a loss of a day’s income.
I have been sobbing quietly at nights as it is a really tough decision to make. It was not easy resigning.
Finally, I thought it through.
Mr X prompted me on 24 March morning that he was going to terminate me — for nothing I did.
I did not divulge any information, nor did I embezzle the company’s funds which was never entrusted to me.
The office is very small and it was so stressful for us to work. There are 3 CCTVs.
When the owner and his stepson are not in, they can still monitor us through the CCTVs.
If he sees nothing not to his favour, he immediately send us a whatsapp message or call us.
I have applied for many jobs but to no avail. I can still work at my level best.
It is so cruel that no company is willing to hire an experienced and mature person like me.
Am I doomed to die?
I still have HDB housing loan to pay and I still need to bring home money.
I sent him an email asking for my salary and I finally received mine today.
On a side note, Mr X has roughly $8,000 to $9,000 commissions not paid to him. He has sent whatsapp messages asking for it.
All the owner said no.
Why are we treated so badly? We had to endure constant scoldings when it’s not our fault.
I am really at my wits end in getting a job.
What should I do next?
Badly distressed Jean
Editor’s note: We have extended Jean with our counselling service and see how best we can assist her to move on.Number of View: 2493