Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Monday January 14th 2019

50-year-old graduate PME unemployed for 15 months and feeling ashamed

I am a 50-year-old PME who has been unemployed for a year and 3 months.

I used to word as a manager in an MNC in Singapore. I resigned from my job due to the stress I faced at work which was accumulative and the unfairness I felt as compared to the foreigners my company hired over the years.

Over the years, I had to work OT during the busy period and have to burn my weekend, luckily I am single but still my work has affected my health adversely. I was very tired yet extremely overweight when I was working so I felt that I need to do something if not whatever I earned will be spent on medical fees later on.

At that point of time when I resigned it was very scary especially at my age. I tried to find a job but it was not easy especially at my level.

When they say age does not matter it is not true and you know that is not true, ageism is a big issue especially at the higher management level.

I did not tell any of my friends and only my family members know I am unemployed.

None of them know, I don’t want to set tongues wagging around.

Although my family is very supportive emotionally, they will be concerned whether I have found a job. Luckily religious activities have kept me busy thus far.

Why do I say that I felt that it is unfair for me and the rest of the Singaporeans when it comes to employment.

I know of a Filipino in my company who holds a university degree and she earned around $250 back in the Philippines but she comes here and my company gave her 8 times her pay which is $2000! I was very upset but this is reality in Singapore.

It is very very good for her to hold such a high pay, when she goes back to her country, she can be a queen already!

But to my company, she is cheap labour, she is taking up jobs that most Singaporeans will consider low paying. But you know this is not true due to the high cost of living in Singapore.

Many Singaporeans I know live way below $2000.

She can’t find a job back in the Philippines holding a university degree and she comes here, compete with the rest of the Singaporeans and yet still manage to find a decent income job, don’t you think it is unfair?

Do you think the foreigners come here because they love Singapore?

No! It is precisely the exchange rate.

Why not they go Vietnam, Cambodia? I got very angry when they try to shift the blame to Singaporeans.

I find it ridiculous if you can’t generate jobs for citizens, why hire the foreigners? I wish to emphasize this point.

A lot of Indians tell me that their degrees are not recognised in Singapore as well but well enough to hold our PME jobs?

Singapore’s policies are not enough to protect the welfare of the citizens. You need legislation to protect the older workers.

Framework itself is not enough, there is no power.

You want us to extend the retirement age, you need to set in the proper legislation first if not all the jobs will be taken away by the foreigners before we know it.

We are not like other countries where they have strong unions to protect them.

And the feeling of joblessness is not good at all in Singapore. Men would face more pressure.

Minus the financial part, it is a social stigma to be jobless.

You need to be a breadwinner in terms of working outside of the house to earn money. An unemployed guy tends to be looked down by peers and friends as lazy – it is a self-depreciation kind of feeling.

It is an Asian value and norm, but it is a very painful experience.

What I want to say is that the pressure of unemployment is higher on men than on women.

Most importantly something needs to be done with regard to the foreigners’ influx if not people our age will be at a higher disadvantage in time to come in terms of (un) employment issues.


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6 Responses to “50-year-old graduate PME unemployed for 15 months and feeling ashamed”

  1. jazzie says:

    I am very surprised with the writer’s statement that “ageism is a big issue especially at the higher management level”. Based on my experience as a headhunter, the reverse is true, ageism is particularly strong at lower level PME jobs and not much of an issue at senior executive / management roles.

    It would be good for Simon to share a little roughly what his previous all-in annual salary was like to have a better gauge of his experience as these days there is so much title inflation that saying you are a manager in a MNC is really hard to tell.

    For MNCs I have seen CVs with managerial titles with annual total packages from as low as 60k to as high as 500k, it is really hard to tell how senior management a person is just by job title.

    I suspect Simon is facing age related discrimination not because he is too high up at the senior management level, rather he is probably too low in terms of management experience and pay levels. He could be sandwiched due to strong competition from youngsters who have the same level of experience and pay grade but are perceived as having more potential

    • Maggi Ho says:

      Though years past since this article last written in 2013. it is still relevant and real.

      Age is still an issue.

      Year 2017

  2. sal says:

    Hi Simon, maybe you need to have a career change. Due to influx of FW and new graduates, its good if you can move on to another career, important you are not in debt….as you are single, just get another job that can fill up your time.

  3. having hope says:

    Hi Simon,

    Don’t lose hope. I know the feeling, when I was jobless, I felt so ashamed that I avoid getting out of my house and public places as I fear I may meet someone I know.

    I quit my job twice, once because of stress and health reasons. I was overweight and smoking more than 40 sticks of cigarettes a day. Thinking back, I made the right choice and have not regretted the decision.

    It took many many months before I managed to find a job. Right now, I am drawing half of the pay and having a lower position than I used to but I am much happier now.

    After going through the ordeal, having a job picks me up. I am no longer ashamed and I don’t compare. Some of my peers are earning many times more than me. I’ll be lying if I were to tell you I don’t feel upset at times i.e. Why they are so lucky to have a well paying and stress free job, especially when you know some of their work capabilities are not as good as yours. Why I am so unlucky. How will others see me as compared to them?

    But I tell myself why compare? Being upset is not going to help you, how others see you doesn’t really matter. I don’t meet them everyday and why do I care about what they think when the people who are important to me are my family. If my family were to see me upset and they can’t help, I am making them suffer because I am thinking of other people that doesn’t matter. Why? Most of the time, these people are thinking about themselves not you, they don’t compare or judge you everyday.

    You control your feelings, why choose being upset when you can choose to be happy. Put this in your thoughts if you can, it works for me. Choose to be happy, this will make your family happy.

    Also have hope that good things will come, they did for me. And yes, it takes a long time and it is difficult before it comes. But if I don’t have hope then, I am sure I will still be stuck in my house afraid to go outside and feeling sorry for myself.

    I wish you all the best.

  4. ed says:

    Hi simon
    i am 45. I was out of work for 3years after my company did an exercise and lucky for me there was compensation then. I downgraded to HDB 3 room, sold my car and cut my expenses.
    HAVE hope and choose to be happy! Don’t look over yr neighbor’s field. Work yr field and trust the hand of a loving God will provide.
    Believe and DO the next right thing. And take it from there. U find the way.


  5. AG says:

    Thanks Simon for sharing your ordeal with us. It takes an enormous courage for a man like you to speak it out, especially so to have it published openly. Honestly, Simon, nothing to be ashamed of to be jobless, it’s not your fault at all. Yes, the pressure of living without a job tend to dawn on men more than women as men are the bread earners in the family. There is a way and God will make a way for you. Could you give private tution and be a full time tutor since you are a graduate?

    And I am touched by all your folks who bother to spend your time in writting comments over here to encourage Simon. We all are strangers to Simon and you guys are so kind hearted and supportive. We need support and encouraging words when we are down. It’s like when you are seeing some one is downing in the sea, you take the initiative to go help and lift that person up. This world is more beautiful with beautiful people like you exit. For those who read and don’t bother to say anything, they are just pure ignorant. God bless you all!

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