Saturday, 24 October 2015

Career Aspiration

I recently just had my mid-year dialogue with my boss. It is more like a mid-life crisis dialogue to me.

My boss asked what is my career aspiration. Unlike the typical replies of "I want to be the CEO or to get promotions", I told her something like "To help the less fortunate". However as I was not doing direct work for the less fortunate, I have to indirectly hint I am okay with my job. Else, she may paranoid thinking that I want to job hop?

What surprised me, she mentioned that I am getting expensive compared to 20s graduates who are more eager to learn and cheaper. To have my market value being appreciated, I need to have passion and specialisation. I know this question is common but I didn't expect my boss to tell this to me so early (I am like 8 months in the job and she is the one interviewed and selected me?). I am used to be the “A” or top performer in almost all my ex-companies, so not quite used to being talked down in this manner. The good thing about my current company is they will not ask you to leave unless you did something so heroic. So, I can confidently collect my paycheck on that special day of each month (payday). I doubt her intention is to bring me down, but to make sure I am happy with my job and to seek enlightenment on what I want. I suspect this is her general approach. She encouraged me to talk to her whenever I am "enlightened" on my career aspiration.

Frankly, I can't tell her that my aspiration is to be a master of my own life and I would like to spend time with my family and for my personal lifestyles?

A friend share this picture:

Why would I want to win the rat race? I will still be a rat even if I win it.

You should know that I am 9 years away from my ultimate financial independence. In fact, I tried my best to shorten it and I seem like 5 years away now. 5 years is a mid-term for 31 years old to reach financial independence. Just think of how many events have happened during any of your 5 years phrase. From Primary 1 to 5? You only studied diploma and degree for about 3-4 years and secondary school for 4-5 years. That is how long a 5-year can be. Can I wait for another 5 years?

I have a few options.
1)      Try my best to love what I do for the last lap of my full-time employment career journey. Meanwhile, look for a “better job” to have better satisfaction.
2)      Semi-retire 3-4 years earlier and work freelance/self employment. This may delay my financial independence till 40-42 years old.

My boss shared half of her kaya toast with me today and talked to me more often after the dialogue. It made me feel it is actually not that bad after-all.

Here is a good guide on understanding your career aspiration: click here

Maybe my career aspiration for this 5 years are:
1) stable job security
2) regular pay increment and bonuses (my current salary as baseline)
3) balance between home and work life
4) allow me to work permanent part time (morning only)
5) facilities such as gym, swimming pools, running track, badminton court, and so on (with bathing rooms) with a group of like-minded
6) walking distance from home to work place

My current job got 3.5 points / 6 points. Not that bad I would say.

Is there any career out there that I will love doing? I never dislike the job itself, usually is the colleagues and people that makes working unpleasant. So what is the best job that you can repeat doing for decades, day after day and still passionate about, even with a group of horrible bosses and colleagues?


  1. Frugal Daddy,

    You were not kidding when you said you are going through a mid-life crisis!


    You deserve to get a kick! You lady boss very nice - just hinting to you only ;)

    If I were a business owner, I would expect the shepherds I hire to either make more money or save more money for me.

    If I were a shepherd (your lady boss), I would expect the underlings I hire to either make me look good or lighten my workload.

    Just look at your 5 year career aspirations!? It's all about you!?

    You do that when you have your own company, working in your dad's company, or financially independent.

    Quitting when you are ahead is different from quitting.

    Your last paragraph is quite telling.

    Maybe the question is when you have reached your financial independence goal at 40, and you are surrounded by supportive bosses and wonderful colleagues, what would you do?


    1. Hi SMOL

      If I have supportive bosses and colleagues, they sure will allow me to convert to part time morning only. Lol

      True, my aspiration is quite selfish than to help bosses earn money. Can't brainwash myself

  2. no doubt Singapore is expensive as far as employee is concern. The economy is no longer growing 4-5% p.a. we have to be realistic. Lots of HQ for Asia is now shanghai and not singapore like before.

    In order to survive we have to be productive, which means doing more with less! No choice this is reality.

    For those working in stat board or govt sector, this is nothing of the concern as they think Ah gong always have a plan.

    Ultimately, u work for others, u have to help the company earn. u work for urself, it's the same.

    Even retiring, only invest, if Sg is not doing well, ur income will also decrease.

    So how huh?

    1. Hi Rolf

      Why don't you consider permanent portfolio? I think it suit you better, really.

      That why I may work a bit freelance to keep mysrlf active and supplement :)

  3. Hello Frugal Daddy,

    Your post came as a timely reminder for me. I was supposed to submit my end of year evaluation before 30 Oct 2015.

    My company tells us to list down all our personal achievements for the year, all the failures, what has worked well for us and what we would like to focus on next year. Often, it is a tough essay to write. (Yes, it is an essay. Not a summary.)

    From what I read, your boss may be trying to see if you have the self drive and motivation to better your performance. She may be expecting to hear specifically about how you would like to sharpen your skill set and bring more value add to your department. "Helping the less fortunate" must have caught her off guard.

    In my company, it is strange for someone who say that he/she is contended with what they have now. Because it implies to management that you are not keen to improve further. It sends the wrong message and may possibly impact the person's stack ranking.

    Hope your company's environment is not so political as mine.

    1. Hi SS

      I just don't want to give my boss excuse to load me with more work because I sm already doing 2.5 ppl work. I want to go home on time as usual.

      Writing your work evaluation depends on the boss. If boss like you, no need to write too well. If boss don't like you, you can write until cow come home and still get lousy grade.

      True on trying to be ambitious, that why I can't say to her that my aspiration is not to work. Haha.

      Good luck

  4. At least you know why you are working. You have a longer-term goal in mind. You have a purpose. You know your 'enoughism' - what is enough for you in order to focus on other aspects of life than earning money by working for others. Most people do not even have a clue why they are working for others, besides paying there bills. They are stuck in an endless rat race with dire prospects.

    And to your question about that 'dream job' - in truth every job sucks sometimes. There’s no such thing as some passionate activity that you will never get tired of, never get stressed over, never complain about. It doesn’t exist. Not even in retirement.

    1. Hi Andy

      I always have a secret yearning for your comment. It is always positive and assuring when we need 2nd opinion. :)

      I discovered that there is no dream job only recently, after I got this new job that seemingly near the definition of one but not. I am enlightened. I don't know about life not working after fi but at least there is a choice. Cheers

  5. Hi FD

    Work is just work at the end of the day, so no matter what work it is, it can get really taxing once they are classified as work.

    For e.g my work entails dealing with P&L and balance sheet on a daily basis. If anyone thinks that because I like analysing on companies so I like my work, then they are wrong. It's the different end receiver with the same information we are dealing with. Same same but different.

    I really think you are in a good spot right now to think about your aspirations in the next 5 years where you will be FI. Other than your workplace, you seem to have good balance between family and work so I think I will take this point right now as a blessing.

    1. Hi B

      Thanks for reassuring that i am on the right track and sharing your work sentiment.

      True that I still got good balance of work and family. That is why I can still continue this 5 years plan. I will take this opportunity to enjoy my 5 years finale of my corporate life.

      Good that we are swimming on the same direction.