Life… can be unpredictable. We make plans, we make decisions. How do we know if they were for the better?
Only time will tell.
Most people plan financially. It’s hard to admit it, but it’s probably the only thing we have ever really spent time planning for. How many people make more plans for their health or family than their finances? Not many. Not yet. Not at my age I don’t think.
As age passes, I realize how important it is to spend more time with family. And also friends, of course. When I got married and bought my HDB as a young teenager, I couldn’t wait to get out of my parent’s house. I mean, every kid does, right? Parents are naggy and annoying. But ever since I had a kid, I went home every weekend so that my parents could see the little one, and it is also sort of a childcare break for me and wife. November 2015, grandma passed away. Towards the end of 2016, my dad had a pretty big heart op, and that’s when I start to realize, hey this man is getting old. You know, there’s only 52 weekends in a year.
Money is evil. It really is. People get obsessed with it. I’m no saint either. You get some, you want more. You get more, you want even more. People spend a lifetime in search of more money. But, really, money is just an enabler. Once there’s enough to go around, the excess is just… really… excess.
I know it’s easy to say that once we actually have money. And when we don’t, shit goes bad pretty quickly. We spend all our time trying to fix the lack of it. We get so absorbed into it that at a certain point, amongst the chaos, we will most certainly make bad decisions. That’s why the rich gets richer, and poor gets poorer.
So I spent the last two years chasing after money — not for me, but for the company. Across my desk are two colleagues… well, friends. Old friends. Both whom I’ve asked to join the company because I thought I saw a better future for them and I believed they could do better. I’m no Bill Gates. I can’t change a million starving kids’ lives. But maybe I can help those around me.
After years operating as a cost center, salaries have been pretty stagnant. We didn’t really pay very well to start with. I don’t want them to feel like I dragged them from one shithole to another shithole. They both have kids, and I know it’s not easy. It’s about time to turn over some profits.
Those who know me know I hate doing sales. I’m no sales guy. I’m too honest. Too practical. Too straightforward. I can’t say yes to shit and then let the money do the talking. I hate clicking through shitty-ass bidding sites. I hate writing proposals. I hate doing cost calculations and currency conversions. I hate Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. I hate sitting in a room with pointy-haired bosses “talking business” for hours. I irritate the shit out of sales people too, because I tell people their shit sucks when it really does. That’s why I am a techie. But I did it anyway and took it as a challenge. I will be lying if I said I haven’t learnt anything new.
So, we tried to be profitable for about 2 years, maybe coming 3 years. Then comes the 2017 year end review: It wasn’t too good. So-so. We tried our best, we won some, we lost some. But the good news is that there’s finally some money to go around for bonuses and pay raises. As the local “boss”, I had the discretion to allocate… as much as I wanted to myself! Haha.
Nah, I did not. I gave out most of the allocated budget. I believe that the extra money would take some distraction off them, so that they can focus on work, family and friends. I know money is evil, so I try not to make it evil.
Did this silly idea of mine really help them? Or maybe they were better off doing what they used to do? Only time will tell, I guess.