Sunday, 22 March 2015

Past Bear Attacks (Part 1)

Many people say we are long due for another bear attack.  These posts (Part 1 and 2) are in memory of the bears that I have encountered in the past.

1. 1997 - Asian Financial Crisis
First bear that I encountered and directly affected me.  This was the "robbery bear".  The CLOB shares saga was one of the events in the AFC.  I lost my humble savings in this "club" (CLOB).  One of my colleagues had half a million frozen in the "club".

Market was bad, economy was bad.  Many companies had retrenchment exercises and many people were affected.  The large exercises of the MNCs were widely reported in the news, but many others small scales events were just not news worthy.  The lucky employed had pay cuts and pay increment frozen. 

Lesson learnt:
One new term I learnt was "Organization Restructuring", which was not taught in school.  The company came out with very innovative changes to the organization structure and "redundancies" were axed.
In my company, several of the middle management were axed, including that colleague who had half a million in CLOB shares.  What a double whammy for him.  So, I learnt that bad things could happened twice, as in the Chinese saying 祸不单行。

I was a junior employee then and was not worthy of the retrenchment axe.  All OTs were cut, so basically a pay cut for me.

I had no money to participate in the subsequent bear hunt.

2. 2001 - 911
This was the bear from hell.  I was at home when a friend called that something big had happened and to watch the news.  Terrible scenes unfolding on CNN.  Can even see people jumping down...

The recovering economy was badly hit and everything turned sour again.  Another round of retrenchment exercises.  Many others had pay cuts and pay increment frozen.

Lesson learnt:
The new term learnt was "Job Enrichment".  More people left the company.  Job tasks and responsibilities were redistributed to the remaining people.  HR said this was Job Enrichment, while I found my redrafted job description definitely "enriched". 

I was with another company this time.  The company had another great innovative measure, in what is called "thinking out of the box".  This time the local Managing Director was axed.  All people were to report directly to the oversea VPs.

I picked up more tasks in the office, but only received a token increment of $5.  No chance to work OT, so effectively amounted to another pay cut.

I belonged to the "Moonlight tribe" (月光族) then and had no money to participate in this round of bear hunt.

To be continued in Part 2...

No comments:

Post a Comment