Don't know if anyone ever reads this journal or not (judging from how few comments I receive, I suspect none ever do), but my best wishes go out to all who celebrate Christmas either in a big way, or are simply relishing the opportunity to have a day (or more) off from work.
I generally like to take some time out at the end of the year to think about where my life has gone in the past year - how it has changed and how the coming year looks like it's going to shape up.
The biggest realisation I gained this year is really about work. Losing a job (whatever the reason) is stressful enough - what sucks harder is the months of unemployment that can follow subsequently. I lost mine in March 2003 thanks to my company tightening its belt - but more significantly, I also lost my permit to work and live in the United Kingdom. I'm sure many can relate to this - finding a new employer during hard times can be very trying, finding one who is willing to sponsor a foreigner for a work permit as well, even more so. I therefore had to go back to my home country (Malaysia), a prospect that I wasn't looking forward to at the time.
I managed to find re-employment in August 2003 as an e-business consultant for a local firm which I subsequently left for a better opportunity in October.
Some findings after 4 months of moving back to the "Third World" (as some would call it):
- It really isn't as bad as I got. I'm getting paid about 20-25% of what I used to get when I was working in London, but the cost of living is correspondingly lower. I learned to adapt.
- Quality of life (to me) is much higher. I'm surrounded by people who have a similar cultural background to mine and I've found it does make a difference. I like to think I've broken out of the stereotypical Malaysian mould (is there really such a thing, anyway) but there is some sort of camaraderie thanks to shared experiences when I'm around the people I grew up with.
Moral of the story is, I guess, money doesn't really matter so much beyond paying the bills, feeding and clothing yourself and your family and the occasional luxury. I've kept the luxuries few and far between, even though I can afford more, as an incentive - I don't want to get too used to them and lose the pleasure I derive from getting one.
I guess that's a good enough lesson for me for the year and hope it means something to someone if they read this. Sorry if you have to put up with my rambling, I'm at a client's site and should really be working.