Friday 13 September 2019

Hey! Anecdotal job market observations got backup by statistics!

Recession is when your neighbour lost his job.

Depression is when you lost yours...

2 weeks ago, I shared my datapoint of one observation about my childhood neighbour being "forced" to take 6 months no pay leave - Recession came early for some.

Readers chimed in with their own experiences.

Guess what?

Today's papers now got official confirmation to what most of us have felt or observed on the ground - Tougher job market in Q2.

As usual, we see what we want to see.

For me, I only see:

"Professionals, managers, executives and technicians continued to make up the majority of locals retrenched, at 77 per cent."

In recent years, this is something those of us in our 40s to early 50s know only too well.

I remember a time when there's an economic slowdown, the majority affected were blue-collar factory workers or selling floor retail staffs. 


Just walk into any shopping mall and you'll see lots of hiring posters outside the food outlets or retail shops. 

30 years river east; 30 years river west...

Who knew study hard and collect paper qualifications - like stamp collecting or boy scouts badges - have turned out like this for some unfortunate PMETs? 

I guess that's why I often see lots of mature participants in those "successful" free investing/trading workshop preview photos?

Easy sell when you offer "dreams" to patch the holes in your hearts.

But one thing often puzzles me. 

Why the hell do you sell old fogeys in their 70s to 80s attending these "FIRE" seeking workshops in the photos?

Wait a minute.

Silly me.

Its probably for the same reasons I see old fogeys buying Toto?



  1. Old fogeys also has hole for other purposes leh. More money. More fun

    1. CW,

      When time is runnng out, and you can't move the goal posts anymore, the old procrastination lie - when I have X, I'll do Y - won't work anymore...

      All of sudden, there's greater sense of urgency to make up for lost time...

      Mai tu liao!

      Old fogey; got money - very attractive!

      Old fogey; no money - like that lor!

  2. Hi Smol,

    My take is that "Just proceed".


  3. Ok I'm betting job market gets better over next 12 mths by having sold GLD bought last Jul/Aug & increasing % of my portfolio to stocks! Fingers crossed. Huat har! Lol!

    1. Spur,

      You are quite nimble and quick to change your thesis when the facts change ;)

      You definitely not buy and forget!

      Well, its always good when I have others to take the opposite side of my postions.

      I can enter and exit at better prices than when all of us are on the same side of the boat ;)

      Although I agree with you short term the market may bounce up; I don't know about the 12 months thing though.

      But then again, if the trade talks between US and China fail again in Oct, I'm sure you'll sell and take profits on your stocks, rinse and repeat your gold hedge trade again ;)

      You trader you!

      Traders don't care about being right or wrong. We only care about making money :)

    2. Unlike value investors, traders adapt to the flow of the markets.

      When markets are bullish, traders become bullish. When markets are bearish, traders turn bearish. Similar to the natural order that humans follow - When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.

    3. hyom,

      I'll give you a taste of what we do to "trust but verify" and tell the parrots from the owls ;)

      If what you say about traders is "true", how do you explain only 10% of traders make money?

    4. I don't know why other people can't make money. I'm not in their shoes, so can't speak for them. I can only speak for myself based on personal experience and experience of observing others (limited sample size).

      Why lose?

      For inexperienced player -> no edge

      For experienced player with edge -> poor risk management

      For experienced player who still lose money
      -> parrot others, instead of looking inwards. I leave this point for readers to ponder themselves or you would like to give your input?

      Common reason for failure regardless of experience and skill -> insufficient capital. (applies for entrepreneurs as well)

    5. hyom,

      Thanks for your sharing :)

      You're a good sport!

    6. Hi Smol,

      Me terrible trader lah, sucker for pain lol!

      E.g. my "everybody has given up" on GLD trade last year end-Jul had to immediately sit thru 5 weeks of -5% decline. Apparently not everyone had given up & I had to take a few body blows. Lol.

      E.g. my QQQ buy-on-Halloween-sell-in-May even worse with immediate slap of -13.5% in the first 1&1/2 months, as the ghosts & witches worked overtime.

      That's why have to cross my fingers & toes lorr LOL!

      Although exciting especially after your thesis finally play out after a hard fought battle, but too many blows also not good for mind. Wait like Md Ali, kena trauma-induced Parkinson's & dementia! Hohoho!

      Position size, always position size! LOL!

    7. Spur,

      Hey! You are multi-asset class and not restricted to Singapore stocks only; definitely not a panda or koala bear.

      GLD (Gold) and QQQ (Nasdaq)?

      ETFs are great trading vehicles, are they not? Wink.

      Yup, trading is exhilarating when we get it right!

      Even when we get it right, the "costs" to our mental health can be quite damaging along the way...

      And when we get it wrong?

      Well, you think why I'm bald?


  4. My wife went for an interview with a stat board and was offered a position. She rejected another offer for this, but guess what? The hiring department claimed that it would require the clearance of the finance/payroll before the hiring process could proceed.

    (Why even advertise or conduct interviews in the first place?)

    It dragged on for four months and quite a few messages, before the stat board put my wife aeroplane and claimed the increase in headcount was rejected. We were told to make a complain by the hiring department LOL.

    (Har?! I bet we didn't expect stat board can also play this game?)

    Regardless of who we're dealing with, the same old rule applies - no black and white, no talk. Iron rice bowl can also break hor.

    But hey, one door closes and another one opens. Another company this time - from first interview, then medical to start work .. took less than 2 weeks. Job market good or bad? Depends on who you are/ask!

    1. Kevin,

      I feel quite embarassed for that stat board...

      Headcount freeze is very normal in the corporate world once the top has decided to hunker down to meet the expected headwinds.

      But why continue the interview/recruitment process once you've got the memo?

      Face palm.

      The F&B and retail sectors are always looking for new hires ;)

      But pay $2-3K, shift work, weekends burned; most Singaporeans "no hue"...

      In Singapore, if want to work, won't go hungry one. The problem is with higher education, high expectations go in tandem.

      I lucky my first temporary job pays $12 a day, and first fulltime proper job pays $500 a month. Any job I take today will make me feel so grateful.

      But if your first starting pay is $3K per month, then temprarily taking a part-time job in between jobs that pay less than this may feel as an affront to your pride...

      I got no pride.

      I'll do anything for a drink!

    2. Oh yes, I do agree! I'll bet the department doing the hiring must be damn pissed too.

      I kind of get what you mean. When I took a 'break' from work, a hostel gig paid me $8 an hour before CPF haha. Way easier to start low and go up, rather than the opposite huh.

      Now I'm very happy to sit in an air-conditioned cubicle and grow some white hairs for a few times more :P

    3. Smol,

      It is prudent to go for the company (which makes the best possible offer). Secure the offer (in black and white) and talk later.


    4. Kevin,

      We can "recoil and stretch".


    5. Ben,

      Hey! Didn't know you're a prostitute!

      No money; no honey?


      As a former serial job hopper, I've no clue what is "best offer"? Job with most pay?

      I just go in first. Happy stay; not happy leave.

      Before going in, how would I know what is "best offer"?



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