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Friday, March 19, 2010

Working until retirement? Or until VSS?

Years ago I was a salesperson when I first started working. In my line, it was very common for sales people to jump to competitor companies. One day I even received a call from the head of sales in one of the competitor companies, offering me a job. Although I felt very honoured, I did not take up the offer.

Years passed and now I am in the senior management team, hiring sales people and sales managers. Today I came across the CV of somebody applying for the sales manager position from my HR department. I was taken aback when I saw the CV of the very same head of sales. His CV showed that he had reached the position of business unit director in his company. Then I found out that he was retrenched early this year. He has more than 10 years of experience and is fresh from a director position; now applying for the post of a sales manager.

I shuddered to think what will happen to me in a few years' time. In the corporate world, the reality is, when the company wants to cut costs, they can retrench anyone anytime, despite the strings of awards and credits that you may have earned over the long years with them. Even if you are lucky enough to receive the benefits of a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) and get a lump sum compensation, you would still have to look for a job for long term sustenance. And jobs in your capacity may be scarce or non-available or you may have to wait a long time with uncertainty.

So this strengthens the resolve in me that while I enjoy and love my job, I must plan to achieve financial freedom through my investments, so that if the day comes that they tell me, "You are very valuable to us, but we are not allowed to keep you...", I would say: "Thank you very much, I will take the VSS," and invest that money. The cashflow that I would have generated should be able to see me through life after the VSS, until I found another job that I like, or I can remain the "Home Minister".

The reality is some of us may not work until retirement, and that is not by choice.


  1. Last year I made two choices that I resolved to live with gracfully, hoping to get peace of mind in return. One is to take myself out of the employment before my 50th birthday (hopefully my savings are enough to last me for the rest of my journey.) Second is to live a simple life and just focus on spiritual instead of material development. The downside is there are no more luxuries to look forward to. There's pros and cons in each approach.

  2. Hi Johan, thanks for dropping by. I agree with you that spiritual development and contentment are most important for a happy, peaceful life. I hope to be able to retire early too, and not having to worry about money.