"I used to be the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a chemical company. But I am embarrassed to tell you the things I used to do in corporate. When we wish to fire people who work in corporate jobs, instead of offering a severance package, we make life very difficult for them.
We humiliate them in meetings, we tell them they are not performing, we restructure the organization and reduce their seniority, and put junior people as their bosses. Eventually even the strong cannot ‘tahan’ and they will leave themselves. This is what they taught me in corporate, and this is what I did. But you don't realise it all eventually comes back to you.
Sadly, the company is never short of its people to volunteer to do the dirty job of undermining their own colleagues, not realising that one day they may be the victim themselves.
If you are mid-manager level, it's fine because you are purely operational. Once you get to senior manager position, that’s when the politicking starts. People get jealous of you, people backstab you and they would do anything to get rid of you. This is the ugly side of corporate culture and sadly the dark side of human nature too.
"Why did you quit corporate?"
One late night I looked through an old photo album of my family – of my lovely wife and children and I realised the past 20 years passed by in a blur. I could barely recall my children growing up and that my wife has become older – it was like I just woke up from a coma and I lost my memory. I regretted this bitterly and it was this moment I decided to make right of my life.
I’m grateful I’m given a second chance in life. This is my second chance.
Now, I operate a modest chemical business of my own. During the weekends, I also trade at a flea-market to sell our unneeded items, and have been a trader for two years.
I am actually saving up more money now, than when I was in corporate, as I’ve also learned to manage my finances more diligently and realized money was spent on unnecessary luxuries. For example, I thought I could not live without Astro because I used to watch EPL (English Premiere League football) every weekend. When I cut off Astro to save money, I realized I didn't miss it that much.
So here I am, selling our unneeded items, things which we rarely used - sometimes only once or twice. I have three children – a boy and two girls. Two are in university and one just finished SPM. Once the last one goes to university too, me and wife will move to a smaller apartment.
Once you declutter your life, you can focus on the things that really matter.
During my corporate work, I reported to the board and I had up to ten bosses. But now I just have one boss. My wife! This is my life now, it’s a lot simpler, but I'm happier.”
Story published on Humans of Kuala Lumpur