Retrench so what? It is just part and parcel of life!

Adil was an engineer with an attractive take-home pay. Unfortunately, he was retrenched for the second time in his life. He rolled up his sleeves and became a full-time property agent. And not only he punched retrenchment in its face, he also found more time for his family.

In 2016, the first nine months, over 10,000 people were retrenched. It is a horrible feeling that Adil knows too well. He experienced that in 2003 and 2015 – the companies said that they want to cut back on employment and relocate, two popular reasons when it comes to wielding the big axe.

Adil has a reputable honors degree in civil engineering and comes with 7 years of working experience. Retrenchment made him realize this: as long as you are working for someone, be prepared to be given the boot.

After his second retrenchment, he sent out his resume to 30 prospective employers. No one cared to reply. Just a few actually, but they asked for a significant reduce in his asking pay. How to accept right?

So then, Adil tried out as a part-time property agent, making full use of his time to set up appointments. Living in the west, Adil has to report for work at east. To save time, he will sleep overnight in the carpark and quickly wash up at public areas such as parks and swimming pools. This is to ensure that he waste no time in bringing clients to view flats.

Soon, he would devote his time and energy to working full-time. His family objected to it, but eventually relented. That year in 2015, he took in over $1 million!

He now works four days a week, at an average of six hours per day. He now has all the time for his family, and accompanies them on regular holiday trips.

Apart from being a property agent, he also help the needy – who are in financial crisis – to write appeal letters to the HDB. In a way, it motivates him.

The retrenchment wave is not subsiding. We have to know why companies retrench people. There are three main reasons. Firstly, the ones that can no longer cater to the needs of the industry. Profits go down, enterprises face crisis and are hard to move up. Hence, the company, in a bid to cut overhead costs, has no choice but to retrench this group of people.

Secondly is due in part to the company realigning their vision and mission – such as switching industries. That is bad news to a certain group of people who have grown accustomed to what their company did previously.

And lastly, appraisals are important. They are just like report cards. The poor-performing ones will be the ones on the chopping head. Hence, the company comes in for the kill.

Normally here are the warning signs:

  1. Hint that the employee submit resignation letter so as that he will not face the humiliation of being retrenched. That will soothe the psychological pain a little.
  2. The deliberate redeployment of work responsibilities. Employees unfamiliar with the new job scope will struggle, and the company can use this reason for retrenchment. Poor performance that is.
  3. Some companies will tend to let the older workers suggest they leave. They will then offer the benefits till the day they really leave the company. This is to ensure they don’t pay over the top in the retrenchment package. It’s like pro-rated!