Whether you can or you can't, you're right

We are a fortnight into 2021 and, boy, it has opened in the same manic way that 2020 has closed. Indeed, 2020 is a year which we would rather forget. It has been a year of exceptions, with many of us being tested in ways we have never been; save our parents/grandparents who survived WW2. I am sure many of you had let out a sigh of relief at the turn of the new year, looking forward to a better and brighter year. Yet these past two weeks have presented a shaky start with the attack of MAGA-fans on the US Capitol, the dangerous posturing of the US State Department on Taiwan and Iran, the crash of the Air Sriwijaya plane killing all 62 souls on board, the earthquakes in Russia, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Chile and Argentina, and the return to lockdown in Malaysia, with the government imposing a state of emergency until 1 Aug 2021! All in a span of 2 weeks!

Yet, amidst all these negative events, there are rays of hope. The vaccine rollout is one of them. The upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Biden, with the promise of a more even-handed foreign policy, is another. The slowdown in unemployment in Singapore at the start of this year is yet another. So with 2 weeks of 2021 out of the way, how do you see 2021 to be?

you could view the next 50 weeks of 2021 either with hope or with hopelessness


I ask this question because there are of course two ways you could view the next 50 weeks of 2021 - either with hope or with hopelessness. Some people will say that it depends on the person's current situation. If the situation right now is positive, they will view the situation more positively. If their current situation is negative, they will tend to have a more negative outlook for 2021. That may be true for some people, but here is where I disagree. And not just me; I recently spoke to Ronnie, Sylvia and Terence and they too disagree. Here are their stories:

"In 2020, I let the universe impact me. In 2021, I will impact the universe."

The Go-Getter Gets Going Again!

Ronnie had for the longest time been a go-getter. He is a hands-on problem solver. Where he lacks in education and certifications, he more than makes up for it in experience, and his never-say-die attitude. While he can be stubborn in areas where he is passionate about, he is always embracing new challenges, new opportunities, new ideas, new knowledge. In 2019, when the company he was working for, for almost a decade, changed leadership, he decided to move on. So he tendered his resignation without securing the next role. He thought he could give himself a three- to six-month break before looking for the next journey. At the age of 45, he still had many good years ahead of him, so what was three or six months? Little did he know that the Singapore job market is not friendly to people above the age of 40, and trying to re-enter the job market would be an uphill task! Yet, he was optimistic during Christmas 2019, that 2020 would finally be that year he embarked on his new career. Then Covid19 hit, and the job market collapsed. Then, in the midst of that, his wife also lost her job. With 3 school-going children and an ageing mother-in-law in the house, it was a very difficult situation to manage. While there were (and still are) opportunities to enter the gig-economy, Ronnie resisted because he wanted to be there for his children. Furthermore, the earnings for food delivery people were pittance compared to what he used to earn, and it would not be able to make much of a difference. Finally, the risk of injury or catching - and passing on - the virus was too high. So he sat out the whole of 2020, surviving on his savings, which he has had to stretch quite far. Needless to say, he was getting very anxious. When I spoke with him on 31 December last year, I asked him, "What will make 2021 different for you?" Expecting him to say that he will leave it to chance, he told me, "In 2020, I let the universe impact me. In 2021, I will impact the universe." At the time of this publication, he told me he had already secured a job offer and is waiting for response from another company! The difference? The way he embraced hope for the future!

I will hire me! And I will hire others like me. I will go out there and create a non-profit that helps women like me overcome the stigma of being let go at the peak of our career!

Loyalty does not have the same value as it used to

Sylvia had worked for the same company since she graduated from university, rising up to the position of Vice President in the 30 years she had been there. Being only 52, she had a good decade of economic contribution left before she would allow herself to retire. Being an unfortunate early-widow with two school going children, Sylvia was determined to ensure that the children had all th