There is something about a job change that triggers reactions from people in so many different ways.

Never mind that hardly anyone knows what has been going through my mind, or the exact scope of my new job, or even where I would be working at. Seemed like everyone has something to say about it.

Well-Wishers

The well-wishers have nothing but kind words for me. Many say it’s a good thing, which hinted (sadly) that their prospects of staying is not that good. Almost all asked the same question – better offer elsewhere? Some were surprised. A few thanked me for the help that I have given them in the past. Most wished me all the best.

Nay-Sayers

The nay-sayers are the most interesting specimens. Oh, now isn’t a good time for a job change? Even when I’m moving into a more stable sector plus a significant increment? Oops, I should have gone for so-and-so companies for the best salary and prospects? I see, so you heard from whoever that this industry/employer is not good?

And the thing is that this wasn’t an isolated incident. Even in my previous experiences, this has been a common theme. Talk is cheap. Everyone can say what they want (and enjoy putting you down), but I usually don’t place much value on the things that come out of their mouths unless they have the experience to back them up. Anyway, some people will never understand that the world doesn’t always revolve around money.

Sometimes, I secretly suspect that they might resent other people for making the move that they are either too afraid to take, or simply being unable to risk it all.

For many people, along with their higher pay, they have also stepped up their acquisitions to match their status. A brand new condominium. A family car. A domestic helper. Lavish overseas trips. Expensive restaurants. Their higher earning power is now their golden handcuffs which they flaunt with pride. Oh yes, this post is most definitely written with certain people in mind.

The human psyche never wants to go backward, and so these belongings chain people down. Someone who has driven a Mercedes for more than 10 years would never consider a non-luxury car option if they are still earning the same amount of money or more when the next car is purchased. This slippery slope is, in essence, the struggle that everyone must reckon with regardless of their paychecks, and it is the number one perpetrator of substandard and/or captive career paths.

YOLO

I, on the other hand, have relatively lower expenses in comparison.

I’m pretty sure it has made taking risks a more palatable option. When I am still young enough to do it, I want to try new things and take up opportunities that come my way. I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear and regret not attempting the job change or industry switch in twenty years time. It would be too late by then.

Sometimes things don’t work out well. Sometimes things turn out better than my wildest dreams. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain – I gave it a try.

Remember, you chose this path. Don’t let your salary or position dictate your attitude towards work. Dejected with a lowly position? Dissatisfied with your pay? Allow these negative thoughts to project onto your attitude and it will show through the work you do. One thing I believe in is to always put in 100% into whatever you do. Those awards and testimonials you collected along the way are going to come in really handy.

Besides, you never know what doors you would open for yourself in the process.

Sniper Rifle or Shotgun

Sidetrack a little bit to talk about other things. As chance would have it, I’m not the only one looking for a career change in these trying times. Many of my friends have made the switch too.

Do you employ a sniper rifle approach or a shotgun approach?

Some of my friends employ a shotgun approach in a single-minded pursuit of highest pay. Whack all the possible job openings and see which ones pay the best! Nothing wrong with this approach I suppose. More of an idealist myself.

I, on the other hand, am usually more of a sniper rifle kind of guy. I would Google and research job postings before zeroing on the job to apply for which is more aligned to what I’m after. I would customize my resume based on the jobs applied for in order to present the best side of me which fulfills the job criteria. Sent a grand total of three applications this year, ended up rejecting one interview and attending one interview.

Heart sank a little when I realized there’s plenty of competition – you know, all the waiting candidates are placed together in the same room and you learnt that there’s a full day of interviews lined up for the panel to go through. Glad that I have done my homework prior to the interview so that there are deeper questions and answers to differentiate myself from the other hopefuls. Oh yeah, and don’t forget those testimonials from ex-bosses.

Was it luck? Or hard work?

Enhancing Human Capital

Income from work minus expenses is therefore the amount of money that I can either save or inject into my portfolio. No need for me to re-invent the wheel or repeat what has been said again and again. A recent post from LP at BullyTheBear addresses this rather nicely.

Without the initial “pot of gold”, it goes without saying that I can only rely on hard work from employment increase the size of my stash. No rich papa or mama. Even had to take a bank loan for my degree. With a small base, organic portfolio growth from capital appreciation or dividends is no doubt going to be somewhat slow.

I can budget the heck out of my numbers but really, it doesn’t matter if I earn $2000, $4000 or even $6000 a month. The survival expenses are still going to be roughly the same. For lower salaries, there is only a limited amount of money to go around and therefore, a cap to how much I can optimize savings by reducing expenses. Not to say that it is not important, because I feel that it builds very desirable habits and spending patterns which had formed the core of my foundation as my income increases.

How then to grow my starter portfolio? I’m afraid there is no magic bullet. By improving my value and capability, I can obtain a higher salary. Let’s say a job change or promotion nets me an additional $500 or $1000 per month. This kind of money would make a huge difference to a small base initially, especially if you are able to keep your expenses low despite your higher income. No golden handcuffs, remember?

YOLO all you want. If you are able to align the preservation and improvement of human capital in the process, that’s even better! Else where to get the money to invest in indexes?

More Than Index Investing

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