Don't Be Afraid

As the story goes, Maggie found her new job, submitted her resignation and is 2 weeks away from a new job, new working environment. Still, I am hearing her echo her fears whenever I met her online. It's already a couple of weeks since she signed her appointment letter, surely the nerves have subsided by now?

Not quite. Maggie is afraid. I have ran out of words to counsel her. But today Maggie asked me an interesting question, "Were you afraid when you migrated?"

Over work, I thought over her question. There were strong vivid flashbacks of how I felt in the initial weeks. I remembered how terrible I felt when I made the last call to my mum before boarding the plane. When we reached Perth, there wasn't a 'wow' factor as with my previous visits as a tourist. The same cold feeling when I stepped into Belmont Forum, totally numbed.  During the first few weeks, I had the strange mentality that whatever I was going through would end and I would be flying back home with Jen. Everything would be normal then. 

Maggie hit the point home, I was afraid.

Then I found the job. Deep inside I was terrified but I couldn't tell anyone. I didn't want to take up this job but I needed the money. I was a project manager - not a tradie. I couldn't operate a hand grinder to save my life. Sparks seared the skin of my face and arms. The grinder jerked and kick-backed during my first cutting job. It could have shave my fingers off if I didn't grab it tight enough with the sudden recoil. I had countless metal splinters embedded painfully in my skin. My arms and back ached terribly after the first week. I hurt my eye bad enough to require a minor surgery. The joints of my fingers swelled. Till today I still cannot clench my fist because couple of fingers give me too much pain. I could very well never play the guitar again in this life.

After 3 months on the job, work became a routine. So much so, I don't pay attention to pain anymore. I became much more proficient in my job and my technical skills improved vastly. The latest weigh indicated my weight to be 66.7kg, down from 73kg when I first landed in Perth.

I'm still afraid. Not as petrified as before. Not when I was new to Perth, struggling to adapt to the dry weather, not knowing what to do for Jen who was 5 months pregnant then, not knowing how to find a job and .. not knowing a single soul.

I'm still afraid. I have fears of losing my job with Jen unemployed with a baby to feed, getting kicked out by the landlord, potential injuries or even death at work, the responsibility of making the decision for the future of my family.

My dear friend Mag, I understand your fears. 8 years to the old job, an abrupt change is frightening. In 2 weeks time, you will be meeting new people at work. Your traveling routine, job scope and working hours will drastically change. But do not be afraid, for you are not alone. Everyday people challenge their fears. Some do it better because they do not have an option of turning back, such as myself. For now, Albany is too young to travel. There is nowhere we can go. As a sole breadwinner, I could only grind on.

Remember the reasons that made you choose to look for a new job. Never forget them. When you are facing discomfort with the total new life in 2 weeks time, recall them and remind yourself why you made the choice. By focusing on your motivation to make this big change, you'll overcome your anxieties. You'll do well.

Do not worry. Do not be afraid. You'll be fine. Fantastically fine.


  1. I'm still afraid.
    More afraid than before, when I left an iron rice bowl (no longer) 9 years back.
    But I'm braver than then.
    Maybe I should say I've always been stupid, enjoying learning through all the interesting struggles of not having a 'secure', 'stable' job all this time.

    I'm just not smart enough to play safe and keep amassing material possessions and elite social status.

    And I've gained so much positive experience, though certainly not in income.
    It's all made me more grown-up, easier to deeply satisfy.

    I was afraid.
    Because in the past 6 years I was lucky enough to have reserves, so that I could explore how I could make a living the way I wanted to.
    But the reserves are almost gone.

    But I'm richer in life than before.
    And because of that, I really need as little as before.
    I continue to try and provide what my still-young family needs, but even the children are instinctively learning to enjoy the wealth of frugality.

    Now I should be at my most afraid.
    People who know me may think I'm crazy to worry over poverty, but I'll rather remember a childhood in which my single-parent family had to count everything we spent on.

    And cheers!
    Thrifty days are here again.
    At a time when many spend lavishly like there's no tomorrow, spend because they're still young, spend because they're up there.

    Time to stop being a T-Rex.
    Time to learn to be a cockroach.
    T-Rexes did not survive a meteorite impact.
    Cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust.

  2. While we set our sights on larger goals now outside Singapore over all these years, my missus has come up with a conclusion:

    "Fear is merely a lack of information"

    That's it. Once you start pumping up serious time into researching what's ahead, what's involved, scope, risks, rewards, cost ... the fear disappears.

    That's exactly HOW we face fear head on.

    What else does she not KNOW (fear) about the new job?

    1. Your Mrs is cool. Any more wise words from her?

    2. *wave*

      Funny how, separated by distance, time, and anonymity, I could recognize my hubby's post ;)

      No need for more words. Just do. And you have been doing a great job!

  3. I guess it is in the human nature that she is afraid of moving on to another company because she had been staying in her comfort zone that she had beautifully created for 8years.

    Anxiety surely kicks in before she officially switch her job.... this (anxiety), I can second that. I had previously switched from retail line with ultra long working hours to an office job that only requires me to work 9am-6pm. To many of my ex-colleagues in retail line, they find that it's a good change for me. However, it was still worrying for me, bcoz I haven't sit in an office b4 facing the computer for 8hrs. 1st day reporting at new workplace was fearful to me, but, I was looking forward bcoz I know this change is a good one! In the next few weeks, I tried to adapt to the environment and tadah.. I made it thru..

    I'm sure Maggie aka ah pooh will made it thru too. I'm lousy in saying comforting words, but I know she will somehow made it thru. Ah pooh, 加油!你可以做到的! Give yourself sometime to adapt to the new environment, once u are familiar with the work flow, u can start building your comfort zone again.. Wahaha!!

    Your best-est neighbour

  4. I had fear when I was on the 12 hours flight from Beijing to Melbourne. Will the plane land safely? Is my money safe? Can I find accommodation within a week? How will my course mate be? Is it racist here? I have many things to fear but I take them on one at a time. One by one, I overcome them. Life is full of learning experience, we learn everyday and experiences overcome fear. I keep reminding myself, if I can survived in China, I can survive in Melbourne. Of cos, with strong financial backup, it gave me more confident.

    Moving out of comfort zone require lots of courage, if Maggie have the courage to move out of her comfort zone, she will have the courage to take on the new task ahead. The first step is always the most difficult part, since she has already done that, enjoy what is coming soon because that is just another chapter in life, not the end.

    1. Think too much la. If your flight is a few hours longer you will be thinking if kangaroos will box you or lamas will eat your bag.

      We have moved from kindergarten to pri sch to sec sch to jc/poly/ite to NS then uni or work. each stage is as uncomfortable but we have forgotten about it.

      what's a little moving on :)

  5. How DID u get a job as a grinder in this ang mo country? Will u b writing something on that ?

    1. I did. But i've forgotten which post was that . heh heh

    2. Bo leh! or can repeat broadcast or not? also that special Sunflower Treasure Book "kang hu", got picture can show?

    3. impossible to take a picture. who can do it? lol.
      it's just grinding metal using the sharp end instead of the flat circle surface like everyone does. (vertical instead of horizontal placed)

  6. Ah Pooh, don't be afraid. After all, what can the worst case scenario be? Worst come to worst, quit that job and look for another one. Is the worst outcome going to be tragic in any ways? No. So what is there to be afraid of? Feeling better now? =)

  7. At first my friends thought I've asked to be posted to Perth branch of my previous employer as a way to migrate to Perth.

    They then thought I was crazy to quit a nice job in SG to come to Perth.

    I must admit the first weeks were really stressful. No car (to get around), no house, no job. There must have been more than one occasion when I wondered if I have done the right thing.

    I then tried to remind myself why I came over and what I believed can be done.

    Fortunately the rental place was secured quite quikly followed by the JOB not long after. The job was key, I think.

    But I think ASingaporeanson is something else. Coming over with no job and a pregnant wife and then taking on the metal fabrication job.

    Nothing ventured nothing gained, I guess. I am sure those who have moved here have discovered their own 'gains' over time.

    So go forth and do it. Don't fear.

  8. yesss...i told myself to be brave....learn and ask, not to be scared...why i want to change? I want a normal office hr jib...i want more time with my hubby....its my dream to be an admin asst....i hate to work in customer service line....i get it brave.
    Thanks notti....and ppl that encourage me...its just a job..decision made...go more positive!

    ah pooh!