Saying Goodbye

A grinder to a trade assistant is to a sword to a warrior.
 A sword represents a life of the warrior for without it,
he perishes in battle. Goodbye, my personal grinder.

Thank you.

"Come back if anytime you want, there is always a job waiting for you," Steve told me at least 5 times today. I brought a can of chilled coke for everyone today. It was a recent tradition started a few months back by colleagues leaving the company. Everyone loves coke here. Australians, British, Koreans.

Work today was brisk. I was given familiar work today. I completed 2 big tasks today. I finish my first job in a good time, probably equalling or besting Jang Hoon's all-time best timing. When I was given the second task, Dave came over and exclaim, "Day-shift - 6 hours - this!" I raised my eyebrows and considered for a while. 

"Is that considered fast or slow Dave?"

"Slow. We night-shift can do it in 3 hours," came his reply.

"Really? We are better than day-shift guys?"

"Of course. And you..... you can do this in 3 hours."

I smiled and began. I took it on ferociously, mutilating the excess weldment along the seams. I gritted on when my arms were weary raised my thigh level by stepping onto a scrap hollow section nearby, rest the 9-inch grinder on my thigh and grind on with my full body weight on the machine. The pressure applied even slowed down the rotary motions at times. It was just 6 months ago, I could not even hold one of these for a few seconds. Today I was overpowering it.

I sweat in the cold Autumn breeze coming through the workshop and I continued to give it all. I even have time to do a few tack welds to repair some welding faults, the same job that got my right thigh burnt the other time. Finally I finished polishing the last of it all and hung my head wearily for a few seconds. I closed my eyes and breathe in the stale mixture of carbon and sweat through my mask. Then I gave a sigh, hoisted the 4 ton exeter beam into the holding area, packed up and swept the floor.

A glance at the clock suggested I completed my final job in 3 hours. Instead of cleaning myself and clocking out for the last time, I went up to the top shop to look for Steve. He was welding as usual but stopped work when he noticed me. He came over and extended his hand and wished me good luck for my new job and repeated that I could come back anytime that I wanted to. In return, I told Steve to call me if the factory needed me for any ad hoc or part time work for night shifts, maybe twice or thrice per week or something which he acknowledged.

With that, I waved goodbye after I told him genuinely I enjoyed working with him. In return Steve told me I was fast enough and good enough, contrary to what the day-shift supervisors and managers have been criticising about me now and then. I returned to the workshop and bumped into Jang Hoon. I offered a very firm handshake and told him honestly how grateful I was to him. If he did not impact some critical tips to me, I would have been booted out of the job before I could even improve to what I was today. I wished him good luck for his IELTS test, which he was required to pass to obtain his 457 visa or he will be asked to return to Korea because his work-holiday visa had expired.

"When you want to sell your car, call me," I teased him for one last time.

"No," he grinned, like how he did every time.

I clocked out and made my way to the exit of the factory, saw Dave deburring some holes and stopped. I walked up to him to have a last short chat. We talked about work, my new job and his future plans. Before leaving, I pointed in the general direction and said, "3 hours." Dave's eyes widen, beamed and gave a thumbs up. The Koreans needed 3.5 hours to complete that one and he knew it. I did my best till my last ounce today to keep the Singapore flag flying. I wanted Steve and everyone who knows the job to know Singaporeans are hardworking and responsible people. I'm not letting my people down being an absolute stinker in a foreign land. We have a reputation to upkeep.

Cheaper, better and faster.

With that, I strutted out to the dark, drizzling night slightly limping from the recovering burn. It was the first time in my life I felt downcast leaving a job. This job had left me a much stronger mental state and taught me many lessons of life. I drove off as Steve's comforting words rang through my mind one last time, "If anything goes wrong, come back Myte."

Thank you, night-shift twats.


  1. Good on ya, mate... wish you luck at the new job.

  2. Bravo!! 久的不去,新的不来。天下没有不散的宴席。

  3. All the best on your new job.


  4. Good on you bro. So proud of your achievement in leaving a significant good impression, to the extent you are guaranteed a job if you wanna come back!

    Best wishes for your new career. Cheers!

  5. Btw, stark similarity in our work history in Aus,i.e about half a year in my first job, then got my second/current job which I've been with for the past 6 years......

  6. That's our legend! Keep up your good record!

  7. Well done bro. Like when you first took up the job, I respect you.
    It also says a lot about the employer when one feels sad to leave.
    All th best in the new job. I'm sure you will do well there with such an attitude.

  8. Good on ya, Nix, and well done :-D
    All the best in your new job; I love reading about your adventures in Perth.

  9. Singaporean-In-Melbourne
    Yes, it is true. Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Throw in a mix of Honesty, Integrity, English-Speaking-Cum-Chinese-Speaking, and No-Nonsense-Get-The-Job-Done ingredients, and I understand why the red passport holders are often seen by Australian employers as favoured employees when it comes recruiting them.

    I am grateful to my current employer for being able to see us as such.