“Well, I regret a lot of things. I regret meeting the media. I regret that I speak in public. Because I could have my own privacy. I regret that I work so hard and spend so little time with my family. And if I have another life, I would never do things like this. My wife said, “you do not belong to me, you belong to Alibaba.”
That’s Alibaba towkay Jack Ma, lamenting on how work usurped all the time he could have spend with his family.
The e-commerce entrepreneur is worth S$33 billion, according to Forbes.
And even with his billions, Ma still regrets not maintaining a good work-life balance.
You can argue that if he had dwelled so much on family, he could ever have made it big.
In Singapore, the story is “same same, but different.”
The different part – we spend so much time on work we have so little left for everyone else.
For a fistful of dollars more.
In a 2013 Survey on Social Attitudes which was just released this week, more than 55% of Singapore working adults say their jobs stop them from enjoying more family time.
I believe none of those interviewed are worth S$33 billion, otherwise they’d have bought their own island and renamed it Pandapura (or Koalapura or something like that).
90% of Singapore workers work overtime, according to a 2012 Jobstreet survey.
I hope that number has gone down over the past 3 years, but what’s the likelihood of that happening?
Close to half of the respondents say they don’t even report this overtime work, because they’re afraid of being viewed as inferior by employers.
And our Prime Minister in his May Day rally this year warned that we must be even more productive and efficient, otherwise Singapore will be headed for an economic slide and wages might fall.
And prices continue to rise.
So we’re pushing the same rock, or an even heavier boulder, for less reward?
Young Singaporeans, do as you’re told – conventional wisdom is always sound.
Go through the education, get a degree (or not, in today’s context), get a job and work hard.
Raise a family, one that you will not see very often.
Forget about your parents – they’re not as important as your children and they’re going to die sooner or later so who cares, right?
And when you’re 50, like Jack Ma, you can get upset over how little time you’ve devoted to caring about those that matter most in your life (no, not your boss lah, goondu).
Only difference is, all you’ll get in return is a HDB flat and enough change to take the MRT.
Jack Ma would cry.