What Happened Inside Job

by shz

During my half way of watching this documentary which was narrated by Matt Damon, filled with too many financial or economic terms that I did not understand, I said to Fakhrul on my way to the toilet, “Does Matt Damon even understand what he was talking about? I mean, he’s just an actor. I’m a university graduate and still struggling to understand it!”

“Matt Damon is a genius, you know..” he sillily replied.

“You know he’s not the real Good Will Hunting right?”

“No. He’s the Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Well, just to open this post with a conversation with Fakhrul which I found funny. Sorry if you don’t get it but I was still idiotically grinning after flushing the toilet, thinking how stupidly funny it was. And only later I found out that Matt Damon might be a genius after all. He was accepted to Harvard and wrote Good Will Hunting for his English class. Dropped out however, but not for nothing I guess. And after watching this important film (believe me, its a lot more crucially important than Breaking Dawn. Even if you’re not interested of what happened), I have grown respect and admirations to people who majors in finance or economics or anything like that. It seems bloody hard! It’s not like architects with our easy words of windows, walls or doors.

By the way, at the end of it, I did get it. The documentary was so unbelievable it made my blood boil. It basically gave me an understanding of why the recession in 2008 happened. In a layman’s words like myself, it actually went like this: the big investment banks in U.S did some risky trades that resulted the collapse of AIG and Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy, the stock market went crashing, the U.S government used their taxpayers’ money like 700 billion USD or something to bail them out, the CEOs or individuals responsible for this still walked away with their fortune intact, people around the world hit by recessions and unemployment and the Obama administration apparently isn’t doing much at the moment to recover the situation either, instead he hired people who made bad decisions in previous terms as his current advisors. There you go. Some serious shit happened in the real world I’d never thought I’d knew.

Truthfully speaking, I was one of the many people affected by the 2008 financial crisis. I was working in this architectural firm with offices around UK, which I joined after resigning from another a practice also based in Oxford. I was there only for over a year and a half when the project I was working on became one of the many government projects selected to get a big budget cut. Ultimately they had to put the project off and consequently, I and some others unlucky ones were made redundant as they couldn’t put us on any other project at that time.

I was not so shocked when it happened, I kind of knew it was coming. Most of our Malaysian friends had left months before and setting up nicely back home due to the same thing. I didn’t cry or wail or stare at the ceiling, instead I took a flight back to Malaysia the next day. The timing for them to drop the bomb couldn’t have been better, I left for 3 weeks break and never came back to the office.  I also felt that it was some sort of “call” that my time in UK was up. 6 years – if I had stayed any longer, I would probably ended up like one of those people who doesn’t want to leave or waiting for the right reason to. Fakhrul on the other hand was surprisingly doing great in this small practice he joined about the same time as I did. But we felt like we didn’t want to push our luck any further; plus at that time we just found out that we were expecting Daisy.

I had made great friends at work (one was Grainne) and actually enjoyed a little bit of those luxury shopping without breaking the bank. But truthfully speaking I despised my work. I was a CAD monkey who doesn’t have any ownership to any projects, stuck to boring tasks like preparing door or window schedules for months, calling up suppliers and organizing CPDs for the office, like blergh! And my life became like a routine which was so dauntingly and discouragingly boring! But I only have myself to blame. If I had been more interested and proactive, people would’ve probably noticed. You know all this office politics or politic of any kind – I’m plainly bad at it.

There were just so many reasons to go back, and like those people, I was actually waiting for a reason to. And I guess Allah had it all planned out for me, turned out it was the best plan after all. Grainne couldn’t stop saying how being laid off was actually the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I agree. The situation back in UK has not really improving, all of office gang who were saved in 2008 eventually made redundant last year (there were rounds of redundancy if things aren’t improving) and Grainne is the only one left standing. Even that, they just started a 10% salary cut last month and she’s eyeing on other countries to relocate and kept making joke if I would hire her.

For awhile I was quite bitter about it, it’s always a sad thought to leave the country where you studied and landed your first job. I kept answering, “It was time..” when people asked why I was leaving UK. And how convenient that I was also pregnant then. But you know what, it actually was time. And soon enough I accepted that redundancy was not about performance or anything you’ve done wrong, it is not as if you’re freaking fired. And come on, I’m not going to waste your time telling how much I have been enjoying both my life and career more since coming back. Even if Daisy hadn’t happened, I still feel I’m happier here on my own soil.

So in a way, although Inside Job did make me feel pissed at a lot of people, I can’t also help but feel that it was a blessing in disguise. It was one of those things that was meant to be and luckily for me, it was for the best. I can only hope it’s the same to others affected as well.

That was 2008, which I have put it way behind my back. It’s 2 more days to 2012. I think I shall look forward to that instead.