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Bank or beach: which is better for your career?

If you’re currently unemployed in Singapore or Hong Kong, is job hunting really worth all the aggravation? Aren’t you better off taking a break for 18 months and living cheap on the beach somewhere else in Asia?

Being a job-seeker in the current market ain’t much fun. Vacancies have dwindled to almost nothing and most of them are in boring sectors like compliance and product control, or in third-tier banks.

Even if you get an interview, the recruitment process is long, soul-destroying and riddled with danger. These days just about everyone in the bank is involved in grilling candidates, from local HR to New York HQ. And more and more interviewees are finding that the vacancy they applied for is suddenly pulled half-way through the recruitment process.

If you do land a job, your troubles are far from over. It’s not so unusual in the current market for newbies to get the sack after just a few weeks. “Last in first out” has never rung so true.

So why put yourself through all of the above, especially if you have enough cash to tide you over until 2010? Taking time-out won’t even damage your CV, so what’s the downside?

Beach or bank? Let us know below.

Comments (9)

  1. Now is the perfect time to travel. Make good use of your redundancy cheque and get going.

  2. No job is safe – it’s not worth the effort of applying if you’ll just get laid off again. And having two redundancies on your CV is worse than taking a career-break. Beach, I say beach. But which one???

  3. I’d go for a world tour if I had the money. Just get one round the world tickets and live in hostels all around the world for a year. I’d visit eastern europe, south east asia, australia, new zeland, peru, bolivia, brasil, argentina, india, nepal and back home in a year. If I need some cahs I’d do whatever part time…I’ve friends who did from babysitting to bar tending to grave brooming…amazing and unforgettable stories. A job should not dictate your self worth, a job is an important part of life but still a part. Make up for the time lost in the office, open your eyes and see the world.

  4. There are jobs in banking in HK… markets are bad, but not as bad as people suggest.. I am in recruitment and have been placing people in banks and elsewhere…as the saying goes, leaving HK for more than 2 months… people forget who you are!… use you network… you will find something… sit on a beach for 18 months? -dont come back

  5. Beach. Opportunity cost is lower than ever.
    Dare to be different. It will make you a more interesting person in the long run.
    Just choose somewhere inexpensive and basic. Catch up on reading all those books you’ve always wanted to. Swim and run on the beach for exercise. Sleep.

    Sandals&Shades Reply
  6. Happened to me twice, now and in 2001. In 2001 I joined a golf club for 1 year and played 3 times week to fulfill a dream.

    Got laid off last year, saw it coming in 2007 when my division was reorganized with 2 other and one of us was made head, not me since I was with the company for less then 6 months.

    Beach, pick up a new skill or do something you have always wanted. At least you don’t spend your time wasting away. And, have a story to tell when the markets pick up, which wouldn’t be for some time – couple years at least.

  7. I would say Beach + Day trading will be the perfect combination. You may never need to work again after 2010.

  8. By all means go to the beach.. [ if you like to avoid the crowds NZ has some superb spots ].. but pack a few books on quant finance and stochastic calc to read on the island :]

  9. They are very few jobs in HK for Junior/Senior, whole departement are closing, They sometimes some jobs but they are already filled quickly.
    The banks/hedge fund are moving they teams To London/NY to maintain their main core business, they retract from risky business as Asia.

    I have seen some bankers taking a year break in cheap living country in South-East Asia, for example Laos where you can stay without Visa problem,…

    1 year jobless Reply

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