Readers' Submissions

From The Penthouse To The Outhouse

  • Written by Harry BC
  • May 17th, 2005
  • 9 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

From The Penthouse To Outhouse


This is my story how I went from the Penthouse of high society in Pattaya to the Outhouse. It came and went just as quickly.

When I first arrived in Pattaya, among my list of "things to do" was trying to find employment. The game plan itself wasn't really well thought out but I knew finding work would permit me to stay in LOS as long as possible or maybe forever. Better to think big.

Typing "Pattaya jobs" into any internet search engine only directed me to commercial sites of no interest or value to me. I hoped to find a bulletin board or forum where people discussed job openings and/or posted them. That too was of no interest or could not be found. I found mostly others in the same ship as me or the majority were just exasperated people still in their home country inquiring "How do I get a job in LOS?"

There are a few newspapers in Pattaya so I checked the classifieds but most jobs were either only for Thai Nationals or "domestic worker" type job ads. Translation: Only for women.

So I went back to square 1 and thought of which industries I would like to work in. I think tourism and all things related could be enjoyable so I started going door to door to hotels in Pattaya submitting resumes.

The HR offices were usually deep in the bowels of the basement next to the boiler room. If the hotel looks nice and airy on the top, you are sure to see the exact opposite on the bottom. I know, I've seen them all!

The human resources manager and office workers sharply put down their pens and stopped whatever they were doing as this tall, blonde, and very white farang (me) would walk into their office to apply for a job paying about $200USD/week. I even once had to do a written English language test suitable for elementary school. It was humiliating having to circle A, B, or C about the dog and the cat. I humoured myself thinking how much of a laugh the Thais would get if I made any mistakes…

The weather was incredibly hot and I was doing all this in a suit. I'd arrive at each hotel and had to wipe all the sweat off my face and cool off in the toilet before I could even ask for the manager. Then the interview was so tense as I would break out my best fake smile while my shirt was stuck to my back drenched in sweat. Not my finest moments I tell ya!

I wasn't surprised that I didn't get a call back or a phony rejection letter. I know it was more likely that my resume is lining the bottom of someone's bird cage right now at best.

Back to my hotel to ponder my next move, if any. I was in the room flipping the channels when suddenly there was a local farang company advertising for a job with training provided. This must be God's reward to me for helping that old lady across the street 10 years ago.

All I knew was the phone #, and the words "job training" to entice me to call them now. Sure enough, the farang boss answered in a soft pleasant tone and asked me to come see him the very next day. For legal purposes, I'll call him "Mr. Big."

I was very excited and confidently went out to celebrate by paying the barfine of a sexy peeler on Walking Street. Life was taking a turn and I was going to ride the wave.

The next day finally came. I gave sexy Lek the boot and dressed for success. I went to the interview with Mr. Big and I was greeted by his Thai staff who were all so friendly and smiling. This felt good already. They asked me to take a seat, brought me cold water, and I smiled for 10 minutes non stop taking in the atmosphere. 10 turned to 20 and now my sweat drenched shirt was beginning to bother me. 20 turned to 30 and I had already stopped smiling by 17. Finally the secretary said he was ready to see me.

His office was on an upper floor with no lift so up I went hoping/praying that I would not break a facial sweat as I was so over dressed. Even if it's Thailand, it's still a job interview and I'm dressed to impress.

We chit-chatted and he showed off all his products like they were his kids. I took it all in and wanted to sign a contract on the spot so I could start applying for the work permit. He told me to return the next day to make it all official but not to worry about the permit. We clearly bonded that day. It was obvious I understood his objectives and he sent me an email that same day thanking and praising me. "Your attitude will get you far in Thailand" he wrote.

"I got the job!!" I yelled into the phone as I called mom back home and bar fined another sexy peeler that night.

The next day came and I went to his office again. I was given my business cards and the tools of the job and I got started working that night.

Work was going well and I had regular contact with Mr. Big on the phone each day. As a newcomer to Pattaya, I knew nobody other than Lek the sexy dancer, so Mr. Big began sending me emails of local happenings and I was invited to fundraisers, parties, and business openings. I got to meet several local wealthy VIPs, the mayor, and the chief of police. Mr. Big is quite connected so I guess that's why the work permit wasn't an issue for him.

I just couldn't believe how lucky I was. It seemed each night I was at a different glamorous function with all the local personalities. I even saw myself in the local paper for some of the charity work I was doing with Mr. Big. All this only 15 days after my arrival in LOS. Sweet!

We all know what goes up must come down so here's how it all went down. I was so grateful to Mr. Big that I asked if I could do some volunteer work for his product on the side even though I was already doing a lot of volunteer work with him for other causes.

He has a good product already but I figured my extra work would be fun and good for scoring points and thanking Mr. Big for introducing me to high society Pattaya. He had nothing to lose so he accepted my offer very graciously and thanked me.

Things couldn't be better between Big and I. I felt like his son (he has no kids). He introduced me to all the big wigs at the parties and I would usually sit with him at the head table if I didn't have a date with me. While my job performance was satisfactory and my attendance at all the parties and fundraisers excellent, I was burning out from working all day in the heat and then partying all night with Mr. Big and the VIPs. I couldn't do both. One night, I was self-scheduled to do the extra job I had volunteered for (to do on my time when I wished because it wasn't really my required job).

All I can say, to make a book into a verse, is that I just wasn't up to it that night. I was feeling run down and it was never obligatory for me to attend any parties or fundraisers anyway. I had applied for a job and I was doing it 9-6 every day. Anything after that was my choice to choose, right? I think you already know where this is going.

Mr. Big called me and told me he felt that I committed myself to the volunteer job and my attendance was obligatory or he would've asked someone else to do it. I knew that was bullshit because I dreamed up the job myself as an extra to his already very profitable product.

"Oh shit!" I remember thinking "did I just ruin everything by trying to be helpful?" I was sitting in a beer bar on soi 8 with Nid and Pa rubbing themselves on each knee explaining to Mr. Big on the phone that I misunderstood and there's no way for me to come now as I'm unshaven, reeking of beer and lipstick, and not in work clothes. Ok, get ready for the drama. He growled into the phone: (these are the actual quotes) "clean yourself up man!! This is not how things are done here in Pattaya!!" I protested "please understand that I volunteered for this (non-essential) job and I did not know anything was compulsory. You've invited me to countless events and I believed this was just one of the many." (I had only asked for the extra job a few days earlier). He sounded like a wrestler and was still growling "oh come on! This is very unprofessional and I will see to it that things are very hard for you in Pattaya!!" With those words, he hung up on me. I called him back immediately but he kept hanging up without letting me say anything. I felt pretty deflated and slightly scared since Mr. Big is so connected. I paid the bar fine for Nid and went to my room to wonder, worry, and get a BJ. Do I even want to work for someone who can be so forceful after all the good deeds I had done for him and his causes? Not to mention, I was making his company good money doing my day job.

I composed an email explaining that it was a misunderstanding and it won't happen again. I was too afraid to call him. Later that week, I attended a function that he had already invited me to before our meltdown and tried approaching him there. He was disinterested and I didn't push the matter more.

I'm still here and still alive but I do keep my eyes on alert for Mr. Big and his wild temper. I have learnt a few things from this and feel free to write me if you did too or what image you have of LOS from this. Personally, I still feel great here, (the good weather, the beaches, the prices, the ladies) but I'm a little hesitant to work for another farang. I wonder if the mayor still remembers me? Maybe he has a job for me 😉

Stickman's thoughts:

This submission is missing too may pertinent details. What were you selling and who was Mr. Big?