Readers' Submissions

I Quit My Job



I had a great job in the USA working as an investment banker on the fast track to the big bucks and I was only 32 at the time. I'm 54 now and literally broke and back in the USA living with my aging mother. I'm working at a gas station and mini-mart making US$8.50 an hour and I'm glad to have the job. I have no retirement to fall back on and what little I contributed to social security will not be enough for me to survive until my last breath. I'll be working at a dead end job the rest of my life. Let me tell you my story.

A friend and I made our first trip to Thailand in 1981. Thailand was much different then. Everything including bar girls were dirt cheap and their attitudes were very pleasant, focused on servicing their customer to the max. Two weeks were spent there. We made all the runs on the bars in Patpong and Pattaya. We had a blast. We were hooked. So much in fact that we returned in less than four months and carried on where we left off. While my friend kept his head on, I lost mine to Thailand as a junky gets lost on heroine or cocaine.

After my second trip I decided that I wanted a life in Thailand. I had about $200,000 in cash and investments at the time and I figured that would be enough to retire on for the rest of my life. I could live in Thailand and bliss forever. And, I made the leap of faith and moved there after selling all my possessions.

I took an apartment on Silom Road and settled in for the long haul. My daily routine for the first year was to party all night, bring home a hot bar girl and sleep until noon the next day. After nursing a hang over for a few hours I'd be back on the street to do it all over again.

After the first year my body began to tell me to slow down. Besides, I was becoming a bit tired of it all, but I wasn’t going to let go of my dreams of staying in Thailand.

I was making farang friends doing the same thing I was doing. We would meet for breakfast daily, shoot the breeze, maybe play a little golf, then hit the bars on a more sober basis. I was still bar fining regularly. About three times a week. My investments were spinning off good money and I settled into a somewhat comfortable and quiet routine of doing nothing or contributing nothing to the world. I was essentially a well financed bum doing nothing all the time. I must say that I was the envy of many male tourists I would meet in a pub or bar while nursing a beer. They all wanted what I had.

In 1987 the markets took a dive and my investments dropped. I was still okay. All I had to do was tighten the belt a bit. But, this resulted in my spending more than I was making and I was dipping dangerously into my principal to maintain even my now cut back lifestyle. I was confident the markets would rebound and they did for that matter. But, by then my principal was down to under $100,000.

Through an Aussie friend, I took over running his sidewalk bar down in Pattaya. He even let me stay in a small apartment he owned but didn't live in for a modest rent. I was back! I was up to my ears in pussy, had a few baht coming in and something to do with my time. I was glad to just have something to do. Now over forty years old, I figured I had it made. I couldn't afford to go out to dinner in nice restaurants often or even take vacations. But, that didn't matter. I was on vacation. A vacation of the lifetime.

When I was 48, my father passed away. I flew home to be with my mother during this time. I spent six months there. I made sure she was settled and then sped back to Thailand despite her pleas for me to stay. The addiction to Thailand surpassed my family obligations or conscience.

By the time I got back my Aussie friend had sold his bar and I was out of work. He let me stay on in his apartment while he returned to Australia. He said he was finished with the fantasy and wanted to get something going for himself back home before he was too old. He was 40 at the time. He said he could always come for vacation. I never said it to his face, but I was thinking what a fool. Give up all of this? Not me.

I went back to my daily routine of doing nothing. I got bored a lot but just being amidst the action was enough to keep me there. Then the bomb dropped. The US markets crashed again and this time I was virtually wiped out. My principal was reduced to $45,000. I was no longer making enough interest off my investments to buy toothpaste. The party was over.

I returned to the States and moved in with my mother. I figured I could buff up my resume and easily get a job with an investment firm. Hell, I was a rising star in my thirties. I had value! Not to be. While I was off living a fantasy life my former peers were rising up the ladder. The younger generations were moving up as well. I was a dinosaur. I sent out over 2000 resumes and got three interviews and no job offers. This went on for over a year. I was over 50 with a great void in my career. I tried to BS that I was over in Thailand all those years researching investments, etc. Dah. I was fooling no one. I finally had to bite the bullet and take the job I have now. No retirement program, no medical plan, etc. I'm going no where and although I may go back to Thailand for a two week vacation (I only get two weeks a year) I doubt I will. My boss, a 25 year old punk, says I can only take one week at a time.

Do I regret my life? YES. Had I stayed with banking I'd be retired now with enough money to live in Thailand like a king for the rest of my life. Now I'll die in Farangland as a broke schmock. No one wants to listen to my stories. No one understands or cares. Even my former colleagues look down on me as a loser. Maybe I am, but then again, I rolled the dice and they came up snake eyes. Did I lose? Maybe, but it was a grand ride while it lasted.

Stickman's thoughts:

Wow, great story.