I Need Your Help! (Please Read and Share)

I will be unemployed as of September 30, 2017.

It has been said that finding a job is a matter of who you know (while keeping a job is a matter of what you know). Thanks to social media (and this blog), I know a lot of people. And now I’m asking my friends and connections for their help.

I would never ask anyone to give me a job. What I am asking for is your assistance in finding a new job – via referrals, introductions, tips, etc.

Here are the details:

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Hong Kong – Wan Chai Restaurants

For the past 5 months, I’ve been dividing my time equally between Manila and Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, my office is in Wan Chai, our flat is in Wan Chai, and I very rarely drag my butt out of Wan Chai. My wife works in Wan Chai as well. She gets a dinner break at 9 PM each night that’s just 45 minutes, so we have to eat in places close to her work.

What’s great about Wan Chai is there is such a wide range of restaurants and cuisines. You can go old school Hong Kong for relatively little money or you can drop a month’s salary on fine dining (no, I still haven’t been to Fook Lam Moon), and plenty of choices in between.

I thought people might find it useful to get my guide to places I’ve eaten in the area. I did a similar piece once but that’s more than 4 years old so hope you don’t mind an update.

After living in Sai Kung for 5 years and Lam Tsuen for 2 years, being back on Hong Kong island and having hundreds of places within a 15 minute radius is spoiling me like crazy. When we were living in the New Territories we had to get in the car for just a can of coke or a pack of smokes. The convenience of having so much within walking distance almost makes up for the tiny apartment.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing. Open Rice lists well over 1,000 restaurants in Wan Chai district. In this post I’ve mentioned roughly 70 places.

Spoiler alert: My #1 favorite spot at the moment is a relatively new tapas place called El Cerdo.

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You Always Think It Only Happens to Others (Until It Happens To You)

If I haven’t blogged in awhile, that’s because I’ve been primarily focusing my energy on my job search.

But three months into my job search, I’m absolutely nowhere. I didn’t expect I’d find a new job within three months – though it would have been nice – but I did expect that I’d be getting somewhere by now. And the fact is, I’m not.

In the last three months I’ve reached out to almost everyone in my network in Hong Kong, and some people have been exceptionally helpful. I’ve had coffee with 15 or 20 headhunters, who always tell me the same thing – “Wow, your background is incredible. I’m sure you’ll find a great job. But I don’t have anything for you right now. Let’s stay in touch.”

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Tim Ferriss & Gary Vaynerchuk – Snake Oil or Gold?

So I’m in Hong Kong, as you probably know, continuing on the job search – and getting damned frustrated with it, if I’m to be completely honest. By day I’m working, by night I’m going through job listings on job boards and web sites, reaching out to my network, trying to get something to happen. I have not had any late nights in bars. Every night after dinner I’m back in our flat, either still working at my “day job” or working on my job search.

In a job interview I had earlier this week, a global CEO said to me, “You’ve been looking for two months and you don’t have something yet? I don’t understand why someone with your background didn’t get snatched up in 10 seconds!”

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Too Damn Distracted (and Back to Hong Kong Soon)

… by which I mean my current situation – job hunting – doesn’t leave me much time for writing anything substantial here. When I’m not working (I still have just over 3 months to go at my job) a lot of my time and energy is spent on the job hunt. It’s frustrating as hell, so I also try to make some time each day to chill out and get away from the computer and phone.

I will be back to Hong Kong for roughly two weeks in July, tentatively arriving July 1 or 2, but possibly earlier (there’s a farewell party for my boss on June 30th).

I definitely have to be there July 9th through 13th for the RISE conference – 500 companies, 15,000 attendees. Tickets are not cheap (US$680) but I’d read somewhere that a good way to network at conferences is to volunteer to work on the crew, so that’s what I’ve done. In exchange for doing some kind of work for three half-days (plus a preliminary orientation session) I get to attend for free – and get a t-shirt.

One quasi-related observation. I’ve set a goal to post at least one item per day in the LinkedIn news feed. I believe that this would be a good way to draw attention to my profile. Mostly I’ve tried to post relevant tech articles with a line or two of commentary. On average those posts are getting 100-200 views.

A couple of days ago I found this image on Twitter together with a line about how Shakespeare was so far ahead of his time:

I thought tech humor might be relevant enough. Since I posted that three days ago, it has had over 2,600 views (and resulted in 5 link requests from recruiters).

So now I’m searching for similar things to post. I probably won’t post this one there but will share it here:

Anyone who has ever applied for a job online has probably come across Taleo and knows exactly why this is true.

The Philippines Is the 2nd Least Peaceful Country in Asia Pacific

The Global Peace Index 2017 (PDF), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, rates the Philippines as the second least peaceful country in the Asia Pacific region, behind North Korea. This low rating was primarily due to Duterte’s drug war and presumably was determined before the start of all-out war in Marawi (some great photos in that report). A government spokesperson said this does not make sense and I can only wonder what he’s smoking and where I can get some of that.

 

(image taken from the NY Times)

This war in Marawi is of course the biggest story of the past month. It led Duterte to declare martial law across the entire island of Mindanao, a proclamation that is now being challenged in the Supreme Court, where some are arguing that acts of terrorism in one city do not constitute rebellion and are not justification for doing this across the entire island. Meanwhile there are troubling reports (to say the least) that ISIS is supplying fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya to support the local terrorists.

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Catching Up – Some Music Pix from Hong Kong

Believe it or don’t, I didn’t go out at night (aside from dinner) that much during my recent two weeks in Hong Kong. But I did get out a few nights and usually had my camera with me. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m enjoying shooting with the Fujifilm X-T2. I just love it. Aside from everything else, some of the below photos were shot at ISO 12,800, something I wouldn’t have even attempted with my old Nikon D800.

The photos are all after the jump:

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BPI – Bank of the Philippine Islands – National Embarrassment!

I’ve complained about BPI’s terrible service in the past. Wednesday they struck a new low.

June 7, 2017 8:12 AM

9:40 AM

12:43 PM

4:06 PM

10:03 PM

Isn’t tracking transactions the most basic thing that banks do? How could a major bank possibly screw this up?

This image started making the rounds late Wednesday:

The Inquirer has the story behind it – apparently this really did happen to someone. However that was not to be the case with my account!

I was finally able to access my account information via the web at around 2:30 this morning. Two of my accounts are okay. One account is showing an ATM withdrawal on June 6th (resulting in a negative balance), but the last time I withdrew from an ATM was June 3rd.

This morning, 10:25 AM, the BPI web site is down again.

The lines to do a simple transaction at BPI are horrific. Going to one of their branches tomorrow, the day after this nightmare, I should probably bring a sleeping bag and a few sandwiches.

[According to Wikipedia, BPI’s ownership is roughly 53% Ayala (and various Ayala subsidiaries) , 33.7% Philippines Central Depository, 8.4% Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.]

UPDATE June 8 10:46 AM

 

 

Back in Manila – And Resorts World Is Manila in a Nutshell

I know, I’m way overdue for a post. I’m back from two weeks in Hong Kong, where most of my time and energy was devoted to my job search, as well as time spent preparing to shut down my department and hand off our responsibilities to people in the U.S. The job search went about as expected – roughly 20 meetings, all of which were pleasant but none of which yielded anything substantial. I tell myself it’s early days and that I still have a job for four months. I’m trying to stay focused and positive. I’ve also put together the beginnings of a “Plan B” and a “nuclear option.”

While I was in Hong Kong, the June 2nd tragedy at Resorts World was unfolding. Initial reports said it might be terrorism (Trump picked up on that and mentioned it in a speech – within hours of the occurrence, even though it had taken him 72 hours to mention the two men killed in Oregon protecting a Muslim citizen from a hate crime). Bear in mind that this wasn’t that long after Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. All sorts of theories started bouncing around –  not the least of which was that if this really was a terrorist attack, Duterte might declare martial law nationwide.

Last and in this case definitely least, the casino is located directly across the street from NAIA Terminal 3 and this happened just two days before my return flight to Manila.

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Back to Hong Kong Today!

Just a quick note in case you haven’t seen it elsewhere yet … Flying to Hong Kong today and I will be there for approximately two weeks. Hoping to see a lot of friends, meet a lot of recruiters, attend some great networking events, see some live music (and take a lot of photos).

If you’re in town, hit me up, let’s get together!

A Quick Break at Pico Sands, Nasugbu

Today marks 12 days since getting my redundancy notice at work. I’ll be traveling to Hong Kong on May 20th and staying for around two weeks – available for meetings and also appreciate any tips on networking events I should attend. (I’m already registered for Cloud Expo Asia and planning to go to Web Wednesday.)

I received the official news of being made redundant on May 4th (the day after my birthday). We already had a reservation for a holiday at a beach resort for 4 days starting on May 6th. I decided to keep that because getting away for a few days to chill wasn’t going to hurt – also my wife had come in for my birthday and I thought she needed a “real” vacation as well.

Actually I’d waited until almost the last minute to book something and May being summer in the Philippines, a lot of the places I had in mind were already fully booked for that weekend. I decided it had to be a place I could drive to because I didn’t want to deal with the airports here.

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