The harsh judgement of society
Landing a job with his newfound stigma was an uphill climb. His interviews would go swimmingly, only to be torpedoed when the hiring managers realised Jimmy had declared bankruptcy. The vibe became that of an interrogation, a toxic curiosity about what he did wrongly. “Each and every one of us makes mistakes. Why must we harp on the past? In fact, a bankrupt is likely more driven than ever to want to work hard and do better. A bankrupt is someone who has life experience recovering from a huge mistake, and such a character is not moulded in school or the workplace.”
Other times, Jimmy could not articulate well enough when asked silly boilerplate questions, such as “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” Because he only had secondary-two qualifications, he could not take up professional careers as an insurance or real estate agent. Once a successful businessman who wielded clout and garnered respect, now Jimmy could not even get a job. Through a friend, he was finally able to get a job at a convenience store. The experience was humbling. An ex-client of his once came into his store, and Jimmy caught his incredulous gasp. “He asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ and I said, ‘I work here’. He was in such disbelief that he looked for hidden cameras — he thought I was filming a show! I was so embarrassed and hurt.” That day onwards, Jimmy was ever on guard, wary that he would spot a familiar face.