This morning (actually, a couple of weeks ago) at the restaurant, I noticed something’s off with my Site Manager. He was just newly assigned in our site a little over a week ago but I can read people like that. He looks sad, and tired. Lack of sleep? Missing his family?
I just shrugged it off and continued with my bacon and egg breakfast. But on our way to the office, he started a conversation about his career and family.
He is now 66 years old. Technically, he’s retired already but every now and then works as a freelance Site Manager if the company needs his expertise. He’s been working for the company for over 30 years now and majority of that spent in West Africa. 75% of that time spent away from his loved ones. I can’t blame him if he still wants to work. Old people tend to gravitate on their routines.
Also, I discovered that he was a moto-racing champion in the 70s. Thanks to google. I’m just looking for his linkedin profile and voila I stumbled upon these old articles and pictures of him all over the internet. He is a famous Belgian (not the waffle).
Unto his family:
His wife died just moment after talking to her. This was on 2010. He was on his way home from a long flight from Guinea to France, boarded the train to Belgium, talked to her that he will be home in less than two hours but when he arrived, he discovered the lifeless body of his wife. The cause, maybe heart attack.
They were not blessed with a child but they adopted an Indian baby boy 30 years ago. Now he is an unemployed adult in Belgium. I was shocked. It’s Europe and he is unemployed. Life is hard even in that part of the world.
So what’s my take on this experience of his? As a millennial, l have different views in life. I would want a decent-paying job but I also want flexibility with my schedule. All work with no play makes life a hell. With my current job, I get to work for 9 weeks straight and have my vacation in Senegal for 3 weeks. But in Senegal, I don’t really have that freedom. So I normally stay at home and binge watch series just like what I’ve done last july.
I also have this thing for traveling. Since I am living like a prisoner here, imagine 11-hr work shifts, gated community with armed men roaming the vicinity, it feels like I don’t really have the freedom. In my mind, that’s how it feels like. So I see to it that I get to travel if I can. Though I have my savings from all this hardwork, I see to it that I travel without breaking the bank. I wait for Airline seat sales, I book cheap but decent accommodations, and eat like a local.
I’m single AF now so my only joy is traveling and Online Shopping. My Amazon Wishlist is a gem. A mixture of gadgets and household items. Maybe I’ll use some of them once or twice and will stay forgotten forever. Last year, as a preparation for my travel in Malaysia and Cambodia, I bought a bunch of GoPro accessories. I only used a couple of them. Majority is now rotting at the bottom of a box in our house in the Philippines. That’s why I’m taking my time in choosing the right travel gears to buy.
The waiting game is really killing me right now. My next vacation will be on December. I have a 21 days vacation in the Philippines and will be spending it somewhere awesome (I’ll update you soon with my blog posts and vlogs so stay tuned).
As of the moment, I don’t really have the freedom for my life (career-wise). I can quit my job anytime but I need to pay a hefty amount which is almost a 3-months’ worth of hardwork. So for the mean time, I’ll just work my ass off here in Africa and wait until things get better.