Stuck in the comfort zone; We like to say it is better to be with the devil we know than the angel we don’t when we do not want to fight for change

Updated: Sunday October 27, 2013 MYT 7:24:01 AM

Stuck in the comfort zone

BY SOO EWE JIN – SUNDAY STARTERS

We like to say it is better to be with the devil we know than the angel we don’t when we do not want to fight for change.

IF only I could. How often have we heard this phrase uttered when we are together with friends and loved ones? Someone struggling with work issues talks about giving it all up, moving to a job that pays less, but without the stress, and then finishes up the conversation with this phrase, “If only I could.” We may complain about being stuck in a two-hour traffic jam on the way to work from Petaling Jaya to Kuala Lumpur but we are unlikely to give it all up to work in a small town in Sarawak where it may take just five minutes to walk from our huge rented bungalow to the office nearby.I dream about moving to a quiet little town, preferably with a beach front, where I could fish all day and teach English for free to the nearby kampung community.

As an added bonus, I might even teach them how to surf the Internet and see the world open up before their very eyes. If only I could.

We hear such stories often enough. Central to it all is this reluctance to let go of one’s comfort zone.

Which is why we also like to say that it is better to be with the devil we know than the angel we don’t when we do not want to fight for change.

When I first ventured into the world of a full-time homemaker, I did not have a clue as to what lay ahead.

It was a leap of faith. But once I crossed that line, it was easier to do it again. Which is the reason why I actually had two stints of being a full-time homemaker.

The rewards do not come instantly, but I certainly gained an understanding of what life is all about as a homemaker and can easily identify with the many women who are doing such a great job at home.

Another benefit is that I am able to put in perspective many of the work-related issues that all employees struggle with daily because they feel totally trapped.

During my years without a regular income, when I was the neighbourhood chauffeur and handyman, and seemingly without a care in the world, friends in the workplace would often remark that what I did, while worthwhile, is impossible to follow.

I wish I could follow your example, one might say, but there are bills to pay and I think I will go crazy minding the kids and not mixing with the regular people.

And so they continue to climb the ladder, upgrade their material possessions, and basically take the path well travelled.

Many of us are probably not aware that much has changed in the working environment where one should not be too surprised to meet young people who are not your regular nine-to-five wage earners.

Some of them have carved out their own little corner by transforming their passion into a business.

It could be a guitar shop or a burger joint, and many a parent are initially anguished that their children do not want to work like ordinary people.

Every day on the way to work I pass by this music shop with banners promising to turn me into a maestro within a week. I know the owner, a very young fella who first impressed me by making his own guitar at home.

Today, he owns a high-end apartment, drives a nice car, and has opened another branch.

He didn’t say, “If only I could.” He just went out there and did it.

Soo Ewe Jin (ewejin@thestar.com) prefers “Star Wars” to “Star Trek” but he still likes the phrase, “to boldly go where no man has gone before” that all Trekkies live by.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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