End of January Updates

Time to take a break from the trio of dessert entries and provide a few updates on life here in Bangkok. Lots of odds and ends going on that are worth mentioning.


The sun sets on Bangkok and on my job at Ricoh.

As I shared in early December, I was provided with notice that my job of 13 years is coming to an end. My last day is February 15 and there have been many late night conference calls (my employer is in the US) as I try to train my colleagues and, starting next Wednesday, my replacement. They always knew there was a lot of work I did that they were unaware of. Now they are coming to see just how big a load they will have to carry. Still, I have no illusions that they will find a way to make it work.

The job hunt has been a slow process. I wasn’t able to start until after the new year, thanks to so many people being out of the office over the holidays and businesses not making hiring decisions at that time. Thankfully, I have a severance package that will cover me through May, so there isn’t a lot of pressure to rush into anything.

I have been working my network, following up on a half-dozen job prospects. Networks are important anywhere in the world, but especially here in Thailand. All my life, I’ve worked at places where I knew someone already. I’m convinced that you have a better understanding of a workplace if you already have a connection there. These job prospects have not yet blossomed into offers, and some of them look unlikely. Soon, I will broaden the search to include companies where I have no direct connections.


Left, the TAWN C. advertisement in the first issue of Vogue Thailand, released a few days ago. Right, an outfit from the Holiday 2012 collection.

After a modest December (for the entire department store, not just us), Tawn’s business picked up dramatically in January. He continues to design beautiful clothing and build his customer base. Last week another journalist visited our home to interview him and there have been murmurs of interest from stores in Singapore and Malaysia about possible overseas expansion. Of course, all of that is potential for the future. The focus right now is on developing the existing business and, of course, producing brilliant designs.

This week, our personal assistant of six months quit. He had let us know that he wanted to move back to the countryside but had agreed to work through the end of February. On Tuesday, the day after his monthly salary was paid, we discovered a bag left with the guards downstairs containing his laptop, keys, etc. No note, no explanation, and he has not responded to any phone calls or emails since. The fact that he was didn’t work the final four days of the month for which he had already been paid doesn’t much bother me. Instead, I am disappointed that he didn’t have the professionalism or courtesy to talk to us in person. Of course, he has lost us as a reference despite having been a good employee.


Doris and I flash the initials of a Xangan friend we have in common. A Xanga gang sign, if you will.

Ever since the middle of November, we have had a nearly nonstop stream of visitors from around the globe. While this results in us eating out quite a bit more than we usually do (making my weight loss goals harder to attain), it is a pleasure to see old friends and meet new ones. Most recently, Doris (aka snowjunky8) and her partner visited us from Amsterdam by way of Beijing. We’ve known each other for several years, connected through many mutual Xangans and friends in the independent film and film festival industries. We had never met in person, though, so that was a treat. 

One of the funny things about knowing people through Xanga is that they feel like they know Tawn, at least in a general way. Of course, since Tawn isn’t on Xanga (well, he started blogging several years ago and that lasted about two weeks), he doesn’t know anything about the Xangans with whom I interact. This produces interesting situations where we meet someone from Xanga and they feel like they know Tawn, but he has a bit of a “who are you?” sensation. Of course, he’s always nice to strangers and is every bit as pleasant in real life as I make him seem on this blog, but I have to laugh when these situations arise.

There is plenty else going on – a friend’s father passed away, another friend’s new restaurant project is about to open, and a third friend raised funds to send an underprivileged youth to university – but that’s enough updating now. I hope you and yours are in good health and doing well.

0 thoughts on “End of January Updates

  1. I’m glad to know you are doing well and that the job search is not  in panic mode. I am very impressed with Tawn’s work and hopefully all the big clients and department stores will be too. Maybe this is just the opportunity you need – Tawn will need a personal assistant and you need a job?

  2. Perhaps your company will consider you as a freelance for a few more weeks here and there. This could help with their transition. It’s great to see Tawn’s company flourishing. I am still subscribed to his blog and patiently waiting for his next update.Snowjunky8! For a moment, I thought the 2 of you were flashing Thai gang signs. Is that a J? I will put in a good word with the Man upstairs on your job search. Peace…M

  3. @CurryPuffy – They didn’t look like “J” and “W”?@ElusiveWords – There is a remote possibility of staying an extra week or two and a vendor with whom we work has approached me about doing some freelance projects in the next few months, so that may help cushion the transition. The sad thing is, my grandparents are celebrating their 70th anniversary in early March with a large reunion, but I can’t really justify flying back if I’m unemployed.@murisopsis – Ha ha… we’ve talked about the best way to balance his need for help with our need to stay happily married. The answer seems to be, for me to stay out of his business!

  4. Sending good vibes for your job search and hope you find something you will totally enjoy that pays well.Tawns designs are amazing and congrats to him on his success with a growing business. I had to chuckle about Tawn meeting xangans and of course we all feel that we know him<:)Life sounds like it is very busy there and here too. We have been on a constant go here I keep joking that for two retired old folks we sure are busy.Have a wonderful week end coming up way to fast.

  5. Fingers crossed that the job opportunities come your way very soon. You would be a great asset to any organization/company. I can’t wait for our next trip to Thailand so I can come and see Tawn’s designs in person. They look amazing! We are stopping over for 2 nights on the way to Europe and again for 3 nights on our return in sept. Thank you for your kind words re my friends passing, they meant a lot to me. It’s been a tough few days and we still have the funeral on Saturday which will be unbelievably hard.

  6. Good luck with the job search. I’m glad you’ve got the severance package that covers through May. That’s a good package. I am also very impressed with Tawn’s skills and creativity. And I am sure if I see him I’d feel like I know him also. Too bad about the personal assistant. I wonder how common it is in Thailand to have employees leave without courtesy notice. My sister in Burma has lost a couple of employees who supposedly went on vacation and never came back, or sent word that they are not coming back.

  7. Job searches are a pain in the butt. I know you will do OK. As Matt indicated maybe free lancing for you company for a time. Glad Tawn’s line of clothing is picking up. Hang in there.

  8. good luck with the job hunt! i will have to job-hunt sometime in the future, once my vague indeterminate-length postdoc position comes to an end. it’s an exciting and scary prospect to look for a real job. but i have to agree with you, job hunting is all about having the right connections to the right people. is it easier or harder for you to get a job, being a non-thai?it’s nice to hear that tawn’s business is doing well!

  9. I suppose you are going to do OK, but not having a steady job will involve a lot of compromise.I suppose you are going to do a job that you really love. It will be interesting to see how the coming months will tell on you.

  10. @venice – I continue to keep you in my thoughts and hope that you and your friend’s family find comfort. Regarding your travels, if you would like to meet the designer while you are passing through, please let me know. I have some connections I can work… =)@Grannys_Place – It seems like most of the retired folks I know are busier now than they ever were when working!@PPhilip – That’s one of the big questions, actually. Knowing that opportunities within my desired field are limited, do I hold out for a “great” job or do I settle for a “good” one that meets my basic needs?@kunhuo42 – Probably harder. While I do speak and read Thai, I am not fluent, so do not have enough expertise for that to be an edge. Also, my experience is not in sales, while would probably be the area that would give me the greatest advantage. That said, I bring 20+ years of management and organizational development experience to bear, including more than seven years living and working abroad. Should count for something!@awoolham – The “leaving without notice” thing is very common here. It is a highly non-confrontational society so that’s the easy way out.@Fatcat723 – Actually, I had a conversation with a friend last night and another potential freelancing opportunity arose, so if I do have some down time between jobs, I might be able to fill it pretty nicely while gaining more experience.

  11. It was great to meet you finally after all these years…and Tawn! You boys are are so sweet. Tawn is a real fashion prodigy. To go from zero to Vogue in that amount of time is amazing…and after seeing his designs firsthand there’s certainly loads of talent and hard work and not just fashion fluff! Good Luck to both of you on your job search (I know you’ll find something that suits you that you enjoy doing and gives you a stable income) and Tawn’s continuing success! Greetings from Koh Lanta!

  12. Sending you and Tawn good vibes for 2013 šŸ™‚ although I am here on and off I still love the community that exists here on Xanga–it is something that is rare in this day and age of social media. And Vogue! That is a dream šŸ™‚ I am always inspired by people who pursue their passions to the fullest.

  13. i can’t believe tawn’s assistant left after all that trouble you both had to deal with in finding the right one for the business. hope you guys have no problem in finding a replacement, now that tawn is a household name. good for him. i’m happy to know his business is doing well. i too hope that you’ll find a position that suits you and a right fit for your skills. i have faith that luck is on your side. soon you too will be super busy. i’m glad you also included doris’ xanga username and so now i can subscribe to her. i’m glad she’s back on xanga. may this 2013 be a kinder and happier and fruitful year for all of us. looking forward to maybe visiting bangkok again later this year. until then, cheers to a new Snake Year.

  14. @rudyhou – Not sure that we could accurately describe Tawn as a household name!@lil_squirrel4ever – Yes, we don’t see as much of you on Xanga as we used to, but you are always welcome!@snowjunky8 – It was our pleasure. See you in Beijing or Amsterdam… or Bangkok!@Inciteful – I have to say, networking is not something that comes naturally to me, but it is something that I realize is very important, especially as an expat in Thailand. So I make myself do it.@icepearlz – Me, too! =D

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