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From 2012...

Yarra Valley, Melbourne, 2013

Yarra Valley, Melbourne, 2013

I quitted my job in 2012 and went to Australia for my working holiday.

Before getting there, working holiday had become a social issue. Maybe you don’t think it should be a problem if you live in a country in which a gap year is prevalent. But in Asian cities or countries like Taiwan, people like to judge whether a gap year or a working holiday is good to one, in terms of the career development. They answer it with their own life experience as well as global economic trend. Besides the prediction, people try to make this holiday as a kind of certainty, with the publication of guide books about it. I was once involved in it but I got rid of it shortly. Imagine when all the people know about the ‘rules’ (this job has so many vacancies and the salaries are so high blah blah blah), they flock to the places and eventually ‘break’ it (no more vacancies and the employer does not have to attract talents with much money).

It is so crazy that people like to look for certainties that makes their life easy and straight-forward. I know that in the past the industrial world was like that, but now the days have gone. We are living in a creative world.

In 2012, many people like me flock to Australia. Jobs were actually not easy to be found, and the types were limited to agriculture mainly. I truly understand why I came there since I would like to meet and live with locals. Working in exchange for accommodation and food had thus become my main parts of this trip.

2012年,辭了工,申請了Working Holiday Visa前往澳洲。

記得那年遠赴澳洲前,打工度假/工作假期成為了議題,尤其在台灣,很多人嘗試去討論這是有用還是沒用,嘗試用職涯規劃、國際視野、自身經驗、全球經濟趨勢等去探討,甚至有人出版什麼度假指南或聖經,讓假期就像一般旅行,有一本指南書在手,方便計劃和避免出狀況。那時候,出版社也曾和我提過以澳洲工作假期為主題出一本旅遊書,我也寫過建議書。但是,工作假期可以是人生的一個很重要抉擇,網上本身很多文章和討論其實只能作為一種參考,當自己去到當地的時候,至少澳洲當地短期工市場的狀況已經有所不同(例如我寫了文章說去這間工廠很缺人、薪資高,但這個訊息一發出去,因為大家都去爭這份工作,當地老闆根本不用再用相同高薪資去聘用人);再何況是出版書籍。

所以人生的所謂方程式,因為資訊快速基本上已不存在。即使沒資訊因素,有些工種或經濟模式,總會有一天會式微。正如七、八十年代隨香港都市化,工廠和辦公室都很需要人手,他們能給很好的薪資和褔利,但是後來石油危機、金融危機、創意產業日趨流行的時候,即使老闆有良心,穩定的職業難已維持。

正如2005-2006年那段時間,背包客去澳洲的情況,跟我那年赴澳的不同,當中包括工作不易找(工作難不難找,其實某程度上是主觀,取代於你要找什麼工作。如果沒底線的話,我那年在澳洲是會有工作⋯⋯),但因為想到我來的其中目的,是為了與當地人及其文化有更多的接觸和交流,所以本來只視作未找到工前省錢的「交換食宿」,反而更符合我的需要,也成為了旅行最主要的一環。

The first home in Mossman, Cairns. 第一個家@Mossman, Cairns。圖中是花園,池塘是利用利用的水源和石頭搭建,家人自己駁水源。工程涉及十多個背包客不同時間的參與,我是最後一名。

The first home in Mossman, Cairns. 第一個家@Mossman, Cairns。圖中是花園,池塘是利用利用的水源和石頭搭建,家人自己駁水源。工程涉及十多個背包客不同時間的參與,我是最後一名。

How about me afterwards? I learnt that I couldn’t own a house like in Australia even if I am so rich in Hong Kong. I also realized I could be more independent. I can make food myself by planting fruits and veggies. Hong Kong is a city that you need to care about your own security, while Sydney is a city that you don’t need to lock your door of your house……

I have different mindsets after the trip. Before going there, I always worried about if someone would employ me, since I didn’t work for long. There are so many answers say you can be self employed rather than being employed, and the boss may change their minds since working holiday has become a trend……

Working hard is not the only way of doing but can be one of the options. In my hometown, this value is a kind of ethic so that one will feel guilty if he/she is lazy. Working harder does not necessarily result in more positive outcomes. If we stick into the belief of hard working, we will ignore other possibilities, especially we will be poorer.

至於工作假期對我的職涯有沒有好還是壞的影響,尤其是所謂「空白期」問題,那年網上都有不少人指出過外國gap year的問題,再加上愈來愈多人都去外國長期旅行,也許本來不想聘用空白期求職者的老闆,現在都可能改變了想法(還有的是,聘用人的原因不只看求職者的質素,如果很需要人手,一些原則都要稍作改變,但是社會一般只嚇你:老闆不要你)。在居住每一個當地人家裡期間,雖然不至於有所謂的文化衝擊,但還是有一些想法。尤其不少澳洲的住所大到不行,是香港不論賺了多少,窮一生根本都沒法住到那些住宅。在香港你不會想到自己有一個種菜的花園,然後蕃茄紫薯長出來拿來做沙律,不用再依賴地產霸權。在悉尼近車站5分鐘的住所,居然可以不用把門口鎖上⋯⋯

回家,這個城市很強調要努力,努力才有回報。但是因為有了所謂的「獅子山精神」:香港成功的「解釋」,其實也帶來了生活更好的阻滯或包袱。過分強調努力,讓我們錯過了很多事情,包括忘了去問最適合自己的地方或位置在哪裡、忘了留力的同等重要、忽略某些工序需要科技輔助、看不到工作流程出錯、看不到制度的不公義、看不到錢只是代價與利益的一個很小的部分、看不到經濟與民主/公民社會的密切關聯、看不到努力應付不了創意產業、對80/20比喻視而不見⋯⋯(舉了這麼多好像誇大了,但我仍認為列舉的都有可能)努力變成了只高無上的工作倫理,但不是解決問題的工具。

那種盲目勤力的態度,在我遇過的英國人,他們以British Working Mode來稱呼之。這種工作倫理源自英國工業革命衍生出來的價值,但是工業化去到亞洲國家時,也會與當地的文化甚至歷史因素結合,所以香港人很重視「努力」。

Another home in Yarra Valley, Melbourne. 在Melbourne附近Yarra Valley山上的家,房屋請設計師設計,屋內木地板保暖。外面有一大塊土地作為花園,我們和家人要善後。

Another home in Yarra Valley, Melbourne. 在Melbourne附近Yarra Valley山上的家,房屋請設計師設計,屋內木地板保暖。外面有一大塊土地作為花園,我們和家人要善後。

Here I needed to work hard to pick some stones for the garden. 要在泥土找出石頭作為花園部分,不容易做。

Here I needed to work hard to pick some stones for the garden. 要在泥土找出石頭作為花園部分,不容易做。

The sunrise that I couldn’t see again. 這裡工作辛苦,但是有很美的日出看!

The sunrise that I couldn’t see again. 這裡工作辛苦,但是有很美的日出看!

Planting. 花園還要種百多棵樹,我要做上圖的準備。他們另外網上找人來義務參與。

Planting. 花園還要種百多棵樹,我要做上圖的準備。他們另外網上找人來義務參與。

Even though I worked for a bedroom and food, I still earned a little bit money, including building a website for an accountant. When he drove me to Sydney rail station we talked about life and work. He said there was no difference between working hard and being lazy as everyone will die eventually.

So, don’t think too much whether you should have a gap year or not, especially with the prediction of your future. Since we are NEVER able to understand what happens next before it comes. We can imagine it but it is not necessarily true. Everything can change. Thus, have your first step, go, look and see and think while doing. Don’t hesitate. There are both positive and negative contingencies whatever your decisions or choices.

Chinese people usually like to judge things and decisions by ‘success’ and ‘failure’ seriously but in fact it is not possible to label everything. Try not to use a ‘Yes/No’ perspective to look at things in the world, which can make your life much more difficult.

And try not to think its possibility before you act. On one hand we can’t predict, on the other hand we tend to say it’s impossible and we will give up. Just go.

Death, as said above, is a final destiny for everyone. So why don’t you do something make you life easy and happy? Why do we think too much and miss so much?

Let me quote what Marina Keegan said in her work, The Opposite of Loneliness:

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

What is too late is you spend too much time on analyzing deeply whether your decision will be correct before acting it. Everything can be changed if we find something is wrong. We can change our minds, strategies and even goals which are better than what we think in the life process.

For me, I wanna create something every day. Creativity can give me power in my life!

有次替一個會計師設計網頁(是其中一個主人所介紹的工作,有$的),完成後他載我到悉尼火車站,因為要去首都跟一位當地讀書的大學朋友見面。在車上除了明白所謂「澳洲人歧視華人」究竟可以是怎麼樣的誤解外,還提到其實努力工作最終和不努力一樣:都要面對死亡。其實努力只不過是解決問題的過程一部分,真的需要在意努力了多少而不是生活變好了嗎?

如果你也想有個gap year,問我意見。我會說如果你覺得有需要或很想去,這個已足夠成為你應該要行動的理由。至於你會否找到工作,後來的職涯如何,是「水晶球問題」,別人或自己的答案只能根據現在環境來推測,正如gap year問題,也會因為愈來愈多人旅行而改變。再者,你的際遇並不是所謂的社會趨勢就可以決定,而是你自己踏出第一步,再看看,再思考,再決定。沒到這一秒,連你都不知道下一刻會發生什麼事。

至於我自己,那年去澳洲只是我人生的一個部分而已,是重要的事但不是會讓我現有的都失去,或以「成」或「敗」/是與非這類兩極詞語就可以判斷。想當年大家評估過很多,其實有點掛慮是正常不過的事,但是當我回來兩三年後,開始覺得有些事還是easy come, easy go比較好,想做就去做,除非100%會死(如跳樓)。我們看得很重要,是因為我們本來就用Yes/No方式來評價,我們很難很深入描繪到更多的可能性,或是就著預期困難嘗試想出一套應對方案。於是在學習多方面思考前,就因為直覺的Y/N,帶來很多不必要的爭論和執著,即使沒爭拗就是以避險來代替解決問題。

所以,我們在日常生活中,慣了用有沒有可能來決定自己的行動。稍一不完美的,我們都說成「不可能」,繼而會拖延。其實邊做邊想,從小做起,過程中檢討,也許是比較好的方法之一。正如你說我的相片拍得不錯,其實我沒有把90%失敗作貼出來而已。

回來後那會計師所述的「死亡」問題,一直都有思考。上星期TEDxKowloon演說中,王維基鼓勵觀眾多接近看死亡。因為看死亡,才知道不只有眼前所執著的才是最重要。我們很努力工作到退休,但沒有意識到退休後其實走不動的可能性,也錯過了跟家人相處的時光,錯過了很多的偶遇⋯⋯執著於每件事情只有一條路,看不到可以開一條新的路、新的目的地。

香港會變得怎樣?我們會變得怎樣?這是沒有答案,其實我們需要的不是討論一件事將來的成或敗,有沒有人做過而成功,有沒有條件,自己有沒有能力,而是去好好了解一下自己,問自己想怎樣,然後去實踐,遇困難去解決。有些框框只是我們的想像,情緒反應是正常,但也要去安撫一下,不要變相自我應驗預言。

至於失敗,只是其中一種情緒反應,一種印象。然而客觀的事實很難甚至不可能用成敗判斷之。也許,要擁抱一下失敗。失敗了,又如何?

我們不能控制未來、不能控制結果,但可以控制自己想做什麼,為自己作出選擇。正如The Opposite of Loneliness作者Marina Keegan說過:

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

我只知道現在想多創作一點。我喜歡創作,各種形式的創作讓我帶來力量。

LifeAlvin C