What are the giveaways that you shouldn’t trust someone?

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    Once, I had an investor who came to me many times over the span of few months and convincingly told me, “You should be, given your age and energy, do something you own. Get out, do some business. I’ll be there for you.”

    Throw in some nice views of a successful businessman who is enjoying life with time and lots of money. That was what he tried to print into my brains at that time. That man is an owner of a shipyard business, and he relied heavily on foreign workers for his operations. His business is operational 7 days a week, 20 hours a day.

    The employment law where I live states that he’ll need at least 1 local under employment to be eligible to employ 10-15 foreigners in that industry. Paying provident funds for employees is a must here, and that is also the main way for local government to know how many locals are employed in that company.

    I would want to highlight that his company consisted of 300 operational staffs made up of 100% foreigners. That’ll bring us an idea how much local staffs he need under his payroll.

    Provident Funds are money we could use to pay for housing, medicals, and investments. It’s like money employers would pay to us in a government run bank with limited channels of expenditures.

    After few months of discussion, I accepted his offer of x sum of money and 2 years. I’d draw a certain sum of money per month to cover my personal expenses, and our investment would end when the money runs out, or 2 years are up, whichever comes earlier. Our initial agreement was he would give me the money, and we would set up a company with a corporate bank account. My job would be to find some business to make money. Whatever business that would work. Literally, I would be in office doing market study, and find a way to bring in money until the pool dries or 2 years are up. And I would produce a financial report every month to show him what are the financial status, aka what’s left in the “bank”.

    Then things changed along the way. The amount I’d be getting got cut on the day I was suppose to be jobless and newly self-employed. I had to re-discuss with him to convince him I need this amount per month, or my family’s expenses would snow-ball. Thankfully I managed to keep the monthlies.

    The x amount of money never appeared. He changed his mind to issue monthly salary from his shipyard business with contribution to the Provident Fund. I accepted that. Company was never registered.

    I was given an abandoned office he owned, and I was suppose to work in there. I need to include the office in the monthly deductions, and I was told right before I moved in. That shortens the time and lessen the money I have on my “hands”.

    Every once a week I would receive calls to attend to his shipyard matters, and I had to travel to his office at a separate location.

    Year end came, and he paid out a month’s worth of bonus to me, which I never asked for. That decreases the money in the pool. A little background – I started in September, so year end came after 3 months.

    After few months, I started receiving calls from him convincing me to look after his shipyard business. He started having manpower issues, and his staffs there were getting into accidents that require report writings every month.

    Then staffs started to go missing. Not on a large scale, but one every 2 to 3 months.

    Then the number of reports to write increased. I had to write reports for him during commute, or when everyone was sleeping, or when I woke up in the morning. I was writing reports for a shipyard business instead of finding business.

    Soon it was his cars. They’ll start to break down very often. And I would have to travel (I don’t drive) to his place to pick up his car or arrange for repair. Time of those days didn’t matter. It could be 6 in the morning, or 1am in the morning. I just HAVE TO go pick or arrange, whichever is going to help him or his car.

    First year ended 3 months early, and he wanted a review. Prior that I’ve given him proposals after proposals in businesses I thought would be viable, but not one got accepted nor approved. After many shoot-downs, I couldn’t care more, and went ahead in doing what I thought would work.

    That last review, I showed him what I’ve done – getting a shipment of products ready to arrive anytime, and a contract with a business dealing exclusive consultation. The sum was supposedly left with 6 more months after subtracting product costs and the office’s usage.

    He acknowledged what I’ve showed him, and told me that he wasn’t interested in what I’ve done, and suggested that I’d do them “myself”. For the uninitiated, it meant parting ways. Optimistic over what I am anticipating, I agreed. He then laid out the last conditions on our parting:

    1) I would continue to draw paychecks from his company until the x sum of money reaches zero, and that means I would be drawing salary from his company for the next 2 months
    2) He would further contribute to my Provident Fund until he decided to cancel it
    3) He welcomed me anytime if I was to have any more business plans in mind

    The next month came pretty soon, and (I was never a person who would ask for paycheck. I’m quite passive in that area) he called me, spurting sarcasms over my seemingly no-interest in money, and wanted me to, in an hours notice, see him where he was to collect the cheque. So I did, because I didn’t want to spoil any relationship.

    When he saw me, he was talking about how he couldn’t comprehend my lack of urgency to money, and his suspicion on me “doing huge business” without his knowledge, and all the blahs that would make one flip the table in his face. He went on to say how it would benefit me for him to contribute to my Provident Fund every month without forgetting to dip in some sarcastic chips in his sauce.

    But I stayed calm, because why shouldn’t I? Then he decided to passive-aggressively approach me by asking:

    “Do you need the monthly contribution every month?”

    To that, I decided to, finally, tell him a straight no. He started to get busy trying to cover his expression that spelt shock.

    “I don’t need that meagre sum (for information, it was around 300 to 500 bucks) every month for an account I have limited access to. Furthermore, I have quite some savings in there to last me a long time for my home mortgage.”

    He started to show his frustration. He started to blurt nonsense, and he was unhappy. He took the check out from his front pocket and slammed it on the table, saying, “Go cash out this check and give me back the cash.”

    “Cash out and return you the cash? Sure, FINE.” This time, it was my turn to be sarcastic.

    “What do you mean by that?” He asked.

    I thought I had enough, so I threw in his face the agreements we had one month ago, what I’ve done the past 9 months, what he’d rejected, how I’ve been accommodating his manipulative ways and more. To save you from the details, I would just say that he tried to justify his decisions over some imaginary matters that took place in his head.

    After saying all I wanted to say, I reached my hands out to him and said, “It’s been few months of misunderstanding between us, and I hope this brings us closure. I hope you take no offense, and it’s my wish to see you and say hi next time we meet. Please accept my handshake.

    He, clearly angry, said,” I’m taking offense, and I won’t say hi to you if I see you on the streets. And I see no need in this handshake.”

    That was when I knew I won the game with this man.

    Anyway, he understood that he wasn’t standing on the “righter” side of the fence, and so he said, “Take the money. Since it’s what we agreed on.”

    I thought since he already decided that there’s no way we would “remain as friends”, I stood up, with my palms on the table and my face nearing him, I told him, “I don’t need your money, and I don’t want it.”

    Oh man, he was pissed. He then said, “I’m going to cancel the Provident Fund contribution.”

    To which I said, “Yes please. I don’t need it anyway.” before walking away never to see him again.

    Subtle red flags you ask? I’ve just shared 9 months of them with you.

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