Adventures in Employment 2008

2009 was the first year ever where I’d been employed for more than half the year. The year started out with a whimper, not a bang. The first interview/ audition I’d gone for in 2008 was actually for a journalist position which was pretty much a dream job for me, especially my first time out. It was for radio, so the first round involved a vocal test. People might say I have a face voice made for radio so I passed that one pretty easily and the written test, involving some basic knowledge of current affairs was a cinch as well. I made it to the final interview, but I didn’t end up getting the job.

That was pretty much the case for the interviews I went for this year. I’d like to be able to say that I’m not afraid of employment, but I realise I still am in a way. I’d mostly been coasting from year to year for most of my life, even with regards to work, and have always just gone for the path of least resistance.

Through my aunt I got a temporary position at a pretty big MNC. There were downsides to this job, notably that it was located in the Senoko industrial estate. I live in Tampines and while there’s a straight bus to Yishun where a shuttle bus would take myself and my colleagues to our workplace, taking the bus in the morning was itself a big pain for what seemed like the longest time. Despite officially having a waiting time of six to ten minutes I easily waited for almost twenty minutes for several weeks, stretching a half an hour journey into almost an hour. Add that to the fact that there was only one shuttle bus scheduled every morning, translating into an extra twenty minutes of travelling time because of public transport.

Also, the lack of internet access at the workplace meant a fair bit of time spent surfing on my phone. Since my phone doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity, this was an additional strain on my pocket. Or it took a load off my pocket rather. Either way, it cost money.

Despite that however, I can’t hate. This got me back on my feet after a long period of unemployment, it paid really well considering the job scope and the people were always nice to me. My supervisor actually sat me down and explained to me everything that went wrong with my interview, pointing that I was really hesitant to actually sell myself to my prospective employer (i.e. her) and that if it were that difficult for me I should work out a “script” to practice on before interviews.

It was also the first time that I made a serious conscious effort to perform my ibadah as I should while working. Because of the nature of where I was working, it wasn’t a possibility to go to the mosque to pray, so I informed my supervisors that I had to take a few minutes during the day to perform my prayers. Working with non-Muslim employers I always thought I’d have to sneak around to do my prayers and it was a huge relief to be able to do so with some amount of freedom.

On the downside, the freelance gig I worked writing news pieces for a furniture magazine (seriously) went bust around that time because I couldn’t work, go for classes and write on the side at the same time. I blew a couple of deadlines and ended up on the outs with my contact at the magazine. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I hope I’ve learned from with regards to time management and responsibilities.

Once my contract there ended, I got a job at a private education centre out on the west side, where I still am. Unfortunately, it’s still on a (monthly) contract basis, and I’ve been there for six months and counting. I was originally in their Communications department to stand-in for someone who was on maternity leave, which is pretty much what I wanted from a career, doing writing, editing, working on advertisements and brochures, etc. Of course, I sacrificed my pay for the sake of experience which insya Allah works out for me in the long term. Naturally, the colleague whom I stood in for eventually came back, but my boss managed to extend my contract for another month even then.

Of course, there was an extent to which I could buy my time in that position and so it ended up that my contract couldn’t be renewed any other (I was pretty redundant once my colleague came back anyway). So I ended up pretty much unemployed post-contract.

The silver lining was that due to the high turnover rate at my workplace, I got picked up for another position soon enough, doing administrative duties in the membership department. It wasn’t really ideal, for one since it put me in the position of doing data entry again, but I got to play photographer and do write-ups for the school’s magazine. The colleagues were really nice and overall it was a pretty good experience.

And now, I’m back in Communications. Another colleague is leaving, leaving me with the really plum position of doing the lion’s share of the editing work for the next edition of the school magazine. I’m still a temp (the school’s policy doesn’t allow for a newbie to take charge of the position) but this is one heck of an experience to be able to put on one’s resume. The writing is mostly puff pieces unfortunately, but it’s a start.

I’d like to be able to expand my portfolio doing freelance writing, but I just need to figure out proper time management to do so.

And I’m considering, like Captain Kirk, to head for the final frontier… teaching.

Insya-Allah whatever road I go down in the future is what is best.



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