My role sits under the department called Strategic Development. Usually such fluffy-titled department means that they park all the weird, cannot be classified, neither-here-nor-there roles in one group. My department consists of a business development young chap that do everything adhoc from annual report, financial modelling, assisting with logistics of Senior Management Retreat to being an information centre to Finance, Legal and IT (well, that is an impromptu, unofficial role that I loved to dig at him to annoy him); a risk manager that oversees the internal audit and risk management role for this organization, and me.
During a lunch conversation with the young business development guy, he was telling me that he did not know what his career path here was. I agreed with him that he was doing a lot of adhoc items and his career path was not clear. After one year, he requested to change to another department for a more defined portfolio. It was rejected in an indirect way, because that department was under another head that is currently at loggerheads with my boss. Coincidentally, I ran into another friend whom we both took a finance course together two years back. She told me after leaving audit, she also found herself in a strategy role that does nothing for the whole day at a stretch. Occasionally, she worked till midnight when they were reviewing a particular acquisition. This friend is only 28 or 29.
A few years back (and I mentioned this on my blog as well), I once lamented having three jobs in a row with the same experience of being underemployed. Even the stint in Learning & Development department that I tried during my exploration on career switch had the same issue with underemployment (it was predominantly administrative work). Through these two conversations, I realized underemployment is a real issue. In fact, this topic even came up in an article of our national papers. The only difference is fresh graduates are underemployed and are paid poorly for jobs that underutilised their skills, whereas I am paid at a rate that is still ok to my last drawn salary with a much smaller jobscope.
The only reason why I took up this job was because job market is bad, and I needed money for this period to pay for my renovation and my annual insurance premium. I knew this job was going to be quite lull during the interview. However, I knew I wanted to resume my exploration on a second career. Having a lull job gives me the time and energy to continue exploring on the side while continuing to receive a paycheck. In fact, I am actually writing this blog post during my working hours because I have nothing urgent for the day nor am I in the mood to do anything with 30min left before knock-off time.
Honestly speaking, my current company is very slow. I thought as my last role in my current field, I could utilize all my skills and close this career with a big bang. However, the company is also facing two factions – my boss and the other head – that my risk colleague and I believed would bring down the organization before it could even develop into a considerable player in the industry. I take this time to practise positive thinking and hope few things will take place during my stint here so I could successfully transit to my second career, without having to invest too much effort into this company and my current role. All I hope for is to spend my time freelancing during my working hours and collect my monthly pay cheque and build my savings again after my renovation is completed.