Let me know? I am keen and will have the environment to do podcast (no disturbance from my mum)
I have been pondering about this ever since I got my own house (will only get my keys in December). Since I will be having my own space (finally!!!), I am wondering if readers would prefer me to do podcast or continue blogging? I really wonder if anyone reads blogs nowadays?
Let me know? I am keen and will have the environment to do podcast (no disturbance from my mum)
I don't ask for more at this point in my life. All I wish is that I can meet my true love next year and settle down into a peaceful harmonious relationship. Even if this relationship won't last till my last breath, I wish to experience for once true love in this life.
I have officially entered the second month of work with my new employer, and as true as my gut feel, this is another underemployed job. I have a full three weeks of waiting before I join the company. If a company can afford to wait for you for three weeks, and it is a new role, that spells a lot on the urgency of this role.
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.
I know, I know.. if you read this title, you might be thinking: “What? You are only in your job barely a month and you are thinking of seeking a second career?”
Before you say that, I would like to say that I have wanted to leave my marketing and communications field since 2008. This was the reason why I took CFA, Japanese to see if I can leave this entire field. Of course, it didn’t materialize until I explored Learning & Development last year with an EPC company. That stint taught me that even if I do not want a stressful job like my current field, I am not willing to accept an administrative role.
My second career needs to be something that is more meaningful, and be able to start and build something. But I am also aware that I want to specialize in something, or at least be known for a certain expertise and the salary must be sustainable.
I accepted my current job because it was the only role offered to me, and I needed the money. The company is definitely less crazy than my previous company but it presented its own set of challenges. However, I gave up trying to harp on this point because all companies/organisations have their own set of challenges. As long as I am a salaried worker in a company that is profit-driven, I will just do my best since I am paid to do so, and not seek major changes or complained that it should have an overhaul. It doesn’t work when you don’t have any powerful connections, nor are you rich.
Since my current company is in town, I decided to earn money pay my bills and take this time to attend nearby networking events and try to spend this time exploring and writing to a few organisations to explore my second career. Even if my career has come to a stall, it is alright with me since I have no more passion to pursue any more further advancement (well there aren’t any in the first place) in my field.
One area I am very keen to go in is social sector. Of course, I have wondered about social work again but I really don’t wish to enter the community sector field, where pay is low and the work nature is not something I am keen. Divorces, youth issues, domestic violence etc, these doesn’t relate to me as a single so I cannot stand in their position and see from a parent/spouse’s perspective. Medical field seems to be closed so I am a little stuck.
As I look further, I decided to check out sustainability and ESG reporting. However, I soon realized ESG is more for finance/ex bankers, while sustainability.. nah I don’t really want to spend my time checking on water usage, energy usage, staff’s learning hours etc for profit organisations. And I really hate using CSR as a promotional tool. That is disgusting because you are doing good for the sake of making yourself look good.
I know this is a long journey so I rather continue to earn while exploring. All I know for sure is this is my last communications role, and I want to leave my current job and walk into a new job that is totally different and what I want to spend for my last decade of working life before I retire.
It is going to be 5 months exactly by the time I start in my new job since I tendered my resignation at the middle east company in February. During the first month, I was suddenly busy with my father’s funeral (he passed away 1 day after I left my former company). The first month passed with me busy with the 4-day funeral, followed by 1 week or so of recuperating from lack of sleep during those nights.
Shortly thereafter, I was busy with paperwork on the transfer of ownership of my parents’ house to my mum, pension-related matters and closure of bank accounts. The first month went well, with me staying at home, but neighbours thought I was simply taking a longer break.
We took a 4-day short trip to neighbouring country to relax, as promised to my mum during the days when we were shuttling between home and hospital visits. Soon, 1 month turned into 2 months. The second month I was still taking my time in terms of job applications. I was still choosing what job I want, the salary package, the type of work, and where the company was based in. I was even applying to overseas roles as I was very keen to work in China. Naturally, I applied to a few Chinese-based roles with MNCs (Chinese-owned companies are terrible).
When it comes to my third month of unemployment, there was a sudden dip in jobs that I can apply. It was the dreaded “dry” season. I thought March and April were the hot hiring season, and by May I would have completed many rounds of interviews. In actual fact, I only went for 1 interview in April, 2 interviews (one was a specialist role) in May, and 2 interviews (and one was a totally new role from my current career) in June, followed by second-round in early July and a job offer the next day.
I faced many rejection emails which I was used to it, and saw many roles that was advertised at the beginning of the year (or since last December), before it closed and re-opened again. I am guessing there is a possibility that these companies have internal candidates in mind, but they are foreigners, and when they cannot obtain the work permit to work here, these companies re-open the positions for locals.
I remembered the anxiety that arose in May and caused me insomnia every night, and I came up with a daily routine to help alleviate my anxiety. Every morning that I will wake up and sit in front of the computer to job hunt for 1 to 2 hours. Thereafter, I will force myself to complete some tasks. Be it reading, working on an errand or writing a blog, I will make sure to maintain a sense of “productivity”. I also regularly meet up with a counselor to keep my mood positive, which I think it helps during interviews.
Hence, I would like to share some points that I have utilized to retain my sanity and maintain positivity:
For example, I worked on events witnessing hundreds of couples celebrating their 50th or more wedding anniversaries, and participated in a 3-day navy trade exhibition and saw how negotiations were done between militaries/government defence-related agencies and state-owned companies on requirements of military shipbuilding and costs. It was an eye-opener for me, besides getting paid for it. I love government/commercial exhibitions that are not open to public because the delegates and visitors are matured and not pesky like the general public.
I hope this helps to encourage those who are still job-hunting to continue to push on. Sometimes, hope is just around the corner when it seems the darkest and bleakest. But please always have faith that when you are at your bottom, the only way is to go up.
Be it single and married, I am fully aware at a very ripe age of 38 that there are both pros and cons. Married people have companionship, either from spouse and kids, or either one (well, I just learnt another story from an old friend that her husband and her lived totally separate lives at home).
I am not going to lie. With the abundance of freedom at hand, I do feel lonely at times.
That sense of deep down sadness, loneliness does grab you tightly. It does.
This afternoon, while doing yoga at home, I actually could feel the loneliness resurfacing again. Towards the end of the yoga session, I teared.
Because I always locked myself in my bedroom and do yoga based on an online course, I have the space to weep quietly in that moment.
It was a very hot and sunny day. As I laid down in my savasana pose, I could see white clouds gathering and dry thunder sounds in a distance. From the bottom of my heart, I instinctively put my palms together, closed my eyes and sent a very sincere prayer to Buddha. After ending the practice, I gave three bows.
For the past 37 years, I always place career above everything else in my prayers. I do feel lonely at times when I see couples together, but I never really pray sincerely for someone to appear in my life.
Today, I finally did with all my heart.
Because today, I really wish that for the next 30 years (assuming I lived till 70 years old and 4 years have passed beyond 35year mark) I will have someone beside me, holding my hands, for me to hug when I feel sad, and travel the world together.
I yearn for someone to live with me in my own small house. Whenever I open the door, I can see someone at home, or at least waiting for someone to come home if I am earlier. To cook and have meals together, to have a meaningful or engaging or relaxing conversation depending on mood of the day, to have someone to say good morning and good night on a daily basis.
I yearn to be able to hug someone when I have a bad day at home. Even as I try not to spread my negativity to him, at least I can hug him and feel better without mentioning a single word about work.
I yearn for someone to care about me, to text me if I want lunch, or to go home together (we don’t need to have a car – a bus or train ride together is fine with me).
I yearn for someone to go travel with, for me to share my travel experiences with him, as we explore places together, meet different and new people together.
Today, I do not know why, but I feel extremely lonely.
Ever since my father passed away, I started working on getting back into the workforce for the past 3 months. The momentum of job application grew stronger as the days turn into weeks, and weeks into months. I am craving to get back into the workforce on a permanent basis, and get cracking on churning out good projects to enhance my portfolio.
One of the interviews that I got called for was with a government agency tasked to promote design in my country. I was excited because I felt strongly for the cause itself, especially since I am a freelancer at the moment and I could feel the pains of delivering creative works to painful clients.
However, after so many bad experiences with government officers, especially bitchy ones that loved to congregate within my field, I have learnt not to pin high hopes. The interview session comprised two parts: a 1-hour writing test and a panel interview with the hiring manager (I shall call her The Bitch) and the HR officer (I shall call her the Nice One).
The moment The Bitch waltzed into the office with her gaudy dressing – yes it was gaudy and looked like bedsheet – I knew the vibe was wrong. I caught a glimpse of a Caucasian husband/partner with her as her phone wallpaper and I knew I up against a Sarong Party Girl (Asian girl who loved to hang out with white men. In their eyes, only white men are the best accessories worthy to own) once again. I groaned inside my heart that this was a wasted interview but I had to complete it.
This lady looked at my resume and wanted me to introduce myself. Halfway through the interview, she questioned my knowledge about the agency. As a person with only private sector working experience, I gave her what I learnt about the organisation from the website and other background research. Although yes there was a typo error in my resume (which I rectified very quickly but alas this application was prior to my discovery of the mistake), I felt that she was being biased in checking my knowledge on the details of each department. If someone has not been exposed to that organization, it is common sensical and obviously biased to fault that interviewee on the lack of knowledge of the specific roles of each department. She also pointed out that I have little knowledge about the organization. The Nice One was quiet and was frequently asked if she has any questions.
Thankfully, somehow I managed to pry the information from her on the specific portfolio that this role entailed. The successful candidate (but rather unlucky, in my opinion) would need to publicise a series of education-related programmes, including scholarships. My heart sank.
WHAT KIND OF A RUBBISH PORTFOLIO IS THIS?
The agency prides itself on promoting design on a country level, yet it has done a shoddish job after 16 years. Since its establishment, we are still not able to have a national identity, the level of design awareness and adoption is still ridiculously low.
The content on the website, blueprint and the releases says a lot and says nothing. There are plenty of words, conceptual words, that I have seen and called it “bullshitting” in my mind. In communications, yes the language is important, but communications is no longer deemed so important in marketing. Public relations professionals are now used to write executive communications (AKA write for the senior management) and for the employees (AKA write for HR on every single damn initiative that they wants to push). After leaving the building, I wrote an email to inform the recruiter that I was no longer pursuing this job (and of course I gave a diplomatic reason).
I am so sick of communications as a professional career. When I first started this blog, I wanted to show the world that I could write. I really prized writing as a genuine gift. Don’t get me wrong, writing is still very important in today’s world, but like what one interviewer mentioned during interview, media relations/public relations does not generate results that impact the bottom line.
Communications has now been relegated to a support function, abused by many who simply get you to do their work because they can conveniently say: “My writing is not as good as yours.” Or “You are an expert in writing.”
Does that mean I have to write every single bloody notice on the employee notice board? Or write an email for you?
I was grateful for this interview because the hiring manager revealed the bitchiness right from the start, told me the most pertinent information that made me lose my interest in the job right away, and prevented me from hoping for this role which would turn out to be another GREAT BIG DISAPPOINTMENT in the future.
So yeah lady, thanks for saving me from accepting a potential disaster, which I really do not need it right now.
If lady luck can stay with me this time round, hopefully I can make the switch back to marketing and learnt all the latest valuable skillsets that I need to prolong my career life!
According to my family’s beliefs, a person will be lingering around for 49 days before he moves on to the next life. Hence, there are a few important dates that we keep in mind and pay our respects, for example, the 7th day, 21st day, 35th day and 49th day. On the 7th day, it is also commonly believed that your departed loved ones will return back home.
However, my father did not appear in any of our dreams on the 7th day. Nor any day.
Recently, I met my neighbor during one of my evening jogging sessions. She hemmed and hawed for a while before telling me that she smelled cigarette smoke on the 48th day after my father has passed away. The strangest thing was because no one, except my father, smoked along our floor. It was around noon that she smelled it.
I recalled there was a particular night when we smelled a very strong bad odour smell lingering in our house. It was late around 11pm and there was no one using toilet, nor anyone doing gardening and adding fertilizers. When my father was alive, we used to have such smells in our house, which thinking back was such a strong signal that his health was in a very bad shape.
This makes me wonder: did my father return?
I recalled once in the hospital I had a conversation with my father and he affirmed that his late brother appeared in his dreams one night. He wanted him to pass the messages to his family members. However, he said he was unable to enter his wife’s dream himself.
Surprisingly, that very day (48th night) my sister dreamt of him sitting in the car with the whole family. It was like one of the usual family gatherings we used to have.
So, did my father really return on that day?
My father passed away on 2 March 2019. It was a Saturday, and one day after I resigned from a Middle East company. It was unexpected because we had a false alarm back in December 2018. That false alarm took place in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) at Ward 58, a high-dependency ward.
I remembered that day quite clearly. I received a call from my mother at work around 11am, and she told me the doctor told us to get ready to be by my father’s side because all his readings and indicators did not look good. I immediately went to my boss, informed him and was out of the office within 5 minutes. The fortunate thing was I was at Central Business District, so getting to SGH was very easy – 4 bus stops away.
We started informing our relatives, and more and more came down to the hospital. A few of us got mad because the high-dependency ward restricted only to 2 visitors at a time per patient. Each high-dependency ward can accommodate 5 to 6 patients. We also had to wrap ourselves with gown and mask before we can enter the ward.
However, my father pulled through with tons of antibiotics and fluids pumping through him. We stayed overnight for a night, and 2 more days in hospital to ensure he was ok. I went to take Medical Leave (for 2 days) and split my off-in-lieu into 2 half days to account for my missing in action at work.
Therefore, when my father was transferred to St Andrews’ Community Hospital (SACH) on 4 January 2019, we thought it might be another false alarm (on 2 March). I went to Expo to attend the Reno Fair, but left within 15minutes after getting a call from my sister that my father’s condition was starting to deteriorate rapidly. The rest of the day we stayed in the ward with him. Fortunately, this time round we had a single room to ourselves. Hence the experience was way better than SGH. We bought food and my family went back home (it was much closer to home at this hospital) to take his clothes and portrait (in the scenario that he passes away and we need to pass to the casket upon his death).
That afternoon, my father started displaying the same symptoms as he had in SGH. He had breathlessness and was given oxygen tube. They monitored the amount of morphine given, and increased it steadily. From half propping up, my father had to lie down. But he did manage to drink a bottle of bird’s nest before he started to lie down. More morphine and another painkiller were administered intravenously. Oxygen tube was replaced with oxygen mask for higher concentration to relieve his breathlessness. My sister and I wanted to get some drinks from the vending machine at ground level after our dinner so we left for around 5 to 10 minutes. Once we went back up, the nurses quickly came to us to tell us our father was not feeling well. They were changing his diapers and monitoring his eye motion. It was still and he was staring into blank space. We already noticed this around 5pm that afternoon.
At 7.55pm, my father was declared dead. We were all around him, with me whispering into his ears to follow the first white light he sees. A quick short emotional process followed, and we quickly called the casket. From his death to the 4-day funeral wake, it was smooth. Yes, I did experience some bouts of sadness and did properly grieve in the wee hours. At one point, I was wondering if I would feel any sadness because there were too much shouting and anger during the past year.
At this point, I could only say that I do feel sad because after he was my father, but I was very relieved because we can finally close this chapter and move on with our lives. I always believe that if there is no hope for recovery and quality of life is non-existent (he was bedridden towards the end and couldn’t eat at all), it is better to pass on as quickly as possible to reduce pain and suffering. I was also very grateful and glad that we managed to get my father in an in-patient hospice environment because the nurses and doctor helped us a lot during the very last few moments before my father's death. They explained to us the symptoms displayed and we felt less frazzled. Their constant checks and comfort/consolation to us played a very very great role. Hence, my mother decided to make a donation in my father's name to express our heartfelt appreciation to them.
Right now, we are just following the Chinese rites of 49 days where we go on alternate 7th day (the first 7th day, third 7th day, fifth 7th day and the seventh 7th day) to pray. Thereafter, since my new home will be closer to the temple which houses my father’s tablet, I will go and pay my respects on a yearly basis. Even if there are any days that we cannot, at least the temple will be able to do it on our behalf.
Life has resumed very quickly back to normal for my mother and I. For the past 2 years, especially 2018, my father was spending most of his time in hospital. Hence, we already got accustomed to living without my father for a long time. I am now back on active job hunting and my mother is now planning for her own holiday with her friends.
But my sister and I did fulfill our promise to her by bringing her to Penang for a short getaway after a long and tiring caregiving period. I shall devote another post on our experience in Penang shortly!
The topic of settling down came to me again when my cousins came over to visit my father. Yes, currently, there are many people who will visit my house and see my father, ever since we told them my father’s days are numbered.
While chit chatting, my cousin who is like 9 years younger than me and a father of one, asked:
“Don’t you want to fnd someone and get married?”
Well, I replied him that now that I have my own job and a small house of my own, I do not want to compromise and get married to anyone for the sake of getting married. Especially, since I do not want to have children. I know this last condition will eliminate the very limited pool of guys who are keen on women my age. But I really am not keen to have children in my forties and do the diapers thing. That is horrifying.
Looking at my facebook, I see some posts of my ex colleague who is about in her early 30s and managed to find a guy to marry after her Masters in Wealth Management. Another friend of mine from my Japanese class, found a guy from Coffee Meets Bagel app. Well, I have tried online dating before and I think if no guy is willing to ask you out for the second meet-up, shouldn’t you get the hint and move on?
Yes, I do admit I do lie down in my bed and wonder in life if I am going to be solo in this lifetime, but I also think it is highly based on fate and affinity to meet the right guy. At the very least, the guy must be interested enough to woo me by asking me out on dates right? If I woo someone who doesn't like me, wouldn't my twilight years be tough serving and waiting on someone who will be old by then too?
If any of my readers in their late thirties/forties experienced this before, I look forward to hearing from you on how you respond to such comments/remarks.
A woman who has long passed the marriageable age, or known as 剩女, but becoming comfortable and contented with my singlehood life and the freedom it brings to me.