Job experiences (Mel)

1:50:00 PM

Unlike Ben, I wrote my first ever resume when I was 21, fresh from University and ready to enter the work force. Prior to a full time job post uni, I was taking on several adhoc jobs while teaching piano part time since 18.

While waiting for my A level results back then, I worked at a bar for 2 months. I think every Singaporean should work in f&b at least once in their lifetime. It makes you more appreciative and understanding of what's going on behind the kitchen while you wait (impatiently) for your food. Haha. My parents were definitely not into the idea of me taking up the job because I had to work from 5pm - 3am 6 times a week. I had transport home every night though, but my body clock was screwed up and I think that was the turning point in my health, when my gastric got weaker and menstrual cycle got more irregular (so girls, please do not sleep past midnight, it's very bad).

There were other adhoc jobs that I took up along the way, like being an usher at a bank conference, distributing free Darlie toothpaste samples etc.

The pay = $7 / hour 

After completing my university course, I stayed in my first and only office job for approximately 2 years and 2 months. The first 4 months was a true test on my health. The office was in the west and I live in the east. It was crazy. God answered my prayers thankfully, when the company decided to move to Tanjong Pagar during my 5th month there and it was much easier traveling to work.

I was working in an SME, an online marketing agency with a cosy size of 10+ employees only (including the bosses). Despite the occasional unhappy or nasty clients once in a while, I loved the job scope and it was what I was offered during my interview.

I started off as a (junior) online marketing executive, and because the company was small, I knew there was little chance of getting a promotion.

The pay 
= $2000 / month (before probation), 
$2,200 / month (after 3 months probation). 
All these before CPF deduction. 

Yes, it was tough. I couldn't complain though, I guess I was just not smart enough to get into a local uni at 18 (well, you know... local uni > private uni... Singapore...). I stayed, I worked, I worked hard, I worked harder.

1 year into the job, the pay 
= $2,500 / month

I felt it was time to venture into a business and so, started an online store selling fashion accessories and apparel. Apart from the full time job on weekdays, I taught piano part time on Saturdays, and would spend most of my Sundays doing photo shoots or editing photos and updating the web store.

I survived, but my bank account didn't. 

Sales was slow in certain collections and my savings depleted to < $1,000 in Dec 2011. I knew it was time to let it go in 2012 because it would take too long more to recoup my savings. I had to make frequent visits to the hospital late that year too, because some nasty bacteria decided to attack my gastric.

I still stayed in the full time job, I still worked hard there, I still loved the job (and the colleagues - there was zero politics, just awesome people who tolerated my bitchy moments, helped me when I had difficulty setting up the web store, and they made time pass more quickly everyday).

Somehow, I felt it was time to leave. It was not that I felt inferior that my peers were getting a higher pay than me, or that I disliked the job. I knew that I belonged elsewhere and was not meant to be in this line for long. There was little satisfaction even when a job was well done, and little sense of achievement. It was a Rat Race. Every weekday I looked forward to the end of the day... the end of the week... the end of the month (pay day).

2 years into the job, I got promoted. The pay 
= $2,800 / month. 

But... I left.

I talked to Ben about what I was going to do post-resignation, about the risk of having an unstable income and not having any (employer) CPF. Ben is a risk taker (of course he calculates them first) and he trusted that I wouldn't have much problem and I should start to worry less. And so I did.

I now earn a healthier income and lead a healthier life. I wake up to make and have breakfast with Ben almost every morning before sending him off to work. I'm also able to join my mum for exercise class once a week and spend more time with my parents everyday. I still contribute to my CPF on a monthly basis (because we need to get our housing loans and stuff) and create Savings Goals to make sure my bank account does not send me a heart attack again. And most importantly, I still love my job, it was what I wanted to do from the start anyway, to teach full-time and to help Ben with his businesses.

Even to this day, I'm still very grateful for the opportunities that came along my way and for the people who helped me through it. My parents, who initially were unsupportive of my actions, are now accepting my decisions and check up on my kids' progress now and then.

One tip for friends/readers who might have been in the same situation or still are...
"It is not how much you earn that matters in the end, it's how much you are able to save." 

Just like what Ben has wrote in his entry on his job experiences, "don't just look at the money, instead look at the important life lessons these jobs bestow unto you.", I'm glad that my experiences and the many life lessons have made me a better person today. 

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