I won.

After being stuck at Level 1 over hundred times, working my way up to Level 2 several times and being batted back down to where I started, I’ve made it. I’ve finally received a highly coveted job offer. Granted, I won’t be writing articles or anything like that, but I will be working with a lot of numbers and turning them into stories. My favorite high school teacher was the one who started me on that path.

So if I am counting from when I sat my last exam at the university, it’s been… 18 months. Of course, I was technically underemployed for that whole time and sick for about 12 months and so. It was a particularly trying time.

Yes, the economy is bad. But that doesn’t explain some of the other factors working against me. They are:

  1. The fact that I am a female of reproductive age
  2. I am clearly Asian and,
  3. I have only a little work experience over most new graduates.

Sometimes you bring these topics up and people like to say things like “My friend who is _____ was able to get a job right out of college!” The truth is that they are one person that you may know. But remember, I am not that person and they are not me. There is just no comparison point. Everyone’s situation is different.

I have had an employer note that my English language skills were a problem – I am a naturalized citizen by birth; I went to normal state schools where everyone spoke English and we were forced to read (and discuss) Shakespeare and novels such as The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird.

I have been straggled for months on end by an employer who was worried I was an international student with an impermanent visa, who couldn’t speak English properly. I proved him wrong. That being said, they never called or emailed back. It’s quite possible the contract they had with a client they were supposed to work with fell through. Well, that’s what I thought, until I recently saw an ad for a data entry clerk for that very same company.

So my advice is: there is a lot of horrible advice online about how to actually get a job. You waste countless hours doing cover letters, scouring jobs online and writing thank you notes that don’t really matter. My mother reminded me that this was actually bad practice, “If you have confidence in your skills and ability, you don’t need to. It also makes you seem desperate and that you’re trying to get through the back door. You don’t need to.”

In reality, no one came back to me and offered me a job when I wrote thank you notes. For the job I was offered, no one received a thank you note. The only piece that I have come across as being relevant to me was Susannah Breslin’s How to Get a Job If You’re a 20-Something Woman (for my male counterparts Frances Bridges’ How to Get a Job if You’re a 20-Something Guy should suffice). Noted, I am nowhere near as physically attractive as Frances and aggressive as Susannah. However, I did tick the last box: I had (and still have) heart.

“It doesn’t matter how strong or capable you are; if you don’t have a big heart, you will not succeed.”

— Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s Richest Man

I could still make it.

Let me tell you one thing though. Sometimes it isn’t your fault. Though the majority of the world may be smug about having a job, a lot will hate it. In other words, please don’t forget that selling your time is not exactly the best way to do things. And sometimes, the job isn’t meant for you. Take that as a blessing in disguise. I know people say that you should take ANY job you can get, but you should not simply acquiesce into jobs that you will give you health problems. I learnt the hard way.

With the right job, things flow naturally. I can’t say I prepared a heavy deal before the interview (read: not at all). But I really didn’t have to think too hard or bring in skilful subterfuge to answer any of the questions. I felt at ease. I was even smiling after the interview— I knew I did well.

If you’re the right fit, you don’t have to try too hard. It’s a little bit like reaching for a cookie jar on a higher shelf. If you’re tall, you will get it without much trouble. Even if you were short, you could always prop yourself on a ladder or stool and not have to strain too much. Likewise, if you fall over and break your back because you had a rickety ladder and you were too short (or you were just tall and clumsy), then it isn’t for you. The words of my former lecturer ring true: “I am a great believer in providence. You will get the job you are meant to get.”

I would go to interviews, get nervous and bomb them. My eyes would start watering almost every time someone called back to tell me I didn’t get the job. Then, I started to reframe things in my mind. I stopped thinking too far ahead. I stopped thinking about how I would get to work if I got the job. I didn’t think about how I would pay the rent if I got the job. If is conditional. Is, on the other hand, is not.

So for interviews, I would only think up to that one interview only, do a job search and move on. Do not stagnate. You can fall into the trap of taking a break that turns into a huge period of non-productivity. Do something fun – focus on your hobbies, do something new (not necessarily expensive), do things you couldn’t do when you were busy with school/kids/work/whatever. Remember, there are things you can’t change but, for the most part, happiness is a choice.

I guess I’ll be back in awhile— I’ve got to make an appointment with a very special lecturer of mine. Providence is a great thing, indeed.


2 thoughts on “I won.

  1. Hi,

    Congratulations you found a job, I’m happy for you. I’m new around here, I ended up on your blog via sharktoothsweater and have been impressed. The first post I read is “The impossible dream” ; maybe I needed to read something like that at the moment, I would say it blowed me. I like the way you refer to other articles with links, it resonates with your writing and gives more material to think.
    Today it’s the same with this post, I’m currently looking for a job and I have a lot of these sentences starting with “if” spinning in my head, I know it’s not the right thing to do and it makes me angry because I don’t succeed to get out of it and enjoy the good part of my situation.
    My point is : thank you. Also for your poetry jam sessions that I like very much so far. Your words are delectable food for the mind 🙂


    1. Gudule,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for visiting. I’m glad you found my words through sharktoothsweater. As for “The Impossible Dream”, well it’s definitely that when you say you can’t.

      And about linking to other articles and quotes – no one can walk this journey alone. We are all connected in some way. I’m doubly glad that you take the time to click through and read the extra material.

      Let’s forget about “if” for a moment, and focus on “is”. Just think up to what you have to do, do it and move on. It may be a little ignorant, but it’s a chance to not stress about things that either haven’t happened yet or aren’t going to happen at all. Cross that bridge when you get there. Well, if there even IS a bridge. Do you see what I mean?

      You are most welcome. I’m happy to hear that my thoughts and expressions are something to be savored. Now if I could only write as fast as I thought… that would be something.


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