After graduation, I tried on a lot of career platforms to see what best suits me. I took about 1 year to finally see what I wanted to do in life and to get the support & permission to pursue in this path.
Yes, I spent all of my higher education levels studying agriculture (and soon I believe I would pursue Masters and PhD in food related studies too). But little that I knew that working in an agriculture related companies and projects are not what I wanted to do as my life career. I figured out I wanted to do something funner, more avant-garde. So basically, I learned that I studied agriculture for the knowledge, for my passion to build a healthier world and for my dream to end world poverty through sustainable living. But not to climb a ladder working in that field.
Among the careers/jobs that I ventured into include –
- Worked on an organic farming project in Langkawi – my dad had just retired the same time I graduated. So, he started this project first with his friend and after touching down in Malaysia, we flew to Langkawi to join him. Long story short, the project had to be cut short because of improper planning and I also realised that I did not like to work under the sun as a labour like that.
- Became a Public Mutual (PM) investment agent – my mom has been a Public Mutual agent for 11 years now. To compare to the time when she worked 9-5 at UIA, I feel happier when she does PM because she has flexible time and I could see her more often at home. Now she even has a passive income! ‘Sooo ideal’, I thought. So, I joined PM to see if this job was for me. I learned to do cold-callings, face-to-face approach and asked for referrals from my mom’s clients. I made appointments and convinced people to invest with me. Unfortunately months later, some conflicts involving family members arose and I didn’t like the way it was heading. I also realised that this was not a career that I wanted to pursue. So I stopped doing it.
- Became an AIA Takaful agent – at the same time, I was also dipping my leg in insurance field. Yet, just like the concept of doing PM, I realised this was not the main career for me.
- Unfulfilled lecturer job – I went for an interview to fill a temporary lecturing job at my old college and I got the job! Yes, I convinced myself that I could start as a lecturer. Then, I could build my career in education but I ended up declining it. One because I had to be weekend lovers with my husband. Second because to be honest really, I just didn’t want to spend another 3 months (maybe more) working in the place where I used to study for 3 years at – I wanted something new.
- Freelance debate trainer & speaker – I was entrusted by my ex-lecturers to train a group of students to debate so I took the opportunity. I was also called a few times to give a talk about studying in the UK. I resisted one time, saying that I had not much to share. Mostly because I was still blurry of my career path and I was afraid that I might talk nonsense. But they insisted I still come and yes, I did talk nonsense. My mind, body & soul were seriously not present that time – I was regretting my past and worrying about my future. After that, they never called me again and I’m glad that. At least, not until I’m ready again.
- Organic chicken supplier – we eat organic chicken at home. So, I decided to supply it to my neighbours and I did. I ordered, received, cut the chicken, repacked and froze them until the day I deliver them. I managed everything on my own including money flow, advertisement, promotion, marketing, designing and branding. Until one time, I felt like I was repeating the same strategy and concept of my baking freelance 4 years back which made me feel like I wasn’t moving and progressing in life. Although if I persisted, I might have progressed but I didn’t stay.
- Eid bakes (kuih raya) seller – around the same time of supplying organic chicken, I also sold Eid bakes. But it was only for a short while since Eid lasted only for a month.
- Writing a travelogue of our Europe Backpack – when everything didn’t seem to work out, I took a deep breath and did a post-mortem of what I’ve gone through in the search of my ideal career. I sat down and thought, ‘I’ve always loved writing’. In fact, I have been working on this travelogue since I came back to Malaysia but it progressed really slowly. Because I spent more of my time to find my main career and writing to me could come as part-time. But then it made me think, ‘Maybe I could write full-time!’ So, I started spending most of my time writing this book which ended up, still not progressing as I’ve hoped it to.
- Project Executive at a Development Company – after a lot of ventures didn’t work, I thought ‘Maybe I am just not ready to create something on my own yet. I need proper connections, professional experience and working in a company could prepare and develop myself for that’. Then I started to seriously job hunt and got hired as a project executive for a very promising project – Kedah Integrated Fishery Terminal (KIFT) & The Modernisation of Malaysian Fishing Vessel which is a project between Malaysia and China Govts. Yet, after a month plus, I resigned choosing our pregnancy over the work stress – well, growing a human being is a serious job too.
- Becoming a TV Host – at the very end of the search, I found myself always coming back to this avant-garde path where I wanted to work around media and arts platforms. Writing, speaking, giving talks and motivation, public relations, venturing into different cultures and faiths, building influences around amazing qualities, networking and dealing with a lot of people. This is just me – this is who I am. And because I chose to focus on our pregnancy first, I am now using the time that I have to develop myself and weave my passion into something that I can turn into a workable project, long-term business or getting hired as a TV personnel for a start. Amen.
If you’ve been like me, clueless of what to do after graduation and have been hopping on and off jobs too, it is okay. Let’s take it as an exploration before we finally settle down with a career that we are happy with. Because really, we spend more time at work rather than at home doing what we love or with family so we might as well make it worth it by having a worthy reason like – having an empowering boss, working in an established company, earning a position that we’ve been aiming for a while. We really don’t want to settle in a working environment that deteriorates our self-worth or passion in life. So, I root for keep on searching until you find one that is dear to your heart and empowers you everyday. There are a lot of empowering companies and innovative start-ups mushrooming these days that suit our generation’s taste more. So, go out of your comfort zone and try – He will not waste your effort. Have faith.
Other than that – if you’d like to start a project on your own but don’t know what project to work on (whether you already have daily jobs or don’t), try asking yourself these and jot them down as we do some analysis on your interests and habits:
- What is it that I enjoy doing? – Do you enjoy hiking, or dancing, or doing yoga, or writing, or baking, or playing make-ups, or styling, or designing, or working with your hands, or collecting stamps, or drawing portraits, or volunteering, or solving mathematical problems, or giving factual explanation to a scientific question?
- What is it that I spend most of my time doing? – Do you spend most of your time being with friends, or reading a book, or cooking for people, or running in marathons, or engaging and exchanging business ideas with people? What activity do you usually find yourself doing?
Say if you enjoy playing make-ups and engaging business ideas with people – that means you have an interest that can be turned into a money making machine which in the long run, can be where your main income comes from. Of course, developing your make-up skills, building influence, audience and getting clients’ trusts and positive spread of word of mouth takes time.
And the key to building something on your own is to explore, learn and inculcate it in yourself and your life. For when you experience it first hand, then only you will be able to really share it with others with less or without hiccups.
If you are pretty occupied with your job and/or other engagements – try to sit down in your free time to strategise and plan when you think would be the best time everyday to work on your project. The founder of Instagram burned the midnight’s oil every night working on the million dollar worth app despite having a daily job. We can too!
Strategise your time, plan your work flow, try committing to it and persist for a few weeks. If it doesn’t work – tweak it – change your schedule, strategy and plans. Persist for a few weeks and see if it works for you. If it does, maintain that schedule and routine and always, always improve. Be a step ahead than where you were yesterday.
Be persistent – attempt on the efforts to carve the path of your choice, everyday. Changing your life destiny involves discipline. If you are not happy with your current job situation and would love to start your own project (or, if you are just like me – having the time and would like to develop yourself) – in my next post, I will share with you a routine that my husband and I have been working on for a few months now to create more hours to work on our project. It may be workable for you too. So, let’s try it out in our quest to find a career or to create a platform that best suits our own unique personality!
See you in the routine post!
PS: It is okay and normal to be hopping on and off different jobs after graduation. Don’t beat yourself up if you see a friend already steadily working in a company. Different individuals go through different challenges and have different purposes in life. Be happy for them and work on yourself. Soon, when the pieces start to fall into place, you will understand why things happen the way it did. Trust Him, yourself and the journey ❤