I was looking through your website and got to know that you might be able to provide me with some advice on my career. I’m a Singaporean and age 34 this year.
I started my career in a niche industry since 1998. I have been working in fieldwork operations (which was quite a specialized area within the industry) as a Senior Operations Manager for 13 years until I was retrenched in Jan 2010 due to a merger.
I have to admit that this has affected me deeply as I was actually headhunted into this company and the salary package was quite good – about $5,400 per month.
This retrenchment has made me re-consider the kind of job that I would like to do in future as obviously my particular industry is really vulnerable.
I’m also tired with what I have been doing all along and must admit that I have started to lose interest in my current field. Perhaps, the adverse effect of the retrenchment has cause me to dislike what I have been doing all this while.
In fact, I have been looking for jobs in other industries both in the civil service and private sectors. However, it has been all in vain as either I do not have the relevant experience or my last drawn salary was too high for them to consider employing me.
I have tried lowering my salary expectation but employers have now told me that I belong to a more senior position in my current industry and what they are looking for is a junior position and a lower salary package.
I could sense that most of them were not confident that I will be able to make it if they were to offer me the job.
I went to Central Singapore CDC for help but what I have received from their career consultant was disappointing.
They told me that as their current job databases consist of mostly lower level jobs, they are only helping the blue collared or unskilled workers in job matching than senior executives like myself.
However, they will still continue to keep a lookout for me. They have sent me job openings via the emails but they were those I have ever applied before via the on-line job websites or civil service portals.
Even after mentioning their career consultant name as referral, I don’t even receive a single call from employers in the civil service or private sectors.
They told me to be patient or try to return to my current industry, since my situation doesn’t give me much hope of a career change.
I try to network around and hope that through my friends’ referral, I could get a introduction to their companies or industries. However, no companies have reverted to me thus far.
Maybe I was getting really aggressive here and some network contacts have literally told me that there isn’t anything they can help me with at the present moment.
I started to resign to my fate and out of the blue in Aug last year, I landed a job in a newly set up small foreign company doing the same work in fieldwork operations.
I was totally elated at this sudden change of fortune.
However, I left the company after three months due to two reasons:-
1. My salary package was not honoured even though it was put in writing. Also, there were other issues and I felt really shortchanged.
2. I started to feel negative in the work I have been doing all along and maybe the choppy employment status may have contributed to this disinterest. I used to be proactive in my work and come out with new ideas but not anymore.
The short-termed employment has actually caused more harm than good as now I seriously doubted my own abilities and my self esteem is at its lowest.
I have also try to occupy myself daily with exercising but when there is no news from potential employers, it is just demoralizing.
It is sad to see the unemployed not able to get the job after an interview. As for me, I was not even called up for an interview!
I have been constantly telling myself to be optimistic – that it might be hard to find a job during this festive period and situation will be better after that.
However, the question keeps coming back to me is: “What if I still can’t get a job after this period. What are the things I can do to remain optimistic?”
Sometimes, it is really frustrating to hear in the news that the unemployment rate has gone down for each quarter but what about me, I’m still unemployed!
I sincerely hope you can provide me with some advice on how I should move forward with my current situation. I have been surviving on my savings and it is really sad to see that all my hard earned savings for the past years are now getting lesser and lesser.
Kenneth (not his real name)
Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear about your predicament.
Frankly, you are not alone here and I have received alot of emails from capable PMETS like you mentioning that they are unemployed for a long time.
So, you are not alone here – I hope that this has provided you with a small dose of solace.
It looks like you may have to do some soul searching here as to the kind of work that you like to do.
The interviewers will also be able to pick up traces of your disinterest when they interview you for the job.
You can actually go to http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/ - its a job hunting website and there’s a link whereby you can take a test to know what your career inclination is.
Frankly, re-employment does take time and lots of patience – the worse is unemployment has no deadline and uncertainty is a unwelcome constant tag.
Its a situation that we could not really control and many people have difficulty handling the emotional hiccups of unemployment.
We can be jobless for a year or if we are fortunate, we start work next week!
I have heard stories of how jobless PMETs, after staying unemployed for many months, suddenly emailed me saying that they have managed to get a job – its like so out of the blue and of course they are elated.
The more crucial lesson to learn here is they have never give up searching – they continue to source through advertisements, sent out their resumes and attended interviews despite their discouragement.
One day, when they have hit rock bottom, news of their employment have sent them literally back to the clouds. They have also became really tough and hardened after their ordeal.
However, in the midst of discouragement and sometimes hopelessness, its good to try all ways to stay positive – a key ingredient for staying on the job search pathway.
Some of the unemployed I know have given up hope and don’t even bother to job search and that will be disastrous. If you stop searching, you will never find work.
I am glad also that you have taken to exercising as its a wonderful way to destress and feel positive about yourself. Moreover, its a very good keep-fit habit and I hope that you will continue this exercise even after you have found work later on.
You can also keep a blog of your thoughts as I see that you can write rather well. Writing has helped many people to destress and its as good as exercising only that writing exercises the emotions alot.
Frankly speaking, this website was started when I started to blog about my jobless thoughts and it has a huge following since. We have a volunteer team of eight coaches and counsellors now and trying our best to help as many jobless people as we can.
Let me know if I can assign a career coach to speak with you – sometimes you can get fresh ideas after the session.
Meanwhile, I seek your permission to post this mail on my site so that we can learn from one another.
I will leave out your name and vital info to protect your privacy.
Stay strong always and let me know. We are here for you.
NB: We have assigned Kenneth with a career coach.