I have graduated with a First Class Honours degree from a local university three years ago. I first joined a market research agency as I thought it was my passion. In the eight months there I took on a lower pay compared to fellow peers with similar qualifications and often worked 12-hour shift five days a week.
The industry is also flooded with foreign workers from India and the Philippines so agencies were able to get away with the terrible working hours and the lack of proper rewards. I felt that in the long-term, the job was not sustainable and took the advice of my fellow classmates and switched to a stat board where I had a higher pay.
I was extremely unhappy with some of the things I saw and could not do anything about. After two to three months, I received an offer from ABC company and decided to join them.
Then the downturn hit. Just after I was confirmed, I was notified of an organisational restructuring. My position was made redundant.
I was given a new position but without confirmation of my new payscale and was promised that my pay would be increased as the role demands more of me.
I was told to wait for further instruction. I spent a total of five-six months twiddling thumbs but I was fortunate that I still had a job.
They axed my boss and relocated persons from other regions to Singapore to form a regional team. Around the region, the marketing staff was axed or re-grouped. The result was a very unhappy and insecure workforce and intense enmity between the old guards and the ‘new joiners’.
I was offered an opportunity with my current employer and given a minor pay cut. I took it up to escape ABC company.
After I joined the organisation, I found out that there were intense legacy issues that I had to deal with, I bit the bullet as I felt that I could not quit and run away again and I was afraid that I would be deemed a job hopper. I worked hard and took on the jobs that no one wanted to do.
The employers were calculative they knew my concerns and they knew that I would stay. They also knew that I am the hardworking type and capable of delivering results so I was loaded up with work that the other team mates were squabbling over.
At my recent appraisal last month, I was given the grading of Exceptional Performance 2 (Exceeding Expectations) however I was not promoted. I asked my employer why and they said that I only had 11 months of experience with them at the time of the appraisal and a lot of other reasons that I could not agree with (my bosses were promoted however, and I could only console myself that my good work had helped them shine).
Now, I have a full year’s worth of experience. It was a matter of a month from the time of appraisal, however it cruelly denied me of a promotion that I was led on to believe I would have had if I worked hard for the firm.
I am very dejected now and I do not know what to do. I do not wish to stay on in the firm as I do not trust my bosses and I do not think I am valued enough. My pay is now lower than my peers and I do not have AWS and I have been told I will get a maximum of one month’s bonus as my marketing role is considered a back-end job (cost incurring and non profit generating).
I know that my market value is much higher than that especially if I join the civil services but my previous experience is really jarring. I also feel that if I should pursue a marketing career, I cannot stay on in this firm especially since, it is treated as a cost-incurring unit just like it was in ABC. I could be restructured again for the same reason.
I am afraid of being termed a job hopper and I am reluctant to switch, however, I am unhappy with the way I have been treated and it is keeping me awake at night. I am also afraid that if my next switch does not work out I will be left in the same situation again.
I also recognise a few things that have been recurring in my working life – I am a very trusting and compliant person who has difficulties saying no to superiors. I would work very hard and burn out, I would then request for time-off or salary increment for the increased job responsibilites that I’m taking up but I am usually unsuccessful and then I will switch jobs. I want to break out of this cycle and find out which career suits me and find a job that I can stay on for at least three years. I also want to learn how I can change to prevent the cycle from repeating and how to manage my bosses’ expectations better.
I hope you can offer me some advice and/or recommend an affordable career counsellor to me.
Thank you for your help, I sincerely appreciate it.
Thanks for your mail.
From what I read, I can see that you are a survivor and really a good worker – just that in some organisations, promotions go to those who can curry favours more and sometimes its also political.
I remembered working in one company and was brushed aside by the management as I was both vocal and complaint too much for their liking. I can see that my boss also felt abit threatened by my experience and ideas. She is ten years younger than me also.
I was also denied my PB (performance bonus) as I worked less than a year despite proving my worth with a few high-profiled projects there. Naturally, my boss got promoted after she shone with the projects proposed by me. Everyone in the office thought so too adding to my disgust.
I guess by now you know that there is no perfect company to work in. Some companies will do better than others but we should find the right fit for ourselves.
A few things to ask ourselves when we work in a company:-
1. Is the company giving us enough opportunitites to prove ourselves and build up our portflolio? As you are still young, your portfolio needs beefing up and you need to be patient also for the big break.
2. Are we getting enough support from the bosses and colleagues to do a good job as a team? No one can survive in a work environment whereby there is alot of competition and office politics. The reason I could work in my first civil servant job for 13 years was because of the supportive colleagues I got there. I found out that having a good team that can work well together is really very tough nowadays.
3. Does the renumeration commensurates with our services? This is personal of course and if possible do try to look beyond the dollars and cents here as your first few years of work experience is crucial for your portfolio and career building. Its true that if we job hop initially in our first few years of work, employers can label us as a serial job hopper.
Also try to look before work as the only satisfaction for your life. Ttry to volunteer for some non-profit organisations to help those who are less fortunate or have some hobbies to balance out.
I guess Singaporeans are sometimes too engrossed in work leaving out the finer things in life which deserve a second look.
I hope that I have help you with some career advice here and let me know if I can help you further.