Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday January 14th 2018

Female jobless PMET wants a career change to the social work sector

Hi Gilbert,

Chanced upon your website recently. It definitely has been very insightful.

I am currently unemployed because I quit my last job.
I have been a pharmaceutical sales rep since I graduated. I graduated  with Arts degree majoring  in Psychology and Statistics in mid 2002. That period was the economic  downturn and I had difficulty getting a job. I joined Prison Services early 2003 but decided that I don’t enjoyed uniformed group although my initial purpose was to help and make a difference. I  think it is quite different working for the  uniform groups because of the  rigid work environment.
My friend who was  in pharmaceutical sales  recommended me in. And ever since then I was in the industry. Working life is flexible and money was good.
I was at my 1st company for 2 years and the next for 6 years. I changed company again last year in June and ended up staying in the job for only 4 months.
I didn’t really like the company culture and as for my manager, she micromanages and I guess they always bring in fresh graduates, so management style for me was abit stifling for my liking. And I felt I really don’t enjoy the sales job anymore. I just feel that I am going nowhere. I am good at it but  not excellent for the job because I guess there is a lack of passion for it. It felt meaningless having to suck up to the doctors and nurses so that they will be using your products. And I always feel doctors should be ethical and use the products that is best for the patients and not best for their pockets, but of course it isn’t so for many of them. Maybe I was been a little wilful for  quitting like this. But I was really unhappy. I would sit in my car and cried. I missed my menses for 2 months.
I thought of going to do childcare after I quit but the money is very little as I will have to take up their study/work program. And after a short attachment, i didn’t feel keen on the position because I feel that there is a lot of menial job involve.  Knowing my character, I think I will not enjoy  in the long run.
And now here I am, jobless and lost. I started looking back for sales job. Went for a couple of interviews and wasn’t successful. I just don’t know what I could do if I don’t go back to pharmaceutical sales. I look around for government sector jobs and also continue to apply for pharmaceutical sales.
I thought of taking up a specialist diploma in counselling at NYP. As I feel I have just wasted most of my life without a clear  direction. And if I am interested in social service, I should take up some part time course for the long run. Even if I go back to sales  at least when I finish the course, I would have something to turn to.
Suddenly I feel my life is just falling apart. It’s just killing me inside.
Thanks for hearing my ranting. I always appear very strong to others, hardly shedding a tear. But I know I am not that strong and I am a very indecisive person. That’s why I just feel like my life is always just going with the flow….
I hope I have the strength to follow your footsteps and be brave to make a career change.
Thanks again.
Hi Denise
Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear about your predicament.
Many people turn to meaningful work after toiling in the corporate world for a period.
The corporate world can be  tiring, meaningless and often stressful.
Though the money can be good but it never brings us any happiness.
Social work can be meaningful here but the pay is pathetic.
You also need to take up a post graduate diploma in social work or counselling.
As you already have a degree in psychology it could however allow you to gain direct entry into counselling or social work depending on which field you are keen in.
For example, most family service centres (FSC)  require at least a degree in social work or a post graduate diploma for entry level jobs. The pay is probably in the range of between $2200- $2500.
You can also try the school counselling position but most schools need  at least a graduate diploma in counselling.
School counsellors are also better paid  than social workers in FSCs. Nevertheless, the attribution rate of school counsellors is relatively high – most of them do not make it pass the first contract.
Its a high-pace environment and most principals also tend to treat school counsellors like general workers.
Friends working inside schools as counsellors  have told me how they ended up doing sports day co-ordination, arrange meet-the-parents’ session and even become more like a discipline master than a counsellor.
I hope that you could meet one of our career coaches so that they can advise you further.
Its also good to take up some career development tool so that at least you know where your inclination might be.
Don’t stop  searching for a job that satisfies  for we spend at least 1/3 of our life working.
It will be sad if you do something you dislike just because of the pay which probably is one big reason  why people job-hop alot here.
Gilbert Goh
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10 Responses to “Female jobless PMET wants a career change to the social work sector”

  1. Singaporeanaboard says:

    Is this her real photo? Look quite chio leh… No wonder can do sales…

    • admin says:

      Hi Singaporeanabroad,

      Its just a random picture I took from a picture gallery.

      Gilbert Goh

      • Philip says:

        Gilbert, you do not need to place any pictures next to every articles.
        Be careful, many images do have copyright issues unless they are royalty-free for graphic designers.

  2. chillax says:

    maybe you should get married and have a capable man to share your problems….just a thought,

    If not, i guess the only way is to network your way to a job like how you got into pharma sales in the first place

  3. anon says:

    I think first of all you should counsel yourself on having tougher mentality. Seriously. You want to do something “meaningful” but must pay well and cannot involve menial tasks. Should also preferably have flexible timing so that during daytime hours can go here go there, drive here drive there. Cannot be rigid like uniform group and definitely no micromanaging.

    You’re basically hunkering for your old sales job, but with “nice” and understanding boss who lets you do your own thing, nice working environment, good salary and high commissions etc etc. Sorry, the world doesn’t revolve around you. If you can really get your dream job, then good for you and thank lady luck for the good opportunity, good timing and probably good contacts too.

    Otherwise you should get to grips with what you really want and start focusing and managing your expectations and reality.

  4. SL says:

    The fact that you still get interview opportunities imply that your market value is there. Perhaps an adjustment to your asking pay is needed. But more importantly is to hear from your inner being what kind of jobs would rest well with your strengths, values and interest.

    To switch industry often involve some sacrifices in the form of a substantial pay cut and a period of re-training. Go for it if you find it worthwhile.

  5. Johnson says:

    What she need is not career counselor, but a tight slap to wake up her idea.

    In summary, she wants a job:

    1) Flexible timing
    2) Good boss, no micromanaging
    3) No menial work
    4) Can move around
    5) Good pay
    6) Meaningful beyond pay
    7) Flexible culture, no rigid environment
    8) Got passion
    9) Don’t need to suck up to your internal/external customers

    So to get this job, she has these to offer:

    1) Degree in Arts
    2) A decade of mish mash experience in various sectors, all junior entry level

    Come on, how many of us are currently in a job that even meets a third of those criteria? The difference is we recognize this as economic reality and try to work around as best as we can. What she needs is not strength to make a career change (she’s been doing it too frequently anyway), but the maturity to understand that she has neither the luck nor capability to demand all that she seeks in a job.

    • ice says:

      Actually, I know of a job that, well, probably can meeting almost all the criteria. That is to trade for a living (I am working towards that)

      1) Flexible timing (sure, you can trade in whichever market you like, or FX which is 24 hours)
      2) Good boss, no micromanaging (no boss, even better)
      3) No menial work (I think the only menial work is to click your mouse to enter your trade)
      4) Can move around (sure, you just need to have a laptop with mobile broadband)
      5) Good pay (hmmm… this depend on your skill)
      6) Meaningful beyond pay (this depend on individual whether he thinks trading is meanginful)
      7) Flexible culture, no rigid environment (sure, the only cultural is you yourself)
      8) Got passion (again, this depend on individual)
      9) Don’t need to suck up to your internal/external customers (no customers, even better)

  6. charmer says:

    I have met several officers from Singapore Prisons in the course of my previous work and I found them to be positive in attitude and passionate in thier work. It is unfortunate that Denise was not drawn to serve in a wonderful organisation.

    Posting her article further confirms the attitude of today’s work force. While I continue to search for a job as a baby boomer she prefers to hop to the next job without building a track-record. I have little regard for such an attitude.

    On a more current note, did anyone visit the Job Fair today ? Keen to get an update on the type of jobs available from fellow readers who are kind enough to share.


    Gainfully Unemployed

  7. Philip says:

    Every soul on earth has a life purpose.
    High salary does not provide true happiness in the long-term.

    Look within your inner strength.
    Do what you like best with your passion.
    Your heart knows.

    Nobody can give you true happiness.
    You – yourself is the only one who can give you happiness.
    Happiness comes from within.

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