Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday January 13th 2018

Thoughts of a fresh graduate who earns $9/hour at a childcare centre

Dear Counselor,

Please pardon me for my incoherent thoughts. I have just recovered from a bout of crying. I have been sleeping late and waking up late the past few weeks. If I remain unemployed… Who knows? I don’t dare to imagine my ending. To cut a long story short, I hate myself for being so STUPID. I have always been the type highly likely to end up unemployable. Now, thanks to my own stupidity, I have made myself unemployable.

I have sent out so many cover letters (customized) plus CV to various companies and job agencies so far. No news!

Thought #1: Why should I work? I want to live a meaningful life by contributing whatever God-given skills/talents/abilities that I possess to society. I want to 孝顺 my parents. I must accumulate  $$$$$ in my CPF account, otherwise I will be penniless when I am old and ill. Even if I get rid of all my expenses, I still have to pay insurance premiums. Now then I realize that earning $9/hr beats earning nothing.

Thought #2:After my A Levels, the only temp job that I managed to secure was fast food crew member. I performed so badly that I received lots of screaming/scolding and not even one single compliment. I quit after three weeks and spent the rest of my post-A Levels break volunteering every Saturday at BLAHBLAHBLAH. I love BLAHBLAHBLAH so much that I told myself that I won’t quit it unless it asks me to leave. (Yup, I’m still volunteering at BLAHBLAHBLAH.) You might be wondering why I haven’t asked any of my fellow volunteers for job opportunities and so on. Reason #1: I doubt that they are able to help. We are acquaintances, not friends. Reason #2: Pride. They are highly likely to view me as stupid and incompetent if I tell them that I’m currently unemployed.

Thought #3: During my 1st uni break, I secured a temp job through 100% luck, although my preferred explanation is that God had answered my prayers. My dad’s colleague quit her job so my dad brought me into the company as a temp while the company was busy searching for a permanent replacement. However, soon after I left, the boss revised company policy—no more 裙带关系. By the way, this company is now struggling to survive. My dad’s own rice bowl is at risk, therefore I ought to work!

Thought #4: Oh, please don’t ask me which uni I graduated from. I don’t feel like blaming my joblessness on it. Let me give you a clue… In 2011 (the year I entered uni), a girl committed suicide allegedly because she was sad that the only uni acceptance letter that she received was from this particular uni. I feel sad whenever people say that my uni teaches useless stuff. Sometimes my dad discusses work-related stuff with me. He says that my insights are good. I always tell him those good insights aren’t from me, I’m merely parroting what my uni modules have taught me.

Thought #5: During my 2nd uni break, I secured a temp job through a job agency and yet another temp job through “cold e-mailing”. I can only secure jobs through the abovementioned means because I have NO friends. I’m bullied/hated/ostracized from kindergarten till JC, no wonder I’m friendless. I 独来独往-ed in uni. (To be fair, I do have seniors/peers/juniors who were nice towards me and teachers who doted on me. My JC classmates who hated me throughout JC 1 softened their stance towards me in JC 2 without rhyme or reason and started treating me very nicely. However, I’m so traumatized by my experiences that I deleted all teachers’ and schoolmates’ contact numbers. I almost committed bullycide in primary sch and later in JC.) I have lost count of sources stating that most jobs (at least 80%) are secured through friends. I have no friends, how to secure anything good?!

Thought #6: I slacked throughout uni while slipping in and out of depression. I recovered from depression in my 3rd year, but I still slacked. Stupid me.

Thought #7: I have lots of horror stories involving counselors. However, several years ago, a call that I made to SAMH hotline restored my faith in counseling. I forgot everything that the SAMH hotline counselor told me, I only remembered that she saved me from losing my sanity completely.

Thought #8: When I was studying in uni, I was very sure that I would pursue WSQ PDECCE (Childcare) upon graduation. Stupid me. I can’t sing or dance or play sports, how to educate children in these aspects? Oh, when I applied through ABC Institute, somehow I managed to receive SMSes about job interviews but not e-mails containing the details. I found out from its staff that my e-mail address always bounces its e-mails back. Hmm, maybe God is stopping me from becoming a childcare teacher. Anyway, I was already working at XXX when this Institute contacted me. When I was temping (illegally) as a childcare assistant at one particular childcare center after “cold e-mailing” various childcare centers in my neighborhood, the most senior teacher there (plus every member of her clique) hated me to the core. The childcare center fired me for losing my temper at some of the children. You see lah, I don’t even have the aptitude to become a childcare teacher lah, so stupid.

Thought #9: I fantasize about working as an Admin Executive But I lack relevant experience, so I ought to secure an Admin Assistant position first before working my way up, right? Why no news? I suspect that one reason is that when employers see my degree, they wonder why this particular person is applying for a position that she is over-qualified for—she must be blindly spamming CVs. (I happily accepted my $9/hr six-months temp job at XXX after uni graduation because I wrongly assumed that I will be converted to perm one day and then I can start working my way up.)

Thought #10: My responsibilities at XXX were so niche that I doubt that my job there involves any transferable skill.

Thought #11: I’m very stupid. I made many mistakes at every single job that I have ever held. Let us take XXX as an example. On the surface, I exceeded targets for Quality, Productivity and Attendance every month. I was 100% punctual, lol. In reality, I was a slow learner (my OJT spanned three weeks whereas my predecessors’ OJT spanned two weeks at most) and careless. I’m so slow that the only way for me to finish my tasks within SLA (service level agreement) is to stay behind and work for free. My colleagues (especially my IC) urged me to seek clarification whenever possible to avoid more mistakes. I took their advice. My dad told me that my IC was probably secretly annoyed with me because I sought clarification from her so frequently. OMG, I want to be employed, but it seems that I’m doing society a greater favor by remaining unemployed. Why my weaknesses outnumber my strengths? For example, my handwriting sucks. It is babyish when I write slowly and illegible when I speed up.

Thought #12: I started job-hunting after my final uni exams. Two weeks later, I secured my XXX job through a job agency. ABC Institute was dreadfully slow in contacting me (as previously mentioned in Thought #8.) Several days after I accepted XXX’s offer, I declined a $1.6k offer from a 三人 (two men and one woman) company that interviewed me before XXX did. Its location was very far-flung. I was supposed to replace the woman. Once the woman has finished serving her notice period, I will be left alone with the two men. Quite dangerous. (Wow, I digressed.)

Thought #13: Even though I’m UNDER-EMPLOYED, I appreciated everything that XXX offered except the low pay. As far as I know, I think that I managed to get along with everybody in my dept. (What an achievement! I think that I even managed to get along with my fellow trainees who were subsequently deployed to various depts.) My parents urged (and my “shifu” who gave me OJT) hinted that I should job-hunt while serving my six-month contract at XXX, but I ignored them. I wrongly assumed that even if XXX doesn’t want to convert me to perm, at least it will renew my contract as a temp.

Thought #14.1: Due to automation, my dept’s workload was reduced by 66.6%. When my contract expired, I told my boss that I was interested in staying on. According to her, her boss instructed that I will continue working in my dept (and receive my $9/hr pay from the job agency) while waiting for my temp contract to be renewed three weeks from the original contract’s expiry date. I verbally accepted XXX’s decision to transfer me to some other dept (the dept having the highest turnover) once the new contract is signed.


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3 Responses to “Thoughts of a fresh graduate who earns $9/hour at a childcare centre”

  1. Paul says:

    One piece of advice: it is time to stop wallowing in depression and self pity. It is a choice. Plan. Do. Repeat. Keep moving forward. U fall down u pick yourself up. Your only goal is to survive. I speak from experience.

  2. J Y says:

    10 yrs ago, some fresh grads earn only $6+/h. During the economic crisis in the 90s, fresh grads earn only $4.50/h to $6.50/h for temp jobs. 5 yrs ago, the rate is about $7+/h. You are considered lucky to get $9/h. Maybe you can apply for CHAS card if you are really needy. It can help to pay for your medical and dental bills.

  3. GTL says:

    Hi Depressed,

    I am not going to say more other than encouraging you to keep moving on and share your feelings/thoughts.

    You are doing excellent and you need to keep doing. I am like you, no friends no network, we survive though our perseverance and faith in our own principles. I don’t even have a degree.

    One direction you may consider is be trained in social work and consider get a master degree in social work services.

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