Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday August 11th 2019

37-year-old PMET who earns $7500/month quits job on own accord to learn new skills

1. First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online and can you provide us with some background information on yourself?

A: My name is Adrian Li, 37 years old, married for 14 years with 2 kids. With more than 14 years of working experiences. I have dedicated my early professional years in the police force working in the neighborhood patrol and traffic police division. From intense high-speed vehicle chases, physical arresting of criminals in the streets, resolving domestic violence to desk-bounded roles. I was awarded medals on many occasions of good arrests, exceptional conducts with utmost honesty and integrity.

Gaming is a passion which I soon discovered in the midst of rapid development of smartphones & hardware technologies. I joined the gaming industry in 2007, working from a customer service officer to senior operations manager across 7 promotions and gaining valuable skills along the way. I was entrusted with large groups of colleagues under my care across Southeast Asia offices. I have enjoyed fulfilling experiences & professional accomplishments especially in team management, customer service & operation matters which saves the company hundreds & thousands of dollars during my tenure.

After spending 8 years in the gaming industry, I joined one of the biggest company in the world as an APAC community manager in 2015 which allows me to work closely with community volunteers, developers & partners to bring about positive changes to the ecosystem through educational programs, workshops and many other collaborations across 13 countries.

I left my last company on my own accord to put myself in an uncomfortable position to acquire new skills and of course, learning how to survive. I have a knack for doing it since my first full-time job. You can probably call this a self-induced jobless situation.

2. What was your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for a few months, can you tell us more about this and also your job search experience?

A: Reference to my answer on Q1 on my last occupation. I have since been on the lookout from Nov 2018, I’m blessed in a way that I have some career opportunities coming my way every now and then. During Feb 2019, I have been contacted by one of the company from fortune top 100, went through all interviews and eventually got an offer letter.

That time was particularly hard for me because of my grandmother’s critical condition. Long story short, the job requires me to relocate to China. I eventually rejected the offer to stay beside my grandmother so I can be with her in her final moments. She passed away a couple of weeks later. I have no regrets at all. She played a major role in shaping the person I’m today.

I have since been trying again. During these period leading up to now, I have received some responses from other companies but most of them either find that I’m overqualified (In terms of experiences maybe?) or probably didn’t have the budget to match my asking salary. A side note that I’m slicing my asking salary around the range of -30% ~ -40% without demand based on my last drawn.

3. You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than six months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?

A: It’s been about 8 months. Fortunately, I have some savings to tide me over and allowed time for me to explore and find a career (not a job) that suits me the most. Personally, I placed a higher priority on skills learning and knowledge acquisition more than a job title or even salary to a certain extent because you can “cash-out” that knowledge later on through other opportunities if your existing company doesn’t value your skills. You have to be patient about this and constantly upgrading your skillset while on the lookout. In some cases, you might need to do a side project to prove your knowledge and show your potential employer that you have what it takes.

I’m a private business diploma holder. Since the moment I was jobless, I have been challenging myself to obtain some professional certifications like SQL Database language, 5 certifications on SEO and I’m going for my upcoming Python programming test in a month or 2. To be clear, I’m picking up all these skills from scratch, I have no prior technical knowledge or any form of basic programming skills. Going on a self-teaching route, I acquire most of the information free from online searches and video tutorials. You might need to pay to get certified from credible institutions.

Self-teaching requires a lot of discipline but it can be very rewarding if you can convince yourself and stick to the routine.

4. Did you attend any interviews during the past few months and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?

A: I have covered this in Q2

5. Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.
A: I’m not going ponder too much on the negatives. Living frugally is something that one has to learn and adapt, after all, human evolution is all about adapting to the environment so they can learn and thrive.

My family was very understanding. Besides my savings, my wife is working on doing some online sales related business. That gets us by but I want things to get better as soon as I can. I have spoken to my kids, especially my daughter at 14 years of age about my current situation and she saw what I’m doing every day to live a more fulfilling life. There is only 1 difference between a person with a job and a person without, it’s a phrase almost everyone have to go through at some point. Not a matter of “if” but “when”.

6. What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?

A: So far I have tried searching on public job portals to government-linked services like “careersfuture”. Not exactly complaining, I think I have my fair share of ups and downs. I have applied to other jobs and got rejected for over 150 times. I have a tracking spreadsheet that keeps track of it. I have left some comments on some of the jobs I got rejected for and ask if this is something I should improve on.

7. Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?

A: It depends on one’s lifestyle and how they spent, I have once earned $1500 per month and my wife is on similar pay. Back then I used ate one meal a day, very often sharing one fishball noodle with my wife and share half a cup of sugar cane drink just to ensure we can buy diapers and milk powders for my baby.

I’m still eating a meal a day because it has turned into a lifestyle or probably my body has adapted to it.

8. What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?

A: The government has got some systems in place to help local to deal with the jobless situation but I feel they are missing out on helping PMET to find a career with fulfilling experience and many companies are overemphasizing on paper qualifications. Instead of hiring someone who has read books on how to do a hundred deals is way better hiring someone who has done a hundred deals.

The light at the end of the tunnel, There are companies who are slowly removing this paper qualification requirement as long as you have experiences and they are comfortable in hiring you.

9. Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?

A: I’m not against foreigners but against the policy that causes this trend because, in my opinion, it has reached the point of “unintended consequences”. Having a healthy dose of competition is good because it fosters creativity and the motivation to improve oneself but it will have an adverse effect if it’s overly done.

The government has announced the cutting on the reliance of foreigners quota for companies in some areas, that is good and I welcome these changes but it doesn’t cover PMET. I was hopeful that this aspect can be balanced.

10. Lastly, whats your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?

A: If you have gotten rejection from a job interview(s), please consider this, There are many different ways where a HR can access you. Whatever they have known you for from your resume or even talking to you for an hour can’t exactly describe the kind of person you are entirely in reality. It takes many rejections to explore who you are not before knowing who you are (and your interests) sometimes. For me, embarking on learning the fundamentals of spiritually teaching assisted me greatly to deal with difficult moments in life. There is a saying, “All things are born from silence and will end in silence”.

Realized that this is only a temporary phrase, it’s a marathon & could get longer in time to come but you can’t win the race if you are not in it so keep trying, like what I’m doing now. If you are interested, I can share with you some of my tips that, in my opinion, can increase the chances to land an interview which links to your desired career. Please contact Gilbert for further information.

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