The Job Hunt Survival Primer

great depression

In order to prevent my family from falling into destitution, I had to forfeit my bum ways and seek employment pronto after my long-ass trip to London.

It took me three weeks to find a position that was a good fit for me, which isn’t a long time compared to what most other people have to endure.

So I’ll say this from the outset: THIS IS ALL GOD’S BLESSING. IT DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY SKILLS OR STRENGTH BECAUSE I TOTALLY SUCK. HE PUT ME IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME.

But for readers who want some of my observations of this aggravating period, listen up so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Have friends who work in Human Resources vet your CV. My mother is an employer, so I had lots of pointers from her about the things they typically look for.

Humblebrag your ass off. When making your pitch to a company, resist the urge to go on the “look at how great I am” route, because the last thing HR wants to deal with is another young punk with a chip on her shoulder. Paint them an alluring picture of what you can potentially bring to the table.

Don’t take the first offer based on salary alone. Many jobs, like modeling or cabin crew staff, have a very low ceiling for advancement. If you take it solely on pay, it’ll be a stain on your resume no matter how long you choose to stay at that job. If you quit after half a year, you’ll look like a quitter with ADD. If you stay for several years, you could be wasting your talent and energy (and possibly qualifications) that could’ve been channeled into a better job.

Remember: Recruiters make money off your employment. So they are gonna do they darndest best to make sure you take the job they offer you, whether or not it’s a good fit.

I literally had a recruiter tell me, “I don’t care”, when I expressed my reservations about a position she had thrown my way. Later when I went to the interview, the interviewer and I both agreed that it wasn’t something I was looking for. Can’t say I was entirely remorseful about telling the recruiter the outcome when she called the next day.

If you find that you’re not having any luck getting a job you want, it won’t hurt to call a recruiter and ask about possible pitfalls. This was a screw-up that cost me a week of job hunting.

I spent the whole time applying for a position at multiple companies to no avail. One of them emailed to offer me an alternative position, which I declined. So I emailed her, asking what was wrong with my CV. She told me I wasn’t qualified for that position, so there was no way they could consider me. After doing the math, I hit my forehead on my desk and went to apply for the proper position. While doing so I was yelling at my friend over Facebook Messenger that I was a bloody idiot.

Consider jobs abroad, and tailor your CV accordingly. There’s little wisdom in fishing in a dry pond. We’re fortunate enough to live in an era when we’re much more connected to different cities. Exploit the hell out of that.

Whatever you do, keep your focus! Half the battle is taking the hits without losing hope or enthusiasm. In the working world which school never prepares us for, rejection is the norm. There are a million reasons why you might not have gotten a job you were eyeing, some of which might have nothing to do with you. And believe me, you don’t want to carry a crappy mood into subsequent pitches or interviews.

Now, go out and carve your empire, one small bite at a time.

-Bea

For Fug’s Sake, DON’T Do What You Love

Chanel Breakfast at Tiffany's

“Not every little girl gets to do what they want, the world cannot support that many ballerinas.” –Marie Calvet, Mad Men (2012)

___

I had dropped out of junior college when I was seventeen years old.

My grades were terrible, I didn’t have any close friends in school, my first serious relationship with a boy resembled Stockholm’s Syndrome, and although legally I was old enough to have sex, god forbid I turn up in the morning with a short skirt and a blouse not tucked in.

Instead of kicking me out of the house and forcing me to fend for myself, my parents sent me to private law school. The admission interview was pretty straightforward – the Head of Department read my essay, shook my hand and said, “We need more radical people like you practicing law.”

Eight years and a Master’s Degree later, it turned out I was pretty good at the subject. But law wasn’t my first, second, or even third love. It’s the dude I passed by in a supermarket and stared at while he was choosing fruit.

Meanwhile, some of my classmates had noble, lofty goals. I tried my best not to talk to them during orientation because I couldn’t tell them point blank yet that I was there for shits and giggles. These spirited students had poured all their emotions into our major, but became inconsolably discouraged when they got their mock exam results back, while I shrugged and got drunk with my clique.

It was then that I learned that a little detachment goes a long way.

___

Now, if you flip that script and start talking to me about photography, I become an irrational harpy. I’ll happily admit that my obsession with taking photos borders on unhealthy. Throw in the fact that I am entirely self-taught, and the scenario becomes as stable as a powder keg in a smoking room.

Criticism or ridicule becomes extra personal, especially if it’s from someone whose opinion I deem irrelevant. I constantly pass on lucrative gigs because they don’t appeal to my aesthetics. I internally cackle with glee whenever I see a competitor post lackluster shots on Facebook.

Simply put, there’s too little distance in between me and my passion for me to take a step back and make sound decisions. This is true for anyone else who is self-taught, and therefore isn’t used to an external voice of guidance telling them the exact points for improvement.

___

The problem with the “DO WHAT YOU LOVE” philosophy is that it doesn’t address the fact that even if you were to successfully turn your passion into a career, it means having to buckle down and do plenty of things that you don’t love in order to flourish.

A baker may love to create beautiful artisanal cakes, but she still has to keep up to date with her accounts, her client list, cleaning technology, and so on. These are a lot of extra responsibilities for someone who just wants to bake.

Tempting, isn’t it? The doctrine that we should put food on the table and have big, euphoric Hare Krishna smiles while doing it. If we’re not aggressively happy or satisfied with our jobs, it’s a red mark against our professional and personal lives.

Passion has become ingrained into our work culture, to the point that it’s not uncommon for hiring managers to list it as one of a job’s must-haves. As contributing editor at Jacobin magazine, Miya Tokumitsu, says,

The most cynical explanation is that employers demand passion because they don’t want to hear complaints. If you make passion a job requirement, you can’t complain about your workload.

Perhaps seeking our passions at work, along with the traditional corporate ladder, is another version of the Kool-Aid in capitalism. The best we all can hope to do is to pick a path, be awesome at it, and redefine job fulfillment to be more than just “doing what you love”.

I’d personally opt for “having an income that funds an expensive passion.”

-Bea

Bag of Tricks – November 2015

brandonexplores1

Welcome to Bag of Tricks, a feature on Rainy Day Party where I round up all the wicked miscellaneous things I find on the great tool of procrastination known as the internet!

Why London is the worst place ever. I’ve been to some of the places they talk about, and I (kind of) get their angst.

There’s a breed of Londoner (almost none of them originally from London, weirdly) who seems to think that the city is one big IRL RPG that they can only navigate with a Time Out “hidden gems” map. The amount of times I’ve stumbled away from the rubble of a house party, desperate for caffeine, protein and some kind of orange liquid to sate my hell-over, only to find myself confronted with “You’ve not been to Cafe Oto? You must! The gammon kedgeree is to die for.” Motherfucker, I just want something that’s hot and doesn’t taste like MDMA, I’m not interested in what blog-glorified greasy spoon you’re trying to impress me with.

How can consensual sex still be bad?

Women love horror and gore for the same reasons we love romance.

– Watch these delightful chubby little guinea pigs go home when the bell is rung.

Fuck female competition. It’s a trap!!

How can you stay creative when you’re chained to your desk all day long?

23 things I wish I knew at 23.

– If you want more followers on your platform, you gotta be ready to break the rules.

Dating without your smartphone: Yes, it’s possible.

Being divorced and in your 20’s. What’s it like saying “I don’t” only a short while after “I do”:

But, deep down, I was disappointed in myself for a long time because I didn’t listening to what my parents and other responsible adults told me: “Getting married impulsively at a young age is a bad idea.” And sure as shit, it was a bad idea. I ended up just another statistic.

24 things that only Writers know (from other writers).

Writers know that reading is the fuel for their work. They, like Erasmus, spend their money on books, and only if any is left over, buy food and clothes.

– This is why The Oatmeal is gangster: his heroic method of shutting down The Huffington Post.

– Here’s something to pump yourself up for the release of Spectre: 5 Spies with Bigger Balls than James Bond. Figuratively, of course. Maybe?

Stop adding these “healthy” foods to your smoothie. Stat.

I love video games and I wholeheartedly approve of this cartoon strip.

Have a nice chilly month ahead, my chocolate pellets!

-Bea

London Travel Log #3 – A Journey and an Epiphany

sherlock museum

I wanted this entry to be about all the museums I’ve been visiting in the last few weeks, but that would probably be like your grandma posting all her vacation slides and expecting you to go through them one by one (however if you would like a look at the shenanigans I’ve been up to, be my guest).

The half-a-month I’ve spent in London was meant to be for two objectives:
1) to finally visit a friend of mine and fulfill a promise I made to her when we were 23, and
2) to shake myself out of the rut of doing the same shit on a different day, every day.

I’m happy to report that your girl checked both off her list.

It has also made me face a truth which I can no longer avoid: I hate boring things and people. 

Fuck them to the core. Seriously. I’m so done being friendly to people who expect my time, attention, and possibly sometimes one-on-one advice, but don’t give anything back in return.

These are the same people who make tedious small talk with you at parties and count on you to keep the conversation going.

I reached this epiphany when I was in Kensington High Street, running some errands with Ar’nie. A certain person who had been trying to chat me up caught me at a horrendous time – when I’d been out and about the entire morning with only a cup of macchiato swirling around in my gut.

He texted me something extremely mundane and I honestly ran out of patience at this point.

boring person

I wanted to go on a rant about how he thought just because I have a vagina means that I would’ve spent most of my time abroad shopping, and that the only two places he knew of in London were Orchard Road duplicates. But why say so much when three words would’ve sufficed?

The world is full of amazing things that I haven’t yet explored, to say nothing of space travel. Barring some terrible accident, I only have a good eighty years to see all of it.

So why the hell should I waste my precious limited time on this earth on people who only care about shopping and/or other material things? There are only so many trips to the mall I can take before it gets old.

Michael Dell once said, “never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.

It wouldn’t make sense to me to continue to bitch about the asshats I have to deal with on the regular, if I don’t plan on changing my environment.

I can count on one hand the number of journeys I’d take before running into the same type of people I’m trying to avoid.

-Bea

London Travel Log #2

In which I highlight all the highs and lows of my journey in the land that gave birth to greasy breakfasts.

Instead of immediately hitting the shopping circuit like the rest of my countrymen are wont to do, I started off the first weekend in London with exploring my hood. The last time I was in Europe, I covered 4 cities in 1 month, such that everything became a blur of old buildings and white people. This time round, I’m going to completely submerge myself and get baptized by this one city, so that it may reveal its secrets to this tourist.

Graffiti LondonGraffiti LondonGraffiti LondonGraffiti LondonGraffiti LondonGraffiti London

There’s a tiny canal (sort of like a park connector, but with ducks and algae) which makes for an excellent stroll in autumn. If you can avoid the constant oncoming cyclists, you might make it to the end without falling in.

Ducks Graffiti canal

The one parallel that I’m grateful for between SG and London is that hipster cafes come with wifi. I had my lunch while Skyping with a friend back home, and for those fifteen minutes he could see for himself the things I saw. Traveling with friends is always more fun, but unfortunately, life gets in the way.

Hipster cafe Crepe Affaire

The name of this place is Crepe Affaire, in case you’re in the area and want to check it out.

Another weekend pastime that we mostly miss out on are civil protests. There’s nothing like a good demonstration to remind yourself that the world has bigger problems than whether you should get a new iPhone or Samsung.

Turkish demonstration

Getting my Asian on in the thick of the protest
Getting my Asian on in the thick of the protest
The fuzz has been mobilised
The fuzz has been mobilised

I’be been up to so much more, but I fear that I must leave it for my next update before my IPad ragequits on me.

-Bea

London Travel Log #1

In which I highlight all the highs and lows of my journey in Harry Potter land.

7 Oct 2015,Wed, 0200h (SG time)

Clouds

Finally got on the plane and am in mid-air. They don’t have Britain’s Next Top Model on Krisflyer, but they have one episode of Dragon’s Den. If I can’t let my brain liquidate, I might as well put it to good use.

This will be the first time that I’ll be so far away from home solo – no travel companion friend or family member. I hugged my Dad extra long and tight before I went into the airport transit. I told him I wished I could bring him with me, and my mother asked me why I didn’t say the same to her. “It’s because I don’t nag her,” he responded. He’s right.

7 Oct 2015, Wed, 1203h (London time)

I’ve settled in to the apartment, showered and changed. The 13-hour flight wasn’t bad at all, I still functioned as a sane human being would after landing. The trek to the UK border from the plane certainly helped.

I was unwittingly a smart ass to the customs dude who was checking my passport.

Him: Purpose of visit?

Me: Holiday and sightseeing.

Him: Anything else?

Me: … Getting very drunk.

Him: Probably not the best answer.

Me: At least it’s an honest one!

Forgive me for being a woman of simple tastes.

The cab ride, on the other hand, was quite traumatic. It cost me £110 to get from Heathrow to East London. My inner Scrooge was screaming her head off, but I’ll be damned if I was gonna ride the tube in my sorry state, carrying all that cash, liquor and luggage! It’d be the equivalent of painting a bullseye right smack on my forehead to muggers.

If you think that's bad, remember that it's in Pound Sterling. (Sobs)
If you think that’s bad, remember that it’s in Pound Sterling. (Sobs)

I need to get over this episode – by spending more money on food.

9 Oct 2015, Fri, 0726h

Decided to start my trip with a visit to an old love of mine: The Tate. Whilst there, I kept Whatsapping my family photos of cool paintings I came across, telling them to get some culture.

"I'm so done with your BS, Dra-gunnn."
“I’m so done with your BS, Dra-gunnn.”
We need more Art Deco shit, honestly.
We need more Art Deco shit, honestly.

Once I was done there, I moseyed along towards Westminster enjoying the air con weather and angry faces. My Dad would be proud that I never listened to music while walking the whole time – my noise canceling earphones are pretty damn solid.

Lunch was a pretty straightforward affair with heavy cream. Good glob, the portions are huge! Not that I’m complaining, it’s perhaps the reason why I don’t snack when I’m in Europe.

Would you like some clogged arteries with your chicken?
Would you like some clogged arteries with your chicken?

I should mention now that most of my photos will probably be taken with my iPad. Carrying around my camera is tiring, and I’m likely to look less like a hapless tourist with gold bars in my handbag. Also, I won’t be able to upload them until I’m back in Singapore. Westminster

I also managed to catch up with my friend from way back, Ar’nie Rozah, who has successfully established herself as a global citizen entrepreneur and we discussed the perils of staying in one place for too long while we sipped on tea that would put TWG to shame.

Please go check this place out if you're ever in Covent Garden! There's only one table to sip tea indoors and we took it :p
Please go check this place out if you’re ever in Covent Garden! There’s only one table to sip tea indoors and we took it :p

Dinner with my hosts was amazing. I took one drink and I was tipsy. I had another and got drunk. The alcohol equivalent in each drink is about 3 times as potent as the stuff they serve in Singapore. Sorry I didn’t take any photos, I didn’t wanna be that person at City Social instagramming her £15 duck breast appetizer.

I shall be exploring hipster central today, wish me luck! Time to practice taking iPad photos of people without looking like a g*ddamn creeper.

Bag of Tricks – October 2015

pop retro

Welcome to Bag of Tricks, a feature on Rainy Day Party where I round up all the wicked miscellaneous things I find on the great tool of procrastination known as the internet!

– Failing isn’t entirely a bad thing, as these 33 high-profile entrepreneurs will tell you.

Failures are unavoidable and ridiculously costly for start-ups with little time and money. So often start-ups invest huge resources into big product or marketing initiatives.

Naturally, we want to believe that our hard work has paid off, yet the reality is that a very small number of those projects will actually produce large scale, lasting benefits – most will have no impact at all on your business, and some will even make things worse.

The key to success therefore is in trying to fail slightly less often by using more data rather than gut feel in the project planning phases, and not let projects that fail to meet their success criteria linger around for too long.

– Too good to be true? There’s a city out there where everyone works, there’s no police, and the salary is 1200 euros.

– A cheat method to getting the cheapest Uber rides.

– Want to up your writing game? Here are 11 Ways to write better.

How much good does it do to criminalise counterfeit sellers?

The brands tend to take the position that piracy is bad. I don’t because I don’t think anyone is being fooled. Anyone who can afford a real Gucci bag is buying a real Gucci bag because the pirated versions are sometimes fairly clumsy. On the flip side, the brands themselves are getting great street advertising. [But] they just say, “We own the brand, anyone else using the brand is illegal, and therefore wrong.” And I do understand that point of view. I just don’t see it as the massive crime they describe it as.

– OH SNAP! Anna Wintour just implied that Kim and Kanye are not “tasteful”.

– Restaurants are great at manipulating you into spending more money.

– Penny pinchers rejoice! We’ve got a full chart of when to get your shopping done on the cheap.

– Should you hook up with your friend? A step-by-step flowchart.

– I wish I had the chance to do this! A couple recreates 101 Dalmatians for their engagement photo shoot.

Fake followers will never be your friends. Save that instagram budget for other stuff.

– Just because you’re creative doesn’t mean that success is going to come knocking at your door. Time to face up to some unfair truths.

Whether we like it or not, we all need some kind of objective standard against which to measure our work. And although van Gogh did not sell much of his work in his lifetime, it was the tenacity of a well-connected sister-in-law who eventually brought his paintings to market. In fact, most of the great art the world has ever seen came about not through a single stroke of genius but by the continual effort of a community.

– Need a motivational boost after reading the last link? Here’s 6 Mantras to help you justify going after your “unrealistic” dream job.

– This beauty blogger has put her foot down and said no more sponsored posts. Preach it, sister!

– The creator of the Awkward Yeti has made a comic about suffering from depression and social anxiety. An eye opener if you still think psychological illness is a joke.

____

Also, a big thank you to everyone who had read, shared, or liked my last entry about an open letter to Juli Bun Bun. Speaking your truth is always scary as hell, but knowing that there are people out there who empathise with it makes writing it out that much more fulfilling! (Bows)

-Bea

Dear Juli Bun Bun (You’re a Horrible Person): An Open Letter

11910527_148954748786049_368075140_n

A writer is always selling somebody out. -Joan Didion

Dear Juli:

First of all, congratulations on the magnificent U-turn you pulled on your post on 26 September 2015 when you spoke (in harsh terms) about a wedding you attended. It’s one thing to throw somebody under the bus, and it’s a whole other low to retract the entire tirade due to “people taking [your] post out of context.” Cue some sad trombone music.

Since you’re married yourself, you would have seen first hand the difficulties a couple faces when they plan a Chinese wedding in Singapore: from the decor to the guest list, unless you are obscenely rich or are a multi-armed deity, the logistics are no cake walk.

So why the hell are you grading the superiority of their wedding like you’re the matchmaker in Mulan? Did you foot the bill? Was it your wedding planning company’s reputation on the line?

Did you, at any point, step in, raise your hand and then say, “This isn’t right, but I can help make it better”?

If you didn’t, no matter how much you try to spin your Dayre spillage as “concern for the couple”, it would come off as totally insincere and nothing short of a competitive bitchfest.

On that note, I must give you a round of applause for managing to turn someone else’s big event into a post all about you. How beautiful (snigger) you looked at your wedding; how you got a bridal bouquet so glorious it was blessed by Demeter herself; the sheer strenuous effort you took in looking for the perfect gown over a year.

Sister girl, please!

But why, you might ask, am I taking to my blog to pitch forth my two penny worth instead of writing it in the Daily Mail comment section?

Quite simply, I identify myself as a Singaporean blogger too. Sure, I don’t do makeup reviews or post promotions for hair salons, but we have one thing in common: we share a little section of cyber space where people pay attention to what we have to say.

If you (and other prominent bloggers) use what you have to spread negativity and tear other people down unnecessarily all while posting a selfie, you’re giving the rest of us a bad name. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us were known for what we built, what we improved, and how we informed, rather than notoriety for being “that blogger” who exploited her invite to a wedding so that she could dismantle the details of everything she hated about someone else’s special day?

Ultimately, we all have the freedom to post pretty much whatever we want on our blogs. But that freedom doesn’t prevent me from calling out your shitty behaviour, especially if it would reflect poorly on our society and industry.

The one silver lining the rest of us can take from this is that now we (friends, family and potential business partners) know what to expect if you’re ever invited to an event that doesn’t meet your sophisticated standards.

Peace Out.

-Bea

_____

UPDATE: according to one commenter, it seems that JBB did offer to help with the bouquet or something. Which probably accounts for the sour taste in her mouth that led to the Dayre post in question.