Friday, April 29, 2005

Crappy jobs I've had

Yesterday I interviewed a lady twice my age.

It felt a bit odd, as I thought of what must be going through her mind, "This itsy-bitsy girl who graduated yesterday, is assessing whether I deserve a position in her team or not?!"

I know these things are normal in the corporate world... blah blah, and the usual 'seniority is by capability' blah blah... 'oh we should be professional' blah blah... but in spite of it all, it is sad as I think of these people senior to me by virtue of age, sitting there in front of me, politely listening to my questions, trying to please me with cover-letter-language answers, desperately trying to get the job.

Being out of a job is a horrid horrid feeling. And I speak from experience. I went through that phase in Oct 2002 when I quit my first crappy job.

This post is dedicated to crappy jobs Sayesha has held. And the weirdest thing is that all of these are MNCs.

Company #1
This company manufactures microcontamination prevention equipment. They are one of the market leaders in the field. This was my first job after I graduated. The pay was really good. But there were rude shocks in store for me.

The company structure was so flat that everyone from the top managers to the engineers to the toilet cleaners reported directly to the CEO!
The CEO was rude, racist and thoroughly unprofessional. His wife was the International Operations Manager. His 16-year-old son was the Vice-President. It was a total family thing. Quite Gang-like. He even made me operate the forklift! (You need a licence to operate the damn thing!)

On pay day, we had to queue up outside the CEO's office, and he would hand the cheque only if he felt like it. Once, he actually told me, "I don't think you worked hard enough this month. Come back next week and get your cheque." He insulted the employees' friends, siblings, parents, spouses, anyone! The man was mad! I heard that he recently got one of his bearded employees to sign a declaration that if hair fell from his beard inside the office, he would have to sweep it out himself! How moronic is that??

The turnover rate was so high that in the three months that I was there, 29 people came and left. Would you believe it that I carried my resignation letter in my pocket all the time for two months?! Every time I felt like throwing it at his face, I would tell myself to calm down and get my PR before I did that. Without my PR, I would be at risk of getting kicked out of Singapore.

I got my PR, handed him the resignation letter, and got out of the place. It was a difficult decision to make, considering I did not have another job yet. But it was really becoming a question of self-respect. I had to leave. He asked me to reconsider, but I told him I was not crazy. As I stepped out of the damn office, the feeling was so great, I felt like I was floating on air.

Company #2
After quitting the first crappy job, I realised how difficult it was to find another one. Finally I found a part-time thing with a big credit card company. I was in charge of design and distribution of freebies. My work also included going to malls and personally distributing the freebies. I encountered many rude people on this job. The most common words I heard were:

"Go away, lah. I don't want to buy anything from you. Wait, wait, did you say 'free stuff'??? Come back, you!"

It made me doubt the basic goodness of people. Needless to say, I did not stay long.

Company #3
This is one of the world's largest talent scouting companies. I was with them as a model scout for a trial period. My work involved going to places in Singapore where beautiful people were most likely to be seen. Scouting started off as quite fun, as I found out that a lot of model-like people do not know their potential at all. But then, it got kinda scary later on, as I realised that I was becoming a very shallow person, and hating places where I stood for hours and did not come across good-looking people. Finding hunks and babes became my only objective. Even when I was out with friends, I was always on the lookout. I was not listening to my friends, I was totally distracted. I did not like that feeling at all. I wanted to go back to enjoying my life. So inspite of the huge pay, I did not sign up for the job after the trial period.

Company #4
I was getting bored working on job applications the whole day. I thought I could be a waitress for a couple of hours each day and get some income. Besides, I was going broke.
So I applied to this popular pizza place. The interviewer did not ask me many questions. Possibly because as soon as he picked up my resume, he started laughing and continued to laugh for a full 10 minutes. I was kicked out. For being over-qualified.

Company #5
When I was down to my last 100 bucks, I got an interview call from this huge publishing company. I flunked the entrance test because I did not know the editing symbols, and the interviewers did not understand what on earth my engineering degree had to do with that job. I was kicked out.
I just wasn't convinced by the reasons they gave me for not wanting to hire me. Two weeks later, I re-applied. The interviewer had one look at me and said, "I've seen you somewhere!" I said, "Yes, in this very room. You interviewed me two weeks ago." Maybe she was amused by this thick-skinned crazy applicant. Maybe she was just in a good mood. She offered me a two-week contract, and told me that if I proved myself, she would consider giving me a permanent position. And oh, I was on a daily-wage basis!

The work I was given did not have any room for me to 'prove myself'. I was asked to transfer amendments from hard copies to soft copies. Microsoft Word. How on earth was I to prove myself doing that?? And so I was very confident of getting kicked out after my super-short contract expired.

They say good things happen to good people. Well, sometimes they happen to me too. On the very last day of my contract, I had finished my tasks and just to keep me occupied, I was given the task of designing some posters. I sketched, coloured and did full mock-ups of the posters. They loved it. I was immediately offered the position of Editor.

I am still in that company. I proved myself. I moved up the ladder. And the lady who gave me the job, is my big boss. And she's a big reason why I'm still here. Not only does she inspire me every time I have a discussion with her, a part of me will never forget that she literally pulled me out of a hole and gave me my first real job, the wonderful job, that makes me, well, me. :)

I've found myself. And I'm lovin' it.


naari said...

Uniquely Sayesha! In all the time I have known you, I have seen you pick yourself up after each crappy event and go from strength to are an inspiration yourself woman. keep kicking :) have miles to go before you sleep....

Anonymous said...

your post addresses the very foremost hurdle in my life at the moment - I am in the position of 'crappy job- so -wish -I -could- quit. I've been in this limbo for the last 4-5 months .. been on the job for around 2.5 yrs now. I know I have what it takes, i know I have the talent and I am with the top of the creme in the line that i'm in... but .. in terms of morale, it sux. Coz I have so many obstacles in my way and I continue to face them.. people who keep bringing me down.. so much so that I dread going in. quite sad really. But I'm reALLY happy in a way coz I'm finaly getting out of my 'hole' .. and I can move onto something which will be much more fulfilling and rewarding for me.. and as a superb bonus, it will mean i will be able to spend more time with my family, who have waited for this day man..

Your post just made me feel like - sometimes - we might have no clue where we're going.. but it's just a good enough step to get out while we can.. and if you're good, hardworking and eager to learn, the right thing will find you! :)

WAy to go Editor :)

Viv said...

I've seen you during that "crappy job" period and I have to say that I really admire the way you took every opportunity to try out jobs and see if they "fit". A lot of people would have just sulked and waited for a big job offer to drop out of the sky... and sulked some more.

And now you're reaping the rewards for having had the courage to experiment and make use of the break, tiny as it may be, that you got... Well done!

Sayesha said...

Yupp, I agree with you guys... things that are meant for you, are out there. Only thing to remember is -- never give up without a fight! :)

Angelsera said...

All I can say is Wow!!It an awesome lot of companies you ve worked in :)
You r so cool!!

divya said...


You are INSPIRING!!! I think what you are is someone totally amazing and totally inspirational (is there another word?).

Sahil said...

You know what I liked best out of what you wrote?

Its not the fact that you kept picking yourself up.

Nor is it to do with your principles of working for what you believe in.

Or with having the courage to turn down jobs that paid well, just because you didn't feel fullfilled in them.

Its because you were that thick-skinned person who just wouldn't take no for an answer. You went back and re-applied for the same job after being rejected. You saw the same interviewer - looked her straight in the eye, and basically said "Yes, you rejected me, but I'm back."

I can just picture that scene. Thats awesome - shows great character. And that's what that interviewer saw in you too. I'm proud of you. Well done :)

nmk said...

Are you starting a job hunt coaching center anytime soon. I would like to apply. (I have a decent job, but some of your skills will always come in handy).

vasanthi said...

good read

Ritwik said...

Very very inspiring. Makes me wanna do something with my life. You have always had a steely interior while being one of the most friendly people.

PS:I know this is an old post but this is the first time I am reading it.

Sayesha said...

Thanks re :) Yes, you've seen me go thru quite a bit of crappy stuff, isn't it? :P

//sometimes - we might have no clue where we're going.. but it's just a good enough step to get out while we can.. and if you're good, hardworking and eager to learn, the right thing will find you! :)

Well said :)

Thanks. And thanks for your undying support throughout my crappy phase... :)

Hehehe... most of them weren't even real 'jobs'... even now I refer to my present job as my first 'real' job :)

Thanks, dear. *blush* :)

Thank you :)
I believe that one should never give up without a fight! :)

Hahaha! Job hunt coaching centre? I think I will do such a bad job that you will be out with a gun on a coach-hunt after your job-hunt! :D

Thanks :)

Hey, long time!! And thanks! :) After I saw your comment in my email, I had to figure out which post it was that you commented on! :P

Raji said...

Hi Sayesha!

My name is Raji and I happen to come across ur blog thru' Preethi's. I think your entries are so inspiring..esp for going-to-be graduates like me.. looking for a job now :)..

I think you r really brave and open minded! Way to go!

All the best :) ..

(And i liked ur letter to your wisdom teeth alot :)hehe)


Arun said...


amey lawande said...

you are mine favorite writer. i've read most of ur posts. i've reached completed year 2006

i think i'll be taking off tommorow

nice really liked your post and bhaigiri

bole toh biddu

sahi hai naa

happy blogging