Botanic Gardens

There’s a bittersweet feeling whenever I come to the Gardens. This was pretty much one of my dream jobs or place to work in. In the herbarium, studying specimens. In the garden, walking among plants.

As I sit under my favourite tree where I first found my pet ant-mimicking spider whom Zelanie helped me name, Herman, because we didn’t know whether it was a he or she, I feel happy and contented.

I come here whenever I was in need. When I needed restoration. When I felt great anxiety. I like plants. Unlike people, they have no expectation of you. They do not give you pressure or stress, they just are. I still my heart and enjoy the beauty of this place.

That my career path has been directed away from this place, I just have to trust God with the unknown He’s leading me towards. For whatever reason He has extended a year after a year where I currently am and given me new roles and assignments, I just submit my will to it, praying for new grace and new strength daily to face the work I have to do.

He has restored me and I will be courageous to face more tests, more temptations and more trials. This is His lot for me. And I accept it. And I praise Him.

I trust You, Lord, as I enter into this great Unknown. Lead me. And protect me. And help me love others.



Money is the last thing that will draw me to a job and the last thing that will make me remain in my job.

I belong to that group of people who are willing to pay for our job. I am willing to pay with my youth, my best efforts, my suffering, pain and tears, my passions and joys, my time. Yes, I am willing to pay for my job. I give much more than I earn and in return, I receive much more than I give.

There’s no such thing as “employers”

I just bought Dick Bolle’s What Colour Is Your Parachute? 2015 because it was on discount! πŸ˜€ And as usual, I love his books. I love the conversational style of writing and how advanced his advice on job hunting is (he rewrites his book every year since 1970! Imagine how polished his thinking and writing is!). I really recommend this book to those who are interested in this field of career guidance or just simply looking for a job.

Let me quote from page 44:

“Employers” are individuals, as different from one another as night and day. “Employers” span a wide range of attitudes, wildly different ideas about how to hire, a wide range of ways to conduct hiring interviews, and as many different attitudes toward handicaps as you can possibly think of. You cannot possibly predict the attitude of one employer from the attitude of another. All generalizations about “employers” (including those in this book) are just mental conveniences.

[Oooh! I just learned I could do this blockquote thingie.]

As I get to know more friends who hire people, I learned this as well, that each employer is an unique individual. The thing thatΒ  caused one not to hire you may be the very same thing that causes another to hire you. Don’t you just love how complex and intricate life and their experiences are? I told you how I was timid in many of my interviews and most employers saw that as a weakness, but I was finally employed by my first boss, who saw through my timidity into who I was. So, there are people out there who value who you are and value the strengths that you have and who may even not see your weaknesses as limitations!

Dear friend, if you are still searching for a job and have received many rejections already. Fear not, your job is on your way. You have yet to meet your lucky star! And do pick up “What Colour Is Your Parachute? 2015” to get tips on how to find a good job!


When I was a little girl, I liked to dream who I would become. I liked nature very much. I once had an ongoing snail mail conversation with a zookeeper about my pet terrapin. I dreamed of being a florist and a grass cutter. I also had at the back of my mind a desire to be a doctor, because I like to “fix” human beings. I like to know what was wrong with the physical body of someone and find cures to it. As I drew older, maybe 12 years old, I also dream of being a journalist, but I gave that up when I enter into secondary school and found out I did not write very well, in fact English was perennially my weakest subject. When I entered into junior college, I noticed at times I can write well but it was usually the content that was good, not the language. I also started to realized I was timid by nature, not the journalist or kaypoh and daring type, so I gave up that desire to be a journalist as well. Oh yes, I wanted to be a police woman as well. I was into crime investigation, until I realized there was a minimal height to meet before you can be a police officer.

I thought about passion again when I got out of university. During my university days, I pursued Life Sciences, thinking that I really have something for “life”. But my times at university were not the best of my life and I had this nagging feeling in my heart that this field was not for me. I dream of being out there with the plants and animals, but when I really get out there the excitement dies out after awhile. As I searched for jobs, I also reached a dead end, because skills-wise, I only had “Life Sciences” skill. I was stuck. Limited by that single set of skills I acquired at university. I tried to get out. I considered doing another degree.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong asked us not to do a degree for fun, but the degree should be related to our work, the degree should help our work and our work should be what we like and are good at. I think he said something like this in his national day rally speech. But… how many of us actually end up in such an ideal situation?

I still don’t know what is my passion. I think his advice would be, stop pursuing further degrees, find your passion first.

What if my passion is in pursuing further degrees?

Recently, this question keeps coming up in my heart… What should I be doing with my life?

Adminstrative Work

This season of my work life I will be doing more administrative work. People like to complain about admin work, especially teachers, who think that such work distract them for their real task of teaching. In fact, some researchers have bad reputations in terms of not being able to handle administrative work well. It made me think that admin work is lesser than other work. But no, it is not. We must never despise the less prominent parts of the body/company/organization. We must not despise those who work in the background and who receive little attention; their work is just as important and just as difficult as those in foreground. I must change my perception. And I must learn how to do these administrative work well. In fact in church I have a reputation of being good at admin work or secretarial work. Hence, I really should stop criticizing myself at being bad at it. But humbly learn how to do it and do it well. In fact, to take pride in it, that my role is just as important as anybody else’s role.

Yes! And I should watch myself to give credit where credit is due. I must give respect to administrators and those who do admin work in general.

Dream Employee


Reversal of power balance

I told you before that I enjoy this reversal of balance?

I enjoy telling people that some employers are desperate for employees. Just to let them see that it’s not always the job hunters that are desperate for jobs. πŸ™‚

Just so you might have a little bit more confidence, knowing that sometimes they want you more than you want them. πŸ™‚

A puzzle

This world so puzzles me.

Some people are offered jobs and they do not want it.

Others seek so hard for one but never find it.

Career Update

It’s been four years since I got my first job. After working for 1 year, I quit, because I felt it was not what I wanted. It was too difficult for me. I wandered for another year hoping to upgrade myself through further studies or find an “easier” job, but lo and behold, an opportunity at my previous workplace came up again, because of the connection I had to my former boss, and so I grabbed that chance in a step of faith. (I was motivated to grab that chance because I learned that it was difficult to find a job in Singapore. And that the easiest way was to find one through connections.)

It was a step of faith, because I was returning to where I had left. Among the many things I had to lay down, one of them was my pride. I had to admit to myself and my former colleagues that I kind of made a wrong choice of leaving, there was awkwardness and embarrassment. Another thing I laid down was my interest. I decided to pursue a project that had nothing to do at all with my Life Sciences degree, I decided to pursue a more Artsy subject called Citizenship. I also laid down my hope for an “easier” job because the means through which I got the job was through my weakness. I got the job because my new boss was impressed by a presentation I did which showed very nice statistical findings. However, one of the reasons why I left my former job was that I did not like Statistics. Hence, I had to face my weakness again. And taking on this job, was a big step of faith for me.

But God has been gracious to me. I don’t know if you noticed, but I like writing. I’m not very good at it, but at least I enjoyΒ  it. πŸ™‚ Much more, than doing technical statistical analysis. I’m not a very “Number and Figures” person, but I prefer using “Words”. And while I struggled with the Statistics part and also the writing part and disappointed one of my boss, my other boss noticed that I could write.Β  πŸ™‚ And asked me to write more! πŸ˜€

The greatest lesson I learn from this job, which has now lasted me more than 2 years, is that, we shouldn’t quit when the going gets tough. When something is difficult, it does not necessarily mean it is not meant for us. But it could very well be that it’s a training ground where we can become better at something. I learned to persevere. I learned to accept scoldings, criticisms and feedback graciously and thankfully. And use them to become better.Β  I learned there is no shame in doing a bad job because I did not know the better way to do it. And I just had to embrace the lesson in each setback I faced.

I was also given a chance to pursue my Masters through this job. And I learned to break out of traditional boundaries of the 9 to 5 working hours. Being a “writer” was initially challenging to me because I found out that the writer was the “tool”. It meant that how I treated myself determined the work that I produced. If I treated to myself to a nap when I was sleepy, it resulted in much more productivity thereafter etc. If I took care of my soul and pray, I wrote much better than when I anxiously tried to work as much as I could on my own strength. These are things that we have to learn along the way.

I also discovered a new passion. That I really enjoy “career counseling”. I love to help others who are searching for jobs, to give them my perspective on their situations etc. I love to help people write better resumes. And to encourage those who feel hopeless. This blog has allowed some to cross paths with me. And I’m so grateful to God that I can use my experiences to help others. πŸ™‚

Family business

I was with a friend shopping for lamps at Arab Street. We found out that the owner of the shop we were at were Afghanistanis from Pakistan and it was a family business of about 15 of them running about 9 shops. The man shared that they preferred to employ family members because they trust one another and family members can be counted upon to go the extra mile for one another, like staying back late after official opening hours.

I’m just thinking about it that that is actually a cool way of employing people. You employ someone who you know intimately and you can help him earn a living to support his family and even disciple him in the business. You don’t mind doing more for him because he’s family and he’s more likely to do more for you for the same reason.

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