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Dear Diary: My First Job

For many Singaporeans, the transition from teenagehood to a young adult is relatively difficult. Be it from poly/junior college to national service to university or directly into the workforce after tertiary education, transitions are a part of maturing into a healthy adult.

I had my first taster of life outside of the school environment during my first job. It coincidentally was the lowest point of time in my life, where I felt that there was no more hope in the near future, and that my life was over.

🤔 What happened

I accepted a job out of desperation and rashness, without considering the consequences of signing the contract nor the actual job description. It was a period of time where I constantly waited for days to end and weekends to arrive. My weekends were filled with anger, and I took my frustration at the situation out on the people around me.


New to the environment

  • Without giving further details, I had to spend long hours away from a familiar environment and family/friends

  • New rules that I was unfamiliar with

Total lack of knowledge on the job scope

  • I did not know what I signed myself up for, nor was I given clear details on what I would be doing

  • I did not know what would happen down the road either, career progression wise

Thought rigidity

  • I thought I could use the same coping mechanisms as I did in junior college, and that my ways of “succeeding” in junior college would replicate itself there.


  • Not wanting to lose out to my peers who were taking other internships, I overloaded myself with projects to the point that I could not focus on the work

Lack of direction and purpose

  • I did not understand myself then, nor did I have a strong sense of self

Lack of support system

  • Never knew how to communicate with my own family

  • Did not really have any close friends/friends back then

💡What did I learn

Thinking long term career wise helps, instead of accepting any offer rashly because of the seemingly high pay.

There is nothing wrong with working for the money, but knowing what you will be doing and asking questions do help.

Interaction with fellow co-workers is crucial to getting the job done, and to feel less lonely at work.

To succeed, choose something and focus. Do not spread your attention out thin.

🗣 Advice to fellow youths?

Don’t be eager to take a job simply “for the money” when young, especially if you have not gone to university.

The period between 17 to 25 years of age is the best time to explore your interests, strengths and discover your sense of self. Jobs wise, there are always a myriad of opportunities out there. Don’t close any doors unnecessarily, you might discover that something suits you.

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