My Career Journey…it’s like a roller coaster ride..

Published September 15, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well and not tired like me…I got woken up early in the morning by my recruitment agency who asked me whether I was interested to take on a few days of work, as I wasn’t feeling too great due to the time of the month and also I had already made plans to meet up with a friend, so I had to turned it down…felt bad but then after meeting up with my friend, I realised that I have made the right decision 🙂

Anyways, I’m not sure why for some strange reason – I’ve been reflecting on my past life recently and this included my career life journey and other things, maybe cos it’s Melbourne or maybe cos I have all these time on my hands or maybe it’s just a time to share…anyways…this post is going to be a little long and you’ll be surprised with what you’re about to find out about my career journey.

Some call me a career changing queen, why? Cos I’ve been constantly moving and changing jobs like there’s no tomorrow. I’m going to try to give you all a run down of my career path – some may think I’m crazy, adventurous, weird, what ever the terms you can think of…So let’s start with my first work experience, as part of my engineering course requirement – you need to have at least 3 months worth of work experience related to the engineering field in order to graduate. Which seemed pretty harsh, but what can you do. I was having lots of fun applying for vacation work – NOT! Getting all these rejections, but thank goodness I wasn’t the only ones getting these rejections, everyone else were too. Until one sunny day, while I was vacuum cleaning my house – our house phone rang and I picked it up it was BHP Billiton asking me whether I was still interested in their vacation work experience. I was digging my brain hard, who is BHP Billiton?? I can’t remember whether I have applied to them for vac work. So I had the initial phone interview, I can’t remember the exact questions asked – but I did remember the supervisor asked me now you’ll have to relocate to Port Hedland for the during of the vacation work are you ok with that and can you handle the heat? Truthfully, I have no idea who BHP Billiton were and where is Port Hedland??? So I simply replied without slight hesitation “yes, that should be fine.”

So that started my journey of working with BHP Billiton up at their mine site, I got my full set of mining gears and I was assigned to work in the electrical engineering department/IT department as my major was IT. When I first arrived in Port Hedland – my impression was it was extremely hot!! All you can see is red iron ore…and my supervisor pulled up with is ute to pick me up from the airport, he looked rather strict and he didn’t smile much, there was awkward silence most of the time in the ute. He dropped me off to my apartment. My first day of job was easy, meeting everyone going through my induction and got given a project to work on setting up PLC work stations at one of their power site…what’s a PLC? Honestly, I was thinking to myself at this stage what have I signed myself up for, really I didn’t know what was going on. But then I remembered all my friends when they found out I was working for BHP Billiton they were like “My goodness!! You don’t know who BHP Billiton?? They are huge…how did you score the vac work with them??” I’m not really sure why they picked me, so one day I was curious and asked my supervisor why he picked me as it’s not really a typical place for an Asian to be…I know I don’t know why I said such thing and he replied “Yeah, that’s why you don’t see many Asians here – we don’t usually employ them!” feeling alittle confused, but I’m Asian!! He replied – You’re not the typical Asian….what ever that means I’ll try to take that as a compliment. Anyways, I had to celebrate my 21st up in Port Hedland (out of all the places to be for your 21st!!) and to my surprise my supervisor actually baked me a 21st key shaped cake!! I couldn’t believe it, he just doesn’t seem liked the type to bake someone a cake. But I was really touched and he even invited my work friends over to his house to celebrate this….I’m very grateful for that :-). Vacation work was interesting and time went pretty quickly, I got paid while I was working, ate very well as there’s an onsite buffet place, and was very toned due to swimming in my apartment every day – there’s nothing much in Port Hedland, the only source of entertainment was the pub…I find myself quite weird roaming around with heaps of guys staring at me, as there aint many female workers around – predominately MALES…but overall it was a pleasant experience.

After I graduated, I got into a company working as an IT support officer and I hated this job. This company does their own inhouse IT support so we used to have to drive out to companies to give onsite IT support. Being a fresh graduate, I knew nothing!! It was so stressful with people staring over your shoulders why you’re trying to fix their computer/printer and the list went on. I did it for a few months and ended up resigning as it was too stressful for me….Job 1

I wasn’t sure whether I ever wanted to head towards IT, but it was my major what else was I suppose to do? Then, I found out that I could do an extra year of study – Graduate Diploma in early childhood teaching at ECU and since I love kids, I thought maybe it’s a way out at the same time I continue applied for random jobs and at the same time, a removalist company rang me up for an interview for a reception job. I thought, surely reception job wouldn’t be too stressful and I’ll start off something simple and move on. During my interview, the manager asked I’m not sure why you want to apply for the reception job – aren’t u overqualified?? I replied, well – I just want something that’s not too stressful. He replied actually there’s another position that probably will suit you better and it was the Corporate Account Manager position…Corporate Account Manager? I don’t know anything about Accounting?? The manager laughed, it’s got nothing to do with accounting, you have to managed our corporate clients – we will provide you with sufficient training. I was overwhelmed and grateful to the manager who have offered me this position, so I withdraw from my Uni course and took up this job. Another blessing I have received was during that time I was moving house and my manager offered to move my house for free! It’s quite expensive to relocate and move house and I was really thankful he offered to me. I worked for this company for close to 2 years and even though I have obtained valuable experience from this job, it was quite stressful at times especially when I was dealing with one of our globally largest clients. It was time to move on. Job 2

I found a client manager job at this background screening company. This is when things to go like a roller coaster ride. I didn’t know at the time when I was employed the Perth branch was not doing financially too well, so the managing director had a meeting with partner in the states. Our parent company was in US and things were becoming very uncertain, having just worked for under a year – I wasn’t just going to quit. One day, I saw my manager walked out of the office quite upset and she has tendered her resignation. We didn’t know what was going on, so I decided to put up my hand up for her job as I wanted to find out what was going on. When I took over her position and moved into her office, it was great – I’ve always wanted my own office and privacy. But with great power comes with great responsibility, I’ve tried my best to find out the Perth’s financial position and realised we were in a bit of jeopardy. Our managing director flew in from the states to visit our branch and he told me he’ll have to shut the Perth branch, even though I pleaded him to give me a chance to restore the Perth branch. But it was all too late, our head office has given Perth branch 3 years to gain profits – but it was losing alot of money. I was so disappointed that day, and shared this with my staff. We were given about 3 months to close down the branch and transfer all our clients over to the Philippines office. I remember speaking to our managing director on the phone, he wanted me to make all the staff redundant before the branch closing date and I was just shocked his reasoning was “I’m not going to pay for staff to sit around and do nothing!!” I try to argue with him and told him, the staff need time to also look for another job and slowly transition and hand over their clients to the Philippines office, but he wouldn’t budge. So in the end I was so mad that I hang up on him. I went home, mum could see I was stressed and mad but she reminded me that I still need to submit to the authority at work, so the next day – I rang the managing director back and apologised and told him I will write the official redundant letters to all the staff. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Anyways, the Philippines office sent their staff over to Perth to learn our about our clients, they were all so afraid as they know they’re coming over to take over our clients. One of the staff came and was shocked and I still remember he said “Wow, you’re so young!! I thought you were like 40 on the phone…I wasn’t sure whether I should take that as an insult or not then he clarified no you’re such a young branch manager!!”. I didn’t take out any frustration at the Philippines staff, it’s not their fault in any ways. My managing director offered me a transfer to move to Hong Kong Office to manage that branch. It was a life time opportunity but I told him what about the existing branch manager there, I have dealt with her a few times but he replied “I never acknowledge she’s the branch manager, she’s not doing a good job, you can go and replace her!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing “What a @#!% jerk!!”. I went home thinking well, if I do end up going to Hong Kong to manage the branch – I would have to leave Pandabear and at that time we were into our 3 years relationship and leave my family and friends. But on the other hand, I could work my way up and hopefully end up in the head office branch in US and become a partner and then fire the managing director hehehe my evil plan trying to take over the world. To be honest, if I was nasty about it, the Perth branch company’s directorship was signed over to me. So legally, I could refuse to close the branch but then they would have eventually cut the funding anyways. It was clear to me that it wasn’t the right decision to do, the blessing of this job – I ended up scoring some freebies from closing down the branch. So I declined the offer to transfer and it was time to look for another job…job 3

In between looking, I was feeling rather tired and stressed from having dealing with making staff redundant and closing the branch, I thought it was time to perhaps go for temping jobs and just take things easy. My desire of climbing the corporate ladder remains in my heart as I didn’t get the full opportunity of prolonging my management role. So I wanted to move into a larger company, one that’s stable and will support my desire of climbing up the corporate ladder. There’s a saying be careful what you wish for, and I ended up temping for one of the Giant Mining company. I was stoked, it was what I was after and I wanted to move on from dealing with clients and this position was a HR administrator role. I’ve always wanted to try out HR, so this was a great opportunity. There was no way that this company would ever be shut down and it will definitely provide me with climbing the corporate ladder opportunity. I was wrong, on my first day of temping with them I was directed to my desk, the staff were not friendly they sit in their cubicle box with their nose up in the air and I was given 100+ emails to deal with. It was horrible, I was really stressed thinking, I can’t believe I have to deal with this on my first day of temping. After a few months, I’ve decided it wasn’t for me I’ve had enough of this so I left the job it was time to move on again…job 4

Just to cut the story short, after job 4 I had some wonderful experience temping for other companies that were alot nicer but they were all short term and it was time to decide whether I should go back to study or head towards other career path or simply go back to my client manager/account manager jobs. At this stage, I even considered moving to Taiwan for a long break to teach some English – I went for the interview and my application was successful and they have offered me a place at this agency which is close by to my Auntie and I’ll just stay at my auntie’s place which works out perfectly. Pandabear was said to hear me leaving, but I said to him it’ll only be a temporary thing. At the same time I have also applied for a few jobs, I was in the process of getting my medicals done, after this I was going to book my air ticket to return back to Taiwan. One day I received a phone call from a company regarding an account manager job I have applied and I decided to go for an interview and I ended up getting that job.

It wasn’t God’s will for me to leave Perth, and I would have preferred to stay with Pandabear and my family. So bye bye to being an English teacher in Taiwan and hello back to my original root Account management. Things started well, I was really enjoying the role and during that time Pandabear has proposed to me and we were getting married soon! Things started to go downhill, I don’t know whether I was stressed about things, or my previous jobs have affected me mentally and emotionally. I started to feel the stress of dealing with clients and everything was overwhelming. I couldn’t handle the stress of my work as well as preparing for my wedding and plus I had some other family issues happening. So in the end, I had to quit the job again!!! It’s funny either there’s really something wrong with me cos I keep thinking I’m not performing well at my job but my manager says you’re doing a great job! She couldn’t understand why I was so stress with my work. I couldn’t really pin point why either, but the stress was just there. So there goes bye bye job 5.

Which works out really well as I had plenty of time to prepare for my wedding and to suss out what other job opportunities I should head towards. Then a thought came to my mind, I’m really getting tired of working for private companies with the pressure and stress of reaching the profit target and deadlines. I wanted a job that I didn’t have to worry about achieving targets or deadlines. A job that I could just go to work and go back home and not worry about my work or think about my work. So I decided it was time to move into the government sector. I’ve always considered moving into the government sector but have always been rejected at the application stage – the dreadful selection criteria, as often times they judge you severely on your written selection criterias – and I’m quite lazy when it comes to writing them. Once I get into the interview, I’ll be fine – interviews has always been my strength. So I started researching into writing selection criterias and methods and started applying for government jobs. So the day before our wedding, a government department rang me for an interview and as usual I went through with the interview, I had a cold that time – and it was funny cos at the end of the interview it was friday that day the lady asked what’s your plans for the weekend? I said I’m getting married tomorrow. They were all shocked!! You’re getting married tomorrow and you’re here for an interview?? I know – either I have impressed them with my skills of coping under pressure or I was merely going crazy and was desperate for a job.

So Pandabear and I got married and we went for our honeymoon. During our honeymoon time I received a phone call from another Government department asking for an interview. However, I had to say to the manager I was away overseas on my honeymoon and when I got back to Perth, I went for the interview – it all happened really quickly I was offered a 6 months contract work which I took. Now it all seemed rather smooth sailing – you would think…but no things go complicated. After my 6 months contract, it was time to head into my manager’s office for a chat to find out whether my contract was getting renewed at the same time remember the job interview I went before my wedding day well they rang me and offered me a permanent position. I was struggling to decide whether I should take it up and went to spoke to my manager who convinced me to stay and he said he’s able to extend my contract for another 6 months – which I was happy about. I was all in all happy with my job, as it’s flexible, good working conditions, great staff and I didn’t have to meet any deadlines! It seemed like a dream job and for once, I was getting praise and good comments for helping people! I feel appreciated, however the next 6 months went really quickly. Time flies when you’re having fun. My contract was up for renewal again and to apply for positions, I had to go for another interview just to get into the pool. This time I went into my manager’s office again and this time he has indicated there is no positions available for me and that my contract was mostly to be extended for a month or two. So it was clear to me that it was time to move on again!! Time to say good bye to job 6..so I thought…

I started applying for other jobs, even though I was not willing to go but the reality was my contract wasn’t getting extended and I was thinking perhaps I should have taken up that permanent job offer. God had other plans for me, I received an offer from another company and it was a 12 months contract which is better than a 6 months contract. It all went pretty quickly, I went for an interview I was offered the job straight away with a higher pay. So I thought this must be God’s plan for me to move on to job 7…so I resigned with my manager and verbally accepted the offer to another job. Into 2 weeks before I leave my work place, I was waiting for my contract – all this time they have not sent out my contract. Apparently they had some HR problem which caused a delay in drafting the contract out to me, but everything else was ready to go. One day, my manager came to me and she said “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve gone through our financial reports and checked with HR and finance and they have advised me that since 2007 we have not filled a permanent position!! I know you have accepted a job in another place but I wanted to let you know if you do change your mind – the offer is yours” I couldn’t believe it??? At the same time, I was like what’s going on and what should I do. I prayed to God for guidance but at the end of the day, I only applied for another job cos my contract was not extended and it wasn’t because I hated my job – I didn’t have a choice. Also, since there was a delay in me signing the contract – legally I’m able to decline the job offer with another company. It was clear to me that this position was given to me by God and it wasn’t a coincidence. So I gladly accepted the offer and are very grateful to my current manager who have offered this to me when she could have quietly let me know and offer it to another staff. For that I’m very thankful to her and it’s also one of the reason why I stayed till now. This permanent position has truly being a blessing to me not only it provided me with the stability – no more contract to contract hassle but it has allowed me to move to Melbourne temporarily taking leave without pay and still keep my position. I’m really thankful to God for his blessings and to my lovely manager as well and it remains the job 6 for me…

Now that I’m in Melbourne, I’m also thankful to God for providing me with temp jobs which so far I have had pleasant experiences with and it’s still within the government sector – no deadlines and no pressure and good pay conditions. Now you would know why I’m labeled the career changing queen. To be honest, I have lost count how many companies I have worked with the above mentioned ones are the main ones I can remember, but I’m sure if you ask Pandabear he would have counted at least 15 companies he could remember 🙂 So for those that are out there looking for a career change or adventure, it’s impossible – I did it and looking back – yes there were crazy times during my career but do I regret the decisions I have made – not at all, I learn from it and appreciate it more as well.

It is important to be happy at your work place, and when it starts to consume everything in your life – it’s unhealthy and not right. If you find yourself stressing all the time then perhaps it’s not the right job for you. So I hope that everyone is happy with their current job cos life is too short to be stuck at a dead end job or worse at a job you hate!

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