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Gen Z Speaks: I was a teen trying to chase career goals while juggling life’s curveballs — it wasn't easy

For six years, I found myself straddling various responsibilities.

As a teenager then, I worked full-time as a customer service officer in the aviation sector while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business at Murdoch University.  

Upon my graduation, I was still undecided about the field that I wanted to pursue, but I knew I wanted two things: To gain hands-on experience, and to do something that has a positive impact on society. 

One day, I came across a commercial for Skills Ignition SG — an upskilling programme by Infocomm Media Development Authority and Google. 

The ad showed a delivery worker, who had little to no digital-related work experience, benefitting from a programme that is meant to give Singaporeans a head start in such jobs.

The idea of becoming a trainee at a major tech company excited me, but with a GCE Normal (Academic) background, I didn’t think I stood a chance as it seemed that only top students or those who went to a top university would be considered.

I hesitated in applying as I didn’t think I would qualify and didn’t meet all of the prerequisites. But my fiance insisted that I should try even if I didn’t get in. 

After all, my family situation had already eased up by then. I had more time on my hands to commit to my goal of landing a job in the tech industry by focusing on picking up new skills. 

So, I decided to reach out to the trainee featured in the ad on LinkedIn to learn about her story. Thanks to her positive feedback and my fiance’s support, I applied for the programme.

Within a few weeks, I received an email stating that I was shortlisted for an interview. I just remembered screaming in excitement, “My application went through!” Each time I passed an interview round, it felt like a huge relief. 

When I finally received the email from Google saying I was accepted, it was the most incredible feeling. I was jumping with joy and could not wait to get started on this new path.

BEING A TRAINEE

During the three months of vocational training, I learned about the different digital marketing frameworks and how to create marketing proposals. 

Developing websites, and products and marketing them to specific markets were additional skills I picked up during the training. In addition to marketing and communication, entrepreneurial activity had a great deal of impact, as my long-term goal was to start my own business one day.

When I started my six months of on-the-job training at Google, it felt like I was about to start a new chapter of my life. 

I was so nervous and couldn’t find the courage to make conversations and connect with other people. 

But the open environment encouraged me to meet new people over coffee chats, learn more about their team culture, and get acquainted with my new role.

This was a far cry from my six years juggling various responsibilities, when I had to sacrifice my social time due to another competing need.   

Looking back, I am grateful to myself and my family for riding through that challenging period together, and that ordeal only inspired me further to pursue my dreams of working in a global company. 

DARING TO STEP OUT

Five months into the internship programme, I saw an available opening within the tech customer experience team at Google. 

I took it, and even though I thought I lacked the technical skills for the job, my prior customer service experience and ongoing traineeship journey helped to secure that spot.

It’s been two months into my new role now. 

I’m learning something new and exciting every day and having the chance to express my thoughts without fear of rejection or judgement made me feel good about myself. 

I started to embrace change and improve for the better. And this was all because of that perseverance, and that leap of faith to step outside my comfort zone and do things that are uncomfortable but necessary for my own well-being.

Five years on, I am no longer the stressed and easily overwhelmed person that I was in my teens. 

With so much placed on my shoulders then, I realised I lacked the breathing room to discover myself and my own abilities. 

The job experience and shadowing sessions helped me perform better in creativity, communication, and teamwork in my full-time role.

Most importantly, I discovered the importance of believing in myself, and there is a bright future awaiting those who dare to break out of their mould.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jasmina Banu, 24, is a platforms solutions consultant at Google Singapore.

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