Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Working for an International Company

When my Form 5 teacher announced that I was selected into the vocational school for a shorthand typist course, I was so thrilled. Early that year, I had submitted my application (just because the others did it) and then forgot all about it. Never having flown in an aeroplane before and so, the reality of that dream itself was sheer joy. The vocational school was the only one in the state and it was 55 minutes by Boeing. I was also blessed with monthly allowance from the government as well.

Course started in January, a month plus to go. It is end-of- year school holiday and so I joined my friends to work as daily paid labourers for a Housing Company. It was one of the companies that were offering jobs to school leavers. We didn’t have to carry bricks or cement. We didn’t have to handle any heavy work related to the construction of the houses. We were assigned to pull the weeds, installed the window panes and all other small odds jobs but nothing heavy. The boss knew that we were only there to earn some pocket money during the holidays and so he was good to us. We had fun riding on his trailers! We were just teenagers!!

Being a resident in a town where most of the people work for an international company, the first thing when I graduated and came home from the vocational school was to apply for a job there. I remembered my first letter as dated 21 January 1973, in response to an advertisement in the newspaper. Understandably I was rejected. How could a shorthand-typist be accepted as a Production Technical Trainee? In fact I didn’t care what type of job I could do or what type of job I was suitable for. I was willing to take up any work, even if it is a trainee job, so long as I could enter the company, gain some experience and earn some money.

Letters after letters of application of other vacancies in the company were sent – stenographer, geological laboratory assistant, punch operator, data controller, computer terminal operator, clerk, typist – all unsuccessful. I was called for interviews and tests only for the stenographer, punch operator and typist posts – all unsuccessful.

I also wrote to the different government departments but were unsuccessful as well. Where was my lucky star? It appeared in July 1973. Yes! The zodiac month I was born! My application to a government project was accepted. I got employed as a Data Processor cum Report Typist, where I remained until May 1974 when the project ended.

They said “if you don’t succeed the first time, try and try again, don’t give up”. That was true with my application into the international company. While I was working for the government project, I didn’t stop applying into the international company. I was finally offered temporary employment as a Temporary Clerk on the 16 December 1974. It took me 23 months of persistent application!! Thanks to my mother for her unquenchable faith in me for without it I would have called it quits sooner. ☺I must have done something good in my previous life!!☺

I must have been a good worker too because the offer was changed to regular employment as a Technical Assistant on the 1 April 1975 – it was not an April’s Fool day for me! There was an April’s Fool day for me – read that in a posting of the same name!

Working for an international company was very interesting and fun. I got to interact with people from other countries, like England, France, Holland, Australia, USA, Nigeria, Norway, Burma, etc. etc. It helped me to appreciate other nationalities, no more a frog under a coconut shell!

From the post of a technical Assistant, I had other exposures working as administrative clerk/supervisor/assistant, secretary, staff resource development assistant, recruitment administrator and lastly a document controller until 23 September 1996 when I decided to say goodbye to the company that I have worked for 21 years and 9 months.

It was here that I was introduced to the electrical brain (the ‘computer’ in Chinese) in 1987 for the very first time and fell in love with it. I could type faster with it, no need to use blanco to hide my errors. I don’t have to flip the handle of the carriage to go to a new line of my paper, as I did with my manual Olivetti typewriter when I started in 1974! I don’t have to type on a dirty stencil to reproduce multiple copies! Just a touch of the key will do. It gets better and easier from then on with improved technology, equipment and facilities.

What else? Well, I got to attend 38 courses (including the introduction to personal computer). That was one of the many many blessings. I regarded all benefits as blessings. So why did I leave? Many people said I was stupid. My mother said I was out of my mind.

I am thankful for my mother’s love and faith in me. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with this wonderful international company and the many blessings I received during those years with it.

For every thing turn turn turn. There is a season turn turn turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born. A time to be die. It is time for me to move on. I was burned out, tired and fed up. I wanted to experience other ‘lives’. And yes! I have and will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Irene: I read this article and enjoyed it immensely. I had no idea you had such a background in the work force and was amazed to read you had worked 20+ years before you retired in 1996 (I believe). No wonder you are so proficient in typing and working on a computer.

Yean (Anthony) sent me the URL to his blog today and I spent considerable time on it. He is a wonderful young man and I will access his blog occasionally. I left a message and hope he is able to find it.

I am going to email Lian today and ask for the URL to her blog. I'd like to keep the blogs for the 3 of you in a folder in "my favorite places" for easy access.

Thanks for continuing your emails to us, even though I haven't been able to do much in the way of a response. That will change, hopefully, in the near future.

We love you,

Kent B.