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3 Millennials Share With Us Their Biggest Takeaway After Getting Their First Job While Waiting For University To Start

Share with us what’s the first ever job you took while you were still in school? What did you learnt from it?

Do you remember your first day at work? There was apprehension, doubts and excitement all before we started earning the first buck. And no, we are not referring to your first job after graduating from school and starting your career. We are talking about your very FIRST job. The one you took up while waiting for Poly or University to start while you are still in your teens.

We spoke to 3 millennials who are still in their teens on their experiences and takeaway after getting their first job.

# 1 The Reptile Keeper

We asked a passionate animal lover to share how being a Reptile Keeper has changed her.

What are you currently working as?

I am working as a Part-Time Junior Reptile Keeper at the Singapore Zoo.

What was one thing you least expected out of work?

The amount of physical energy involved daily. On the surface, taking care of animals may not seem like a very physically demanding job. Many imagine it to involve purely interacting with animals.

After working here for close to 3 months, however, it becomes apparent that getting down and dirty with manual work (prepping food, clearing poop, cleaning and fixing things, etc) forms a bulk of our workload. This aspect of work has made me a stronger person, both mentally and physically.

What was the most fulfilling part of work so far?

Helping visitors see the beauty in reptiles.

Reptiles are not immediately thought of as likeable animals due to several preconceptions many have. During interaction sessions, however, I get the chance to help bridge the gap between people and reptiles through shedding light on how reptiles can be amazing (like all other animals)!

It makes me feel warm inside to see someone previously afraid of reptiles slowly learning to accept them.

What would you tell someone who’s still in school?

Life is a one-way ticket; set aside time in your busy schedule to discover what gives you purpose so you can fill your limited days with meaningful experiences!

# 2 The government research intern

What was one thing you least expected out of work?

To be honest, I was surprised at how tiring sitting at a desk and at a computer could be! It was quite a difficult transition in the first few weeks and I often felt demoralised that I couldn’t be as productive as I would have liked.

Even though I had thought school was draining, the hours weren’t as long every day and it didn’t involve as much active work. Thankfully I have managed to incorporate a more balanced lifestyle with exercise and sufficient sleep to counter the sedentariness and lethargy I experienced.

Ultimately, I’m glad I found this out – interning in an office has really helped me better appreciate what my parents and other adults have been doing for many years of their lives.

What was the most fulfilling part of work so far?

At a research job, the work I do is pretty upstream and often feels distant from industry work. The nature of the work was also vastly different from the fast-paced lifestyle I heard about from my friends interning at start-ups.

As someone who liked to see instantaneous results, it was easy to be discouraged initially.

Over time, however, I began to see that the technologies I researched on are in fact really relevant today. Whenever I read about related articles in the news and met industry experts, I was thrilled to know that my work has an impact on the real world, as indirect as it may seem.

Though my research projects may take weeks to complete and they don’t translate into finished products immediately, I still find fulfilment knowing that I’m contributing to society.

What would you tell someone who’s still in school?

Never let your spirit of curiosity fade amidst the many exams to study for and homework to finish.

I believe that it’s important to hunger to know more about the world around you, because education doesn’t end when school ends.

There’s so much out there to be discovered and a full life ahead of you beyond!

Remember that school can only teach you to a certain extent – what will last beyond your formal education is your attitude towards learning. And well, some days may be full of confusion and uncertainty about the future, but we all figure it along the way somehow. You’ll always get through it, all the best for school in the meantime!

#3 The specialist admin at a renowned MNC

What was one thing you least expected out of work?

I didn’t expect that so many processes in a well established MNC is still manual work.

What I thought could be done with computer logarithms are still done by hand. I realised after a while that since every expenditure is important, the company would rather manually review each appeal.

What was the most fulfilling part of work so far?

I learnt a lot of computer skills: Internal systems, Excel, Word (and yes Word isn’t just a blank piece of paper for typing on – it has many more functions).

For Excel, I learnt how to find specific sets of data in thousands of entries which you will never experience in a school context or even when working in a small company.

I also learnt how to auto generate many cool things like letters (large companies don’t manually type out names/content of their one million customers; they can actually be automatically extracted into a word document from the company’s system).

What would you tell someone who’s still in school?

You will never fully expect what your first job expects of you (office jobs specifically) even if you did internships while you were studying.

If you want experience, commit yourself to at least a 2/3 month contract so it’s long enough for you to properly learn a lot of skills and get a sense of how the company/industry works, but short enough for you not to regret not trying something else.

That being said, go in with the attitude to experience working life in its fullest, not just to have fun. Finding all ways to slack off during work isn’t going to help you find out if this industry/job is suitable for you in the future.

Earning money is also not the ultimate goal. Some of the most interesting and fulfilling jobs my friends have really sad pay or no pay at all.

What was the first ever paid job you took on (don’t worry, we won’t judge you) and what did you learnt from it? Share your stories with us on Facebook.

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