I have many dreams growing up as a kid.
A dream to be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, an actress, a dancer…
As I grew up, some dreams remains a dream, simply because I gave up studying when the financial crisis hit my family. Struggled to make end needs, taking care of a younger sister, there was a period, I just basically gave up on working hard and just wanted to get it over and done with…
Then I met a group of friends, started to work hard to pass my ‘O’ Level and got into nursing.
Isn’t that part of your dream? Some might think…
But I realised it was just a dream. The reality is so much different. I got in, faced with patients who struggled with sickness, family who abandoned their parents in the hospital, terminally ill patients who were dying, taking care of the deaths. I told myself, “Nope, this isn’t what I want. I don’t want to have this type of life. It is so depressing.” And I left nursing and never look back.
I moved around, working part time jobs, trying to find what I want to do. Interviews after interviews. After being jobless for 2 years (in-between I enrolled myself into a Theology School), I got myself a part-time job at one of the local Uni through a dear friend. It was an easy job. Basic administration, walked around the hostels to send loan letter to students for payment. I made a couple of friends. Learnt and enjoyed desk-bound job. But it still wasn’t what I wanted. The insecurity of the job and how long it could last propelled me to look for a full-time job after 8 months.
The same cycle happened again and I finally got myself a job at a local bank back office. All that was told to me by the Manager was, in their era, everyone worked without a relevant certificate and they learnt on the job and slowly promotion come. Just work hard and you will see it coming.
Those were the days where all I wanted was a job. Survival preceded passion and passion long forgotten. Thus I started the journey of working in a bank at the age of 21.
The next 3 years, wasn’t such a happy journey of my life. I thank God for my boyfriend back then. I often complained and cried over how demanding my boss was. How I got scolded when made a mistake in front of all the colleagues. How I was tasked to do 3 persons’ job scopes with not much help. How I finished my work but was asked to OT to finish people’s work. How I got the mark down just because there were times, I finished my work and got to rush for wedding preparation, only to be asked to OT and I said I couldn’t even though I spent the whole day rushing my works. How I fall sick continuously, because I had no time for toilet breaks, water breaks, and how stressful it was and all I wanted was some rests. Then I got pregnant, delivered and went back to work, only to face the black face of a boss who shouted at me when I completed my work to stay back overtime to complete other people’s work because people failed to make use of their working hours to do (I encountered people who office hours not doing much but after work started to overtime because they got pay extra per hours while I only got a one time allowance if I got stayed beyond 7.30pm and must be after 7.30pm to claim.) This once again pressured me (together with the urged of my husband) to quit and look for a new job.
And the same process started again which ended up with me in my current job. Still financial sector. Nothing much changes. One good thing is the support from people and bosses and colleagues. I had my 2nd child last year and many times, I was asked and encouraged to further study since I joined this company. My husband encouraged me. My previous department boss encouraged me. My friends encouraged me. I was procrastinating. With 2 kids and so many responsibilities on my shoulders, there never seem to be a good time for further study. I tried going for an interview with one of the private Uni after the birth of Big A, only to be rejected (which I was glad that I didn’t get in. Parenthood presented itself as a challenge.)
Thus fast forward, I am at a junction whereby I am getting too comfortable with what I am doing yet dissatisfied and I was talking to a friend casually over Whatsapp and she started to give me a dream. A dream of improving myself by further study since I am still young. A dream of having a better future. And many of the times, my husband was asking me when I going to go and sign up for a degree or a course and I kept pushing back as I lacked the confidence and it took a friend, a fellow mother who know of mothers who study after they have a family and achieving their dream. Thus I embarked on this journey by taking a leap of faith by entering into a school, sat down with the staff, asked about the course and signed up for the basic fundamental modules.
It came as a shock to a few friends when they asked me which course I am going for. Some told me is going to be hard. But my only reply is never trying never know. Perhaps I am sick of listening to the negative circumstances and wish for something challenging. I did have the fear of failing but rather sit and do nothing, I better start something before I am back to that procrastinating self who kept telling myself… this is not the time, there will be a better time in future.
There is no such thing as a better time. Because we are ourselves play a part to step out of the comfort zone and go into the unknown. Be it failure or success, at least I try.
Maybe along the way, I might regret and whine about my decision. Maybe I will rant about how tough it is. But there always be someone who reminds me of why I am doing what I am doing.
With my husband’s support who promise to care for the children when I can’t. With a helper who is there to help me with the children when I can’t. With friends who encouraged me. At least I try.
And may Martin Luther King’s quote be my goal for this year and the years to come as I will be taking it slowly. Clearing module by module…