Setting my priorities straight

I am not happy with my life. At this moment in time, after having graduated from NTU, finding a job has been tough. It’s been close to 3 months and I am nowhere close to finding a job. It was not until Covance called; twice in fact to offer me two different jobs. At first, it was a logistics job. The pay was terrible and it was not even the job I was looking for. I was hoping to get the Medical/clinical technologist position at Covance, which I applied weeks before. I kindly declined the offer but told them that I would be very interested in other positions that might be available in the future that would be suitable based on my past experience and educational background.

A few weeks later, Covance called again. This time for a position in the lab, albeit a menial, entry-level job. As a sample handling assistant, the job description is nothing fantastic, but nothing that I cannot handle. Having the opportunity to work in the lab however was a much better offer than the one before. They offered a slightly better pay. However, the workdays are from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Gosh. I have to work Saturdays for a year, before I can be considered other positions if I wish to apply for an internal transfer within Covance. I hesitated and told them to give me some time to think through it. I thought about it. Even consulted my dad for advice. He told me to go with it. His reasons being that, it makes very little difference, since you will still get your two days off in a week. You only need to make minor adjustments to your lifestyle so that you can be fully committed to this job that requires you to work on Saturdays. He was right, looking at it literally, there’s not much of a difference. Working in Covance, an MNC, you have a shot at progressing upwards in your career. Sure, you start low, but if I work hard and put my mind to it. Working hard for the long haul, I think it might just pay off. I could slowly climb the career ladder and at the same time acquire precious work experience up as I familiarize myself with the organization and the people that I would be working with. The prospects are there. The opportunities are there, amidst the uncertainties. It’s just that I am not seeing clearly at the moment

But I still hesitated. And I realized why. This also ties in with why I am truly unhappy at this moment in my life. I am being held back. I am still living the life of an undergraduate. Unwilling to take risks, unwilling to make compromises and sacrifices that would benefit me in the future. Not thinking about the long-term future of my life. My own life. I still cling to the old mentality that I can have it all, a good social life, lots of friends, lots of fun and shunning as much responsibilities in life. In fact, I am not even thinking for myself, for my future. I have my priorities all in a jumble.

My friends, they are everything to me. But I am putting them ahead of myself. There is nothing wrong with that. You help your friends, you deepen your relationship, and you go the extra mile for them. But I think for me, it has become an unhealthy obsession to please them at the expense of my own welfare. My blinding loyalty to them has put me in a disadvantageous position, to the point where I would place them in the center of my universe. Essentially, I am friend-centric. Obsessed in trying hard to keep them close and cherish those moments you spent together, without thinking about my own future.

Eventually I realize that everyone will move on, even your friends. They will settle down, have a family, have a great career, and soon we will just drift apart. We will unlikely become strangers, but still, less time will spent together as friends, as they will be spending time in other things that matter most to them. If I continue to be oblivious to it all, then I would truly be stuck. I did not consider my own life. My career would be nothing. I would not settle down. My life would be living in the past, while the rest moved on with my lives. And they will not even care at the position I would be in.

My friends, I love them so much. I truly cherished those moments we spent together hanging out, chilling out and just having a good time. But eventually, our priorities will change. They will change. I need to change as well. Change to create and protect my own future. I need to start taking charge of my own life. Blaze a trail for my own. But at the same time, I should never forget my friends and what they have done for me. Similarly I also hope that my friends would not forget as well.

So there, I had an epiphany. Whatever sacrifices I have to make in taking up this job, be it doing tremendous amount of OT, or working on Saturdays and spending less time with my friends, ultimately, its for my own future. I need to up the stakes, take charge and adopt a whole new mindset about what I need to do with my life. I decide to bite the bullet, and take this job.

The epiphany I had was a strange one. I was out running my usual 5km route. It was past midnight. Perfect time to be out running, with no one to disturb you. It was silence all the way, just you, the road, and the sound of your rhythmic footsteps and your breathing. The serenity allowed me to think hard about why I am so unhappy right now. What is the source of my unhappiness and my mild depressive state that I am in? And then it hit me. The sole reason why I hesitated in taking up this job, was because of my clingy nature with my friends. I am blinded by my own loyalty to them, and I was unable to see the opportunities that were presented in front of me. Covance called twice. I took it as a sign. A sign that maybe this may be the organization I would like to work in. Even my gut feeling said so. It said that I should just take it and worry about everything else later. Taking this job, see the hand you have been dealt with and play it to the best of your abilities. Try to make the best use of your time since you have accepted the job and work hard towards improving and hopefully be able to shine in Covance as an exemplary employee.

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