Walking into the large plain building of a typical warehouse, I recall my phone conversation with Jamil. It was brief and it felt like he could not wait for me to end the call.
"Anything else? I have customers waiting for me,"
Pressured, I quickly got to the point of why I was calling him. Out of more than 15 seniors who had visited World Marketing Group during one of Good Work’s Career Exploration Journeys, this 58-year-old was shortlisted for the position of a driver, and subsequently hired.
I asked if I could interview him on his work life after the graduation from our career guidance programme. “Oh,” he stopped short and let out a shy chuckle. “Ok lah. Do you mind coming to the warehouse where I work?” he asked.
So, it was to the warehouse I went!
On top of the stir of activity in the warehouse, Jamil’s seemingly hectic schedule made me wonder if he would share much during the interview. I was working up the head space to interact with a reluctant man, when I spotted Jamil walking towards me. We exchanged friendly greetings and that was when I let my guard down.
He had a calm and steady demeanour. Neatly dressed, he wore a Timberland cap, thick rimmed glasses and sported a bag pack looking like he was done for the day. He motioned towards a bench next to a pile of shoeboxes, suggesting that we could have the chat there.
“I find it funny that my friends would settle for their pension and not think about work,”
shared Jamil. “I would never think of that. I don’t want to see my tummy growing bigger!”
He joked as he pointed to his stomach. “I love driving. When I heard there was a job vacancy available from the course trainer, I felt motivated to give it a shot.”
As someone without a driving license (yet), I was curious why Jamil enjoyed driving so much. Singapore’s traffic conditions are notorious and I imagine the weather can be a bummer sometimes.
“Yes, the roads can be busy, but I always feel a sense of joy when my parcel brings a smile to someone’s face. Once, I decided to deliver a parcel even though it was already after work hours. I did not regret it. I was met with two happy faces who were eagerly waiting for me in the rain,” he said.
Package delivery is a task that us city folk tend to overlook. In order to feel productive, we are always rushing from one meeting to another to talk about some diverse and complex project. The never-ending pursuit for more time is something that Jamil is not a part of. To him, joy is what you make of it even in the smallest moments.
“Handing the package over to customers and watching their faces light up is what makes me feel like my job is done. In those 2 seconds, the boredom I felt in traffic is forgotten,”
he told me with a gleam in his eyes.
When asked about what he had learnt from Good Work’s 8-day employability course, Jamil pointed out candidly that he had benefited the most in terms of motivation.
“Learning in a motivational classroom setting made me feel empowered. I find myself wanting to put in more effort and become a better person, whether it is through work or life in general.”
Without question, Jamil is also a loving father who cares for his family through speech and action. Although Jamil knew that his son may not be a hundred percent interested in what he had learnt in class, he still shares his takeaways with enthusiasm. In my head, I pictured my own father ranting away as I swiped endlessly on my smartphone. I wondered if it was a similar scenery back home for Jamil and his son.
“My son may already know whatever I was telling him. However, I believe that positivity should be cultivated and maintained at a young age,”
he said thoughtfully.
Feeling a tiny pinch in my chest, I made a mental note to listen to my dad’s stories and pay even closer attention to his fatherly intentions.
The Career Skills Training (CST) programme has helped to enable placements for more than 1,500 learners in the past 2 years. Learners go through an 8 day skills training before embarking on weekly journeys to visit different hiring partners. Through these age-friendly workshops and journeys, we hope to bridge the gap between the work force and our work ready seniors.
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