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Thriving in Thankless Jobs

Thankless Jobs. Are you in one of those? You may find that you are if one of these serves as a typical dialogue:

“I’m supposed to be in a nine-to-five job but no one cares if I work overtime.”

“I do the same thing over and over.”

“I had to figure it out on my own because noone had time to teach me."

As human beings, we are wired to desire recognition and gratitude. Even star employees feel the frustration of being under-appreciated, over-questioned or over-regulated in their jobs. Often times, our invisible presence come into prominence only when things fail. To fluff up this pillow of gloom, there is no clean formula to a utopian workplace.

Yet, we find Mdm Muthusamy Silvam to be an optimist in a ‘treadmill’ job. She counts oranges cascading across belts at iJooz, an orange juice vending machine manufacturer. Her daily mission? To count oranges at lightning speed.

“I used to count them one by one, then I noticed that the trick is to count in batches of five,”

Mdm Silvan shared.

The internet exempts the profound inner work required to do the same thing everyday for a living. We look to factory workers enjoying split second fames as videos are taken of their one-sequence routines and made into a 5-minute viral video hailed “superhuman” workers.

At the age of 69, Mdm Silvam has tided through careers spanning from being a facility management to customer service and human resource. For about 30 years, she has experienced the material and conventional perks of the office life. She chose to leave all that behind in deliberate pursuit of something easier.

“Being in many office environments previously, I know very well what stress can do to the body and spirit. Today, I get to go home to my family without any ‘baggage’ from work,”

she said, shaking her head at the memory of having to take her laptop home.

The decorated perception of being in the PME industry appears to have been the opposite for Mdm Silvam. The accounts of her past career hinted at feelings of anxieties and discontentment.

After all those years, Mdm Silvam decided that 'rest' is also possible through lighter roles in the workforce. She joined the Good Work community's CST course in hopes of finding a good fit for her silver years.

"I completed the course and was relieved to know that the community also organises weekly visits to hiring companies. I was hired in less than a month."

At iJooz, Mdm Silvam delights in going to work without worrying about unreasonable expectations and take home work. Her past experiences and people skills even helped her to overcome the inertia of working in an unfamiliar environment.

While acknowledging that the job is not the most desirable, she urged all mature job-seekers to be patient and give themselves time to adapt to the culture and type of work. Leading my example, she thrives in an environment by being empathetic to co-workers who do not speak the same language as her.

Mdm Silvam demonstrated that even though routine-natured jobs may not be championed by society, it matters. All she wants is a job that will give her energy to continue loving and caring for her family. With concerted harmony, this simple want allows iJooz to offer boosts of fresh vitamin C's to the common people in need of more than a quench of thirst.

Whatever the reason is for taking on such jobs, however personal or circumstantial, she agrees that mindset plays a big part in injecting meaning to your nine-to-five. The world doesn't have to see your diligence because the joy is what you make of it.

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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