Finding a Fulfilling Job

February 27, 2022

Last week, I received a bonus from my company. Things are going well, and the bonus served as a good financial incentive, rewarding me for my hard work over the past year. Receiving a 13th-month salary is pretty standard practice in Singapore, and the variable pay I received aligns with industry norms. My salary is about average within the expat community, providing me a decent standard of living as a single person. Despite this financial stability, I've been contemplating my career development and searching for a job that I truly love. I'm also focused on making a more significant impact rather than merely working harder to justify my salary.

2022 02 27

Meanwhile, I face some challenges in my current role. Just yesterday, I met a new client at an event. Although he was friendly and pleasant, I found myself at a loss for words when trying to establish a strong business connection. As my company grows, the demand for my soft skills, including presentation, networking, and communication abilities, is increasing. I need to conquer my fear of engaging with strangers and develop my leadership skills to succeed in the global job market.

If my sole aim were to maximize income and status, I would probably become a full-time salesperson. They possess the soft skills I admire: the ability to influence clients, negotiate for profit, and generate new business opportunities. The potential earnings in commission are also very appealing. However, I've avoided this career path because I'm an introvert, and the thought of approaching strangers and maintaining a high level of energy in social settings daunts me.

As a child, I loved reading history books. I was particularly fascinated by stories of ordinary people rising to become advisors to kings. They would use their exceptional communication skills to earn trust, unite nations, and thwart common enemies, saving their communities in the process. This appealed to me deeply, though my own experiences were limited to strategic computer games and essay writing. What drove my interest was the strategic element—the joy of using knowledge and tactics to achieve goals.

As an adult, I still value strategy. I am continually learning, reading books, and taking online courses to absorb new information. My desire is to be a trusted advisor, helping others succeed while achieving something bigger than myself. I am driven by empathy and the joy of making others happy.

I often find myself envying figures like Elon Musk, Leonardo DiCaprio, and other highly successful people. Yet, I recognize that each of these paths comes with its own set of challenges and sacrifices. Instead, I focus on what aspects of their lives I genuinely admire, such as their impact on the world or their financial competence.

The joy in my work comes from making money, learning new technologies, leading teams, and helping people. I believe that solving complex, real-world problems through collaboration could lead to innovative and scalable solutions in the private sector.

If I knew I couldn't fail, my next step would be to start my own business and build a scalable product to dominate global markets. However, my biggest fear is that this new venture might not be profitable, and I could end up taking excessive risks, leading to financial ruin.

My family tends to value traditional job roles like engineering, accounting, and culinary arts. They're less familiar with digital-era positions like Scrum Master or Data Scientist. Their primary concern is for me to secure a stable, financially rewarding career. Political roles, especially those in opposition to the Chinese Communist Party, would be a cause for concern.

However, I aspire to exceed my family's achievements by becoming financially independent and gaining international exposure. I wish to help them broaden their perspectives, both through travel and technological literacy.

My social circle has its own challenges. While my university classmates and former business partners support my ambitions, my girlfriend has different interests and a different risk appetite. This creates a tension between pursuing my passions and dedicating time to our relationship.

In the end, the voice I need to listen to is that of "Intrinsic Love." If someone dislikes me, it's essential to remember that I can't please everyone.

Many people dream of working at companies like Google, drawn by the culture, cutting-edge technology, and high salaries. But the same benefits can often be found in tech startups or even in running your own business.

Despite my fears—of starting a business, speaking to strangers, or public speaking—I don't need to be the wealthiest person in the world to be content. Side hustles, new opportunities, and meaningful connections can provide not just tolerable work but a fulfilling career full of purpose, camaraderie, and creativity.

To achieve this, we'll need to focus intensely on the complexities that underpin finding truly fulfilling work. If you share this goal, I'd love to hear from you. Together, we can explore not just work that pays the bills but work that we deeply, profoundly appreciate.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn