So today I saw a poll by someone, to see if it’s possible for a person to pursue a job, without having any relevant or related background, and do it successfully. Well, honestly? I believe it is possible and I’d say I’m one of the lucky few who managed to transition from one field to several other fields (unscathed!) CAUTION, this will be a VERY LONG one. Read at your own discretion! (Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!).
Just a little trivia about myself, that may come as a surprise to someone who just met me in my current capacity, I used to read law in university. Truth be told, it was never really my intention to pursue a career in the legal profession. I believe I’m more of a creative person at heart (that’s what I like to think). But alas, being the ever-dutiful daughter, I pursued law anyway to please my parents. NOT. THE. BEST. DECISION. I know, I know.
However, I took it in within my stride. Of course, there were many challenges along the way (repeatedly bawling and wanting to quit because I HATED the unremarkably dry and dreary Land Law and the constant need to memorize a million Civil Procedure Codes) completed it with Bachelor of Hons, served my pupilage for 9 months and called to the bar, and finally obtained my Practicing Certificate.
It was a proud moment of course. 5 years of law school was gut wrenching (Only those who have been through it would know eh?) Then I practiced for a few years. Oh, it was quite a “colorful” period of my life too. Getting yelled at and threatened to be killed by a disgruntled client of past employees whom I took over their files unknowingly on my 3rd day of a job. Exhilarating!
Driving alone at a speed of light in the dead of the night on the famously haunted and dark Karak highway and being tailed by a taxi driver (don’t worry, he was quite nice actually, for lending me his headlights to show the way, despite blinding me in the process) to attend court the next day. What an adventure! Working from 8am – 12am every day and on the weekends. What’s not to love? But deep down I knew I wanted something else. Took a leap of faith and quit practicing to explore the other side of the pond. And this was another challenge altogether.
There I was, finally “free”, but what am I to do now? I knew I had to experiment, so I took up the first writing job as a journalist that I could find. The pay was terrible, the place was not ideal, but at least I had a chance to do something within my own terms, right? Unfortunately, not really. They restrict on the things we could write in order to please their sponsors. After having no freedom to express my view, I decided to leave, and found another writing gig as a content creator at a startup company.
This was a fun job, with fun colleagues, fun working hours, even surprisingly “fun” and massive remuneration! But all “fun” things will naturally come to an end. I found out the company was dealing in various bogus transactions, resulting in many irritated and unhappy customers. So, another one bites the dust!
My next venture was at an event management company. This was an interesting place. But again, I had to start from the bottom as I had zero knowledge on event management. I was lucky enough to come in at the moment they started planning out one of the biggest international Halal events in the country and crafting another Halal homegrown event on the side. From strategizing to execution, I was involved in every aspect along the way. And due to my legal background, I was also heavily engaged in the contract negotiations and drafting, to ensure continuation of the events for the next several years. Killing two birds with one stone. So, everything should be perfect right? Not exactly. Perhaps I was still naïve then, but the job was actually on a contract basis, and I was not renewed. Little did I know, I would soon find out from other ex-employees that it was a common practice by the company to employ new staffs every year. Oh well, it was entertaining while it lasts. But I did learn a lot and had a peek at the Business Events Industry and what’s more to come.
Regrettably, when I left that position, I was already 5 months pregnant with our first child. And let me tell you, finding a job whilst having a bump was not easy. I got turned down several times when they saw me turning up at the interview with a growing bulge. At one point I tried to hide it and was actually successful with my interview. But after coming clean about my status, the potential employer changed their mind and revoked the offer. No job, no prospect, about to have our first child at 26, I was feeling dejected. I started questioning myself and my entire plan. Was I right to step out of my comfort zone? Was I being selfish? Perhaps I should renew my license and go back to legal practice despite lacking the passion.
For almost 2 years I didn’t have a formal job, but we had enough to fund our small family, thanks to my husband and my informal income. Then, when my daughter was 6 months old, I was offered a job at one of the top legal 500 Asia Pacific firms in Malaysia. Not as a lawyer, but as a Business Development executive. But geez, I just couldn’t stay away from legal huh? Anyway, I was tasked to assist the partners in the firm with research, then connect potential clients with suitable partners upon consultation on their cases. And with some experiences I gained during my stint in event management, I applied the same to assist my immediate boss/partner for her marketing activities and trips. During this short span of working period, I was really contented. In fact, the highlight of my job was knowing she was happy with my work and offered me to be her personal assistant to attend a legal conference in Japan. Apparently, it caused quite a stir among other executives and secretaries (not to toot my own horn, but it was unheard of for an executive to travel abroad in the company it seems. But sadly, I didn’t get a chance to do so. Why? Read on).
I was 3 months into my work and was about to be confirmed when I got a call that would change the course of my professional life. Yeap, it was from MyCEB! But believe it or not, I almost turned it down! When I received the call, I was told that my resume was passed over by someone to human resource.
And having no clue about the industry, I was not aware of the company’s significance in the Business Events Industries’ perspective. And with a position called Sales Executive, I wasn’t too keen in doing sales (little did I know that Sales had a VERY different meaning here). However, after having considered my options, I decided, why not? And the rest, as they say, was history.
Well, not exactly history per se. I ended up taking the offer, and fast forward to 7+ years on, I have remained faithful with MyCEB! Honestly, I grew a lot with the company, from having no knowledge to gaining so much from all the wonderful and knowledgeable past and present “compatriots” through our efforts in serving the country, be it directly or indirectly. I was also fortunate to have been given various professional and personal opportunities, and a platform to thrive and advance my career in the Business Events Industry. And all these experiences have been nothing but invaluable to me. And despite what I have been through, the industry still has so many hidden gems. In fact, everyday, I still surprise myself by finding something new to learn about the business events industry and beyond.
So, is it possible to transition to another profession without any prior or related knowledge and doing it successfully? Well, I wouldn’t say I’m successful, not yet at least, but it is possible. However, I believe that the path less travelled that I took, the experiences I went through leading up to this, have immensely affected the way I view things in life and at professional level, and helped to create the person who I am today. In truth, it takes a whole lot of patience to evolve and mature. Despite going through all the good, the bad and the ugly, I still managed to persevere and stand on my own two feet. Sometimes people do ask and wonder, if given the chance, would I change anything in the past? No. And I don’t even regret it one bit.