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What should I do? Change or not change?
Question :

Dear Alison (Career Doctor),

I am 29. I got a computing degree from an Australian University. I have been working as an admin and also had my online business with my friend for three years in Australia.

I came back to HK in early 2008. I didn't mind to start from trainee/junior position at that time, as i knew i did not have any valuable work experiences. So i have worked as an assistant merchandiser (sundries) for two years. Yesterday, i quit this job. First reason - no one teach/guide you if u go wrong; Second - cannot see any future as i believe people in mainland China will replace us someday; Third - too much OT (almost leave after 9pm per day); Fourth - no respect; Fifth - need to travel mainland China (when required). Due to these reasons, i finally decided to quit and hope to have a career change.

Now, i am getting worry. Honestly, even i am 29, I am still not sure which field i should go to (or i am able to get into). i know i don't like computing/finance/accounting field, as i don't like maths/programming. I also don't want to be a salesperson, as i am not an outgoing person. I don't like writing essay, as i know i am not strong in language.

So what do i like!?
- I like business (want to know how to run a business)
- I like warehouse (pick goods from warehouse and pass it to people in shortest time but without any mistake)
- I like searching information via internet

Moreover, i am a detail-minded/responsible/organized/sensitive/patient/honest/stable person. If the boss and colleagues are good and the job can have a good career path in the future, i don't mind to keep staying in the same company (even more than 10 yrs).

Okay, back to my question, i still have no idea which field/what position i should focus. I have searched for below jobs in recruitment advertisement. Do you think i am suitable for these jobs? If not, may i have any suggestion from you?
- demand planner
- buyer
- marketing assistant
- brand assistant

I know i am old and useless. And therefore it would be much appreciated if I can have your advice. Thank you!



Posted by Mochi on Friday, 20 Aug 2010

Comments :


Posted Sunday 14th November 2010 11:56:00 PM


You sound a bit lost and confused. Do some self-reflection. What makes you happy? Where do you want to be five or 10 years from now? If you know the answers to these questions, then you'll know what to do career-wise.


Posted Sunday 19th September 2010 09:26:00 AM


Dear Alison, Thank you for your advice! I really appreciate you gave me a direct answer. I always believe that i will gradually enhance myself while work. So I always tell myself to keep working in the same company for at least 5 years or more, unless i can't learn anything from the company/the company closes down. However, even i got 2 years experience in merchandising field, i don't see any improvement that i can gain from my previous company (maybe i have improved, but only a little). I agreed that no one will hold your hand to teach/guide you, but the senior should tell you the basic knowledge when you start your job in the first day (as they knew you have no relevant experience). Other seniors in my previous company did taught their juniors, but sorry, not mine. I knew that she didn't want to teach me even I put my hand up, as this can be tell from her face and her answer. Anyway, i still kept asking her if i had problems, and on the other hand, I seeked help from my friends/colleagues and tried to find some info on the internet. I found that the colleagues who joined this company at the same time as me have learnt more knowledge than me. And for those new colleagues who just entered this company about 1-2 weeks, they have learnt something that i don't know even i have been there for 2 years. And there are lots of things that caused me to leave this company (all problems came from my senior and few colleagues)........... While I am looking for a job, I am asking myself what my strength/weapon is. But I can't find any (maybe i don't know), except my personality. This is why i start getting worry. Apart from my English, i don't know how to sharpen myself. I knew that marketer need to have excellent writing and communication skills. Nonetheless, i am not a talkative and creative person. I am not good at writing due to my poor english. My friend who worked in marketing field said that i am not suitable to be a marketer due to my writing skills and personality. What do you think? Frankly, i am also worry that i cannot do well in the marketing field. I really want to find a career that suit me. I don't mind to keep studying to achieve something (promotion/higher salary) in the future. But i really don't know which career i should go further. I always think that i must select a right career this time as i will reach 30 soon. There is no time for me to change career or switch to another company (quite jumpy if not staying over 3-4 years) again. I have followed your opinion to search the course, but i don't know which course i should take, supply chain or marketing? certificate, diploma or bachelor? (i don't have much saving, i am just enough to pay for one course) Recently, i met my friends. We have discussed about our current job. Their jobs seem have better prospect in long term as long as they keep studying (postgraduate/other professional certificates that related to their jobs) and hard working. They worked as a logistic manager, financial planner, network engineer (3 yrs 20K), marketing executive (2yrs 13-16K), Sommelier. They knew what they like to work in and knew their career path . But look back to merchandiser, what course should i take? Will the course bring me to another stage? My last salary is 10K (2yrs). It seems to me that no matter what course i take or how hard i work, my salary will be still lower than other field in the future. Well, i understand the salary is not an important issue at the moment, as it will increase in senior level. The big concern is the job prospect! It seems too narrow in merchandising (hard to move to another company unless you have experiences in same/similar products). If being a marketer, you can choose to work in brand management/event management/product marketing in the future if you have enough marketing experiences. In regard to my online business, the profit was not stable and we all know there was no other way to earn more. Therefore, we closed down our business. Sincerely, Mochi

Career Doctor

Posted Wednesday 1st September 2010 03:34:00 AM


I’ve got to tell you, after reading your post I kept asking myself shall I be honest and straight forward when you're now feeling so down and hopeless. But then you're asking for my advice so sincerely and seemingly in need of it quite desperately, I’m sure you’d appreciate a direct and practical answer. This is not a disclaimer, it’s just to give you a heads up, as I’m pretty sure you'll find what I’m about to write hard to swallow. However, even if it sounds a bit harsh, in my heart of hearts, it is said with your best interests in mind, OK? The reasons you gave for leaving your job, I’m sorry to say aren’t unique. No longer a fresh graduate and as a joint owner of an online business, you are in a position to know better – that no one is going to hold you hand, to teach or guide you. By asking questions, paying attention, through trial and error, learning from the mistakes you have made and avoid repeating them is how you will learn and grow. Be persistent and in time, you'll gradually improve, enhance yourself and excel. Is it impossible? I can tell you, it is completely possible as that's how I have made it to where I am now. Can't see a future? You're worrying too early, you are still young at 29 and there are many options available to you. Try not to focus on the one negative viewpoint. If you think that in your role as a merchandiser, you will be replaced by someone from the mainland, think of what differentiates you and what attributes you have which make you irreplaceable or at least difficult to replace. So, where does your value lie and how can you work on it? Regarding the OT issue, it's a norm these days in whatever capacity / industry you're in. For example those who you might think have a routine job like bank tellers, where banking hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, do you think they can leave shortly afterwards? The truth is that they have to arrive at 8:00 am to change and prepare, and only when the branch closes at 5:00 pm that they can really concentrate on all the paperwork and admin duties. Should there be any discrepancies, no one can leave until everything has been sorted and straightened out. Things aren't always the way we think they are or think should be. No respect? What kind of respect do you expect to receive? Of course in a workplace, a certain level of respect must be shown to your colleagues but above and beyond that is something which needs to be earned. Is this more reflective that things weren’t going so well with your boss and colleagues? Travelling to China is part of the job, and you should have known about this from day one, so why complain now? Moving on to what you’ve listed as what you like to do, they simply can’t make you a living just based on that. Running a business without a focus is purely without direction and not destined to be a profitable venture unless through pure luck. You like warehousing? Many people can fulfil the criteria as long as they are responsible and careful but you could explore focusing on a career in the logistics field or the supply chain management aspect of merchandising. With regards to searching information on the Internet, what type of information are you referring to? Being resourceful with these research skills and the ability to navigate the World Wide Web is part and parcel in today’s commercial workplace. Your personal attributes are attractive qualities however they are not exactly a specific skill set related to the jobs which you have expressed interest in. You need to find the qualities which those jobs are calling for – in terms of education, experience and attributes to fulfil the role. Now that you have quit your job, there are no excuses for a lack of time in seriously weighing up your next career move. For example if you really want to get into marketing, besides applying for junior entry level roles, in the meantime, you can also take a short marketing course to explore whether this is something which really interests you. It can also show prospective employers your commitment to moving into this field and give you the required smarts to get your foot in the door. Another question that comes to my mind, what happened to your online business? Why don’t you continue with that since you like running one?