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Jobseekers’ Diaries: Health issue ruled out my dream chemistry job. So I pushed on, ventured into HR

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, medicinal chemistry diploma holder Ellappan Gayatridevi, 20, describes her disappointment after an allergy to certain chemicals dashed her hopes of a career in the field and how she charted a different path despite the pandemic.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: Health issue ruled out my dream chemistry job. So I pushed on, ventured into HR

The writer (pictured) wanted to build a career in chemistry. But an allergic reaction to chemicals meant this was out of the question and she had to chart a different path.

Ellappan Gayatridevi

As jobs are a top concern for Singaporeans in the Covid-19 crisis, TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts from jobseekers in which they reflect on their experiences and what keeps them going.

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, medicinal chemistry diploma holder Ellappan Gayatridevi, 20, describes her disappointment after an allergy to certain chemicals dashed her hopes of a career in the field and how she charted a different path despite the pandemic. 

During my secondary school days, I excelled in chemistry. That prompted me to pursue a diploma in medicinal chemistry at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Little did I know that this love of chemistry would become my biggest hindrance.

I realised that I suffered from an allergic reaction — nose blocks — after being exposed to certain chemicals during my laboratory work in polytechnic.  

Given my health concerns, I was disappointed that I could not pursue what I thought would be my dream career.

But I pushed on to complete my diploma course and decided to look for an administrative-related job upon graduating in March last year.

As an organised and detail-oriented person, I enjoy process-based tasks. 

After researching jobs online, it struck me that a human-resources-related role would allow me to use my strengths.

The Covid-19 pandemic made my job search difficult as there were fewer full-time positions available. 

Three months into my search, I was anxious and demoralised. My job hunt was leading nowhere. 

Doubts if I could get a job clouded me.

I used various job portals, including MyCareersFuture, and sent in more than 30 applications across industries including maritime, information technology and social services.

In June last year, I learnt about the SGUnited Traineeships Programme and decided to give it a go, as I felt it would allow me to acquire new skills and gain industry experience.

I meditated to stay calm and think positive during that tough period. 

It helped that my family, who were my biggest cheerleaders, never failed to provide me with emotional support.

I was glad to be invited to two interviews, one in the insurance industry and the other, for an HR traineeship with port operator PSA Corporation.

I was beyond elated. 

The role at PSA was interesting as the portfolio included opportunities to explore automated work processes using robotic process automation and to analyse HR data and trends. 

I accepted the offer and joined the company in September last year.

The traineeship was wonderful, and I liked the work and company culture. 

My colleagues were forthcoming in guiding me whenever I faced issues, even though we were mostly working from home.

I was over the moon when my supervisors offered me a conversion to a permanent role in April. 

It was an affirmation of my performance and that I was ready to take on more responsibilities. 

Now, I am also part of a team that helps to look after facilities management and guide staff on the use of a new digital business platform for procurement-related tasks.

I came across this quote that has kept me going: “Don’t quit yet, the worst moments are usually followed by the most beautiful silver linings. You have to stay strong, remember to keep your head up and remain hopeful.”

I hope that fellow graduates can be resilient during their job search. 

Success will taste much sweeter after you get through the hard times. They will also make you stronger.

ABOUT THE WRITER: 

Ms Ellappan Gayatridevi, 20, graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in medicinal chemistry but had to take a different career path for health reasons. That led her to an HR traineeship with PSA Corporation in September 2020. She became a full-time employee in April 2021. 

If you are a jobseeker with an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

Jobseekers' Diaries chemistry human resources PSA Corporation SGUnited Traineeships Programme

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