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Jobseekers’ Diaries: I went from business owner to mover, but I’m finally back doing what I love

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, Mr Brendan Goh, 43, describes the ups and downs as he went from being a business owner to a mover after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: I went from business owner to mover, but I’m finally back doing what I love

The writer (pictured) went from being a business owner to a mover after the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy.

Brendan Goh Hwee Siong

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, Mr Brendan Goh, 43, describes the ups and downs as he went from being a business owner to a mover after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy. After nearly eight months on the hunt for a full-time job, he became a business development manager at a garment services firm and later a recruitment company.

With a broken heart, I closed my business in Vietnam in March last year.

The Covid-19 pandemic badly affected my business of providing manpower to international factories. I started the business from scratch in 2018. 

I was devastated, but I knew that I had to move on.

Unable to find a suitable job in Vietnam, I made the difficult decision of returning to Singapore in April last year to look for other business and work opportunities.

Having worked in China and Vietnam for more than seven years, I had to start afresh back home.

Anxious to find a job to pay my rent, I fired off more than 1,000 job applications between April and December last year for a range of jobs, mostly related to business development across industries such as human resources, outsourcing services and industrial sales.

But I knew that my goal was to return to the HR industry, which was my forte.

In May last year, I secured an ad-hoc job as a mover that paid me S$10 an hour. 

I also took up other contract jobs along the way, such as being a driver for an e-commerce platform, where I worked 12-hour shifts six days a week. 

The work was strenuous. Sometimes, I wondered how I ended up in this state, having been a business owner a year before.

Between work stints and in my spare time, I looked for full-time jobs through job portals.

It was then that I met a fellow mover who told me about government agency Workforce Singapore’s Careers Connect initiative and how it can help with my job search.

I thought: “Why not?”

In late June last year, a career ambassador advised me to update my resume and I did so immediately.

I was later matched with career coach Tony, who told me about various job openings. 

He was a patient confidant and encouraged me during our conversations.

After nearly eight months on the job hunt, I found a full-time role in December last year as a business development manager at managed garment services firm Alsco. 

My team-mates were empathetic and understanding, and did all they could to ease me into the role.

In February, I scored a major breakthrough in my job search when I received a call from recruitment agency EPS Consultants. 

They found my resume on a job portal and invited me to an interview. I was beyond thrilled when they offered me a full-time role as a business development manager.

To my pleasant surprise, my manager at Alsco gave me her blessings and encouraged me to take up the offer, which I did last month. 

Words cannot express my gratitude for the people whom I have met along this arduous journey. 

I have always told myself that the onus is on me to take the next step. It has been a long journey, but I am glad to finally be back doing what I enjoy.

ABOUT THE WRITER: 

Mr Brendan Goh Hwee Siong, 43, ran an HR consultancy business in Vietnam. After the pandemic ravaged his business, he returned to Singapore in April 2020. He joined recruitment firm EPS Consultants as a business development manager a year later. Mr Goh has a banking and finance degree from SIM University.

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.

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Jobseekers' Diaries Jobs human resources business

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