Career Guide


The dots of life

Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

I remember listening to this many years ago wondering if it would ever make sense to me professionally and personally.

I am going to share another quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” How I have always interpreted this statement is that opportunities are always around you but you have to be ready to seize them.


Opportunities = monetary gains?

For me, opportunities do not always equate with monetary gains but more of learning opportunities. I have to say though that these learning opportunities had led me to exactly where I am today.

Let me share my professional career so far. I started my career in a public relations (PR) agency because it was then a fairly new industry that allowed me to hone my writing skills.

My other career option was in advertising where the money was better (I believe it still is) but I did not want to pigeon-hole into being an account executive or copywriter. Public relations allowed me to run the gamut from account servicing, writing, planning to execution.

On a part-time basis, I was reading the news on television and radio. The money was not fantastic but I was not going after that. Instead, I was hungry for experience and exposure.

During that period, I also took up offers to be master of ceremonies for functions to overcome my fear of speaking in public. I also did voice-overs for advertisements and documentaries, lectured, did story-telling for children, conducted training programmes and who knows how else I had purposely placed myself in uncomfortable situations. I felt the fear but did it anyway.

Around the same time, I was offered jobs which promised me a lot more money than the PR agency but felt I was not ready, nor did I have the necessary skills.


Keep learning

As much as we want to move up the career ladder quickly, do not be in a hurry if you are not ready. Your skills, or the lack of it, will eventually catch up with you.

In the meantime, I went for courses on personal development from neuro linguistic programming to being a certified coach, not knowing if it would ever lead to anything.

These were investments from my own pocket money because I wanted to learn new skills. To this day, I still read a lot, knowing I do not know what I do not know. And my, there is a lot I do not know!


Putting together the pieces of the puzzle

About five years ago, I received a phone call to join a radio station. Unproven, this was a business radio station which unconventionally wanted to move away from the usual music format into talk radio.

It brought all my skills together, and having worked in the corporate world and broadcasting, it suddenly made sense to me.

Completing almost a full circle from public relations, broadcasting and now the media, I finally see the dots connecting.

Now this may appear like everything is so straightforward. Well, this was not the case at all. Mind you, this journey has taken over 20 years with a lot of divine intervention. Along the way, there have been many ups and downs.

Even with my current job, it involved a substantial pay cut. However, I am still learning new skills. The opportunities I have had since? Connections with so many people in Malaysia and around the world. And of course, the liberty to write my book and more books down the road. New dots connecting? I am open!


n Freda Liu is a producer and presenter with an independent business radio station in Malaysia. She is also a certified trainer and coach. You can find her on Twitter @voiceguru. To send feedback to Freda on her article, email editor@leaderonomics.com

add