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As students, many of us had these grand visions of what we would do and who we would be when we were older. We sat restlessly in our lecture halls and classrooms, yearning to be done with school and for our lives to finally begin–to get a job, to make money, to have the life that we wanted.

And then we graduated and we realized the real world–the working world–was a lot harsher than it seemed.

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Working in Singapore definitely has its downsides, and the sooner you wise up to them, the better you are for it! Here are 5 harsh realities of working in Singapore you may not want to hear, but should definitely take note of!

1. There Is No “Perfect” Job 

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as a “perfect” job. The factors behind a perfect job have been uttered, memorised and taken to heart by many before us. Good pay, strictly 8 – 5, personally meaningful and no stress. The truth is, more often than not, people don’t land their dream jobs, and even then, every job has its own set of challenges.

Our tip? Get a job in the industry you love! It may not necessarily be the perfect job or even the exact role you’ve been eyeing but it’ll get your foot through the door, and that’s what counts! Plus, it’ll get you experience in the field you’re keen to get into!

2. Paper Qualifications Don’t Guarantee You A Top Notch Paying Job 

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Gone are the days when a Bachelor’s Degree would guarantee a great paying job in the field of your choosing. While paper qualifications are by no means worthless, hiring managers are more likely to look at your experience and soft skills than the fact that you only got a ‘B-‘ in your second semester.

The “graduate’s pay” you were promised before you stepped out of school is not exactly accurate. The likelihood is you’re going to have to take a pay-cut before you even start your first job!

Our tip? Get experience before you even step out of school. Internships, career fairs and part time jobs will allow you to establish networks even before graduating. Talk to people who have been in the industry for a couple of years. They will tell you the career progression and what’s a decent pay grade to start with!

3. Technology = Working 24/7 

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Technology is a double-edged sword, especially in the work place. With the increase in usage of Whatsapp, email notifications on smartphones, and work group chats, your bosses might find that there really is no reason work can’t be done once you clock out.

If your job has demanding hours or your boss and colleagues are workaholics, it can be difficult to completely stop responding to emails and messages once you leave the office.

Our tip? Play it by ear. Your colleagues are just like you. They NEED a few hours to completely relax, so watch how they “side step” and “siam” office issues after the clock strikes 5. If it really bothers you, speak to your colleagues and your boss about what can be done to ensure work doesn’t eat (too much) into life.

4. Office Politics Is Inevitable, But Don’t Get Sucked Into It 

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Remember how project work in university used to be the bane of your existence, because it truly brings out the worst traits in people? Who knew project work would actually be the perfect example of how working as a team in the office would be?

You might be stuck with a slacker, a control freak or even a no-show. While it used to be deadlines and grades on the line, what’s at stake now is your job. You’ll meet your fair share of bootlickers and saikang warriors. When promotion period comes around, don’t be surprised when other people’s attitudes make a 180. Scary? YES.

Our tip? Stay above the office gossip which can be so enticing but toxic once you get into it. If your office is prone to bootlickers and the people around you are toxic to work with, it may be best for you to look for a job with a better work culture.

5. Staying Stagnant = Redundancy 

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We all know by now that technology is constantly evolving and that tech giants are constantly coming up with new ways to leverage technology to better our way of life. While this means our lives become a whole lot easier (when was the last time you opened a physical map?) it has also rendered a whole lot of jobs redundant.

While we can sit and wait to become victim to job redundancy and the volatile job market, the better (and more proactive) option would be to look out for opportunities to upgrade your job skills. Upgrading your skills would lead you to better job opportunities, pay raises and even job promotions.

Our tip? Look out for opportunities to upgrade your skills like SkillsFuture, where you can pay using SkillFuture credits, so it doesn’t leave a huge hole in your pocket. Also, Career fairs by e2i will have you meeting employers and other job seekers, so you can have a more accurate picture of the current job market.

Todo Todo Skills Marketplace 

Image credit: NTUC U Portal

We can all agree that finding the right job can be tough and climbing the ranks can be even tougher. Many of us millennials have either only been though internships or have just clinched our very first full time job, and are navigating the unfamiliar waters of the working world.

Todo Todo Skills Marketplace, an NTUC & PA collaboration, brings together a one stop access to all that we need – career profiling tools, mentorship, industry minds, HR leaders and job opportunities. Every burning question you’ve had about job prospects and what to expect from the field can be answered at this 2-day career fair.

From networking sessions to talks on how to establish a startup, the Todo Todo Skills Marketplace is the perfect place to pick up advice and tips on landing your dream job or clinching that job promotion you’ve been eyeing.

If you’re a fresh grad looking for a job opportunity or a working millennial, head down to Todo Todo Skills Marketplace! After all, you can never get too much help getting ahead in this competitive job market!

For more information, head to or download the handy app on Apple or on Android. With its stylish, user-friendly interface, with everything you need all in one place, it’s the perfect tool to stay ahead of the game!

Todo Todo Skills Marketplace
Address: Our Tampines Hub
Date: 30 April – 1 May
Time: 9am – 8pm

Also read, These 8 Soundbites Will Have You Rethinking About The ‘Future Of Jobs’ In Singapore