What I learnt in school and how I apply it to work

By Juliet Soh
I read Political Science in university. While most of my friends went on to soar in their careers as civil servants, where they meet with foreign delegates and make policies, I chose to be in the media industry - where I've always imagined myself to be in.

I toiled as a writer for lifestyle magazines for most of my work life, and realise that I don't need to understand international relations and diplomacy (my specialisation) in my article about the latest mascara that lengthens your lashes by 13 times.

Even as I have to proofread articles or craft contracts as the manager of the Content Department in JobsCentral, it appears that I could apply nothing from my degree to my work. Oh, except the hours spent photocopying reading materials at the NUS Central Library. I am now an accomplished photocopier (can it be referred to as a person who photocopies?), which is super useful at work - in any company.

But that's not to say I haven't taken away anything from my years of education. Here's what I've learnt and kept:

Take up a CCA

Taking up a hobby outside of school (now, work) keeps you sane. The friends that I've made in my co-curricular activity (CCA) also became a very strong support group for me when things go terribly wrong.

Now that I'm working, I knock off at reasonable hours and go on to pursue other interests. Besides playing the digital keyboard and taking strolls along the beach, I spend most of my time managing a beauty blog (I just can't get away from writing, can I?) and have derived a lot of fun from it. A few of the beauty bloggers that I've met at events have also become good friends that I could confide in.

It's all in the mind

Remember the 2.4km run that we all dread? I used to motivate myself by counting down the number of rounds left. Or rewarding myself with an ice-cream if I run within a certain time.

Apply that to work! Now, I try to plan out, work towards, and count down to deadlines. Promise myself a sushi treat after the major project is over. That way, I find myself managing stress and deadlines better, and more able to persist through crunch periods.

Be happy

"Happiness is a virtue. Be a virtuous person."

These are the words of my Chinese teacher for me before I graduated from secondary school.

And it all makes sense. Happiness isn't "earned" because of a high-paying job, or fun colleagues. It is value that is practised and eventually mastered. When I find joy in all that I do, I realise work no longer feels like a chore, and I learnt to love myself more.

Juliet heads the Content team in JobsCentral. If you're curious if she talks about politics and lipsticks at the same time, check out her blog here.