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Loathe the 9-to-5? Here are 5 Singaporeans With Uncommon Jobs to be Inspired by

If you’re looking for a job beyond the conventional office-based ones, perhaps the professions of these Singaporeans will broaden your perspective.

Did you know that the average person will spend approximately 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime? The important takeaway here? Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you may not be happy or passionate about.

In visualising work or jobs, most people will think of the straight and narrow path of a pigeonholed work cubicle. However, the 9-to-5 life is certainly not for everyone. If you belong to this category, fret not – there are many jobs beyond the typical office setting that you can gun for.

Workipedia by MyCareersFuture speaks to five Singaporeans with jobs that may just inspire you to widen your career perspective.

Looking for a change? MyCareersFuture’s search tool allows you to filter mid-career jobs for individuals open to reskilling or changing careers. Search jobs now.

Jillian Lim, Radio DJ at SPH Radio

If you’re a listener of Kiss92 FM, her voice accompanies you to work in your daily morning commute. She sets your mood right to face the day ahead with cool tunes and light-hearted banter, and even fills you in on the latest news bits that you may have missed. 

Listening to how comfortable Jill is on the radio, no one would think that she became a radio DJ by chance. 

“Years ago, they were putting together a brand-new radio team and my sister was part of it. However, my sister left to pursue further studies and I ended up being her replacement!” said Jill.

Now, if you think that a radio DJ’s job requires you to be a natural extrovert, know this: Jill is actually a shy introvert. Despite her many years on the airwaves, she is still in love with her job.

Jill’s on-air personality does not necessarily reflect her real one. (Image credit: KISS92FM)

“I’m not confident in meeting new people and making small talk. However, I love talking to and hearing from listeners when I’m in the studio. It’s especially lovely when a listener remembers something I said, even if it was just a silly joke.”

While a radio DJ’s job may seem glamorous, Jill admits there is more to the job than just idle chit-chatting and playing the latest tunes.

“We have to understand what people generally go through in their daily lives and match our content to that. For example, in the mornings, we serve them news headlines that they have not caught up with yet, and in the evenings it will be more entertainment based. It isn’t as simple as just talking.”

A good radio DJ curates content accordingly to the time of day.

For the naysayers who are saying that radio is a dying medium, here’s what Jill has to say:

“The radio is your friend on lonely nights. It entertains you when you’re driving. Even with social media, the radio is more credible in providing you with the latest news. A dying medium? That could not be further from the truth.”

Explore more careers in media and entertainment here!

Indah Aliyah, Zookeeper at Mandai Wildlife Group

If you prefer a job on the “wild side”, then perhaps being a zookeeper will be up your alley. For Indah Aliyah, working with animals has always been something she wanted to do even as a child. 

Although her educational background is in media and has worked in the industry for some time, the call of the wild proved too hard to ignore.

“I was looking to do something that isn’t in the film and media industry and tried my when I applied to be a part-time junior keeper. It has always been a childhood dream of mine to be a zookeeper!”

Nosy colleagues peeking into your cubicle? Not an issue for Indah. (Image credit: Mandai Wildlife Group)

Everyone knows that zookeepers tend to the animals at the zoo, but what exactly does the job entail?

“Zookeepers are in charge of caring for the animals at the zoo. We keep them fed and hydrated and also look after their health with basic veterinary care. We must also ensure that the animal’s exhibits and back of house living areas are kept clean.”

“Sometimes, we may be put to be in charge of a particular species, or a sub-group of animals such as reptiles and amphibians, or the animal population of a specific facility,” she adds.

Coming close to three years of being a zookeeper, Indah’s passion for working with animals has not waned one bit as she finds her job to be quite special.

“Being in a job that allows one to handle wild animals is not something that everybody gets to do. However, don’t assume this job is all about feeding and playing with the animals. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty.”

This is not kangkong but vegetation to feed the herbivores. (Image credit: Mandai Wildlife Group)

Indah further adds that being a zookeeper is certainly no walk in the park.

“If you want to be a good zookeeper, you must constantly upskill yourself on the latest training techniques and be in the know of the latest conservation news and animal behavioural studies.”

Are you a wildlife lover? Apply for jobs and join Indah now!

Isshani Devaraj, Audiologist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Looking at the word ‘audiologist’ what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Musician? Something to do with sound technology? If the latter is what you’re thinking, you’re half right! But for a better definition, we’ll let Isshani, explain it herself.

“An Audiologist is a health professional who aids in the diagnosis, assessment and management of hearing and balance disorders in individuals of all ages from infants to adults to the elderly. In a clinical setting, audiologists perform specialised assessments to test one’s hearing or balance disorders.” 

An audiologist helping her patient put on a hearing aid. (Image credit: iStockphoto)

“The appropriate recommendations would be made based on these assessments. Some of these rehabilitative recommendations are the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices,” she adds.

From what we’re hearing (pun intended) from Isshani, being an audiologist seems like a pretty cool job! So how did she find herself in such a role?

“After completing my undergraduate degree in Life Sciences, I signed up for the Audiology masters programme at the National University of Singapore.” 

“I got the opportunity to shadow an audiologist and witnessed first-hand, how the audiologist improves the quality of life of patients. This inspired me to embark on this career as I felt it would be meaningful and fulfilling,” she adds.

Read More: Business Heroes: This Singaporean Helps Families Better Access Caregiving Services for Ageing Loved Ones

Having said this, Isshani also wants to clarify a common misconception about the patients that she attends to in her daily work.

“People tend to assume that audiologists only work with the elderly. However, hearing loss can afflict people of all ages and can occur at any stage in life. As a paediatric audiologist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, I work solely with patients under the age of 18.”

Hearing loss does not affect only the elderly.

“Working with children is a unique and heartwarming experience. Hearing loss can affect one’s quality of life, and I play a crucial role in helping my patients manage their conditions. It is incredibly gratifying to witness them grow and develop the skills and strength required to live with their condition,” she added.

Explore other careers in the healthcare sector today!

Taufiq Hussein Zalizan, Journalist at Mediacorp

Your career choice does not have to be limited to what you studied in school. If you have a passion for something, that might be the determining factor of your career path. At least that was how Taufiq became a journalist.

“I graduated from business school with a specialisation in marketing and one of the jobs I applied for was at Mediacorp Malay News. Honestly, I applied for it because of my passion for the Malay language and the Malay community, rather than in interest in journalism per se.”

So, what’s the job like?

“A journalist tells the stories that matter to readers or pique their interest. Telling these stories entails gathering and checking facts, speaking to people who are involved first-hand and occasionally getting experts for their value-added views and so forth.”

All in a day’s work: Taufiq Interviewing President Halimah Yacob. (Image credit: Taufiq Hussein Zalizan)

“All information gathered will be conveyed in a manner that is as accessible to as many people as possible, and as objectively as possible,” he added.

Sounds like a lot of work. The question is, does Taufiq still love his job almost a decade later?

“After some years in Malay news, I’m currently a journalist at Today. Yes, I love that I get to keep readers informed on the latest happenings. I particularly enjoy breaking down complex subject matters such as national policies and political developments for the layman to understand.”

Trusty side-kicks: Taufiq with his cameraman and soundman. (Image credit: Taufiq Hussein Zalizan)

“I would also like to say that being a journalist is more than just parroting news. There’s more to it such as having to do fact-searching, question newsmakers, and putting all that into context for the readers.”

Ken Ng, Arborist at Mandai Wildlife Group

If you care about the environment and have green fingers perhaps you should consider becoming an arborist. No, it’s not a fancy word for a gardener as the job requires you to be a doctor to the plants rather than just growing them!

Ken shares: “An arborist cares for trees. We are trained to assess the health condition of trees, taking into consideration their structural and physiological well-being. The arborist will then formulate targeted tree care programmes through inspection, diagnosis, and prescribing intervention to promote their health and longevity.”

Ken inspects a tree to assess its health.  (Image credit: Mandai Wildlife Group)

He elaborates that his job is by no means a trivial one. According to Ken, the whole process of planting trees should not be done without prior consultation with an arborist for safety and long-term benefits.

“When tree works are required—be it the selection of the suitable tree species for planting, or the assessment of trees—the engagement of a certified arborist should not be viewed as a ‘good-to-have’ option, but a necessity.” 

“An experienced arborist provides recommendations and tree care regime that will mitigate safety risks and extend the lifespan of trees, and in the long run, adds value to the quality of life and property,” he adds.

Read More: Breaking New Grounds: Singapore’s Very Own Captain Planets

Ken is serious about his job as he is passionate about it. In fact, being an arborist is a role that he has prepared himself for from the start.

“As a horticulturally-trained professional, I find most fulfilment working with trees. This is why I choose to deepen my experience and my arboriculture skills, by becoming an arborist.”

Ken blends in with the green background. (Image credit: Mandai Wildlife Group)

“Being able to do my part to save the environment is rewarding. My job empowers me to bring awareness about the importance of environmental and biodiversity conservation, which I strongly resonate with,” he adds.

Work doesn’t have to be cookie-cutter

Who says you need a cookie-cutter type of job to be successful in life? Money aside, working in a job that you enjoy and have passion for will go a long way to achieving career satisfaction. 

If you need professional advice on landing your first job or making a mid-career switch, register here to speak to a career coach!

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