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Success Stories

Job Hunting Briefcase

Success Stories

Ms Chan's Story

      I was all along working in a tuck shop in a school. The salary was low, but it was fine as long as life was stable. I was not keen on making a fortune anyway. It never occurred to me that the proprietorship of the tuck shop would be transferred and I would lose my job. I had never been engaged in any other field, and I didn't know how to cope with the change. Mrs LAM, my neighbour next door, said to me that the domestic helper work seemed to be a possible option. At that time, I was confident in household cleaning but a bit stumped by other duties like ironing, cooking and childminding. I knew that I needed retraining to upgrade my skills if I was to find a job. So, I took the retraining course for domestic helpers to learn how to handle household chores.

      Just like any other job-seekers, I had to face keen competition after the course. None of my jobs lasted long, and I felt helpless. I felt like a dummy in such a big world and I was totally at a loss. I was scared and the sky seemed to be falling down. I became fidgety and edgy. I lost my temper even over very trivial things. My friends said that it was not the way I had been. While I was in a state of depression, I recalled there is a saying which was particularly enlightening: "You can't change the weather, but you can change your mood." it means that we should not panic in face of difficulty and we should deal with it calmly. Only then would we be able to make the best of our talents." After attending a number of interviews, I finally got a suitable job. It gave me a salary and relieved the pressure of pecuniary needs.

      I knew that I was not competitive, so I was not picky about jobs. I was not good at cooking and I knew that it wouldn't help if I didn't face up to the problem, so I consulted my neightbours on cooking and tried to find a job which involved cooking. I also understood that suitable vacancies might not be available in my district, so I was willing to work in other districts or work longer hours. Now I have taken up several domestic helper part-time jobs and I can make a living. In face of difficulties, it is better to keep calm and sort out the problem than to allow oneself to be swayed by emotions. I am not well educated, but since I have experience in job seeking, many of my friends have come to me for advice on how to get out from unemployment. My advice to them is to calm down and think, consult the experts, and acquaint themselves with the employment market. There is no secret key to success. I am an ordinary person like you. I can do it, and I believe that you can do it too.

There must be a way out. Let's strive together!

" You cannot change the weather, but you can change your mood.
You cannot control others, but you are the master of yourself.
You cannot win in every game, but you can try your best."

Ling-ling's Big Ball

      "I am a university graduate. Why is it so difficult for me to find a job?" I repeatedly asked myself this question. I could not find an answer, and felt so gloomy and helpless. After all, I am an intellectual. As Hong Kong employers hadn't attached importance to my educational background, I decided to lower my requirements and applied for posts of lower rank. However, it was of no use, and I still could not find a job. At that time, not only was I at a loss, but I also started to question my own ability and my own value.

      During this period of unemployment, one day, while I was strolling in the park, I saw a little boy of about one year old playing with his mother. While toddling toward a big ball, he tripped and fell down and burst into tears. When I was about to give him a helping hand, his mother ordered, "Get up! Don't cry! Tears won't help you learn to walk!" The little boy hesitated for a while, then got up and started for the big ball with great efforts again. My first response was to disapprove of his mother's mercilessness. However, I saw the little boy succeeded finally! He had reached the ball and was looking at the booty in satisfaction. For a moment, I was taken aback. Suddenly, I realized that the teaching of this tough mother could also be applied to me. If I fell down and did not get up, I would never succeed. Therefore, I was determined to learn to open myself and keep optimistic, set my goal and start for my "big ball".

      During the entire journey of job-hunting, I was not fighting alone. My family and friends gave me great support and encouragement. Pouring out my troubles and worries to them was the best way to relieve my feelings. After being comforted by them, I understood how much the external environment could affect us; I understood that unemployment did not mean that I was incompetent.

      Despite numerous difficulties, I persisted in my efforts to find a job. With the help of the placement officer of the Labour Department, I affirmed my own ability and academic qualifications again and tried for posts of higher rank. My past failures to get a job were probably caused by the fact that my qualifications were too high. Apart from adjusting the job-hunting strategies, I also started to upgrade my English in order to better equip myself and enhance my competitiveness. Through reading English newspapers and watching the English news on television, I succeeded in improving my English.

      After numerous interviews, I still could not find a job. It was not easy to accept failures. However, I often comforted myself, "Failure is the mother of success". By accumulating experience, learning from failures, finding out my weaknesses and making improvements on them, I would have a better chance to succeed. Therefore, I mustered up my courage and persevered in my search for jobs despite repeated failures. I made evaluations after every failure and prepared myself for the next battle. Finally, I got a job in a garment company. I found both the job nature and the working environment highly satisfactory.

      Recalling the experiences in the past year, I am glad that I had my family and friends who took care of me and supported me. Thus, I had the strength to carry on and never gave up in face of repeated setbacks. Looking forward to the future, I plan to study a part-time master degree or a diploma course to prepare myself for career development in Hong Kong.

"If you ask a person who is good at ice-skating how he succeeded in doing this, he will tell you, 'when you fall down, get up!' "

My Son's Assignment

      When I was young, I studied in Canada and got a diploma in gemology. It was not a popular subject, but in the past 20 years or so, I was able to apply what I had learned. I had also accumulated much experience in gemstone classification and merchandising and established good connections in the trade. It was not a highly-paid job, but the whole family was able to maintain a decent living. My career developed steadily. Over the years, I had changed my jobs for only several times, and it was a change for a better job each time. As a result, a year ago when the company closed down owing to business failure and I got unemployed, it was a heavy blow to me and my family. I had never dreamt that it would happen to me. At first, I was confident that with my experience and my reputation in the trade, I would soon find another job. 'I may not be able to make as much money as I did,' I thought, 'but at least I will be able to make a living.'

      A few months lapsed, and I was still unable to get a job in the trade. My savings were almost used up and I felt utterly helpless. I have to admit that everything had been going smoothly for me all the years, and I had never been in such a 'miserable' state. I was totally collapsed and I doubted my own value. Luckily, my family never gave up on me. Gradually, I realized that the value of myself should not be weighed by my career alone. My life, my family, my friends, these should be the center of my life and what I should treasure. Losing the job did not mean losing everything. On the contrary, it gave me a chance to look into myself. So I braced up and tried my luck again.

      I explored the various organizations which help people find a job. Finally, I registered with the Labour Department. I learnt about the job market situation of other trades which had been unfamiliar to me. With the assistance of placement officers, I attended numerous interviews, but many of them ended up in failure. With the continuous changes of job market, I made adjustments to my job expectations time and again. After struggling for over a month, I finally got a job as a gemstone merchandiser. It ended my worries and despair, which had been haunting me for months.

      Happy time did not last long. A few months later, just when I was beginning to fit into the job, the company closed down owing to poor business and my peaceful life was disrupted again. The incident dealt a further blow to me, and was more than what I could take. I was so disappointed and depressed that I just wanted to give up. All negative thoughts emerged in my mind. The drive which I had just regained was all crashed to the ground.

      The blow was even worse than the previous one. I thought to give it up. But the Good Heaven had mercy on me and gave me help through my son. My son wrote an essay one day, and he wanted me to correct it. I was not in the mood, but he was so sincere that I did not have the heart to turn him down. Reluctantly, I took a look at the essay. It was written in great fluency. It soothed my heart to see that my son was still working hard though I was in such a miserable state. Then I came to a sentence in the essay, 'A man can be defeated, but not destroyed.' I was overwhelmed. The Chinese proverb says that 'a man does not shed his tears easily', but my cheeks were wet from tears. Yes, I cried. My son threw his arms around me. The embrace not only gave me warmth, but also gave me life. That sentence was so enlightening that it pulled me back from the dark pit of depression. Yes. I was facing failures, but my own value could not be destroyed. I made up my mind to face up to adversity. I would not disappoint the people who love me.

      Two months later, I took the placement officer's advice and attended a retraining course to address my illiteracy in the computer applications. After the course, he found me a job as a stone merchandiser, which, to some extent, required my expertise in my old field. Although I have found a job, I am still learning computer knowledge after work, hoping that I would be able to improve my employability through self-enhancement. I believe that if we could take it easy, accept both successes and failures with a peaceful mind and work step by step, we would be able to overcome all the difficulties eventually.

      I believe that if you have the courage to take a step forward, things would work out well in the end.

"A man can be defeated,
but not destroyed."

A Cup of Tea with Milk

      Lung had worked as a barman for many years. Three years ago when the cafe that he worked for changed hands, Lung then decided to start a small business with his pals. Unfortunately, after running for two years, the business was far from satisfactory. Feeling dispirited, his partners decided to wind it up. In the middle of last year, Lung then reluctantly tried to join the workforce again. He skimmed through the classified ads for vacancies.

      Lung was quite sophisticated as his past years of employment in the cafe gave him abundant opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. He was masculine and had a free-and-easy personality, but he spoke in appropriate terms, which left a good impression to others. He sensed that there were some differences in the labour market this time when he tried to find a job again. Suitable job vacancy advertisements in the papers were few and the competition seemed to be quite keen. After several months of searching, interviewing, waiting for news and feeling disappointed, or seeking help from his friends everywhere, Lung then felt that he was a bit at a loss.

      On a sunny afternoon, Lung walked out from a cafe in Wan Chai where he had just attended an interview. The scene that the cafe owner eyed him with a frown was flashing through his mind when, unexpectedly, someone tapped him on the shoulder and greeted him, 'How are you doing, Lung?' It was Ah San, the no. 2 cook with whom Lung had used to work in the same cafe. Bumping into his old friend, Lung then invited him to have a cup of coffee.

      After listening to the ups and downs that Lung experienced in these past few years, Ah San felt for his dispirited pal. 'Never mind,' he consoled Lung, 'under the present economic climate, all trades are facing difficulties. It's great if you can work as a barman again. But if not, there is no harm in trying something new. As the proverb says, "one should pluck up courage to have a try in whatever critical situations." To draw an analogy, if a customer is fed up with this cup of tea with milk, you may try to add in some sago. It would make a big difference if you try to make some changes. How do you know that a new environment doesn't suit you if you don't have a try? Keep up your spirit and don't lose heart. When you are down, call us to have a drink together. Don't be idle at home all the times to have kittens.' The two chatted about lots of things before parting for home.

      One day Lung watched TV and hit upon an Announcement of Public Interest on the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged produced by the Labour Department. Recalling Ah San's words, he decided to have a try. At the job centre, having inquired Lung of his situation in detail, a Placement Officer invited him to attend a workshop on the labour market trend. At the workshop, Lung realized that he was not alone. There were in fact many people who were in the same plight as him since they were also anxious to find a job. More surprisingly, he found that although he did not receive much education, he was qualified for many kinds of jobs available in different sectors. He then joined a training course on job-searching skills. Not until his participation in the course did he realize his drawback. It was talking too much during job interviews. After detailed discussions with the Placement Officer, Lung gradually accepted the officer's advice of getting a job in other trades, apart from bar tendering.

      Lung finally got a job as a security guard. Because of his free-and-easy personality, he, at the very beginning, did not get used to the rules such as wearing uniforms and greeting the residents. But gradually he found that there were many interesting things to learn in dealing with unexpected incidents, questioning strangers and patrolling the building. The experience acquired from dealing with his customers at the cafe in the past could be fully applied to his present job. One day when you pass the block of building where Lung is on duty, maybe you will see him having a nice chat about making a cup of fragrant and delicious tea with milk with residents who are waiting for lifts.

"As long as you keep a positive mind,
you will find a solution to your problems."

Last Review Date: 1 November 2014
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