“I studied finance and accounting in uni. I wouldn’t say it’s my passion or anything. I remember reading some articles on bankers and I thought they sounded really cool; they seemed to be flying all the time. And accounting is a pretty useful skill, so I thought why not?

Now, I work as a planner in an ad agency. People always ask if I regret wasting four years studying something that’s not related to what I do at work. People always assume that everything in life must be interconnected somehow. It’s great if that’s the case, but it’s not such a linear path for everyone.

I wouldn’t say people were being judgemental. Just confused, maybe? Thankfully, my parents were always very supportive of whatever I chose to do in life. If advertising was something I wanted to pursue, then they wanted me to work towards that goal.

I realised finance and accounting weren’t for me after I did my internship at a corporate finance firm. Spending six months in Europe as part of an exchange program opened my eyes to the fact that life is much much more than just a job.

When the time came to start looking for jobs, my friends were applying for positions in banks and accounting firms. Everyone knew what they wanted to do, but I didn’t, and they started to worry for me. They said I shouldn’t be wasting time doing nothing, and it felt like unnecessary peer pressure.

I only stumbled upon something that I thought was interesting when my friend asked me to attend an advertising talk with her. It was part of a programme by the Economic Development Board. They looked at different industries and see where there is a lack of local talent.

I didn’t know anything about planning at first because I didn’t study advertising, but the programme allowed me to visit London for nine months to learn more. Now, I really enjoy what I do because I get to work across different industries, learn about the human psyche and create work that makes a difference.

Yes, I’m glad I didn’t succumb to the pressure of getting a job when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. People can’t seem to accept it when you say, ‘I don’t know what I want’, but it’s okay to be in a state of limbo, to think about the next step of your life, to explore your options.

I just want people to know that it’s okay not to know. There’s always something you can take from your past experiences to help you in your next step in life. It might seem disjointed at the point in time, but I think with time, when you look back, it all makes sense.” – Zoe, 26


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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.