The office was located on the second floor of a shopping lot in a secluded neighbourhood mall in Subang Jaya. The staircase leading up the office was guarded by an orange Tabby cat that was more interested in the crushed biscuits on the floor than my meows. Cute, I thought.
When I arrived, the doorbell didn’t work. Am I in the right place? I stood for two minutes before someone finally answered my light knock.
“You’re here to see the CEO?”
I answered, “Yes, I have an appointment with him”.
The first founder of this travel start-up was a very tall man. I’m guessing 6 foot 2, but I could be wrong because I always got my height wrong.
The second founder was an exuberant woman who was generous with her smile. She also liked to end up her question with a laugh. She’s really nice, I thought.
I wanted a job that was close to home. So, you can imagine how pleased I was when I found a vacancy for a content writer in my neighbourhood. My current job, at that time, was in Sungai Besi and the long commute became exhausting after two years.
Like every other lifestyle writer I know, travel writing is my thing. I could go overly dramatic and say, travel is my heart and soul, but I shall refrain myself from mentioning it. Even though, I did during the interview.
I liked them both. Although these start-up founders were younger than me, we bonded naturally over our passion for travel and adventure. I also found it inspiring to meet young people who were stepping up to the challenge to solve a common problem in the local travel industry.
When the offer arrived in my inbox, I knew this job was made for me. One month later, I switched my old job for the new.
Halfway through my time as the start-up’s content writer, I met an old friend from secondary school. It had been a decade since my last coffee with Asyikin. Still fresh-faced, she was working as an app developer in Bangsar South before she decided to make a huge career shift.
“It’s a lot nicer now that I’m a full-time freelancer. I work from home and it’s easy to manage the kids,” she shared.
A full-time freelancer? Is that even a real job?
I had so many burning questions.
Can you survive without a monthly salary? Are you earning enough to pay for loans? What if you can’t pay the rent on time?
“You will figure things out eventually, but yeah, I’m earning enough to get by. However, I must warn you, this full-time freelancing gig is not as luxurious as it sounds”.
As a freelance graphic designer, she is her own employer and employee.
She had to rise early to design name cards before her kids wake up, meet her clients to secure business opportunities and promote her services on Instagram every day.
“It’s tiring and stressful, Cheng Sim, but I really love my job”.
Eventually, I didn’t love mine.