I have two favourite online bloggers on personal finance: Suraya of Ringgit Oh Ringgit and Aaron Tang from mr-stingy. I recently read this – 22 Things I’ve Done to Make Money in Malaysia (From Kid to Adult) at ringgitohringgit.com/make-money-in-malaysia/ and thought, hmm…guess I’d write my share of dosh-earning adventures here too!
Pre-Diploma and Diploma:
1. National Service!
Okay, I didn’t choose this, NS chose me! And I went for it (had to, I had no excuses). In all honesty, I had the best time in the almost three-month-long program with my bestie, blacksesameninja.wordpress.com (thank heavens she was there!). My camp experience was really fun – it did not feel like a ‘training’ at all, more like a ‘summer camp’ for youths (lololol). We received an ‘elaun bulanan’ of RM150 each month which we both agreed was hmm, quite good ba. We were very well fed (my goodness, 6 meals a day) and made many new friends – whom we still hang out with ’til today! I even got an award for being an active Ketua Kompeni (Company Leader). So it was all good fun. It was nothing at all like what you see on ‘Ah Boys To Men’ (but to be fair we are in MY not SG).
2. Model-making Agency
House model-making, to be exact. This was one of those in-between jobs I did when I didn’t have a clue about what to study after SPM, and I gave myself time to really think because I wanted to go into the right course. I was at it for 2 months and was paid RM5 per hour. Every day, bit by bit we built house models: bungalows, terrace houses, condominiums, etc. – those types of model houses on display at property roadshows and fairs for prospective buyers to see how the completed building will look. So I ‘planted grass’, ‘installed lights’ and ‘fixed windows’ – you get the picture. It was a rather interesting experience, and was my first part-time job as a teen!
3. Cake and ice-cream shop personnel
I have to confess, I ate a lot of sweets at this job. Huhu. Gelato especially. There were always some pastries for us staff to take home (those that didn’t sell that day), and I’d pass ’em on to my neighbours or my apartment’s security guard. I was glad to bless them with it and also cause there was no way we can keep eating the same stuff all the time! This was my last part-time stint before I enrolled into college.
4. Clothes, clothes, clothes.
Safe to say, I can relate to everyone who has done retail – sore legs from standing all day, the supper habit, crazy customers that come in, the incessant pop music all around – they’re all part of the Mall Employee Starter Pack™. In the middle of my Diploma, each of us had to buy a DSLR (I eventually sold it off last year) which I got the dough from my this job’s earnings – I got 7 an hour. I really enjoyed my time at retail – it was also during this job I cultivated my habit of always ironing my clothes before I wear ’em. I cannot tahan wrinkly tops. I learnt HEAPS about retail and fast-fashion through this 10 to 10 grind, and I remember my eyeballs nearly popped when I saw how cheapppp the stocks were when new arrivals came. We sold – (nope, actually it wasn’t just us), ALL the stores you see at malls sell clothing items at a 500-700% markup; that’s just how low the base price is! The cost price for one blouse can be a mere 7 or 8 bucks. Ugh, aren’t they earning so much from us baju-loving folks.
5. Bedding Store
After my previous job, I caught the part-timing bug and went for this one (also at a mall). The store has since closed down (their sets really TOO expensive liao) but thanks to this experience, I now know what to consider whenever I buy comforters and sheets – the thread count, material, etc.. Each job certainly gave me a world of experience, and helped me gain insights into different businesses and how they function.
Degree and Uni days:
6. Emcee and Photography stints (here and there)
Usually, the emceeing gigs were within college – so they were very small scale events. One time, my good friend since Diploma days asked me and another friend to capture photos at her grandparents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary, and that was such a sweet event to do. I remember her mom giving us each a ‘hong bao’ afterwards and I was really touched by her kind gesture.
7. Corporate Communications Intern at Yeo’s, PJ
The intern experience that was: ‘blehhh’, to sum it up in one word. We were your cliche ‘overworked, underpaid event crew’ xia (we did NOT expect this from such a femes beverage brand) and the experience made me wish I went for a proper PR firm instead. I really didn’t bother about the allowance (I think we got 300-400 or so, can’t really remember) but I was looking forward to an enriching and empowering experience – which we didn’t get. But all was good in the end, we braved through it – the 5.30 am mornings, the hectic event schedule and long Hilux rides from one primary school to the next. During this experience, I wrote scripts for a video production shoot with local Malay celebs like Shukri Yahaya, Faizdickie and Kaka Azraff (the best thing that happened during the whole internship!) After those gruelling 3 months, I felt ready for anything life might throw at me.
Possibly my favourite experience. We were in Bangsar South, and it was already my last semester in Uni. I took this one up to earn some extra moolah before taking a trip to Singapore, and boy, it was SO FUN. The people I met on the job made it so. We did telemarketing (not cold calls, we had leads) and the people (okay, we were like a bunch of misfits – think Breakfast Club, but made in Malaysia heh) made my job so enjoyable. They were fun-loving and I think in the end we were all very sad when we had to part ways. We all had to – for some, school was starting; and for me, it was time to head home after I finished my finals. We were paid 10 per hour, and the job was alright. That was my first experience working and studying – and it was a truly busy time for me, like crazy busy. I slept very little because we had video shootings and a lot of assignments that required us to be out and about that semester. I still miss those times when we’d eat noodles at Ambers and talk about how our day being ‘Sam’ was like (teehee)!
Post Graduation and Current:
9. Clothing fair
My last part-time experience before entering working life a.k.a. the real world. Huhu, #adulthood. It was one of those 1K for 10 days straight worth of standing and serving customers so I took it as it’d be good to earn some dosh whilst I was still job-hunting. I was on a self-imposed holiday for 2 months at the end of 2017, to take a break from everything and to just chill a bit before I start work.
When I look back, I’m glad I started Carouselling. It simply boggles my mind, how one person can have so many pre-loved clothes and well, stuff! Not only me, I help my mum and my sister de-clutter too (she calls me a pro at it). Why not turn your pre-loved items into someone else’s treasure kan? It brings me so much joy when something I list becomes just the thing this other person needs at a lower price point. It’s quite an euphoric sensation when a sale goes through. I’ve been at it for about 2 years now, and have made about 2.5K through it – not bad at all, and it has been a thoroughly fulfilling experience. And oh, #shamelesspromo here – I’m over atmy.carousell.com/josephineyy/, feel free to visit! New listings weekly and I am a veryyy negotiable seller – there’re books, clothes, shoes, the occasional electronics, earrings and more!
11. Teaching art
Finger-painting, crafts, sketching, water colour, plasticine/clay animals, origami and colouring for kids ages 5 to 12 – anything and everything under the big, sunny umbrella of art. Something I enjoy doing on the side; interacting with kids always makes me forget all the adulthood worries for just an hour or two. My past experience with kids back in Acts Church has definitely helped me deal better with small tots, and this is definitely one of my side hustles that brings a smile to my face. 🙂
So here you have it, a list of my experiences earning dosh, from 2013 and not counting the more ‘boring’ stuff like FD accounts (that one is more like savings ba). I finished typing this and was quite amazed I could remember the details from my various stints, and looking at it now – it was indeed one big learning experience!