Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Do what you love, not what you think you love

Last weekend was the final MATTA Fair, at PWTC Kuala Lumpur.. I was overseeing my team of 5 at Firefly Holiday booth in the Asean/Domestic hall..

I did not see familiar faces (read: friends), but people who stopped by are the industry big shots, the directors and CEOs of companies whom we do business with.. my MD was also around all 3 days to lend support and to talk to us what's going on on the floor..

One of my regular client also stopped by just to say hi.. I am surprised people will pay RM4 entry fee just to come by and see us..

One of them ask me a very profound question, knowing my background:

"If you have a choice, would you still want to go back to the retail industry?"

To recap, I have always been in the retail industry from 2003 to 2012 (except a couple months with a MNC engineering company), working front line to that big blue-yellow Swedish home furnishing brand to overseeing the entire marketing department in one red DIY chain

Back to his question, without thinking, I replied:

"If I was doing something else, I will.. But I think I am happier in the travel industry"

I knew where he was coming from.. No doubt in the retail industry, it is easy to climb the ladder.. I started out as just a front liner folding clothes and rolling my eyes at bitches, and when I left the industry jumping just 3 companies, I was at (almost) the peak of the marketing ladder - overseeing the entire marketing department in 3 countries where the company operates in..

If I went on, the last step was a marketing director perhaps in some other company.. but I chose to leave the industry and pursue something else altogether.. I never looked back..

I then found myself in the travel industry, it is a lot harder to climb.. To begin with, there is less hierarchy and comes with it, lesser opportunities to climb.. In the travel industry, most of the time you go lateral than vertical.. After many years, people will probably be still where they are.. The only way to move up is to jump vessel, be it a liner or a boat..

The career progression isn't cloud 9.. you just become an expert in your areas.. And that's how I've tried to specialise in Australia tourism, and Salesforce.. Just to add value to myself.. If you're looking for money, this is not the industry to be in.. The travel industry is not a highly paid industry, but the perks are endless and incentives are bountiful to those who have targets to achieve.. What it lacks in some areas it is made up with others intangible benefits.. but people who love travel and planning travel for others, stay because our world is borderless, and our industry can take us far and wide to anywhere we can dream of..

For now, I'm just happy doing what I am doing, on earth, that is..

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