End of a journey?

I quit my job at the fashion company. I think it got to a point where I was struggling with my finances. Trying to get by with a couple hundred every month, where the bulk of my salary is going to my insurance premiums was challenging. I think what set me really thinking about calling it quits was that I was hardly saving for my upcoming wedding and renovation fees. My flat will be ready in 2017 which is 2 years time and I need to save at least 40K-50K for the renovation. Even though the other half will contribute maybe half or more but I can’t expect him to pay for everything.
At the rate where I am saving $100 a month in the fashion job, I will only get $2400 at the end of 2 years. Even factoring possible increment and bonus, the amount may get to at most $5K which is only a fraction of what I am hoping to save.

Moreover, I realize my passion is still in designing and sewing clothes, creating actual pieces. Yet it is a paradox, because after working for 5 months, I realized I am not into retail at all. I actually like bespoke services, creating one-off designs. Thus even though I am good at my merchandising job (based on my appraisal), it just became another numbers job for me. And if it’s just a numbers job, I might as well go back to my previous industry where I get to work with numbers albeit at a much higher pay. At around the same time where I was thinking about my career direction, my ex-colleague approached me with an opening in my previous company. It came at a good timing. Thus in the end, I decided to quit.

You may be thinking why not apply with companies offering bespoke services and continue with my career switch? Well there are not many shops offering bespoke services in Singapore, mainly bridal studios. I did apply and I didn’t receive much response. Also, I felt that I couldn’t afford to give the career switch another try with so much hanging on the line for me at this point.

However, I am really glad that I went ahead with my career switch although it didn’t work out in the end. I think the below picture sums up my sentiments .

2015/01/img_0199.jpg

And I am really happy that I managed to study fashion design for once, which has always been my lifelong dream. I am still going to continue with my love for sewing and creating beautiful clothes. I did think about ending this blog previously, since from now on, it’s no longer a career switch for me, but I think I will keep it and continue to blog about fashion related stuff. I managed to complete a cropped jacket recently and will blog more about it in the next post.

For those who stumbled onto my blog and is also considering whether a career switch is suitable for you, I think you have to seriously research about financials and if you have enough set aside. Give yourself a time-line to go for this career switch and when the time line is up, review honestly whether this career switch is working for you or not.

I set aside $20K for this career switch which took over a year. This included the course fees, worst case scenarios on not being able to find a job for 6 months, monthly expenses and financial commitments. You may not have to set aside so much, but in my case as I have mentioned earlier my financial commitments is around $1K a month. Also, do factor in that Singapore has become very expensive to live in. I naively estimated my monthly expenses to be $480, and thus accepted my fashion job with the offered salary. However after that, I realized how much a challenge it was to keep to that amount, especially since I was working in Orchard which is not exactly cheap to eat in.

Also, if your starting salary is low, you may want to consider doing part time job and giving tuition to supplement your income. This was something I considered initially too, however my work load at the job was heavy with lots of over time, thus I couldn’t pursue this option.

I did get some enquiries from the readers about whether it’s difficult to find a fashion job in Singapore. It really depends on what type of job you are looking for and what kind of salary you are expecting. The fashion industry in Singapore is small. For buyer and merchandising jobs at entry level, I do see available jobs every week. Retail assistants or fashion sales coordinator are always in demand, if your salary scheme has commissions, you may even potentially earn a higher starting salary than the office job.

At the end of the day if your heart calls you to do it, and if you have weighed all the pros and cons and have a plan drawn up, I will say go for it.

As the picture sums it up perfectly, I will rather live a life of “Oh well” then “What ifs”

All the best to those who are thinking to pursue a career switch!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chel
    May 14, 2015 @ 05:01:41

    Hi!
    I guess we are at a disadvantage compared to those graduates from local schools, (I am also a recent taftc graduate), but don’t give up on your dreams ok!!! I look forward to reading more about your sewing adventures. You can give craftsy a try, i personally like it a lot, they have many wonderful teachers there. =)

    Reply

    • ashiu77
      May 14, 2015 @ 16:41:17

      Hi thanks for the encouragement:) so have you managed to find a job yet? Is craftsy a meetup group? I’m not very familiar with them. I am actually toying with the idea at studying at Tze Yi Dressmaking school on weekends. The website looks quite good as they teach sewing gowns as well, which is something I have been wanting to learn but not much reviews on their school, thus a little apprehensive.

      Reply

  2. Chel
    May 15, 2015 @ 05:09:05

    yup, i found one, waiting to start work. i went to tze yi many years back for their beginner class, i find that they don’t really have a structure in their teaching, for example, they don’t stress on like grain lines and stuff, it’s basically do as follow without much understanding, but they allow you to sew whatever designs you want. It’s just my personal opinion, maybe you can seek for more reviews from their students. I feel that taftc teachers are better.
    Craftsy is a paid online self learning website, you can go to their web and take a look. Suzy furrer is a good pattern making teaching, u can give her class a try first. I also aim to sew gowns one day, hehe =)

    Reply

    • ashiu77
      May 17, 2015 @ 08:25:46

      Hi thanks for the comment, this does help as I can’t really find any reviews on them. Ok will check out craftsy. There is a self learning website by this lady who teaches haute couture in US, I can’t remember her name off hand but I did blog Abt her some posts back. I am still hesitant as its video based learning. She holds boot camps once or twice a year in US too but so far away. To save up n go there will be a real splurge.

      Reply

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