How I went on my big break and kept my job at the same time

by Sara Chua, Branding Executive

Sending me off with a cake!

As a millennial, we often get curious about what’s out there and will often itch to do something out of the ordinary while we are still young and capable. Though a career has always been a priority for me, I knew that I would be working for the rest of my life. Hence, taking a “gap year” was the obvious way to go and has always been the plan after graduating from University.

It was a month after I completed my internship at Fave Malaysia when an ex-colleague asked if I would be keen to take up another internship in Starbucks or AirAsia. At that time, I already knew that I wanted to work and travel in New Zealand, but applications for the visa only opens in January the following year (6 months waiting period). So I figured that I could make use of the free time that I had. I went for the AirAsia interview, met a really young dude who I later found out was the CEO. Got a contract offered instead of an internship, and I gladly accepted it.

Fast forward half a year later, I was happy with what I was doing and how I was growing so much (not just sideways). In just a short span of time, I planned major events like the company’s town hall/retreat, produced merchandise for the company, coordinated on-boarding for new staff, and honestly, for the team to trust a fresh graduate like myself to do all that is pretty insane. Even so, I still felt the yearn to “explore” life and get out there before I dive deep into my career. Thus, I went ahead and applied for the working holiday visa with the mindset that if I get it, then it’s fated to be.

Surprise surprise! I got the visa and was really nervous when I had to break the news to the team. There’s a saying that “good things happen when you least expect it”. Not only was I given the green light to go and the opportunity to have my “break” before I begin my career, but I was also offered a permanent employment contract before I left for New Zealand. In other words, I will have a stable job waiting for me back home while I’m on my big break.

Happily picking apples while thinking of my next adventure

And so I took off; flew to New Zealand for four months, did some tough labour work (e.g., working at the orchard packing and grading of apples, kiwifruits and avocados), bought my own car, made friends from all around the world, went for my first Latin party (I only had two hours of sleep before I had to go to work the next day but YOLO, right?), went skydiving, drove for 6 hours straight through steep mountains and snow, went on a 10 hours hike, stargazed under the dark sky, ate fish and chips by the beach, basically lived life to the fullest. Now I’m back in the office, feeling so grateful that I got to experience all of that and came home to a job waiting for me.

Teleport is definitely not your ordinary company as it truly believes in investing professionally and personally in the team, and is willing, at times, to put aside their own priorities for each individual to achieve their personal dreams.

(Originally published on the Teleport Blog on November 19, 2020.)

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