Meet Doreen Loo, the latest addition to #TeamTeleport. Find out more about her here as she shares her story of how she quit the nine-to-five routine and moved to an island to pursue a full-time career in scuba diving, only to dive back into the corporate world when the pandemic hit.
Tell us a little bit about your career journey and how you ended up in Teleport.
I spent fifteen years building my career in communications across various industries such as education, technology, non-profit organisations and lifestyle. One day I realised it was getting a bit too much (and mundane!), so I decided to take a leap of faith and embark on a full-time career in scuba diving. I thought I was just going to teach people how to dive, but then I got the opportunity to also manage dive centres and was involved in marketing and business development in the tourism and diving industries.
With the ongoing pandemic and due to the slowdown in tourism services I was retrenched and had to return to the city. I didn’t really plan for a change in career, but I guess I was thrown into it. At the beginning, there was a lot of apprehension in re-starting this new phase of my career; worries about culture, the people, and I didn’t want the boredom of a nine-to-five desk job all over again. However, I am really glad that I’m here at Teleport now, because it ticked all the boxes for me! I feel like, after having experienced two different worlds — city based corporate jobs and island living, I’m now certain of what I want and don’t want out of a career.
In your opinion, what are some nice diving spots in Malaysia?
A huge piece of my heart will forever belong to Tioman Island. It’s where I started my adventures in scuba diving and it’s where I find myself returning to, over and over again. But I also really love diving in Tenggol Island, Terengganu, as well as Mabul and Sipadan Islands in Sabah.
What is your role at Teleport?
I’m part of the Marketing team, under the Communications unit. We work on marketing communications content for our social media channels by producing videos, creating visuals and crafting content copy. The team also supports B2B communications, and works alongside the Branding team for strategic executions.
What’s the difference between working as a scuba instructor and working in an office?
For starters, my mom is very pleased as my skin tone is getting fairer by the day now that I’m desk-bound (haha!).
Generally work is work, and I’m passionate about them both: scuba diving, and delivering great stories. Both jobs require me to be a great team player, have great communication skills, to always be on-the-ball and ready for last minute changes to plans and situations.
But I think the biggest difference for me is the lifestyle change.
When I was working on the island as a dive instructor, I led a very basic, rustic and some might say, nomadic life. My wardrobe consisted of flip flops, five pairs of shorts, and maybe about ten t-shirts? I had to sleep in a mosquito net every night, hot water showers were considered a luxury, and my shower was actually outdoors! We ate a lot of fish, and memories of my best meals include sambal ikan with a plate of rice. We’d dream about going to bars, drinking wine, eating at restaurants, or even something as simple as wanting a McDonald’s burger.
But that was the small price we had to pay to be able to live so close to nature, witness majestic sunsets every single day, have the ocean right at our doorsteps, and to truly embrace kampung living within a community. My best Hari Raya celebrations were the ones I celebrated with my fellow Malaysians while on the island with the entire kampung. There was a real sense of community — something that KL has always lacked (for me).
Coming back to the city, I guess I have to get used to dressing properly again! And the pace of life in the city is very different. Everything is so fast, in and out of the office. And don’t get me started on the peak hour commutes to and from work!
Are you enjoying yourself at Teleport? What are some memorable moments you’d like to share?
Tremendously! Like I said, I am thankful that I’m here at Teleport right after being a scuba instructor because it ticks all the boxes for me; great culture, and incredible team spirit! There’s also plenty of room to grow, to collaborate and to acquire new skills.
Memorable moments? Someone stuck a note to a box of tea I had left in the pantry, cautioning me about the expiry date which was about three years ago! I found it so funny, I wrote a reply back to the author saying “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger!” and I am still drinking that box of tea! I don’t like wasting food. And if it’s non-perishables, I’d eat it past it’s “best before” date.
Do you have any advice for people who are looking at a career change?
DO IT! It’s one of those things that you shouldn’t wait on. When I went into scuba diving and had to manage dive centres, I had zero experience for it. When I came to Teleport, I also did not have the experience in logistics and e-commerce. I have learned that the skills you have will take you across industries and different job scenarios — even if you have no direct experience in the industry that you’re going to jump into. And the other important thing is that I’ve learned so much about myself with each change, and it has challenged me to always push myself to adapt and thrive in new environments.
(Originally published on the Teleport Blog on September 30, 2020.)