COVID-19 SPECIAL

From design director to food delivery rider

Mr Andy Yap, 40, who was laid off in February, now earns up to $2,000 in a good month, about a quarter of what he used to earn in his former role. His advice for others facing tough times is to be positive.
Mr Andy Yap, 40, who was laid off in February, now earns up to $2,000 in a good month, about a quarter of what he used to earn in his former role. His advice for others facing tough times is to be positive.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Mr Andy Yap, 40, used to design graphics for an events company, but after being laid off in February, he now spends six days a week zipping around Yishun delivering food on his mountain bike.

As one of the casualties in the company's retrenchment exercise, the former digital design director now earns up to $2,000 "in a good month", which is about one-quarter of the salary he used to draw.

When projects dried up for the company early this year, Mr Yap, who worked at the firm for about two years, was laid off, along with at least two others.

"I didn't really react when I was told I was being let go. I was quite calm and went to pack up. It only sunk in the next few days," he said.

In the weeks after, he tried applying for jobs in all sectors, including supermarkets, hospitals and cleaning companies, but the applications were either unsuccessful or he did not hear back from them.

"There were moments when I felt this sense of dread, and I started to realise just how badly impacted the global economy was and how jobs were affected," said Mr Yap, who is married with no children. His wife works as a software specialist.

He also feels that his age could pose an issue for some employers, and he has been told by recruiters that he did not make the cut because he is over-experienced.

Since April, he has been making food deliveries on his bicycle. The one silver lining from this is that he has lost more than 10kg from cycling 12 hours a day.

"Food delivery is pandemic-and recession-resistant. Everyone still needs to eat, so I decided to do this," said Mr Yap, who has cut back on his non-essential spending, such as eating out.

 
 

Some people have questioned his decision to become a food delivery rider after his previous post in a director role, but Mr Yap thinks nothing of it.

"For me, a job is a job. You put your head down and bring some money home," he said.

His advice for others going through tough times is to be positive. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel, just that now the tunnel has got a lot longer. But you have to keep going."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2020, with the headline 'From design director to food delivery rider'. Print Edition | Subscribe