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Out of work, but she's keeping busy amid job hunt

Ms Srividhya Ganapathy Sundaram, who was retrenched from her job as a business analyst in May, has been keeping herself occupied while looking for a new job. She started learning German and Sanskrit, and has spent time painting as well.
Ms Srividhya Ganapathy Sundaram, who was retrenched from her job as a business analyst in May, has been keeping herself occupied while looking for a new job. She started learning German and Sanskrit, and has spent time painting as well.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

When former business analyst Srividhya Ganapathy Sundaram, 29, was retrenched in May, she felt discouraged.

But after taking a few weeks to settle her emotions, the Indian national who moved to Singapore four years ago decided to take a positive approach to the situation and saw it as a chance to pick up new skills.

In the past three months, in between sending out job applications and networking with contacts, she has started learning German and Sanskrit, and spent time painting.

"I cannot sit idle at home, so I try to make sure I never have a dull day," said Ms Ganapathy Sundaram, who is on an Employment Pass. Her husband is working as a mechanical engineer on an S-pass. They do not have children.

She had been working at a global software company for almost two years when the retrenchment notice hit like "a bolt from the blue", she said. "I was completely shocked, because I didn't think I was doing badly at work... They simply said that my position was being made redundant," she said.

After the retrenchment, one of the first things she did was to get in touch with various contacts she had made over the years to let them know about her job search.

There has been at least one job offer which is in the works.

But being a foreigner has also made the job search more difficult she said, as one of the first few questions potential employers ask is whether she is a Singaporean or a permanent resident. "I do feel discouraged because although I am not a local, I have worked hard. It does feel like I had to start over again, and that I am back to square one in terms of my career," she said.

During these trying times, when retrenchments are becoming more common, the reality is that expatriates like her might find it harder to secure jobs, said Ms Ganapathy Sundaram, who used to draw a salary of about $4,000 monthly. Still, she acknowledges that it makes sense that any country will give priority to its locals in terms of jobs and policies.

 
 

While responses to job applications have been slow, she is confident that it will get better.

"I think the important thing is not to let my mind idle," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2020, with the headline 'Out of work, but she's keeping busy amid job hunt'. Print Edition | Subscribe