‘ky niem’ or ‘experiences’ in your life i.e career

“I’m doing work experience…”

“Work experience… paid?”

“No. But I feel like it’s a job.”

“No. I mean paid work. Are you going to look for a job.”

^ This was a conversation on the train home from work today with my old high school friend.

Can you read the ‘tone’ of the conversation?

On the exterior, I was trying to maintain a ‘composed’ demeanour but inside I was frustrated. Why does this world care about money PLUS job.

Can we work for free?

Are we ‘secure’ when we work WITH money?! (I have been volunteering and I find its work quite fulfilling and satisfying without ‘tangible’ rewards of a man-made system).

Okay so I may be over-dramatic and missing out on some main points like:

– You need money to pay back to the things you ‘owe’ the bank, council, services you use…
– You need to ‘save’ up money so I can use the money for ‘something…’
– You need money because the world now cannot be ‘stable’ without money ‘in…’

I guess I am the only one okay with no ‘gains’ in income as of yet…

Okay, I will get to the main story of this piece now:

The last blog I wrote was about the unfairness of interns have in unpaid situations when their labour is used for primarily FOR the company/organisation.

I noted things about my experience at my council workplace so far and I would like to clear this up.

Amazing – this conversation was brought up today at the office and I was as open and honest as can be.

I wanted to speak up a little.

It began with us discussing about my duration of work up until Christmas and options after. I told her I hoped to be continuing working with them but in a PAID position. She said that council was struggling with financing and providing for interns like me. This is new to me so I nodded and tried to be open and non-judgemental.

I am glad we talked about this because then she referred to what she called ‘volunteer rules’ of the council. She shared stories of big companies exploiting volunteers… and that she wanted me to SPEAK UP about my wants and dislikes… being verbal about the work I do – whether it aligns with my skills and related to my field etc.

This is important – words can imply things differently to people. One understands and assumes it this way and another differently. I was unsure about the word ‘intern’ and ‘volunteer.’

This is why graduates, young students should speak up when in need of help understanding about workplace or any question that arises. It doesn’t hurt to speak up about what we think – as long as we’re open and ‘transparent’ with each other in a civilised, respectful face-to-face manner I think.

I’m learning so many things like this for example. I’m not learning about architecture but I’m learning about how society, community and the world works.

I feel engaged with the world. Thus engaged with life.

Just gotta keep going and see where this leads.

Rest time,


p.s – ‘ky niem’ in the blog title means experience in Vietnamese!


Career update after six month post-graduate period

G’day & Chao (hello in Vietnamese),

It has been a while since I last updated (goodness, I realised I have an array of pages/blogs that I write on and I leave this site out).

It is early October – happy new month to you! I hope your endeavours and goals for this month are exciting like mine (or not, everyone’s experiences are different 😀).

I just got back from a short trip overseas and I have already ventured on a new beginning or should I say a new ‘prototype…’

The timing of this work is interesting… Funny how things get lined up… or other events obstruct your vision/goal/aim…

Short story:

I attended an ‘environmental’ event run by my local council near my house. It was ‘sustainability-related’ and I wanted to go to learn about what the council talks about in terms of ‘sustainability’ and I intended to meet the Brimbank team to discuss volunteering opportunities.

I emailed one of the environmental officers and she referred me to the head coordinator. This went on for another three months when there was a month of no contact and I noted it down to follow it up (as I heard of no response).

Finally, the head coordinator agreed to meet me, she scheduled early October (meant to meet her late September but I was overseas) and here I am after a short day at work as an intern today.

I didn’t imagine myself working in a intern(volunteering position) at their office. I imagined myself outdoors helping with their building/environmental events…

Well, I am excited of what’s to come.

It’s a 3 month contract.

I am hoping I get some pay i.e a part time job afterwards. If not, I will make use of the people of different fields and sectors (need to add on linkedin) to help me on my next path on my career journey.

So, working for the council is my ‘first.’ First memory of work.

I’m glad. The office environment (people) are nice & the work culture is pretty good.

Funny, when I first met the team with the head coordinator – she talked a bit about the projects and I shared a bit about me. I realised afterwards that it was an INTERVIEW! (but a semi-informal style which was less overwhelming for me & lucky!)

I share my thoughts on my first day:

Thank you for reading,