Breaking Boundaries with Jonathan Oon, Exploring the New Career Pathway

As a fresh graduate, the transition from academia to the workforce can be daunting, with many uncertainties and challenges that one might face.

Jonathan Oon, a 24-years old graduate who has just begun his career, knows this all too well. Having started working in a different field from what he studied, the journey has been filled with valuable lessons and insights. With a degree in Biotechnology, he made a brave pursuit to kickstart his career in the operational field at a pharmaceutical company in Greater Kuala Lumpur.
From navigating unfamiliar territory to developing crucial skills, Jonathan shares his experience and unique perspective as a young talent on the challenges and opportunities that comes with starting a career.

Q1: Can you share with us what is it like to work in your current company and what are the things that you do right now that you enjoy the most?

My job involves production planning, mostly. I plan the production of health supplements and all the food-related stuff. Planning all the production from start to finish was a wonderful challenge. It feels nice to see once your products are on the shelf, sometimes you go to the pharmacies, then you see those health supplements, then you think, “Oh yeah, this is my product.” It feels very surreal.
One thing that I enjoy about being in my current company is that they treat their employees well. We get gifts all the time, they sponsored us for the company trip that I joined too recently, which was great.

Q2: How do you see yourself in this position? Is this something that you really wanted to do, or perhaps do you have any other plans in the future?

At the moment, I am very satisfied with this job, but in terms of what my future plans are, I think eventually, I would like to explore new opportunities at other places too. Right now, I am very content with my current position because of how the company treats their staff.

Q3: How did you familiarise yourself for being in a totally new field of work that is unrelated to your background of your study? What are the things that help you along the way?

I'm happy with my job - even though it wasn't something that I was familiar with, but now that I am doing this operation job, I realize that there are a lot of exciting new things that are bound to be explored and what has helped me navigate this job position, were the things that I've learned from the program that I joined under the InvestKL Talent Programme, which had helped me prepare myself for the interview and also, little things like for example, interpersonal relationships - whenever there are some issues, I noticed there was one of the sessions in the programme where they taught us about how to pay attention to the issues that are occurring within the team or company. It helped me to see and navigate things better when there are issues arising. As a new employee too, I would also give some of my opinions and contribute to solutions without any repercussions.

Another session that I really enjoyed was cultural exposure. It taught me how to resolve a conflict within a diverse workplace setting. I think it's something that isn't discussed that much also in Malaysia, because naturally here we are multiculturally diverse -Chinese, Malaysia, Indian, and more but sometimes there are conflicts and miscommunication as a result from clashing of cultures so learning that, it helped me preparing for those kind of situations.

Q4: What would you think like the best skills that fresh graduates and young talents need to go higher in their careers?

I think when you start communication is very important. When I first started with this job, I had to ask a lot of questions because the person before me, she tried training me for two days and then she already had to leave - I had to rely on a lot of my colleagues to get advice. So, communication first and foremost is very important. Secondly, I asked a lot of questions. As a new person it is important that you ask a lot of questions, because you don't know anything - for example, what kind of system they use, whether they use Excel or other, unfamiliar systems, just like when I join my company, they use their own system, which confused me a lot. It took me a lot of time to familiarise myself with it.

Q5: Would you like to share some piece of advice to your peers who are probably just about to start their career journey but still unsure of what to do?

I can give two pieces of advice. One is not to give up. Just because it seems like there isn’t a job for you as a fresh graduate, but when you consistently pursue it, it will come. From my personal experience, it took me more than a year before I found a job after graduation. My second advice would be to know your worth. I think when we first step out as a fresh graduate, we are reluctant because we have no experience; we don't know anything. But some companies are willing to invest in you out there. So, you should know your worth and during interviews, just express yourself well.

Q6: Finally, what would be your advice to Malaysian talents like yourself, who are chasing their passion?

That’s a big question. Do what you love, because if you don't do what you love, you can’t contribute. If you hate something, then you want to contribute, you will not have the motivation, you don't have the drive to contribute. But, if you do what you love, you can contribute and eventually, change the country for the better.

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