I was stuck in a bit of a rut in Singapore, and decided to take a chance living in the same country as my partner. “One of the biggest differences between Singapore and Stockholm is the work-life balance.”
27, has been living in Stockholm, Sweden since 2015. She’s currently doing business-to-business sales in the travel industry.
It was challenging to look for a job because of the language barrier, and it was hard to compete with local graduates who speak Swedish, have done internships locally and are Master’s degree holders (it’s very common, since education is free in Sweden). In addition, because of the strict labour laws, companies don’t usually fire people. Hence, many companies are very wary when hiring.
I registered myself for Swedish classes to show potential employers, and also tried to network for jobs. I didn’t get called for many interviews in spite of the many applications I sent out, but was lucky enough to have found favour with my current employer, who appreciated my foreign background and Mandarin-speaking abilities.
One of the biggest differences between Singapore and Stockholm is the work-life balance. We’re allowed flexible work hours so we can schedule our work around our personal appointments. Working overtime is quite rare and, for the most part, I’ve been able to get off work on time to go to the gym or meet up with friends.
There’s a lot of trust between employers and employees, and we don’t have to get an MC when ill. I’ve actually only been sick once in the last two years, so it must say something about the worklife balance! The leave system is also very generous, and it’s common practice to take two to three weeks off during the summer and winter holidays.
Working overseas has taught me how to market myself better. In Singapore, it’s easy to fall back on things like your education background to impress others. I’ve also learnt that work is just a part of my life and that it shouldn’t consume me.
I do plan on moving back eventually, just because it’s home and family is irreplaceable. If there’s an opportunity, I’d definitely consider staying in the travel industry or doing something related to tourism.”