MALAYSIANS at their first jobs are never so free to feel happy, motivated or satisfied with what they have got. This has been the general feeling among Malaysians just starting at their first jobs.
While most take on the opportunity to make good on their education and improve on their status, many would just want to hang around and see what the job has to offer.
Job-hopping seems to be about the best choice in town. These are usually the sort of work that do not pay very much but nevertheless are exciting and challenging enough for the first-timer. For this kind of work, they are happy to serve as counter staff at supermarkets, sales assistants, despatch boys, and even helpers in hotels and restaurants.
For the more serious ones, the selection is much wider and more "classy". These are those who possess some technical qualifications. They end up as clerical help, technical staff for architects and engineers, and assistant-mechanics in garages and car workshops. Apart from differences afforded in the jobs because of gender differences and racial mix, there are also jobs that are more or less reserved for foreigners.
Thus, Indonesians will take on the heavy construction work while Bangladeshis will gravitate to the "softer" jobs that offer a decent income for them to be able to send money home. These are the petrol kiosk attendants, restaurant assistants, and even the sweepers in apartment blocks and homes.
What is more interesting, these foreigners are not adequately compensated for accidents happening to them. They only get a flat salary, but inclusive of uniforms and a house to stay, which would usually consist of a dormitory space on top of a shopping lot.
For restaurant owners, the help of such a foreigner is a boon for the business. Not only can these people cook but they can also manage the restaurants fairly well and unsupervised. Imagine nowadays for a nasi lemak to be cooked by a Bangladeshi or going into a teppanyaki restaurant and finding the Bangladeshi preparing the teppanyaki.
The practice of hiring foreign workers nowadays is by total numbers based on requirements. Thus, guards are hired by the hundreds and sent to various establishments to take on the jobs offered. They can also be transferred from one job to another as part of the contracts. By doing so, the hirer or job-contractor is assured of a continuous employment of their hired hands. As the situation is now controlled by the government, the hiring of foreign maids has now been regularised.
By way of racial differences in the job market, it is a common scene for us to see nowadays the Chinese going for IT-related jobs and selling of cell-phones in shopping malls, while the Malays go for mainly despatch rider jobs. The latter category is believed to be more popular as these people could show off their motorcycles to their girlfriends and admirers.
A category of jobs that sees a lot of participation by Malay youths is that of operating a burger joint all over the towns and cities in Malaysia. Many a success story has resulted from such eager efforts. Many have also floundered. The night markets or pasar malam are teeming with these young people trying to make a living selling all sorts of things for a few ringgit.
According to a survey, the main motivation for them to go and do this kind of selling is really the search for a cheap experience and to pass their time. They are never keen on holding a proper job in an office or a business. They are happier at doing these small-selling stints and enjoy their take-home among friends.
A trend that is fast catching up among our youths, especially the Malays, is to follow the advice of their parents, "never to work too hard". Another way is to study for a diploma and then finish this by selling burgers on the streets.
Gone are the days when our youths were ambitious and job-hungry and parents so pushy of their children. Today, with the good life promised for them, parents are no longer caring so much of their children's future. Something cannot be right here for a country striving towards achieving its Vision 2020 goal!