Contest Culture Education Sponsored

8 fresh grads tell us their culture shock of joining the Malaysian workforce

A few weeks ago, we wanted to answer a simple question – do kids these days find it hard transitioning to working life? To do this, we worked with our buddies at Hotlink to reach out to fresh grads in Malaysia, and asked them to contrast how their lives have changed in the transition from student life to work life.

One of the key transitions is between Student Life – where you come out from under the protective watch of your parents, and Work Life – when you actually have to forge your own path. You’re not quite protected, but you’re not quite earning the big bucks either…

Which is whyyyy… you might wanna keep things Flex with Hotlink 😉

Click to find out more!

Click to find out more!

Hotlink  Postpaid FLEX is a plan that starts with a low, low RM30 a month fee for 4G high-speed data, unlimited calls and SMS, and then allows you to get add-ons that you can change whenever you want….

  • Unlimited Social bundle (+RM10) – Unlimited data for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Pinterest
  • Unlimited Music bundle (+RM10) – Unlimited data for Spotify, Joox, Sing! Karaoke, and Saavn
  • Unlimited Chat bundle (+RM5) – Unlimited data for WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, Imo and QQ

So you get to pick which bundle you want… e.g. If you just want unlimited social data (cos we know how big those Insta-stories are), then you pay RM30 (Flex) + RM10 (Social) = RM40 per month! Click here to find out more.

That’s why they got us to ask our younger readers what it was about that tricky transition that is sometimes so hard. For the otais reading this, go easy on them k? We were once kids who ponteng sekolah too. See if you remember it being this tough starting out in the real world….


1. Get a boyfriend before you start work – Nuramalina


Back when Nuramalina was a student, she had freedom. When her friends called her out to the movies, or just to roam around the city, she always found herself available and game. Now, she works full-time at a reinsurance firm.

Classes are not like work, we can always skip them (not that often lah I skip, or else I won’t be graduating). Work is basically a repetition of WORK EAT SLEEP and repeat. By the time the clock hits 5, I’m too tired to even go for a drink with my friends. And I do freelance writing, during my lunch breaks and the evening, to gain extra money. I currently do two jobs, like suggested by the old gomen… LOL.

All I can think about is my bed. Thank god I have a boyfriend before I start working, or else, I will be too tired to find one.” – Nuramalina

Grown-up Lesson: “Appreciate the freedom you have when you’re studying”

2. Transport now have to pau on your own – David Yap,

Image via NST

Image via NST

When David was still studying, his parents covered his petrol costs, so he didn’t think much of it driving to college. He was also active in clubs and inter-campus participation as well as the occassional road trip, “which was rather okay as I liked driving a lot and fuel expense wasn’t much of a bother due to the subsidy.” So logically, he got a job at an advertising firm that required him to travel a lot, but it wasn’t quite the same.

“So my current job requires me to travel a lot, be it to meet with prospective clients or site servicing. Travel claims? Good luck with that as it doesn’t even come close to what was required of me. I travel a lot and sites are plenty, but the limited claims mean I have to plan my journey or when any unforeseen circumstance occur, I would have to break the budget to meet the deadline.

Even now, leisurely drives are a privilege as I am required to allocate a big chunk of my own funds to fuel the travelling costs in the course of duty.” – David Yap

Grown-up Lesson:  “Look into your offer letter and contract before signing for a job. If travel is required, be sure it’s fully subsidized or with a reasonable rate….and save, save save! Frugality is key to securing financial security.”

3. How do people work 8 hours a day? – Xu Yiu

Most university students hide a deep dark secret – we don’t actually work that hard (SHHHHH #ihatecilisos). When she was a student, Xu Yiu worked about 4 to 6 hours a day, including a brief nap during lectures. “I spent my time after classes in the most mainstream way – hiding in my room surfing online on my laptop. Other than that go for sport training and events if i have, but most of the time just being a 宅男 (nerd)”.

At present, she isn’t working full-time yet, but she’s already feeling the differences, as a web development intern.

“Walaueh! Say have to work 8 hours a day, I sleep also not that long weh, the ***** thing is that sometimes I have to work 1 to 2 hours past that in order to complete the task given! When I was filling in the work hours form I ask my supervisor like that is it considered OT? He say we don’t have OT here!! Means giving free labor??

I’m intern only eh, have to work like permanent staff, some more they ask me if I can extend my internship because they lack manpower, so means want me to continue to get intern level pay while working like permanent staff no work life balance at all sial” – Xu Yiu

Grown-up Lesson: “Kids, when in school, go for road trips with friends, just do whatever they will make your uni life more interesting, don’t become a 宅男 and regret once you start work. Also, if you find a good company with work life balance then you better appreciate it, man.”

4. You gotta spoon-feed yourself now – Victoria

"Ticer, what color?" "Green," .... "Teacher what color?" Img from FMT.

“Eh boss, cannot finish this in time la. Mommy is picking me up in an hour” Img from FMT.

When you’re in school, your teacher keeps close tabs on you.

“The teacher spoon-fed us the information and tell us what to do all the time. They’ll remind us to pass up our homework on time, guide us and correct our mistakes. As long as we listen and scored well, we are good students” – Victoria

After she started working though, bosses just expect you to get things done, and within a set period.

“I dont even know where to start and I couldn’t possibly ask my boss for help. Not only I need to complete the task given, at the same time I must be socially active. It’s very hard to be a good employee because each and every employer has different guideline.”

Grown-up Lesson: “Be more alert and flexible because the guideline will always change and we must improve ourselves to adapt to a competitive society.”

Speaking of spoon-feeding…


5. The hours are flexible… but not in a good way – Matsutani, F&B

closing time kopitiam kl

During school, despite late-comers and early goers, Matsutani could always depend on the school-bell ringing at 6:40am and 3pm. However, when she finished schooling and started working for an F&B outlet, the hours weren’t quite so set in stone.

“WALAO. IN INTERVIEW SAY 10am-10pm BUT TURNS OUT 9.30AM-11PM. Worst still, the *bleep* customers THAT CAMP EVEN AFTER CLOSING TIME. I MAU BALIK RUMAH ALSO PLS. For 12 hours, we’re seriously underpaid man! RM1500 mana cukup makan….. Travelling expenses also leh”  – Matsusani

Grown-up Lesson:Don’t go into F&B”

And there’s another place you shouldn’t be going to…


6. No more unplanned trips, especially with the unemployed – Lee

No, Genting management doesn't issue MCs - Image via

No, Genting management doesn’t issue MCs – Image via

When Lee was growing up, he had one friend who was spontaneous giler. “My happening friend likes to ajak people to go out and chill in a very wrong timing, but as his best buddy I just say Jom let’s go Genting tomorrow morning and skip class”. However, this changed a bit once Lee started working.

“When I started working, that fella and my gang were still studying. On Wednesday he call us up and go happy hour that night. OK lor go yum-cha only ma. Suddenly we end up in Ipoh and eat dimsum because that fella suggested. He even help me to text my boss that I had food poisoning and cannot go work. The next day I got no MC to submit to the HR so potong gaji.” – Lee

Grown-up Lesson: :”Never be friends with a happening fler unless he/she is working”

7. No more waiting till last minute  – Lily, Retail Leasing

last minute meme

Ok, so it’s the most Malaysian of things to wait until the absolute last minute to do something. Especially in school, Intan remembers how she would procrastinate everything from assignments to daily homework. “But during that time, last minute job was possible and often made us pass certain marks!”

Unfortunately, the same isn’t often the case at her job in the competitive retail leasing space. With constant demand, supply and price changes, the consequences of delays are much heavier than missing an assignment deadline.

“There was one time,  after delaying in issuing letter of offer to the prospect,  the opening date also needs to be deferred which affected the rental income as well.  That’s when I started to realize I can’t do that in working life. There is no mid term break/vacation in working life, it’s continuous cycle. Either you settle the work or you die.” – Lily

Grown-up Lesson: “Plan your work properly, do not procrastinate, put priority on your job!”


8. Your degree might not earn as much as you think – Afiq azmi

When he was studying, Afiq thought that a career as an engineer would guarantee him a good life.

“I thought it would give me enough money to do whatever I want, holiday all over the world etc. Cuz only top students can pass hellish course like engineering right? For sure salary must be high. After going through hell and done with my engineering degree, too young and dumb to notice that many engineers are paid peanuts in Malaysia.” – Afiq

Afiq is now in his 6th working year. While he acknowledges that there are well-paid engineers, particularly in oil and gas, he laments that engineers get paid the same (or less) as other executives with less specialised degrees like HR or hospitality.

“Most of my vendors (installation supervisors) from overseas are getting better pay than I am.I barely survive every month, and I am still driving my ViVa from my uni days.”

Grown-up Lesson: “If you have passion for engineering, go for it. It still can lead you to good salary in future at management level, or as specialists with correct competencies. However, for most industries here in Malaysia, truth to be told, you need to enjoy the peanuts first, while trying to get the correct experience and training. It is a tough field with high competition. Without passion, its better to try something else.”


WOW… Growing up sounds so … HARD

childhood adulthood meme

Take it from us here at CILISOS as well – uni is a cakewalk compared to real life. BUT, seeing the results your work out there, actually being a real part of functional society, and earning your own money are all pretty nice trade-offs 🙂 And trust us, you get used to the hours too.

At the end of the day though, working life opens us up to a whole new world of choices – working your ass off to buy that dream car, taking a pay-cut for a job you enjoy, working shorter hours to focus on family and friends, or y’know… buying a flexible mobile plan that won’t burn a hole in your wallet 😉

And learning that those choices all have their pros and cons, that you need to bear on your own is the biggest lesson of all, as you begin the first few exciting years, of the rest of your life.


Is wearing the Malaysian flag as underwear actually wrong? We investigate...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Here at CILISOS, we believe that the only way to consume information is with a serious dose of flavour. Our aim is to make mundane things like news and current events entertaining, and informative, hopefully in equal measure. Read More

The Serious Legal Stuff


Cilisos Media Sdn. Bhd. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

To Top
Send this to a friend