Job / CareerTransition

I lost my job, then another door opens

When God throws you a lemon, make a lemonade—so true

The author made the pivot from casino marketing to real development selling.
The author made the pivot from casino marketing to real development selling.

I have just lost my job in this pandemic, yet I can’t say that I’m not grateful now for each day that comes. When God throws you a lemon, make a lemonade—whoever was the smart aleck who said that was right. I never thought I could use that quip until June 19, 2020 happened.

That morning, I got an email saying that my employment would be only until July 31. We knew job cuts could be coming, but nobody gets really prepared to lose a job. But one could steel oneself to bounce back, like I did.

I was a pioneer employee of a casino resort in Entertainment City. I was casino marketing manager for nearly four years. It was the perfect job for me since I started my career as a VIP host, the entry level of my chosen industry.

I am a Thomasian graduate, Class 2011, with Bachelor of Science in Hotel Restaurant Management.  When I started work in the casino industry in 2011, I was already living on my own. Since my house was too far from my workplace I had to move out. I have learned the value of independence and to save for my future. I was renting my apartment, paying for my groceries, paying my bills, and started to love traveling. I invested in my first insurance plan too—since I was not supporting my family, my salary was solely for my needs.

Then the pandemic happened, and we started to put the casino on lockdown mid-March. First we were placed on a work-from-home set-up, then in April it changed to no-work-no-pay although we could choose to continue receiving our monthly salary as loan from the company which thus must be paid back. I got the email of my retrenchment on June 19 saying my employment was only until July 31.

At first it did not sink in that I was on the list of more than 1,000 employees to be retrenched. I have put myself in a state of acceptance of whatever life brings—being jobless was one of them.

However, as days passed, I felt my rage as my job loss began to sink in and I realized that what they did was unreasonable since I was a pioneer employee and did not have any bad record. I went to my workmates to be consoled even if they were also on the job-cut list. We tried to lift each other’s spirit, trusting that God may have a better plan for us.

After a week, my husband helped me accept my fate and told me to move on.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law work for a real estate developer, Wee Community Developers Inc., and they invited me to join their team as sales manager. I was hesitant at first but since I was jobless, I decided to grab the opportunity even if I did not have any background in selling real estate and relied purely on the training and experience of others to start me on a new career path. I also joined PruLife UK as financial advisor; since I was already working from home I thought selling life insurance was not much different from selling condominiums. I invested time and effort to understand fully both products to be able to sell them efficiently—I consistently joined Zoom trainings and seminars.

I had to learn; I really did not have much of a choice. Casinos are not hiring but rather laying off people, and my only experience was in casino marketing. As they say, if one door closes, another door opens. I believe that online selling was what God wanted me to do at this point in my life, so my time could be more flexible so I could take care of my daughter.

Selling wasn’t really my interest until now. I thought that by being in sales I was a little out of my league because I did not have the personality and attitude for it. Although I am a people-person, I knew more how to promote a product rather than how to sell it. However, I came to realize that indeed, confidence comes from discipline and training. I put my heart into selling properties and insurance and mustered confidence when dealing with clients.

All this must have paid off because I had a number of sales in my first few months.

How do I feel now?

Considering everything I went through these past few months, I am content where I am now. I have set a goal in my job as sales manager at Wee Comm for next year to be able to grasp the job fully and commit to the role as I plan to build a larger team by 2021. I am still working on myself and my knowledge of sales and the real estate industry so that I can continue to be effective in this career and be a dependable manager of my future team.

All my friends are doing well. Luckily, they were not affected too much by the pandemic as they are in industries such as construction and energy.  The only thing different now is they all work from home. I think it was the hospitality industry that was most badly hit by this pandemic.

I am still hungry to learn more and achieve more as I start this venture. I have learned to overcome my fear and commit to getting results.

I have learnt never to give up and not be afraid to try something new. Sometimes you just have to work with whatever you’re given and create your own opportunities. Most importantly, be thankful for everything that is happening—may it be good or bad, there is always a reason for everything.

I am grateful for all the opportunities I continue to get after losing my job. I still consider myself lucky for what I have and what I have become after experiencing the worst that could happen to any employee. Making money is hard and what I have gone through was a true test of perseverance to survive.

I could always fall back on such survival skills, with or without the pandemic. At 31, I am a survivor.

Nadine Chan with husband Kerv and daughter Kaedy

Nadine Chan with husband Kerv and daughter Kaedy


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