[By Marie-Blaise Capo-Chichi]
Experience. Ingenuity. Adversity. Challenges. Management. Power. Passion. Bravery. Hard work.
These are words we have all heard or used in everyday contexts – terms that seem to be the watchwords of this generation. And yet, do we really know what they mean?
For most of us they might just be concepts used in the jargon of life, but for the speakers at ETC. Magazine Club’s first Speaker Session, Mr. Rubin Khoo, Managing Editor of August Man, and Ms. Anna Taing, Managing Editor of The Edge, these are words they are faced with every day working in the line of fire.
Both speakers visited Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus on 27 September to tell the tales of two young adults walking into the working world, with credentials far from the fields they are now working in. Majoring in Social Psychology, Mr. Khoo found his way into the magazine industry and has since stayed there, scaling one obstacle after the other to aid the growth of what was once a four-man ship. Ms. Anna, having studied Economics, is now a Financial Journalist after having ridden out the rougher patches earlier in her career. One thing both speakers appreciate is the fact that their background in different fields has broadened their line of vision, giving them a wider view of the world. The first lesson their stories teach us is not to confine ourselves, but to open ourselves up to other experiences in order to broaden our knowledge.
Many battles taught these young adults what is simply termed as ‘experience’. However they soon learnt that they were not done gaining experience – that it is an endless process with multiple mutually inclusive factors. Mr. Khoo shared with us that in his line of work, ‘ingenuity’ is a key factor, in a world where everybody is competing for the same thing – you need to be sharp, innovative and willing to take risks. You need to target the unexplored lands and establish your sovereignty over it, and maintain it at all costs. Ms. Anna also shared with us that in order for people to pick up your writing, you need to be able to pick the reader’s interest first. In her own words, every ‘[…] article is a creation, every article should be a story…how you craft that story is very important’. Both speakers agree that in this field you need passion to give you the drive to continue when you are faced with the worst of adversities.
At the start of the sharing session both speakers agreed that in order to succeed you need to have a tough exterior, and you need to know where you are going. Ms. Anna asked the audience what they want from life – money or job satisfaction?
If it’s money you want, then maybe journalism is not for you – long hours, no weekends, and endless writing, fact-checking and editing can make it a thankless job. But if you are working for satisfaction, or like Ms. Anna, for an opportunity to write to put across your thoughts to the world without restraint, you are welcome to try your luck at The Edge. Your work may not change the world, but it may cause a ripple effect strong enough to start something and you will see for yourself, as Ms. Anna puts it ‘[the] power of the pen, the mighty pen’.
Throughout the whole session the speakers kept reminding the participants to keep in mind that nothing comes easy – you need to be responsible, committed and dedicated to your work. Nobody starts big – it took Mr. Khoo, who joined August Man when it was still small, years to bring it where it is now, and Ms. Anna, who joined The Edge when it was at a stage where everybody was uncertain about its future, slowly but steadily climbed up the ranks from novice writer to Managing Editor. At the end of the day they are where they are because they persevered.
It might take years – years of going through the grind, self-doubt and self-discovery, years of learning – but to make it through, arm yourself with that experience, embrace ingenuity, stoke your passion and gather your courage. Challenges will always lie in wait, but as these two individuals have taught us, perseverance is key.