Finding New Cheese In The Millennial Rat Race

Cash, Car, Credit Card, Condominium, and Country Club — for a time, the cheese at the end of the rat race was very clear for Singapore’s youth.

But these may soon to be destined to join the long list of things that millennials have doomed to irrelevance.

Disrupting the old-fashioned cycles set by these traditional values, millennials are increasingly looking to forge their own path in the world — in search of renewed purpose and passion. But this is no easy task according to the founders of youth career discovery portal Glints.

Their own experience was a testament to the tough choices millennials have to make to find the right path in both career and life. Not too long ago, Glints’ founders, Oswald Yeo, Seah Ying Cong, and Looi Qin En, faced a difficult decision to drop out of college in the US to pursue their business venture full time. Coming full circle, they are driven by the desire to help young people in their uncharted destiny towards career discovery and self-actualisation, a skill that the traditional path of education doesn't equip you with.

“Work is such a huge part of your life — it takes up 8 to 12 hours a day! If we can help people to do what they love, and even get better at it, then we can make them a lot happier and more productive,” says CEO Oswald Yeo.

While Glints was swiftly incepted to capitalise on the unmet demand for new talent in the start-up scene, its early success stories spurred the founders to look for greater meaning and purpose for their fledgling company.

A job matching he had made to a former primary school classmate left a lasting impression on CTO Seah Ying Coon. After joining one of Glints’ early clients, his friend quickly progressed into a co-founder role — taking the company to Silicon Valley’s famed Plug and Play accelerator and later moving to the US to close Series A funding.

“Playing such a positive and pivotal role in creating a new trajectory for success in his career (and life) gave us true satisfaction and really validated our efforts,” explains Seah. Helping him and others like him discover their true passions and facilitating their pursuit of it has allowed Seah to uniquely contribute to society — fuelling his own cycle of fulfilment.

“His mom wasn’t too pleased he dropped out of NTU to chase his start-up dreams though,” he adds, with a bashful chuckle. Seah sees Glints as his way of breaking young people out of the doldrums of the ‘system’ and raising the consciousness of humanity. He feels that Singaporean youth are products of “a conventional system” that teaches them what to do but rarely prompts them to think critically about their own paths in life.

Similarly, COO Looi Qin En says that bringing such impact and value to other people’s lives in a tangible and concrete way allows him to use his strengths to attain fulfilment. He hopes that the 250,000 or so internship and job matches he and Glints have facilitated since 2013 will each be the beginning of a success story. “To be able to use my skills to unearth and give fellow millennials access to new opportunities gives me great satisfaction!”

While the numbers tell an impressive story, Glints recently secured US$2 million in their Series A funding round, they are cautious not to peg self worth and value to these external indicators. They are resolute in the knowledge that while growth of the company is essential to success, fulfilment from the venture can only come from the positive impact it continues to make.

“Entrepreneurship is really tough, and a greater purpose and mission is essential to keep us going. It has to be more meaningful than just making money or doing something cool and interesting. For us, it has become helping people find what they love and guiding them to reach their full potential.”

As they work towards greater purpose and fulfilment, Glints’ co-founders believe that everyone can do the same too. They believe that professional success, financial gain, and fulfilment can go hand in hand.

While millennials look to expand their horizons and look far and wide on their journeys of self-discovery, Oswald thinks that the answers may lie within one’s own conviction. “You don’t find your purpose, you decide on it. Then you need to have faith in your decision and follow through.”. Instead of looking outward for something that may never be found, looking inward can be the key to self-actualisation.

Seah, on the other hand says that fulfilment for him can be found in the progress towards having a positive impact on society and humanity. He urges young people to ask themselves the “right questions” to shape their motivations and “mental models”; instead of worrying about the next promotion or earning a bigger paycheck.

“Ask yourself how you can uniquely contribute to the world. If not what is the best way to find out. You may not arrive at the right (or any) answer quickly but it is a good thing to always think about in the background!”

** Looi Qin En, COO of the company, has since left Glints.