Unemployed for a long period

Hi, I am in my 20s and I am in a really long career break. While I am starting my job search, I realised alot of jobs require one year or more experience which makes me wonder and regret if i took the wrong decision to take the break because if I was to start immediately, I would have gotten that experience. And alot of employers actually rejected me because of the career gap. I am not asking for high salary even compared to my peers. I often feel less confidence and it has affected my interpersonal relationship even with my closest friend as i feel shameful not having a job.I tried to find like minded souls and friends in Singapore but everyone around either already have job or even got promotion. In fact most SGreans actually think the career break i took is too long. Therefore I wanted to seek advice is it actually normal and how should I get away with these thoughts.

1 Like

Dear Jinnni,

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re feeling ashamed about not having a job. I hear that you are wondering about career breaks and what is normal/not. It’s important to remember that career breaks can be a normal and healthy part of professional development, and it’s never too late to get back into the workforce.

Could you tell me a bit more about your situation? How long was your career break, and what have you tried? Are there any specific industries or roles you’re interested in returning to? Knowing more about your circumstances will help me provide more tailored support and guidance.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower that promotes the development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability of all levels of the workforce. They may be able to provide some career coaching and guidance. Perhaps you can check out what they might have to offer: https://www.wsg.gov.sg/home/individuals/career-advisory-coaching?

Looking for a job takes time and when it is taking longer than we think it should, it can take a toll on us. Try and remember that while our feelings, thoughts and emotions may fluctuate throughout the day and from day to day, our self-worth never changes. Some things you could try when negative thoughts come up:

  1. Practice affirming yourself daily: look into the mirror and give yourself a hi-5 and tell the person in the mirror he/she is loved, worthy and so very capable.
  2. When negative thoughts come up, you could visualise each of them filling up clouds and floating away or maybe imagine them floating away on leaves in a river.
  3. Try taking deep breaths and long exhalations to relax
  4. Unload to a trusty journal
  5. Keep up a good self-care regime: sleep well, eat well, move (exercise) and meet people and have fun!

Hope this helps! Please take good care!


Hi Northernlights,
Thank you for your reply… I think for me, the reason why I couldnt step out to find job is because I always feel ashamed and yet my past working experience have reflected that I am a poor performer which kinda hinders me from progressing…

I do know of the career coach but I still want to try searching one for myself first as I dont like getting help from others as part of my values and belief… The thing is, I feel that I am really weak minded like my other frens who took break enjoyed thenselves and most of the people around me already secured a job…Meanwhile I am like neither nor as I feel anxious all the time. I feel small and kinda affected my interpersonal relationship.

While I am on a job search now, but most haven been successful due to my lack of experience, i have receive numerous rejections with reason citing my lack of relevant experience altho i have a cert so i do feel more self doubt