Employee Stories | My Memorable Foray into Impactful Work
Gordon, a Linguistics undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), was one of our marketing interns for the second half of 2021. He shares with us what he’s learned in his time here at Hatch, what he’s grateful for, and his vision for Hatch in the years to come.
As 2020 concluded, I was halfway through my third year in university. I major in Linguistics and in my school, humanities undergraduates aren’t mandated to do professional internships. As a result, developing skills and preparing myself for the workforce was far, far back in my mind.
Come 2021, most of my peers had already completed an internship or two, while I still had no formal working experience. When COVID-19 struck in early 2020, my exchange semester to the United Kingdom was scrapped. I knew then it was time to find work to expand my skillset. Though my lack of experience summoned big question marks to my mind, I was determined to avoid falling into inaction.
Through a webinar, I learned about the Youth Corps Internship Scheme (now renamed the Youth Corps Community Internship) where youths can develop skills while also giving back to society. That was where I discovered the social enterprise Hatch, as they were hiring interns through the scheme.
I was interested in the Content Marketing Intern role because of two things: the job scope, and Hatch’s mission. I’ve always enjoyed writing and wanted to develop my skills in that aspect, and I believe marketing is a crucial contributor to any company’s success. This job was a great intersection for me to learn and grow in both areas.
But most of all, what I found about Hatch revealed the team was genuine about their commitment to the groups they serve. It started out with a train-and-place program dedicated to equipping underserved youths with valuable skills for digital fields. To me, getting to contribute as a part of the Hatch team meant working with purpose, and helping to make a difference. Those were big reasons why Hatch stood out to me.
After a detailed interviewing process, I was fortunately offered the position to work as Hatch’s content marketing intern!
The start of a new chapter
Being my first internship position, I was a mix of emotions before it began. There was excitement, for I would meet lots of new people and learn from them. Nervousness, for I was unsure how I would fare as “the newcomer” (with no prior experience too). I also thought I was expected to know exactly what to do once I started. I hence felt fear too as I thought of multiple ways that I’d fail to deliver.
As it turned out, it was nothing like my fears made it out to be. Everyone was extremely welcoming, friendly, and helpful. The weekly marketing meeting fell on my first day, and everyone was very encouraging when I shared what I hoped to achieve in the first week! I also remember feeling assured as I was able to get a good direction for my first piece.
But things took an unfortunate turn as on my third day, group sizes were reduced.
A rough start made better
Singapore moved into its first Heightened Alert phase, and work shifted online. For the first month, it was tough to focus on my responsibilities at home. I was exposed to lots of background noise and my table was simply a chest of drawers. I doubted my capability because of my slow progress. But I kept it to myself, believing that with time, these feelings would dissipate and things would improve.
It wasn’t until Wing Lum, my supervisor and manager, checked in with me did I realise my situation was less dire than I thought. I felt a lot of guilt for writing fewer articles than expected. But instead of looking at results, she was very supportive and highlighted the good points in my writing. She also gave me concrete tips to further improve my drafts, and to defeat the fabled “writer’s block”.
From then on, it felt like I was less worried while working, and was better able to give my all. After some time, the COVID-19 situation improved and I could go work in office too!
Sincere support given to all
What I liked most about Hatch was the conducive, nurturing environment provided to us. The check-in I mentioned above was one amongst many ways I was provided support and feedback. These were personalised evaluations where we individually discussed what went well with Wing Lum, and received suggestions to improve how we worked together. There was no such thing as wrong questions or useless pointers. I also liked how we would consider everything brought up to make work more effective and pleasant.
The marketing team also had monthly meetings where we shared our progress and motivated each other with tips. We also talked about life and how we spent our time, which is how we got to know each other better.
But the stand-out to me was how we were all given specialised training resources that catered to our jobs. My main role was writing, but I also assisted with strategy and brainstorming; with the training plan, I had a good understanding of where to expand my knowledge, and the best way I could chip in. Wing Lum was also very patient with me all the way, sharing how I could sharpen my writing and insight for better approaching new tasks. I was really grateful for all the guidance and support I received for my work!
Having Trust and Balance
Hatch has genuine respect and faith in its employees. The team believes in our ability to produce great work and enables us to make that possible. We had the space and ability to work on ideas we felt would be valuable, and it drove us to take charge and ownership of our work. In the marketing team, Gabby and Hannah always produced stunning visuals for our social media and documents, while Ke Wei made our website smooth and user-friendly, and refined how our team managed information and updated each other. Ally and You Jing, who completed their internships before me, were also amazing at their jobs!
On several occasions, our co-founders Wan Qing and Victor would tell us to remember to rest more and to avoid tying our self-worth to our work. Along with our third co-founder, Liying, they often encouraged us with words of motivation, sometimes even with food or bubble tea! They would always tell us to go home on time if we were in the office together, and Wing Lum would also nudge me to stop working too if it was already 6 pm.
Hatch values our rest as much as work, and that’s what motivates us to do the best we can while working. Because when everyone is cared for and treated as equals, we can bring our strengths together and achieve much more as a team!
Room for Growth and Exposure
As a part of Hatch, I learnt so much from not just my primary role, but also the many opportunities that surfaced along the way. Right in my first week, Wan Qing asked if I would do a virtual workshop together for teachers from our alma mater! (Fun fact: we used to be classmates in lower secondary!)
Sometime later as our Immersive+ began in July, I was asked to help with some Monday socio-emotional classes as well. As I interacted with the learners, I got to understand their mentality and concerns a little better, and I felt they had really grown and learnt a lot as the program concluded on their Demo Day.
I also helped out with email campaigns, Hatch’s rebranding, as well as our first-ever impact report titled “Courage to Be”. The common point amongst all this was how they were foreign tasks to me, and my immediate concern was whether I could contribute as expected. But they were all great avenues for me to try my hand at new assignments. And in hindsight, I’ve realised the truth is there’s simply a first for everything; I just had to get started. I had the chance to be on board for all these tasks and projects, and I’m glad I received these opportunities.
That’s what you can gain from working with Hatch: ways for you to gain experience in various areas and exposure to new circumstances. This teaches you how crucial soft skills can be, such as being coordinated, having good communication skills, and ultimately, being willing to learn and be taught. Most of all, with the right people, it’s a pleasant and fun experience as well!
Where do you see Hatch in 5 years?
5 years down the road, the team will have expanded, and so will the number of projects it oversees. Things’ll get busier, but the consideration they give to everything won’t diminish. Hatch will continue challenging norms and impacting lives. Because Hatch does meaningful work, and they’re sincere about guiding the individuals and organisations under its wing. And with the recent IMDA partnership for the Digital for Life movement, I’m excited for what else might be in store in the near future.
What does “enabling digital journeys” mean to you? How has working at Hatch changed that opinion?
The phrase “digital journeys” is more common, as people might assume it happens with ease, only needing time. Not many would consider how you could “enable” one’s digital journey. On that note, I think it’s about supporting someone as they establish themselves in the digital space.
The beneficiaries that come to mind are those unfamiliar with technology, online platforms, and all things digital. Ultimately, how they use their knowledge depends on them. But being an “enabler” would mean you make things easy for them to understand and utilise. You provide a great degree of support and guidance so they can be well-initiated into the digital space for the long term. If they want to harness their knowledge in digital for business or impact, it’d be up to them and their ideas.
Since my time with Hatch, the phrase has been somewhat streamlined towards people seeking to empower themselves or their business through digitalisation. The essence of “enabling” stays: through Hatch’s work, we indeed provide extensive help to those keen to pick up digital skills and receive direction for digitalising. But on top of that, we’re also on this journey with you from start to end. It’s so you can have smoother transitions into subsequent phases of life, or into deducing the next step for your business.
With Hatch, “enabling” also constitutes plenty of clarifying, guiding, and suggesting. Working here has inspired me to generalise and apply this with others I encounter on my own life journey through life as well. I hope whenever I can advise and assist someone, I can provide them that direction and surety which Hatch provides the groups it serves.
Writer’s Note: It was an enjoyable time working with Hatch — in fact, I extended my internship with them because I wanted to learn more and do more as a part of the team! I’m glad I did so, and I wish them all the best. If you’re drawn to what they do or are considering applying to work here, just go for it! I hope you’ll like it just as much as I did.