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I joined travel during a pandemic… Was it worth it?

Never have I ever…thought that travel would come to such a dramatic pause and that I would choose to leave my job to join the travel industry during a global pandemic. But hey, here I am, typing away from my desk in Malaysia, as I share my first-hand experience with you as a Content Writer in Klook’s Culture & Engagement team. 

Having taken on my “Klooker” identity for a full month, I can now tackle a question I get from quite a few well-meaning friends and family: Is it worth joining a travel company now? While I can’t speak for you, read on to find out whether I think the answer is a yay or nay. 

 

From Klook user to Klooker

Prior to joining Klook, I was already a loyal user, vouching for the platform’s convenience and usability. I had booked travel passes, admission tickets, and regularly sent Klook links to my friends who were looking for things to do. Of course, I loved writing reviews with photos after completing an activity to earn Klook credits (free stuff is always awesome)!  

 Review on Klook

Is this fate? Little did I know back then that I would end up joining the Klook team. 

When I came across a job posting for a Content Writer last year, it caught my eye immediately. Although I was familiar with the brand, it piqued my curiosity on how things worked behind the scenes. I did some research on LinkedIn and their careers website, and everything they wrote about their culture left a positive impression on me. But I got to wondering - could it just be all show and no go?  

 

Taking a leap of faith 

As I went into the interview process, it was unlike any I’d ever experienced. The recruiter, hiring manager and everyone I interviewed with were all based in other countries. Everything was done 100% virtually, and I would be joining a team spread all over the region. This was unnerving of course; for the first time ever I would be joining a team that is not physically in the same city as me. 

However, my fears were unfounded. Everyone I spoke to gave me the opportunity to ask questions, gave me feedback, managed my expectations, and shared with me their experiences working at Klook. I was enticed by the opportunity to work on global projects, develop my craft, and be part of a dynamic team. By the end of the process, my gut instinct was screaming “YES!”. 

virtual_interview_meme.jpeg
100% relatable

 

If this opportunity had presented itself during normal times, there would be no hesitation on my part. I definitely put more thought into it and even drew up a list of pros versus cons to reflect on my career path just to make sure I wasn’t diving in blindly. 

Indeed, the travel industry was hit the hardest when the pandemic first started, and there were rounds of layoffs across all the major companies. However, I also saw how Klook managed to pivot and maintain its online presence through domestic experiences and stay relevant to existing and new users. So long as people were looking for things to do, Klook would likely always stay relevant. I’m also holding on to that faith as an avid experience seeker myself. 

At that time, I was also seeking something new and different in my career path. I had worked several years as an SEO content writer. So I wanted to be more versatile with my writing and explore different forms of copy. I could see myself growing into this role at Klook, so eventually, I took a leap of faith and accepted the job offer wholeheartedly.

 

Klook_Swag.jpg

I received awesome new joiner swag a few days before onboarding.

 

Experiencing Klook’s culture

From day one, I entered a whole new world. I managed to get a quick peek of the Kuala Lumpur office (it was closed then due to safety measures) while collecting my new laptop, but my first month was mostly spent working out of my room or in co-working spaces. I was both nervous and excited to connect with my new team virtually, and my worries quickly dissipated once we started chatting! We bonded quickly over video call backgrounds (my go-to is a cozy cafe backdrop) and coffee (comparing hand grinders and beans). 

Really quickly from the get-go, I was able to work on internal copy for the Klook Salutes recognition awards, executive emails, the company’s newsletter, and promoting our year-end events. Lucky me, joining in November meant that I could be part of the Malaysia office party, and I quickly said yes to volunteering in one of their Christmas games. There was also a wealth of resources on the company intranet and learning portal that I could explore. On days when I found myself with time to spare, I’d ask the team if they needed help with anything, and there would always be something available. 

Blog_Banner.pngKL Office celebrated Christmas Party both virtually and in-person 🎉

 

I found myself quickly getting used to the rhythm of the team. Every Tuesday I would have hourly 1:1s with my manager, and every Thursday the team would meet to update each other. In between though, I’d find myself still talking to one teammate or another via our messaging platform Lark, or having video calls to get the latest on individual projects. As we have never physically met each other in person, it’s also great that we talk about things beyond the tasks at hand in our catch-ups. I always leave our team calls with a refreshed perspective or a surge of motivation as my teammates help me understand the impact my work will bring, no matter how big or small. 

 

Google_Meet_Screenshot.jpg
Throwback to when my team and I brainstormed impromptu for this particular blog post on a Google Sheet on Google Meet.

 

In a fast-paced, constantly-evolving work environment like Klook, I’ve learned that feedback is really the key to success. As a writer, it’s not always easy to switch between different tones of voice in an instant like flipping a switch. In my first few assignments, my manager gave me feedback that my copy read “too corporate”, and gave me some tips on how I could adapt my writing. Without her feedback, I wouldn’t have been able to tell if my copy was effective and if I was on the right track. 

Feedback is one of Klook’s core beliefs, and it is reflected on a day-to-day basis throughout the company. We even have a system where you can leave feedback for anyone in the company. Say you’ve worked with a teammate who mentored you through a project and you’d like to thank them, simply click into their profile and leave a comment like so:

Klook_Salutes.png

A comment I left on my coworker Rezky’s profile to express my gratitude for his guidance.

 

So, was it worth it?

Coming from a previous workplace where I used to be spoon-fed with step-by-step instructions and detailed how-to’s, Klook’s autonomous workplace culture has opened my eyes. It allows me to exercise my creativity and make decisions for the tasks I work on. If I feel lost, I know that I can always count on my teammates for suggestions or ideas. 

Klook certainly walks the talk when it touts independence and accountability as part of its work culture. Have a project idea? Propose it. Lead the project. Ask for other team members’ support if need be, then execute it together. That’s how we get to unleash our entrepreneurial spirit in a project we’re passionate about.  

It all boils down to the priorities that matter to you most at your job. To me, it isn’t about the outlook of the industry (which by the way, travel is recovering) but more about the culture of a workplace and whether my job adds value to my life. And this opportunity at Klook fulfills all my expectations. 

My verdict on joining Klook at this point in time? If you’re comfortable with change, want to take ownership and drive ideas, and want to make a difference with your work, I’d say go for it! If anyone asks me now I’ll gladly share, “Joining a travel company during a pandemic was SO worth it”. 


Ready to step out of your comfort zone like I did?

Apply for your dream role at Klook

 

Byline.pngPosted by Yen Lyn Goh, Content Writer - Culture & Engagement
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Yen Lyn creates content for Klook's global employer branding and internal communications. When she's not writing, she listens to crime/horror podcasts, experiments with new recipes, and tries to balance her Kindle with one hand before sleep. 

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