signing paper

Working Life Tips Every Fresh Graduate Should Know

It’s official, you got the job! You can finally check-out those items you have got in your Shopee cart. However, not many know what responsibilities they have once they get a job. Whatever your background may be, new employees should get familiar with what a working life entails. 


Regardless of when the offer letter was emailed to you, we do not want you to feel like a fish out of water! Thus, we have compiled a list of things essential to working life that could benefit you.


Salary Slips and Income Tax

Some things come in pairs, just like your monthly wage and salary slip! There is a lot more to it than just getting money deposited into your bank account, though. Hence, why you should check in with your Human Resource (HR) department. 

calculator, pen, notebook
Source: Top Resume
Get to know when payday is and be aware on how to obtain a salary slip. This slip contains details like the amount of pay you got for that month, bonuses, etc. Employees usually get it emailed to them 3-4 days after their salary is transferred to them. If you do not receive one, request it from your HR! 
Why are salary slips important? It is additional proof that you are legally working! If you are planning to apply for any type of loan like credit cards or housing, agents will ask for 3-6 months worth of salary slips for their record. Also, check on the Employees Provident Fund (EPF)’s site to ensure your account is always updated.

It is also handy to know that you can claim for income tax returns if you are earning RM34,000 annually after EPF deductions. However, prepping your tax file is a whole other guide, but beginners can learn the gist of it from this website.


Transportation tips

Some of us have to travel a distance to get to work everyday. Thankfully, our transport system is reliable enough despite the few kinks here and there. 

Avid users of public transport should opt for concession cards. MyRapid’s concession cards offer 50% all public transport fares for students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. If you don’t fall in any category, there is the My50 and My100 passes that grant you unlimited public transportation use for RM50 and and RM100 respectively. You can view more packages here.
Source: Malay Mail
Vehicle users should also take advantage of the Setel app, where you can get cashback for petrol when using any Petronas fuel station! On top of that, if you got a fine from the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia (JPJ) officer, keep your eyes peeled for seasonal discounts. Oftentimes there is a 30-50% discount on fines like this one, so constantly double-check!
Lastly, try to branch out of the mainstream e-hailing applications. Aside from Grab, MyCar is reliable service, and sometimes cheaper. There are also other applications offering discounts like WhereGo, EzyCab, or even Riding Pink, the all female e-hailing services to ensure the ladies’ safety. 



Basic Employee Rights

A contract may legally bind you to a company, but employers also have a responsibility to ensure the welfare of their workers. In any contract you get, you should always make sure that you are not signing yourself up for a cut-throat job.

signing paper
Firstly, it is by law that every employee should be eligible for leave. Things like sick leave, annual leave and compassionate leave should be clearly stated in your contract. Also, make sure that your salary is legibly stated. In relation to that, you cannot get an unpaid salary or any amount less than what your contract deems. If you are paid less than what you should be getting, do check in with your HR in case there was a mistake. 

Another important contract detail is the date your contract is drafted. If you started working on the 1st of the month but the contract says any day later, enquire about it, for you may not get your full salary. Also, make sure to note your exit clause! This small part is for when you want to resign or move to another company. Exit clauses are vital if you want to jump ship, and can vary from a same-day resignation to submitting up to a 3 month work notice. 


Maintaining Work-Life Balance 

No matter the job, one should always maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, many people find that they are burdened by work daily. To keep yourself in check, there are a few work mantras one can practice to ensure they aren’t stressing themselves out too much. 

drink toast
First and foremost, one should make it a habit to never bring work home if possible. Work tasks should always be kept separate from the homely abode, as it helps create a distinct line in terms of personal boundaries. If it’s truly unavoidable, try to lessen the days you bring work home as it may leave you restless. Everyone deserves an ‘escape’, especially if you want to be back on your A-game for the next day! 

Other ways you should look into is to have weekly meetups with friends or plan something relaxing over the weekend. Even going out after work hours for things like a mamak session or to catch a movie is fine as long as you don’t overtax yourself. It is the little things that make a difference to your possible burnouts!


Loans and New Purchases 

card payment

Source: Wirecutter

One of the many pleasures of working is that you can finally buy the things you have always wanted without needing anyone’s permission. It is an even sweeter deal when you can satisfy your guilty pleasures by taking a loan. However, one should know that any money they take that is not theirs is always considered debt! 
With your salary in mind, always ensure if you can handle taking a loan. For example, if you are buying something in installments, save up enough to be able to pay 3-4 months of the monthly amount. This way if you are suddenly out of a job, your savings can still pay off your loan. Curious on how to calculate if you can afford a loan, or how to survive financially? Check out this series of articles to learn more.
The other devil’s advocate is when you get too excited about owning a credit card. May it be your own when you turn 21 or a supplementary one at the age of 18, never use it unless it’s the last option. Credit cards always have an interest charge, which is imposed if you do not pay the borrowed money on time. Also note that taking out cash from your credit card via an ATM machine also has a separate additional charge! 

As you advance your career, you will learn more shortcuts on your own. Do not be afraid to ask your colleagues or family members for advice, for they were once newbies too! If you are still shy, we hope this list has eased your way in so the working culture does not overwhelm you. 

A realism artist and an aspiring filmmaker. She’s also a devotee to R&B music and an advocate for racial equality.

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