Atika
Lim

Marketing Specialist, ExpressVPN

“In five years, I hope to be at a more senior level in my career, enjoying the work I do and working on something that continues to positively impact people’s lives. I hope, as well, to be an inspiration for other women in the tech industry and volunteer my time even more to such groups.”

To me, success is waking up every morning for work without dread.

I feel so lucky to enjoy what I do because I feel like that’s not usually the case for most people. I know some people define success in their career as achieving a certain title or salary, but I think it’s all pointless if you’re not happy. . I’m so thankful I actually enjoy the work I do at ExpressVPN, and I really like the people I work with, so I’ve not once woken up dragging my feet to work.

My boyfriend at the time was a software developer for Sephora. Through him, I learned about the tech industry, and it was interesting to realize the sort of impact his work had on improving the user shopping experience. He also shared about the typical tech company working culture – laid-back, less hierarchical – and it sounded like an industry that aligned with my views and beliefs. I was also taking a basic Python course so that also sparked my interest in technology.

Pivoting to an entirely new industry was tough. Journalism and traditional print media were all I knew so when I first joined the tech industry, the learning curve was pretty steep.

It took me a while to adapt to the tech company culture and there was just so much I didn’t quite understand, but I truly enjoyed learning all about it. The first startup I worked at ended up folding but it gave me such an invaluable experience.

I also think that is the beauty of working in the tech industry. Things move really fast; it’s really exciting, but the people are usually humble, open to collaboration, and are so motivated. For example, at ExpressVPN, the developers I’ve collaborated with work on such amazing things, yet remain so humble and will patiently explain concepts to me.

Thankfully, I’ve not faced any sort of challenges due to my race at ExpressVPN. Impostor syndrome is a challenge I face, and it’s something I experience constantly. At the end of the day, when I look at what I’ve done in the past, I feel confident with who I am. I’m surrounded by amazing people who remind me that I am worthy and deserve a place here. It’s something I end up needing to manage and understand more about myself in the future. I have definitely experienced some forms of subtle racism in other workplaces though. From being told I should learn to speak Mandarin because I am half Chinese, to having colleagues who spoke only Mandarin when I didn’t quite understand the language, to being told that it’s a great thing that I’m unlike other minority women and that I’m “different”, I’ve heard it all.

I’m glad that there’s been a lot more exploration of subtle racism in Singapore in the media, and now more than ever, there are educational tools readily available on social media for people to understand what they can and cannot say.

I actually don’t have an undergraduate degree, but I always focused on getting experience. I am lucky to have worked for companies that recognise the experience i’ve accumulated.
Follow your gut, stand up for yourself, and learn to be a lot more confident in your abilities. I’ll be honest, I still struggle with the last one from time to time.

Hopefully somewhere with a lot of cats! I kid!

In five years, I hope to be at a more senior level in my career, enjoying the work I do, and working on something that continues to positively impact people’s lives. I hope, as well, to be an inspiration for other women in the tech industry and volunteer my time even more to such groups.