Article from The Straits Times, ST Forum 19 December 2016

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Straits Times Forum Page Dec 19 2016

Enhance skills, network to prepare for challenging year

The writing is on the wall for Singapore's workers ("Those out of work taking longer to find new jobs"; Dec 14).

Next year looks set to continue to be challenging, and I am sure many Singaporeans will be concerned about what they can do to manage the situation.

We must tweak our mindsets from "it could never happen to me" to "what am I going to do if I lose my job?".

Preparing and doing all we can to prepare for the eventuality instead of worrying is a better use of time and energy. Enhancing our knowledge bank and having two or more sets of skills are two avenues to do this.

The proven and most effective means of job search success continues to be networking. Acquiring and nurturing a network should be a daily or, at least, weekly activity. It will surely pay off over time.

Those who believe they are ready to do something different with their careers and lives have a Plan B.

But, to me, a Plan B is not something to launch when nothing else works. Rather, it is an "insurance plan" for the day when one chooses to get off the corporate bus or is shoved off.

Plan B could be launched when retiring from full-time work, for instance, and be a meaningful activity to keep the mind and body active for as long as possible.

The world will continue to evolve, and businesses will increasingly be disrupted.

This translates to an acute need for us to take a much more proactive stance in taking charge of our careers and lives.

It is a marathon, not a sprint, and we must be ready.

Paul Heng

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