Written by Lim Sia Hoe.
Coping with Job Transition
An inevitable consequence of growing older is dealing with
transitions and the challenges they bring. These transitions occur in all
facets of life. We deal with declining physical and mental abilities, where
what were originally simple tasks no longer appear to be so. We struggle to
keep up with technology, and the many new modes of communication and expectations
that come with it. And of course, for most of us in the workforce, we confront
issues like redundancy, income insecurity, and ageism – matters which did not
seem all that relevant in the earlier years.
Indeed, job transition is among the tougher challenges to
overcome, and we find many mature aged workers ill-prepared and at a loss when
such situations befall them. So how can we best cope with a job
1. Stay Positive
First, we need to stay positive and motivated. A job change
is not the end of the world. If anything, it can open doors to new
opportunities in new fields. A national effort is afoot at creating quality
jobs across all sectors and skill levels, as well as encouraging more flexible
work arrangements by employers. To take advantage of these developments, the
first step is to adopt a positive outlook, trust in your abilities, and believe
that there are more good years ahead. And there
2. Stay Active
The next step is to get to work. Research for the jobs of
interest and apply for them with confidence. And do not hesitate to seek help
in doing so. The Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and NTUC e2i provide a
range of employment support services for jobseekers, and these are catered for
both the professional executives as well as the rank-and-file. For instance,
both organisations’ services go beyond career guidance and job matching, and
even include skills conversion courses and place-and-train programmes where
mid-career jobseekers are hired and reskilled to take on the new job roles.
It is most heartening to hear that both the government and
the NTUC will be enhancing these services to reach out to more workers in the
coming years. For instance, more mature PMEs can look forward to support under
the aptly named Career Support Programme which provides wage support incentives
for employers to hire these PMEs and provide training. The rank-and-file staff
can benefit from the additional place-and-train programmes to secure jobs. So,
the jobs are there and so are the support schemes. We should seize these
opportunities and that starts by being active.
Even for seniors opting for retirement, they can and should
seek guidance from a job/life coach in order to achieve a secured and engaged
retirement for themselves. I read this memorable quote from motivational author
Kevin Ngo that if one does not make the time to create the life that he or she
wants, a lot of time will be spent dealing with a life he or she does not want.
This principle applies especially pertinently for seniors transitioning into
retirement. Centre for Seniors runs a series of Work Life Transition
workshops for seniors too.
3. Stay Hungry
Third, we need to be realistic in our expectations and be
receptive to other types of work as well as remuneration arrangements.
Unsurprisingly, jobseekers who insist on business as usual (i.e. same work with
same perks as their previous job) are often those who find it hardest to
transition to new jobs. It pays to approach any new job with the same hunger as
we did our first job, except that we now have the added benefit of experience
and wisdom to accompany the application.
4. Stay Healthy
Lastly and as importantly, throughout this transition process, it essential to maintain an optimal state of well-being through a combination of healthy eating, exercise and rest. The benefits of good health require no explanation and cannot be overstated. Be well, so that things can be well.