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How ready are you?

2 months ago / ntuc / working girl / worklifesg

Thinking about life and erm, employment prospects lol.

I met up with an ex-hallmate from uni the other day. To catch up (can't believe it's been almost TEN years since we graduated), gossip and talk shop re how we can work together.

I've said more than once that I do not live off this blog haha but well, this blog has opened opportunities in social media and digital work which is what I currently do for a living. My uni friend runs her own business too - in the fields of videography and animation - so it's good to see how we can work together since we pretty much run in similar circles.

It's funny, though, how we both ended up here.

I mean, after all, I got myself an Economics degree and she, a finance degree and when we were doing the essential Fong Seng nasi lemak supper runs (NUS hall-dwellers will understand) and overnight mahjong sessions, we'd always thought that we would end up in banking.

You know, being part of the Raffles Place crowd with our Ferragamo pumps? Instead, we chose the sneakers life. Largely cause doing your own thing doesn't pay that much. Not to mention the volatile income too.

(Though probably the banking sector is nowhere less volatile. My closest girlfriends are in the industry and everyday we hear of banks downsizing and cutting jobs... not the most highly-ranked sector for job stability for sure lol.)

Then again, with our economy getting from bad to worse... is job stability even a real thing?

Because I have always been doing my own thing, job stability was never really something I could relate with. Your current month's income is dependent on how hard you work, how lucky (or unlucky) you are and... I can't say for sure that next month's salary is gonna be there. You can't expect your business to be there forever too... I had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea before, when I didn't know if I should continue losing money in a particular business or to end it.

And risk being jobless.

Being jobless scares me.

Not only because of the lack of income but the idea that I am just not good enough for employment... by another employer, by a business partner, and by society at large. The thought of being irrelevant scares me.

My undergraduate studies in Economics didn't prepare me for the career I chose (unless you count those days spent giving Econs tuition lol) and all the skills I have now are all self-taught, either through online tutorials, stalking observing industry professionals, reading a hell lot and just lots of winging it sometimes.

(Contrary to popular belief, my skills aren't just limited to the ability to smile at the camera while holding skincare products lol)

Though I certainly wish that there were affordable classes I could have attended that could make running my businesses easier. Putting together my first P&L via Google made me cry. I know, I could have gone to a private accountancy school but I wasn't going to splash thousands of dollars on a course when I could throw it into the business.

BUT I highly believe in lifelong learning (so propaganda lolol I know but it's true!!!!) and to continuously upgrade our skills and learn new ones.

Heard of SkillsFuture?

It's a not-so-new national movement to help Singaporeans with our skills upgrading and deepening so we can be more competitive in the workforce and in turn this translates to better jobs, higher incomes and higher standards of living.

Additionally, as part of the movement, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above received $500 SkillsFuture Credit in January 2016. Your credits will not expire and the government will provide periodic top-ups, so you may accumulate your credits. Your SkillsFuture Credit can also be used on top of existing government course subsidies and UTAP by NTUC to pay for a wide range of approved courses to upgrade yourself.

And it's not just limited to boring classes... the language school where I'm learning Thai is also included in the list! (And no, my Thai is NOT limited to just pad thai and tom yum goong.)

(I also know tom yum talay ok.)

NTUC ASG Patrick Tay on the efforts required in tackling structural challenges to ensure that we emerge stronger, future-proofed and future-ready

With Budget 2017 just around the corner and the Labour Movement aka NTUC has a focus on helping the ‘future unemployed’ take on ‘future jobs’ - aka making sure I have a job when I'm 45 and when new media isn't new anymore lol.

With the new Future Jobs, Skills, Training (FJST) set up by the Labour Movement on 1 Jan 2017, NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay mentions in a blog post how we can prepare 'tomorrow's unemployed' for tomorrow's jobs.

Mr Tay zoomed in to three areas in which the Government can help us Singaporeans:

1) To support companies/employers by funding training leave for workers to attend SkillsFuture courses/programmes.

2) To review/augment the skilling schemes to provide direct wage support to employees going through re-training

3) The MOM and relevant government agencies should share information on available jobs and the information mined from the Jobs Bank to quickly place workers in relevant jobs and also better identify employment and skills-in-demand trends.

As for us, what can we do as individuals?

In the wise words of my Daddy,

Don't be a sitting duck.

Be as able, agile and adaptable as you can and don't feel defeated by your higher education and age.

If you've never watched The Intern, I strongly suggest you do. Not because there's Anne Hathaway (though that too!) but it serves as a constant reminder that we cannot be phased out by society... if you don't allow yourself to!