My army buddy Kurt is a most admirable man. He hopes his mid career switch would inspire others, who are stuck or who seek to improve themselves, to make the change before they are forcibly run up a dead end due to age discrimination. This is his personal journey:
Written by Kurt Lim
The journey to where I am today wasn’t a smooth sailing one. I had spent more years keeping up with the formal education system than most others. First, it took me 6 years to complete my O’levels examinations, then it took him 4.5 years to complete his Engineering Diploma.
By the time I had completed my tertiary education and was enlisted for National Service, I was already 23 years old. On the other hand, most of my peers including Keching were only 18 years old. It is a good 5 years difference.
It was a good stint for me, having been enlisted into the elite unit of our armed forces with Keching, where I became a commander. Both of us were strengthened physically and mentally. We were also drilled with institutionally tested perspectives and mental attitudes towards problem solving and overcoming challenges.
你的脚开大步也是要跑，开小步也是要跑，might as well 开大步。Personal note from Keching: Kurt encouraging me at Turnhouse Rd when helping me overcome my single greatest physical weakness, i.e. running.
Maturing as a man in the army would prove to aid my life after service. I wasn’t considered for any engineer jobs after completing my NS in 2007. This was due to my poor diploma grades. Yet I remained undaunted.
HI eventually settled into a sales job that was unrelated to my professional qualifications in that year, achieving multiple milestones including:
- Starting my 1st job in April
- Purchasing a new car in May
- Buying a 3 room resale home in June
- Getting married in September
Thereafter, opportunities came quickly in the following year in 2008. I was offered a job as a sales representative in a MNC specialising in Life Sciences and I took it.
Despite the steep learning curve, I quickly got the hang of it by committing long hours into mastering my core products and services.
I did not even know what an Incubator is, let alone understand its purpose.
It wasn’t too long before my new career began to take shape and take off. Sales targets were well met and I was offered various roles within the organisation.
More than 10 years have since passed and I am comfortably excelling in my job. I am also a father of two lovely children aged 10 & 12, and my family and I now live in a private apartment.
However, I am once again drawing upon my courage to start anew. I have done it before; multiple times too.
I am not oblivious to the ever changing nature of employment. At age 39, one is neither fresh out in the work force nor young. Job security in the private sector becomes increasingly insecure for a man my age.
These are considerations I would not have had when I first stepped out into the work force. After all, one feels invincible when young.
I could have chosen to sweep uncomfortable thoughts under the carpet or to tackle the impending problems head on. I chose the latter.