IN OUR fast-changing business world, many people will experience losing their jobs at least once in their working lives as companies react to the constantly changing social and business landscapes.

In yesterday’s article, I discussed how a recent client, Mr Chan — who is 56 and lost his job in April this year — is managing his retrenchment experience.

Like many people in his situation, he turned to his family and friends for emotional support, and called upon his network for leads in his job search.

The next step is to move forward with a plan, as Mr Chan did.


Create an action plan

If your main goal is to find employment as soon as possible, you have to spend most of your time on job search activities while making room for skills upgrading, leisure and keeping fit.


•   Job search

Mr Chan’s top priority is to secure another full-time job, so he has come up with an aggressive plan of action. His job hunt begins every weekday morning, from Monday to Friday, where he looks and applies for jobs.


•   Time out

Looking for a job can be stressful, so it is important to take a break.

Mr Chan says: “I treated weekends the same as when I was employed — a break from routine. I understood that I must take a little time to stop and recharge.”


•   Skill up

This is the time to bridge any gaps in your skill set to prime you for any opportunities that come your way.

Check the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) website for subsidised courses that are relevant to your industry or even those that will help open doors to a different career

Mr Chan spends two to three hours on weekdays on studies for a pharmaceutical-related course.

He was relieved to find out that about 70 per cent of his course fees would be funded by WDA.

He believes that graduating from this course will help him to find a new job in Singapore’s high-tech pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing industries where there is a skill shortage.


•   Keep fit

Coping with job loss and managing a job search require mental toughness and stamina. A regular exercise regimen will help you feel stronger and happier.

Many studies show that when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body that can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook on life.

Mr Chan’s new routine includes hitting the gym thrice a week and learning to swim.

He is committed to improving himself physically as he believes this routine will not only make him fitter but will also ultimately help him to spend less on health-care needs.


Three tips

He has three pieces of advice for people who are in a similar situation:


•   Think positive and positive things will come your way

Worrying and stressing will only bring you more worry and stress — it’s like the Law of Attraction.


•   The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow

For every challenge encountered, there is an opportunity for growth. Always try to step out of your comfort zone.


•   Learning is the key to maintaining your employability

Pick up a second skill so that you have something to fall back on. I believe that change usually opens up new opportunities.


Future proof your work life

Our work lives are constantly changing because of the combination of economics and technology.

These realities force us to change our attitudes, whether we like it or not.

The “security” of having a job is actually “no security” at all.

Retrenchment exercises still occur, so even if you are safe now, it doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow.

To be successful in this new environment, you need to continually review your employability status.

One other option is to work towards self-employment. Adjust your mindset from thinking like an employee to thinking and acting like a business owner and entrepreneur.

If this idea attracts you, spend some time exploring the possibilities and doing research.

Talk to people who are taking this route and ask them for advice on  how to get started, even in a small way.

Mr Chan’s passion is in supply chain management, so his future plan is to operate a fifth-party logistics company to provide shared services and supply chain solutions to small and medium-sized companies.


Article by Paul Heng, founder/managing director and executive coach of NeXT Career Consulting Group, Asia. For more information, visit