Learning > Inspiration

Career switch helped manager, 56, move forward after retrenchment

Calvin Yang on 27 Sep 2020

The Straits Times


Facebook Email

For more than 27 years, Mr Tim Tan worked at an oil and gas multinational corporation, rising to the position of production and planning manager. Just over a year ago, the 56-year-old was retrenched following the firm's restructuring.


His worry about getting another job at his age mounted as job applications he sent out, one after another, were rejected.


"Naturally, I was apprehensive because I have friends in similar circumstances who faced much difficulty in landing another job after being laid off," says Mr Tan, who had managed more than a dozen production and planning executives.


"Rejections were common. I was turned away from many jobs even though I met the job requirements."


After a month of job hunting, he sought help from Workforce Singapore's Careers Connect. This involved consulting a career coach and attending workshops, where he met a consultant who referred him to prospective employers.


Finally, in February this year, he was offered an operations manager role by 3D Metalforge, a small and medium-sized enterprise specialising in 3D metal printing.


He was then enrolled in a six-month professional conversion programme for advanced manufacturing engineers to help him ease into his new role and pick up new skills, such as selective laser melting.


He manages a team of engineers and operations specialists and is responsible for the firm's daily manufacturing operations.




Mr Tan recalls the pain of leaving his previous company not knowing what was to come. It was his first job after graduating with a master's in advanced manufacturing technologies from the University of Manchester in 1992.


"It was a very sad day for me as the company was like a second home and the colleagues were like family," he says.


That period was a "trying time" for his family, recalls the father of two children aged 22 and 27. The younger child had just entered university when he was laid off and his 58-year-old homemaker wife had to work part-time as a service crew member in the food and beverage sector and wait on tables to help with the family's finances.


"It was a tough situation, especially when my income dropped to zero but expenses remained as before. I was constantly worried about providing for them," he reveals.


Thankfully, his current firm was impressed by his wealth of experience, managerial skills and aptitude to learn.


Mr Tan, whose expertise was in precision engineering within the oil and gas industry, had to face a steep learning curve as he transited from a traditional manufacturing background to the emerging "additive" manufacturing industry, which includes using new technologies.




However, he believes that the job expectations affecting workers today are no different from when he started out in his previous oil and gas job.


Traits such as a good working attitude and a willingness to learn and take on new responsibilities are still important for a job, he adds.


Looking back, Mr Tan, who now mentors new trainees and interns, says his career switch was a necessary one as it allowed him to move forward and support his family.


"Taking this step has allowed me the opportunity to learn new things and gain new experiences," he declares.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



The views, material and information presented by any third party are strictly the views of such third party. Without prejudice to any third party content or materials whatsoever are provided for information purposes and convenience only. Council For The Third Age shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person accessing or acting on any information contained in such content or materials. The presentation of such information by third parties on this Council For The Third Age website does not imply and shall not be construed as any representation, warranty, endorsement or verification by Council For The Third Age in respect of such content or materials.