PMETs must reflect if their expectations are reasonable

Much has been discussed on why teachers leave ("Slightly higher resignation rate among teachers in first 5 years"; Nov 8), and the heavy administrative workload is often cited as one of the reasons causing career dissatisfaction.

Some teachers I have spoken to are quick to say that the Education Ministry should hire people to handle the administrative work so that teachers will be able to devote more of their time towards more valuable work.

Indeed, their views are microcosms of the opinions that professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) share in general.

Besides teachers, other professionals in industries like healthcare, engineering and finance often share the same views with regard to the administrative workload they are presented with.

It is timely that PMETs realign their career expectations.

No one enters a profession expecting to be exempt from administrative work, which is often seen as the unglamorous and thankless aspect of the job.

Just like how teachers handle administrative work besides teaching, engineers handle change management procedures besides performing root cause analysis, doctors handle ward admissions besides treating patients, and insurance agents handle policy documents after each sales closure.

One may assert that administrative work should be delegated. However, we must note that there are times when the best person to handle the administrative work is the professional himself and, practically, only part of the administrative workload can be delegated.

It is equally important for employers to have measures that retain talent and accord recognition.

For example, it really heartens me to know that teachers in the education service may be re-employed on a temporary basis as presiding examiners over national examinations or as adjunct teachers.

Besides, there is the Connect Plan in place, where teachers are paid bonuses in recognition of their efforts and to encourage continuity.

To my knowledge, teachers are also paid allowances if they are called back to invigilate national exams that take place in the afternoon.

It takes two hands to clap if employees want career satisfaction.

Employees must reflect if their career expectations are reasonable, and employers must work towards retaining and recognising talent.

Woo Jia Qian (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'PMETs must reflect if their expectations are reasonable'. Print Edition | Subscribe