Forum: Now may be the best time to reskill and reinvent oneself

A photo from Feb 28, 2020, shows office workers at Raffles Place.
A photo from Feb 28, 2020, shows office workers at Raffles Place.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" rings true in trying times such as the present.

Perhaps, we have grown too comfortable with our jobs and lifestyles. We should seize this chance to relook our finances. We should discern needs from wants to conserve our finite resources.

Could there be a means to earn passive income, such as renting out a spare room, or taking on gig stints like tutoring, handyman projects or walking the dog for a small fee? We should not underestimate the human ingenuity to make ends meet.

For many, it has been years since we updated our resumes. Much has changed since. Resume formats, hiring practices and even job-seeking strategies are ever evolving. The digital revolution is continuous and irreversible. The fear of technology is real, especially for those in their 40s and 50s.

We should conquer fear with action by registering for an introductory information technology course. With help from subsidies, no out-of-pocket cash may be needed. It may also offer opportunities for networking with like-minded people to start social enterprises or land one's next job.

With persistence, one may be able to spruce up an existing skill or learn a new one.

After spending years on a set routine, perhaps, it is time to veer into something new by leveraging transferable skills and knowledge we have acquired over the years. Human interaction skills are always needed. Could they be made more salient by moving into front-line positions while leveraging one's technical skills? Could one add value with the newly acquired information technology skills?

It may be the best time to reinvent oneself. We are multifaceted. We may try out new positions in unfamiliar companies and industries to test our fit. Some may choose to return to school to pick up missed diplomas. We will be surprised what refreshing change this may bring.

We should not lose hope, as all storms shall pass. We should prepare for that moment now.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2020, with the headline 'Now may be the best time to reskill and reinvent oneself'. Print Edition | Subscribe