That satisfying job switch of becoming a social worker

Mr Melvin Yeo is working and pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work now so that he can eventually become a full-fledged social worker. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mr Melvin Yeo is working and pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work now so that he can eventually become a full-fledged social worker. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mr Melvin Yeo is working and pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work now so that he can eventually become a full-fledged social worker. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mr Melvin Yeo is working and pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work now so that he can eventually become a full-fledged social worker. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - As a former military expert, the ground security work that Mr Melvin Yeo used to do often piqued the curiosity of his family and friends.

But he found the office job routine at the Ministry of Defence stultifying after seven years and decided to exchange it for another that involved knocking on doors.

"I go door-to-door in the neighbourhood to find out if residents need help and arrange to get that help for them," said the 34-year-old who is a social work associate with Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre now.

He is working and pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work now so that he can eventually become a full-fledged social worker.

His job responsibilities now involve carrying out home visits during which he hands out food rations. He also refers the vulnerable to social workers as well as maintain the centre's client database.

"Even though my previous experience is not immediately relevant to my current scope of work, mid-career entrants like me bring with us the people skills and maturity to the job that distinguish us from fresh graduates," said Mr Yeo.

With the job switch, he took a $1,000 pay cut and juggles work and attending night classes at SIM university.

That is on top of enduring sleepless nights to help care for his two young sons, one of who is 10-month old.

"Despite the sacrifices, the switch has been worth it because I see myself here for the long-haul," he said.

"When you see your work benefiting others, it makes you want to get out of bed everyday, raring to go."

jantai@sph.com.sg