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    Forum: Keep an open mind for careers and ask yourselves the right questions, Forum News & Top Stories

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    The article “Let’s embrace trial and error, chance in career journeys” (Oct 31) is a timely reminder to keep an open mind in career planning.

    The business world has evolved over the past decades. When I do a scan of company names here in Singapore, I’m constantly amazed at the sheer number of those that were not around just a few years ago.

    Countless start-ups have found their way into our daily lives, all attempting to plug a gap and create economic value not just for the founders and investors, but for the general population as well.

    Career planning is no longer what it used to be. Interestingly, as a career coach, I still get questions like “I’m struggling to find my dream job” and, from parents, “Can you help my child find her career direction? She’s going to graduate in a year’s time and still does not know what she wants to do.”

    Our mind is like a parachute, useful only when it stays open. My advice to those seeking career directions is to ask yourselves the right questions. Examples are “What do I want to do with my life?”, “What are my interests?” and “Looking at my current job, which activities do I feel most excited and fulfilled?”

    The answers might lead you to clarity. It is always a process of trial and error, experiencing and giving yourself permission to try. Trying, not liking it, and changing career directions are not tantamount to failure.

    Here is a general guideline. From joining the workforce to your late 20s, experiment with different types of jobs. By your early to mid-30s, decide on your career direction, and forge ahead to make the best of it.

    A period of career growth comes after. This is the time to consolidate and broaden your experience and skills, and to maximise your income to build financial stability.

    In your mid-50s, be brave and adventurous enough to consider reinventing yourself for your second career – this can also provide the fuel for you to reignite your career passion.

    In parallel, put together your Plan B – what you might wish to do to stay active after your full-time career.

    Given longevity and better healthcare, it is imperative that we remain active for the rest of our lives. This will also allow you to mitigate the risks of health issues such as dementia.

    Paul Heng



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