Article from The Sunday Times, November 16 2008
The Sunday Times November 16 2008
YOUR PERSONAL ADVISER: CAREER
Tips to survive when it's time to pack up
1 Handling the emotional shock
Shock and anger usually come immediately after a retrenchment, especially for those who've been with the company for long periods.
'A sudden retrenchment can be quite shocking,' said headhunter Adrian Choo. 'Don't bear the burden alone, keep your family engaged.'
Be honest with your family and let them know of the likely lifestyle changes needed.
Psychiatrist Simon Siew said retrenched high-fliers or sole breadwinners especially may become depressed or question their self-worth.
'Being retrenched is not the end of the world, you'll get through it and there will be jobs available,' said GMP Group CEO Annie Yap.
2 Plan your finances
If you get a large severance package, don't be tempted to splurge on holidays and a car.
'You should save it or spend it on things which will make more money, like shop space to start a business,' said Ms Siti Mastura, who was retrenched in 2004.
Be careful too with taking loans for big-ticket items like houses, cars and consumer electronics.
More importantly, ensure that you have medical coverage, apart from company benefits. The last thing you want is to be jobless and unable to pay sudden medical bills.
3 Get your skills assessed and go for necessary training
By assessing the skills you currently possess, you can decide which new skills you will need to land a new job.
Singapore Manufacturers Federation president Renny Yeo said: 'The economy is changing tremendously. The only way to stay relevant is to retrain to suit the needs of new industries.'
Job-seekers can approach the Community Development Councils, the Singapore Professionals' and Executives' Cooperative at the Singapore Human Resources Institute and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to get their skills assessed and to find suitable training regarding skills, interviews and resumes.
Ms Yap said: 'It is fine to say you were retrenched on your resume so that you are not perceived as dishonest.
'Retrenchment is very common right now and not performance- related, so it does not reflect badly.'
4 Stay positive
Those retrenched should give themselves six months to a year to find a new job.
'It's very important to stay connected with friends and ex-colleagues to network and to stay positive,' said Ms Yap.
NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How advised those retrenched to be proactive and seek help from the NTUC and Workforce Development Agency to source for jobs across sectors.
Expect to have to go for multiple interviews before being offered a job. 'Don't get dispirited; employers can sense your low morale,' said Mr Choo.
5 Be flexible
It's highly possible for those retrenched to have to reinvent themselves and to find work in another industry.
'People must accept the change and do what's best when it comes to survival,' said outplacement specialist Paul Heng. 'There will be jobs; it just depends on how flexible and adaptable people are.'
Added Mr Chai Choo Sah, who was retrenched one month ago and now works in a different industry: 'At the job interviews, there were only landscaping and security jobs available though I was previously a storekeeper.
'You just have to get the relevant training and take whatever job you can get.' Those retrenched should also be prepared for a pay cut.
'You have to be open-minded. The cut may be only temporary and you should be able to catch up in one year,' said Ms Yap.
Paul Heng, Founder
NeXT Career Consulting Group, Asia