Wow! I happen to stumble upon your website couple of hours ago and boy… am impressed! *Salute*
Quick background about myself:-
I’m in my 30s, Singapore citizen, married with no kids yet and currently unemployed.
For the last 5 years, I was employed in the teaching profession.
In mid last year, I’ve decided not to accept renewal of my contract because I plan to go back to the industry and also to pursue my post-grad education.
I am also a very experienced software engineer and project manager (dealing with local and APAC projects across various sectors – finance, dot coms, e-commerce etc) for 9 years.
I started tutoring when I was 12 years old and since then teaching is what I love to do but I don’t like being a school teacher ( Maths, English , etc) especially after tutoring for almost 11 years to many 12-22 years old.
Instead, I prefer to impart real-life skills since my poly days and my aim is to have a teaching/training career in tertiary/adult level.
One of the key reasons I decided not to renew my contract is that I realize in order for me to remain viable in the training/ education industry, I need a Master.
However, doing it at the same time while working as a full time lecturer will eventually kill me…
As it is, I’m clocking 12-20 hours per day due to all the lecturer’s admin + other ECAs ‘arrowed’ to me on top of the 20+ hours/week of teaching.
Furthermore, I’ve seen and heard first-hand cases of Singaporean tertiary lecturers ‘asked to leave discreetly (no renewal) due to ‘the-management-own-criteria-of-staff-underperformance’ once the staff reached late 30s-45s after more than 10 years of service – *so much on loyalty*.
I believe I should take up a master degree course and NUS/NTU offers the cheapest, fastest and most recognized one in Singapore – $6k for 1 year.
My aim by age 40 is to be:-
- Full time senior lecturer with higher salary scale and ‘more relevant’ since I’m just out of the industry, so hopefully don’t have to face the ‘discreet termination’ and can retire as lecturer at 62 or
- Part time private institution cum tertiary lecturer or
- Full time training manager at established company either government/private.
At the moment I’m facing a dilemma:-
1. Should I go back to industry now i.e. get a Business Analyst/IT project manager job and complete my master in 2 years part time i.e. 2 evening classes per week for 2 years i.e. Aug 2011 – 2013? or
2. Should I study the Master full time (i.e. 5 evening classes for 1 year) + teach part time at local tertiary institution (2 days per week) and to pursue a full time industry relevant job only when I’ve completed my master in Aug 2012?
I hope you can share which option is better given Singapore’s employment dynamics and being in my 30s definitely is tough (since I’m going back to industry after 5+ years as a tertiary lecturer)…. and any advice on my “when I’m 40 years old” target.
Thanks and have a blessed day.
Sammy (not his real name)
Thanks for your mail and appreciate all the salutations given.
Transitioning.org was started two years ago with the aim of assisting as many jobless Singaporeans as possible.
We provide counselling and career coaching services and have a volunteer team of eight. We are also non profit in nature.
OK, enough of self patting and back to your dilemma.
Firstly, I must reiterate that the economy is still slowly recovering based on the number of emails I have received from many jobless educated PMETs like you and the ground reaction.
So, I am abit perplexed that you have not renew your contract as its not easy to get back a job these days – even with a master degree.
I am not trying to frighten you but this is a true fact as you have witnessed from the number of jobless letters posted on the Emal A Counsellor column. Many are unpublished.
Structural unemployment is still on going and many manufacturing jobs were lost to cheaper locations such as China, India and Vietnam.
In fact, a few of our unemployed readers found jobs abroad and many are now exploring opportunities overseas.
I know that you need the master degree to move forward and you have given me two options.
Option I seems a better choice for me because:-
1. You are working still and have an income for livelihood. As you work, you also gather experience and it will help you with your career in teaching later on. This can however be taxing for you as you have to juggle with two roles. I guess you have to sweat it out for the two years. Bear in mind that this dynamics may change if you have a kid later on.
2. If you take up option 2, though there is more time for study you will lose out on employment opportunities and advancement. Moreover, employers are concerned if you leave full time employment for too long thus losing your work edge.
On another note, frankly you may be in for a shock as many master degree grads I know have difficulty getting work due to the economic situation these days. Thus, the full-time sacrifice for the master degree course may not be worth it and really the relevant work experience and connections are most vital for job searching. Who you know is so much more important than what you know nowadays.
I hope that I have provided you with enough info to chew on.
However, more importantly, you have to decide on your own as you know whats best for yourself. Learn to trust your instincts and never regret whatever decision you have make.
If its a mistake made, learn from it and move on. Life is too short for regrets.
Finally, I hope that you don’t bang too much on acquiring another academic paper to advance your career path.
It may have work in the past but this is the New Economy and the right skills and contacts, especially if you want to work in the private sector, are crucial elements.
Nevertheless, I understand from your mail that you are returning to the teaching sector and a master is almost necessary for your future advancement. If this is the case, then you should go all out for the master degree.
Lastly, I seek your permission to post this mail on the site so that we can learn from one another.
I will leave out your name and vital info to protect your identity.
Take care and always do good.