There was this very interesting news that my colleague came across on the social media but didn’t seem to catch fire.
41 year old Goh Mei Lan, after some lack of growth opportunities in her previous sales job, came across this army recruitment drive for military experts, decide to sign up as a Military Expert and join the army.
The common reaction to the story ran through various social sites was that the opportunities in Singapore was so bad that she had no choice but to join the army.
However, I find the narrative of the piece from cyberpioneer here to provide more information than what was presented at other areas.
The way I look at it, we should appreciate what she did as an individual.
She dares to take that first step
It is one thing to think about doing something, its another thing to actually do it. And it is what separates those people that are successful from those that lament what it would have been.
In the lunch chats, you will hear things often such as “I also had that same business idea last time…” or “What they are doing is so simple yet they are so obnoxiously successful”
The difference is we either procrastinate and failed to develop it into action, thinking too much and didn’t develop into action.
What this lady did was actually signed up for it and that in itself is hard enough
She possibly battled enough inner demons and outer demons
Taking a career shift from one aspect of scope which is sales to engineering is not easy. Shifting to an entirely different work culture is also tough in itself.
Redoing everything at the age of 40+, going up against peers half her age is also not easy.
Going against the concept of people jumping out from the military to jumping into the military after a career outside takes some self convincing.
Facing up to friends, relatives and family by taking such a route currently less traveled also takes some courage to overcome.
Facing up to the possibility that this may end up to be a failure is also not easy.
The first three days of BMT almost made her give up. “The physical training and culture was not something I expected, so it was a huge struggle. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Can I really do it?” said ME4 Goh with a laugh.
But the former track-and-field athlete in Polytechnic soon regained her spark of confidence and began to enjoy her training, which re-ignited her passion for strenuous exercises and keeping fit.
In fact, she achieved Gold in all three rounds of her Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
Many of us spend our lives battling inner and outer demons all our lives and didn’t came up victorious. We shrink back to the shell that was the most comfortable. For that she deserve my respect.
There will be folks secretly wondering if they should follow in her footsteps
The biggest stigma facing folks to get into the military after a career in private sector is that people will read you as a failure, that you cannot survived the world outside, and no choice have to go to that “dumping ground”
My thoughts is that the context why you reached the decision to choose this route can be the reason why you will have a different experience there.
There are some profession which are more suitable to go into after gaining a perspective of the diverse kind of work culture. Teaching i felt is one. This may be another.
You might not get the feeling that cause some regulars to leave the public sector, which is, will i succeed in the world outside, am I putting a limit to how high I fly by being inside here.
Taking such a big leap might or might not work out. In my area I worked with much ex regulars and the reasons for moving out and challenge well documented. But that is not to say that in the private sector we don’t have challenges.
The most important thing is always to ensure you have a good generic evaluation process to help you come up with a sound decision. Then take that decision and make the best of it.
Career is an important pillar in building wealth, and you can see the symmetry here as with buying your home, building a wealth machine or choosing who to be around, it all can be deconstruct to having good processes and systems, creating wisdom and having data to work with.
Perhaps I see this case study in a more positive light then what others see as an emerging malaise in this tough Singapore that we live in.
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