How to Stay Resilient in the Workplace and Build Your Dream Career

Retrenchments and pay cuts can impact one’s career trajectory, but staying resilient can help you bounce back from setbacks. Here’s how.

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When people face hardships in their career such as retrenchments or pay cuts, some snap, while others snap back. Those who snap may suffer a loss in confidence or sink into depression. Those who snap back take advantage of the setback to gain a new skill or begin a new career path. What sustains them through challenging times? Resilience.

According to Psychology Today, resilience is defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events. Resilience is considered a process to build resources toward searching for a better future after potentially traumatic events. For example, an employee who can maintain business as usual despite upcoming layoffs or an interviewee who can remain positive after being rejected for a job.

What then can Singaporeans do to build resilience in the workplace?

Upskill to Improve Your Chances of Employability

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A UOB survey found that 9 in 10 of those employed in Singapore believe they will need to reskill or upskill to stay competitive in the post-pandemic world. One way to approach upskilling is to think about your area of weakness, where there is potential for improvement. Alternatively, you may consider viewing the job requirements of positions that you aspire to be employed in during the new year, and shortlist a few skills that would help your resume stand out from the crowd. Whether that’s data analytics, finance, or cybersecurity, SkillsFuture offers training courses as well as other resources including e-books to help you remain competitive in the workforce.

The cost of a SkillsFuture course can range from free/special rate to S$2,500. In addition, Singaporeans can claim S$500 SkillsFuture credits to offset course costs to further develop and deepen skills and enhance employability.

Build a Strong Support Network

Fact: 85% of positions are filled through networking. We’ve all heard the catchphrase, “It’s who you know, not what you know,” and, when it comes to referrals, that still holds true today. Reaching out to family and friends to make warm introductions at companies is one way to grow your network. Another, possibly more effective way to build a strong professional network is by updating your LinkedIn profile and connecting with senior-level executives, managers, and even recruiters working in your industry.

Besides being an avenue for newer opportunities and exchanging ideas with like-minded professionals, networking also enables you to build your personal brand. Sharing your creative portfolio or a thought leadership article that you’ve published can elevate your credibility and position you as an authoritative figure within your industry.

Save Money For a Rainy Day

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The idiom ‘saving for a rainy day’ means saving part of your monthly income for another purpose in the future. For example, an unexpected medical emergency or a family member losing their job. How much you should save every month depends on your financial goals, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to save at least 20% of your monthly income. Another advantage of having a rainy day fund is that you will save on interest that you would have otherwise incurred from a loan to meet monthly expenses.

Sample Monthly Expenditure

This table is based on S$4,150 as sample monthly expenditure.

On average, the effective interest rate for personal loans in Singapore ranges from 11% to 14%, though some of the best personal loans in Singapore offer effective interest rates around 8% to 10%. With an interest rate of 10% on a personal loan, you would spend an additional S$415 per month on interest alone.

Sample Loan Payment: 1 Month vs 6 Months

Loan PeriodLoan AmountInterest AmountTotal Loan + Interest
1 MonthS$4,150S$415S$4,565
6 MonthsS$24,900S$2,490S$27,390
By saving for a rainy day, you would save S$2,490 in interest, or S$27,390 on a personal loan over the course of 6 months.

Be Kind to Yourself

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Source: Unsplash

In times of uncertainty, it’s natural to feel anxious and be critical of our downfalls, especially in a work culture that is highly performance and target focused. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos, 1 in 4 Singaporeans say they are not in good mental health. A region-wide study done by Milieu Insight also reported that Singapore’s workforce has the worst mental health across Southeast Asia, and local employees surveyed have the lowest levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and overall quality of life.

Maintaining an unkind stance towards yourself during unpredictable times is likely to activate the fight or flight stress response, clouding the mind’s ability to remain calm and focused. If you’re feeling stressed or uneasy, be kind to yourself by giving yourself some “me time” to re-energise and find comfort. Forgive and accept your minor failures and cultivate your inner advocate to motivate you to keep moving forward.

Plan Your Career Path and Embrace Change

Setting goals is the key to a successful career path. More specifically, SMART goals, that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. To increase the chances of accomplishing your career goals, write them down and share them with a friend, family member, or co-worker. In fact, a study by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews, found that 76% of people who write down their goals, actions, and provide weekly progress to a contact successfully achieve their goals. With SMART goals based on your career interests and skills, you’ll have a roadmap of what you need to do to get where you aspire to be.


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