Every day, you show up at work, keep quiet and do your job, and then leave. Each month, like clockwork, your salary gets credited to your account. This is how things have always been. But that’s not how they always will be.
Unfortunately, your job and career aren’t infallible. Unless you’re extremely lucky, there will come a time when you will face the need to move on—or be forced to.
Here are four truths you must understand about your job in order to keep moving forward.
Your job is replaceable
It is very easy for companies to retrench workers in Singapore. Your company might decide to relocate your entire department to India, or hire cheaper rookies to replace you, and you’ll have to bid your job farewell and join the legions of retrenched workers.
Nonetheless, a feeling of insecurity can cause you to hang on to your job for dear life, even if you’ve learnt everything that is to learn, there’s no more room for growth, your salary increments haven’t been satisfactory or your boss makes Cruella De Vil look like Mother Teresa.
It’s important never to lose sight of the fact that your job is just as replaceable as you are. Employment is a two-way street, and if your current job no longer serves your needs or is no longer aligned to your goals, it’s your responsibility to find a new one.
There are good leaders out there, but it may take time to find them
Management in Singapore has a terrible reputation. Nobody bats an eyelid when their friends complain about being harassed by WhatsApp texts from their boss when they’re on maternity leave or reservist.
But believe it or not, good leaders do exist. It’s just that it can take years and many jobs to find them.
What you can do to speed up your search is to pay very close attention to potential bosses at the interview stage, observing how they treat the people around them and asking them the right questions so you can determine if they’re willing to be good mentors and care about the welfare of their staff.
Also be ready to move on from a job if you have an unsatisfactory boss who’s hindering your career or, you know, just making your life a living hell.
If you’re too comfortable, you’re not growing
Being “too comfortable” to do anything to change one’s current circumstances is a common complaint in Singapore. People always use that as an excuse for not looking for a new job when they dislike their current work.
But if you never leave your comfort zone, you’re not growing. Growth is always hard and uncomfortable.
Picking up new skills, taking on a challenging job where you’re forced to learn to be better at what you do and improving at the things you suck at can be painful. But they’re also necessary if you want to progress.
Know what you’re worth or you’ll get ripped off
Never stop updating yourself on what someone with your skills should be getting paid on the job market. These figures change over time and as your experience builds up.
Negotiation is essential if you want to realise your true earning potential. Employers, particularly if they’re SMEs, will almost always try to pay you as little as they can get away with. But there is no way you can successfully negotiate or save yourself from being underpaid if you don’t know what the market rate in your field is.
Beware of always just accepting the market rate, though. If you can value-add above what they’re asking for, or are an outstanding candidate, don’t be afraid to ask for more.
What hard truths have you learnt about the working world? Share your nuggets of wisdom in the comments!