How to Manage Your Career and Deal with Retrenchment in Your Mid-Life

July 17, 2013

in Insurance

By Eileen Tan and Ui Wei Teck (guest contributors)

In a recent news article, it was reported that more than one-third of Singaporeans have not started saving for their retirement. In other words, they do not have any proper savings plan for their post-working years.

It is time for you to recognize that you are nearing the next phase of life when unexpected things will happen. You want to be prepared and continue to be on an upward trending life curve. You want to continue to look good, work smart and enjoy your life with your family and friends, without much worry.

Moving to the next phase of life or the second half of your life doesn’t mean you are past your prime. Admit that life has its ups and downs and be prepared for it. Do not lose heart or go out of control when something unplanned happens. Some of these events include: losing a job, a loved one or a relationship, business failure, and health problems.

All of us will die one day; nobody can escape this. So we cannot keep planning to do great things and planning to take action only when we feel like it – we have a time limit! So live everyday like it is the last day of your life. Take action now and live with no fear, no regrets.

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Managing your career

Even if you are in your comfort zone in your job today, you should contribute more than what you are paid for, have the right attitude, focus on the key attributes, and continue to practice and fine tune your work even if you have done the same task many times.

Be aware that too little stress can be a problem. We need some level of stress to perform optimally. Ironically, you need to get dissatisfied or uncomfortable with where you are to push yourself to set higher standards. You will then be motivated to attain a new level of achievement.

If you are currently happily employed and are very satisfied with your job, you can still go the extra mile by doing more than what is outlined in your job scope. Make your job more interesting and efficient with possibility thinking – you do not have to be restricted by what you are asked to do. Even if the opportunity for promotion is slim at this stage, you will at least get a personal sense of achievement.

What is often forgotten is the painful truth that burying yourself in your current work may not be enough to get you the promotion you want. You are probably paid more now for doing a similar job to what you did ten years ago. Being a workaholic does not lead you to success. Your career is not your life. The focus should not be just to work your way up the career ladder, but to work your way OUT! Take up training opportunities when the company is willing to invest in you as the knowledge you gain will stay with you wherever you go. Build up your knowledge base and network, and make yourself a valuable asset.

Dealing with re-deployment and retrenchment

If your company is re-deploying (giving you another job) or retrenching you (firing you), are you confident that you’ll be able to find another career in the same or a different industry? This is what we mean by working your way out. To be employed is great but to stay employable is the greatest thing you can do for yourself during your working life.

Mid-life is the most vulnerable time to be selected for redeployment or retrenchment. Do your planning early so you won’t be angry or upset when this happens to you. Instead, when it happens, tell yourself it is the company’s loss for losing a valuable asset! Prepare yourself to be good not just in your job, but look beyond your work scope. You can attend networking sessions inside and outside the company, invest time to gain other specialized knowledge, or pick up a different skill set which you are interested in.

Sometimes, it is easy to dismiss these opportunities due to the ever increasing workload we are managing in our jobs. You have to spend time growing your knowledge base and networking as an investment that will not necessarily provide an immediate return.

If you are redeployed or retrenched, thank your company for giving you the opportunity to start working in a new phase of your life. A job that is over opens a door to the future – this is a golden opportunity for you to do something you have been planning to do.


By Eileen Tan and Ui Wei Teck, authors of Enjoying Mid-Life Without Crisis.

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