John is a typical PMET (Professional, Managers, Executives, Technicians) in his late 40s. As a Head of Marketing in a creative media agency, he is highly successful and received plenty of accolades in the industry.
Many competitors had attempted to poach his service but he remained fiercely loyal to his company whom he joined during their startup days 15 years ago and helped to grow it till an established market player today. He feels comfortable where he is; he has a condominium, a car and a lovely family. Surely, if things are not broken, there is no need to fix it. And so it seems.
No one predicted the development of COVID in Singapore, and the impact the came along. The situation worsened, culminating to a lockdown in March 2020 where many companies are affected tremendously. John’s company was no exception.
While working from home, he received a message from his management that to help keep the company afloat, the company had to make a difficult decision to retrench John. While the situation was bad at that time, he never imagined he would receive such an abrupt crusher.
Why must it be him? For all the sacrifices he made over the past 15 years for the company, could there not be a better solution? Where was the attempt to negotiate? He was even prepared to take a pay-cut, but alas, it reached a point of no return.
He was not young anymore, had plenty of financial commitments and critically a family to feed. He was simply overwhelmed by the negative thoughts, imagining all the possible worst-case scenarios. It was as damaging as it could be psychologically.
The fact that the nation was in a midst of a lockdown, John could only dwell in his sorrows at home every day. He stopped any form of telecommunication with anyone, did not login to his social media accounts, and just want to hide his embarrassment of getting retrenched.
It was period of uncertainty for his family as well because John was the bread-winner in the household. His spouse consoled and encouraged him to pick up again for he is not someone without talent nor ability.
He started to actively search for jobs and openings, but alas, job did not come easily during poor and uncertain period. While he did secure a number of interviews, he did not manage to find employment anywhere. Most of the employer feedback that he was “over-qualified” for the role despite the fact that he had lowered his remuneration expectation.
He had to ask himself how much lower does he had to go before anyone is willing to hire him. While jobs were hard to get, live still had to go on. There are still mouths to feed at home. He had to be relentless.
While still hunting for a job, he started to search for some marketing projects to undertake on some online platforms like Bridge.com.sg. Unlike previously when he was the Head of Marketing where he oversee the project at the strategic level, John had to humbly execute all the ground works himself; from contacting potential customers, to learning how to use Zoom to connect with them, contract negotiations, account management and so forth.
Slowly but surely, he was getting a hang of “working for himself”. He started to enjoy again what made him good in the first place! From branding projects, to graphic and media design, these were the scopes which he really enjoyed doing, but the fact was as a Head then, his role was more on man-management.
John had always been a creative artist where he has a penchant in developing creative marketing angles that reaped commercial benefits for his clients. And now, his career is undergoing a reset and he is rediscovering his passion in what he likes to do.
Simultaneously, his contacts in the industry who recognized his ability are also starting to engage his services till it reaches a point where there is no point to find a job anymore!
As the projects are stacking up quickly, John will need a few staffs to help him manage as well.
He connects with Bridge.com.sg for assistance to hire and realize there are many jobseekers caught in the same situation as him. While he gets a second chance to rebuild his own career, he hopes to help someone rebuild theirs too. After rounds of interviews, he manages to find three staffs to come onboard to help him in his new endeavor.
Today, after one year, John’s new company has grown to a 10 men team. All his staffs experience the same predicament as him. And like him, they just need another chance to prove themselves.
No one is worthless. Losing a job is not an embarrassment. When one door closes, there is always another one that opens. In John’s case, not only does he opens new door for himself, he also contributes back to the society by opening new opportunities for others.