Learning > Inspiration

Lifelong learning enables Singapore retiree to try a different sector

Joanna Seow on 13 Dec 2020

The Straits Times


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Clients occasionally fire highly technical questions at regional sales manager Lawrence Low that can leave him stumped, which is no great surprise given he joined the precision tooling sector only a couple of years ago.


Mr Low certainly jumped into the deep end, having come out of retirement and with no engineering background.


But when he tells clients honestly about his limitations, asks to learn from them and assures them he will consult his engineering colleagues, he has found that it actually strengthens the relationship.


"It might be a shortcoming now, but after meeting one client, I learn. The next client I meet might face the same kind of difficulties and I will be able to overcome it," he said.


Mr Low, 62, had previously worked in the spectacle wholesale and aerospace chemical industries before retiring in 2016.


He joined Delphic Manufacturing Solution in 2018 on a part-time basis after a friend who worked there alerted him to the opening.


Mr Low went full-time last year after completing the Professional Conversion Programme for technical sales manager, which helped him understand quality control, delivery issues and customer expectations in manufacturing.


Although his pay is lower than what he earned in his last position as a general manager, he sees it as part and parcel of entering a new industry: "It is more important to enjoy the new job and grow along with it."


Mr Low's wife and son are both working, so his decision to return to work was fuelled not so much by finances but by a desire to make good use of his time and keep in touch with market trends.


"If I did not come back to work, I wouldn't know how to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams," he quipped.


"I'm glad I get to acquire new skills, it keeps life much happier."


He credits his employer for encouraging staff to undertake regular training, an opportunity he is keen to embrace.


Mr Low is now on a course about operations management innovation and he has completed ones on marketing analytics and emotional intelligence.


His advice to other retirees who want to re-enter the workforce but worry about starting afresh in a new field: Put aside your fears and always be willing to learn.


"As retirees, we usually stay in our comfort zones, and there are a lot of uncertainties, like will I lose face, will I be able to learn, will colleagues be able to accept me?


"If we really want to do something new, we have to erase these fears from our hearts," he said.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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