Counsellor, Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities
"If anybody wants to make this move, talk to your loved ones because the journey is not going to involve you alone."
MR EDWARD HOON, a counsellor at the Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony
When Mr Hoon decided to study counselling in his early 50s, his daughter asked jokingly: "Dad, will we be poor?"
Not only was he switching careers after more than 30 years in the electronics and insurance lines, but he was also going for a Bachelor of Counselling degree from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (Suss).
He started with night classes in 2014, but decided that to maximise learning, he had to quit his job as a senior customer operations manager and study full time.
His financial planning background came in handy in figuring out the sums this decision entailed.
He adds: "If anybody wants to make this move, talk to your loved ones because the journey is not going to involve you alone. Families and children (are part of it)."
His son, 26, and daughter, 22, are both studying and his wife is a housewife.
When he finally graduated earlier this month, he said his journey was "well worth it".
"My personal life was enriched as it helps in the relationship with my spouse and the children. On the professional front, when I apply the theories I've learnt, I can see the transformation in my clients."
His family was a major motivation for his career move.
In his 30s, he went through a challenging period. He was focused on his career while his wife was looking after their children and he did not spend enough time with them. Then his late mother had a stroke when he was 31.
While he did not undergo formal counselling, a close friend and his wife helped him through this tough stretch and he is happy to announce that "things are going well now" with his nearest and dearest.
Having gone through the tunnel and emerged on the other side, he decided he wanted to help others "to realise that this is all normal, we just have to manage our stress and learn about conflict resolution".
Since December last year, he has been a counsellor at the Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony, one of four Divorce Support Specialist Agencies appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Apart from successfully making a late career switch, Mr Hoon could also be the poster boy for lifelong learning.
He intends to go for a graduate diploma in social work next year and a master's in counselling in 2019, both at Suss.
"We have to upgrade and commit to learning new knowledge and skills. Set medium-and long-term goals. Don't stop learning and enjoy the learning journey. Be teachable and persevere."
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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