For 20 years, 56-year-old Arulnathan John was a writer with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Late last year, he left the company. The dreaded ‘R’ word for many professionals and mature workers – Retrenchment. The news did not come as a huge surprise to Arul. After all, Arul shared that layoffs had been happening every year at SPH since the early 2000s.
Every time there was a layoff, he would be praying hard that it wouldn’t happen to him. This emotional rollercoaster ride happened “eight to nine times” during the course of his career. I can’t imagine the anxiety, especially for mature employees.
“If it wasn’t going to happen now it will happen eventually. But this time I had the sense that whatever happens, I’ll be okay.”
Nevertheless, Arul was happy for the years spent at SPH. There was no bitterness at all! Either way, he recognised that being bitter wouldn’t have helped matters…
The Support of Family and Friends When Facing A Retrenchment
Family members were very supportive and gave Arul encouragement during this time. Often friends and families would find it awkward to bring up the subject even if they want to show support. Afterall, most of us avoid uncomfortable conversations about life events. But you know what? This is a time when your word of encouragement or help in looking out for jobs for your friend or family member would be appreciated!
The good news is, Arul received a very fair package when he was retrenched. He was fortunate to also be a member of the Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU). 😊A support framework that includes financial aid is needed to help unemployed people move into new jobs. Recently, the labour movement released 9 recommendations after a year-long consultation exercise to pinpoint better ways to assist professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) in the longer run. At an uncertain time, the union gave Arul access to NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and training courses.
He also got in touch with NTUC U PME Centre and career coach Herjeet Singh, who helped him in areas like re-working his resume. 🙂 The NTUC U PME Centre is a community to support Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs) with a common interest in workplace, career and professional development.
Now, career coach Herjeet knows how hard it can be to stay positive, especially when PMEs have been unemployed for some time. He would know, because he had been retrenched more than once himself.
Arul shared that while he has a LinkedIn account, he had never really actively worked on it until Herjeet came into the picture and guided him along. Arul also informed his friends of his retrenchment via his social media platforms. In less than two months after he left SPH, he secured a six-month contract position with MediaCorp! Since completing his contract job earlier in May this year, Arul has been occupied with his own freelance writing work. That’s wonderful news! Afterall, tough times don’t last, tough people do… 🙂
“The work-from-home default arrangement is affecting my mental health.”