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Old 03-01-2012, 11:11 PM
Spritzer Spritzer is offline
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Default Stat Board (PUB) Vs Private (Local SME)

29 yr old, singaporean, male. served ns.
chemical eng diploma from singapore poly and then obtained 2nd upper hon deg in environmental eng at ntu. Subsequently received phd scholarship from national research foundation (env water tech), with take home, non taxable stipend of 3.3kpm. have just submitted my phd thesis for examination and am without a job/income from this mth onwards.

From the career paths of my predecessors, the first choice of job is usually PUB since our studies are related to water treatment technologies and it is deemed to offer greater career development advancements esp for graduates with sponsored education (but I highly doubt that my humble scholarship from NRF would render me as the conventional scholar in the civil sector). The "glamorous" factor is also there since it is a govt sector, perceived to be highly stable (so long u dun commit any major faults) and some say "can't go wrong" career move as a first job for fresh grads. Well, there are still some of my seniors who move on to do post-doctoral research fellowships in universities and there are also a handful who join the big players in the private sectors, such as Siemens, Hyflux, Keppel or Sembcorp, etc.

Through my scholarship admin executives who are from one of the dept at PUB (I believe that NRF has delegated some officers from PUB to take care of their scholarship matters due to specialization), I was promised an interview by HR but the phone call never came and it has already been 2 mths. Dropped an email to the officer last night and she told me that the dept has been extremely busy but they will be scheduling an interview for me asap. But I thought I can't possibly be aimlessly waiting forever and things are more uncertain without an income currently. A gauge of the fixed salary structure from my ex-classmates working at PUB reveal that I will be paid according to my 2nd upp deg from ntu, until i am awarded my doctorate deg, i.e. 3.4kpm now + ~$800 after obtaining phd deg.

So in the meantime, through a contact from an ex ntu classmate in the same industry, I went for an interview at a local sme dealing with building of cleanrooms, distributorship of environmental and laboratory equipments. I was offered a position as principal engineer with 3kpm (3 mths probation) and 3.2kpm (after confirmation) and general jobscope is to provide technical support and advice, offer engineering solutions to their clientele. This department is not their core business but an area which they have targeted to expand, and it is currently very shorthanded with currently only one sales engineer running the sales and technical support portfolios; an ex manager recently left for a rival company. It will not be a desk-bound job, unlike the PUB job which I envision to be, and I will be required to travel to the engineering sites/plants on a regular basis. Apart from the basic pay, I was also told that the company will issue a $400 (fixed) + capped $300 (petrol reimbursements based on receipt claims) allowance on a monthly basis to cover my transportation costs. And if the potential/opportunity arises in the future, the boss may consider to delegate some sales jobs to me as well. But sales revenue are not commensurated by commissions but only thru the basic pay. Based on what I have been told by the company, I like the job nature and scope, being able to go hands-on in engineering operations as compared to deskbound jobs generating reports, replying emails and liaising with contractors on outsourced projects, and also the relatively unknown/uncertain future jobscope that I would be exposed to at PUB if I am hired, where the postings would largely depend on vacancies at that particular moment of time.

After some deep consideration over the new year's long wkend, I decided to turn down the SME's offer to continue to hold for PUB. This morning, I received a call from the SME asking abt the reason behind my decline and they also revealed that "they were really very keen on hiring me". The asst manager told me that he was trying to fight for 3.5k (probation) and 3.7k (confirmation) for me but was objected by HR. He hinted that he could probably help to push for 3.5k after confirmation. I told him abt my wish to join PUB and I was honest with him that I wasn't offered anything at all for now but would still like to keep my options open for the time being. Eventually, he asked me to reconsider my decision and told me that they will keep the offer open until March, since if PUB doesn't revert by then, I can probably assume that the dream is probably over.

I must admit that a 3.7k basic + $700 car allowance will be very difficult to turn down, considering that even if PUB offers a job, I can expect the salary to be about $4.2k, that is after the award of phd degree in approx 8 mths time from now. The car allowance from SME would come in very handy as my monthly car and hdb parking installments are already at $700, and this is a fixed monthly cost, excluding petrol, maintenance, insurance, road taxes, ERPs and parkings, etc. The SME company is situated at Kallang, a mere 15-min drive from my home in Bedok and offers free parking at their office premises whereas, if I am offered a position with PUB, there is a high chance of posting to the Water Hub at Toh Guan (a distance from my home) or at the Env HQ at Scotts Road (where season parking will not be available for junior entry engineers like myself, even if I choose to purchase season parking at somewhere nearby, it would easily be a whopping ~300++ per mth).

Maybe I am thinking too far ahead since nothing is on the table from PUB but as this is the first professional job that I would be embarking, I feel very apprehensive on accepting the SME's offer. I have spent a few weeks reading this forum and I know there isnt a 100% right/correct decision but at this moment of time, I really hope to be able to garner some inputs here.

If you are still with me, I really apologize for this long first post. I would be very grateful for any advice shared with me. And I sincerely thank u for your patience in reading my post. Thanks a million in advance..

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