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Help in career path (low expectations)

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Old 16-01-2015, 12:23 AM
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Default Help in career path (low expectations)

Hi I am currently waiting to enter university after serving NS for 2 years. I currently have a place in NUS Chemical Engineering but recently have doubts about the course and career path that I am in.

Looking through this forum, I see many fellow Singaporeans who are working hard to achieve their high expectations and get top salaries by comparing with one another (i guess that's the whole point of this forum).

Unfortunately, I do not really have such great expectations for my future. What is more important to me is that I have a job which has balance and more time for myself and my loved ones. I do not plan on having a car or living in a condominium like some of us do. I would be happy to find a job with starting pay of 2k as a fresh graduate as that would be enough for my own expenses.

I'm afraid that chemical engineering would be too competitive and stressful, making me forget myself and more importantly, my religion. Hence, which career path would be more suitable for me?



Tl;dr Ok I admit I'm just too lazy to study hard anymore. What should I do to just continue to live an average or below average life without having to work too hard to impress others?

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Old 16-01-2015, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 1234567 View Post
Hi I am currently waiting to enter university after serving NS for 2 years. I currently have a place in NUS Chemical Engineering but recently have doubts about the course and career path that I am in.

Looking through this forum, I see many fellow Singaporeans who are working hard to achieve their high expectations and get top salaries by comparing with one another (i guess that's the whole point of this forum).

Unfortunately, I do not really have such great expectations for my future. What is more important to me is that I have a job which has balance and more time for myself and my loved ones. I do not plan on having a car or living in a condominium like some of us do. I would be happy to find a job with starting pay of 2k as a fresh graduate as that would be enough for my own expenses.

I'm afraid that chemical engineering would be too competitive and stressful, making me forget myself and more importantly, my religion. Hence, which career path would be more suitable for me?



Tl;dr Ok I admit I'm just too lazy to study hard anymore. What should I do to just continue to live an average or below average life without having to work too hard to impress others?
Find your strength. I was from a prestigious engineering course before, I studied hard, but still did badly all the way. I thought to myself, what was the point of studying so hard for something that I clearly have no passion and interest in. At the end of the day, I didnt want a high-paced job in the private aerospace industry, I wanted to have an 8-5 job in the public sector. So I switch over to humanities in my second year and it was the best decision I ever made. I graduated with a first class with barely any studying. Even studying didnt feel like studying because I was so genuinely interested in what I was learning and I was so strong in it, probably due to my keen interest, that scoring As was really a breeze.

So there, find what it is you're really interested in and just do it man. Thing is, there is no 'easy' course in university. Difficulty level is dependent on your interest and passion in said subject. And if you find a course you are keen in, you will definitely do well. At least well enough to get a decent paying job.

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Old 16-01-2015, 12:45 AM
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Find your strength. I was from a prestigious engineering course before, I studied hard, but still did badly all the way. I thought to myself, what was the point of studying so hard for something that I clearly have no passion and interest in. At the end of the day, I didnt want a high-paced job in the private aerospace industry, I wanted to have an 8-5 job in the public sector. So I switch over to humanities in my second year and it was the best decision I ever made. I graduated with a first class with barely any studying. Even studying didnt feel like studying because I was so genuinely interested in what I was learning and I was so strong in it, probably due to my keen interest, that scoring As was really a breeze.

So there, find what it is you're really interested in and just do it man. Thing is, there is no 'easy' course in university. Difficulty level is dependent on your interest and passion in said subject. And if you find a course you are keen in, you will definitely do well. At least well enough to get a decent paying job.
Like threadstarter I am also looking for a public sector 8-5 stable job. Are you in an 8-5 job now? And if you don't mind sharing...which ministry/sb and in what function?

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Old 16-01-2015, 11:33 PM
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Like threadstarter I am also looking for a public sector 8-5 stable job. Are you in an 8-5 job now? And if you don't mind sharing...which ministry/sb and in what function?
I'm not in a public sector lol. Although that was what I wanted to do in the past. I applied for a few policy positions in a few ministries and got interviewed and accepted by MFA. But I turned it down in the end. I'm currently pursuing my Phd locally. At first I thought I would work, but I got accepted for a post-grad Phd scholarship so I'm doing that instead now. I'm only in my first year and its not so bad. The university pays me 3.3k/mth to teach undergrads and do my own research. 1.5k 'IT allowance' a year to pay for laptop and/or tablets. MFA offered way higher though, 4.1k after NS. But MFA would mean work while university would mean doing what I loved, so I chose academia. Whether I stay in academia or make a transition over to the public sector after my Phd remains to be seen.
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Old 18-01-2015, 01:26 AM
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I'm not in a public sector lol. Although that was what I wanted to do in the past. I applied for a few policy positions in a few ministries and got interviewed and accepted by MFA. But I turned it down in the end. I'm currently pursuing my Phd locally. At first I thought I would work, but I got accepted for a post-grad Phd scholarship so I'm doing that instead now. I'm only in my first year and its not so bad. The university pays me 3.3k/mth to teach undergrads and do my own research. 1.5k 'IT allowance' a year to pay for laptop and/or tablets. MFA offered way higher though, 4.1k after NS. But MFA would mean work while university would mean doing what I loved, so I chose academia. Whether I stay in academia or make a transition over to the public sector after my Phd remains to be seen.
Thanks for answering, that sounds super awesome. I too, am willing to take lesser money if it means I could do what I enjoy and/or have more time for other more important things in life.

Do Phds in the public service have an 'easy' ride? I hear that policy type roles tend to be worked harder than the average civil servant.
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Old 18-01-2015, 02:07 AM
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Thanks for answering, that sounds super awesome. I too, am willing to take lesser money if it means I could do what I enjoy and/or have more time for other more important things in life.

Do Phds in the public service have an 'easy' ride? I hear that policy type roles tend to be worked harder than the average civil servant.
Well, Im actually not too sure about that. Im in university so its very different than that of policy work. Even if I were to move over to public service after my phd, Im not too sure as to which position and rank would be available to me.
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Old 18-01-2015, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for answering, that sounds super awesome. I too, am willing to take lesser money if it means I could do what I enjoy and/or have more time for other more important things in life.

Do Phds in the public service have an 'easy' ride? I hear that policy type roles tend to be worked harder than the average civil servant.
Dude, I get that you think it is more important to do what you enjoy and have more time for yourself. I share your belief as well but it looks like you want to have it come easy and I am sorry to tell you that there is no such thing.

While there are certain jobs that pay well AND leave you enough time/resources to do the things you truly love, the bad news is you have to work hard to find them or get to that sweet spot.

I am all for being a surfer dude or ski/board bum, as they work hard at what they love doing, just not necessarily for money or recognition. However, if your ambition is to be one of those 'stoner' guys that laze around waiting for free money to fall from the sky, so to speak, then I am sorry, it's not going to work out pretty.

To be able to cruise at a comfortable speed, one needs to first get a car and drive. You don't get there just standing at the sidewalk and sticking your thumb out.
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Old 18-01-2015, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for answering, that sounds super awesome. I too, am willing to take lesser money if it means I could do what I enjoy and/or have more time for other more important things in life.

Do Phds in the public service have an 'easy' ride? I hear that policy type roles tend to be worked harder than the average civil servant.
Umm, maybe I was a little bit misleading about how easy things are. Getting a phd itself is no easy task. For me, yes, it is pretty easy because I already have research ideas and I sort of have a natural talent in my own field. But still, getting a phd means 6 years of writing and publishing and teaching. Its hard for almost everyone unless you REALLY love what you do, like myself. On top of that, getting entrance into a good phd programme AND given a scholarship is not something everyone can get. Its something reserved for first class graduates.

On top of that, after getting a phd, you'd still need to find a job. Working in the public sector is a good option, but I believe it is by no means an easier ride. It will still be a job nonetheless. However, there is still more work-life balance than the private sector. Getting a job is also not a confirmed thing just because one has a Phd. It depends what your field is in, most phd grads find themselves unemployed because of over-qualification.

The best of the best end up as lecturers. Even then, lecturing gives you quite a meagre salary. Around 5k starting. Imaging that for a moment. You work 6 years on a stipend of 3.3k and then if you get to become a lecturer, your pay gets bumped up to only 5k. Whereas in the real world, if your starting salary is 3.3k, you might end up with much much more, maybe 8k after you work for a solid 6 years. There are also no bonuses in academia.

It doesnt stop there. When you get to be a lecturer, you still need to keep researching and publishing and publishing your work. You cant stop. After around 8 years, if your performance is good enough, the university may convene for a tenure decision. If you get tenure then you are safe! But if not, they might just let you go. Getting tenure itself is not easy. It is the holy grail of academia.
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Old 18-01-2015, 03:09 PM
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Tl;dr Ok I admit I'm just too lazy to study hard anymore. What should I do to just continue to live an average or below average life without having to work too hard to impress others?
LOL. To the point of the previous posters, TS, go be a priest, surfer or social worker, they are all good and honest ways of living. Just don't be a LOSER!
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Old 19-01-2015, 05:36 PM
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Hi I am currently waiting to enter university after serving NS for 2 years. I currently have a place in NUS Chemical Engineering but recently have doubts about the course and career path that I am in.

Looking through this forum, I see many fellow Singaporeans who are working hard to achieve their high expectations and get top salaries by comparing with one another (i guess that's the whole point of this forum).

Unfortunately, I do not really have such great expectations for my future. What is more important to me is that I have a job which has balance and more time for myself and my loved ones. I do not plan on having a car or living in a condominium like some of us do. I would be happy to find a job with starting pay of 2k as a fresh graduate as that would be enough for my own expenses.

I'm afraid that chemical engineering would be too competitive and stressful, making me forget myself and more importantly, my religion. Hence, which career path would be more suitable for me?


Tl;dr Ok I admit I'm just too lazy to study hard anymore. What should I do to just continue to live an average or below average life without having to work too hard to impress others?
As long as you're willing to put in a bit of effort planning/researching a suitable career path, it is possible to find something that fits your preferences. However it may take some time to achieve an ideal scenario and you might need to make some compromises.

We provide career counselling services in Singapore and you might find our Career Choice/Change programs useful.
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