Think smart, think differently, think long term. Irene Chan, a Young NTUC Career Guide, Cyber Security Senior Product Manager in Telecommunications, and Entrepreneur/Co-Founder of Drive Ride Buddy, has lived out this game-changing strategy through her multi-career!
Ambition and altruism
Creativity and self-discipline are Irene’s greatest strengths. While overseeing product development as a product manager, she also manages her startup’s operations and is an experienced career mentor. Despite her busy schedule, she takes time to conduct career mentoring sessions every Wednesday evening.
Irene once thought that NTUC only provided support to labour intensive professions and older PMETs. She was first introduced by a friend who also signed up. To her surprise, she found that Young NTUC offers highly effective career initiatives to empower young people from all walks of life. To date, she has been mentoring youths for more than 3 years now.
Driven by a desire to do good, Irene enjoys nurturing the bright-eyed passion and enthusiasm of young working adults and graduates. With her experience and wisdom, she helps paves the way for a smoother route to success.
Irene’s most memorable mentee was a young international relations graduate who was really lost when they first met. In his final semester, he saw that his friends were earning a good income fairly quickly as car salespersons. Hence, he took on this job too. However, he soon settled for an admin role in banking due to parental pressure. Not able to withstand the abrupt change from sales to administrative work, he wanted to quit. Irene recalled that her first impression of the mentee was his introverted nature. The mentee also found it difficult to make decisions and sought help from Irene.
“I mentored him during the last 4 months before his graduation and guided him on his job search process to help him discover his own passion, interests, career values and aspiration.” During the mentorship period, beyond helping him with his job-related issues, Irene also connected and introduced him to a professional career coach for further support.
Not just about the money
A highly lucrative job is always tempting, especially to young graduates entering the workforce. But money is often only one of the motivating factors. Through her own experiences, Irene shared that finding a good manager that will invest in your personal development is even more crucial. To sustain passion, there should be meaning and satisfaction in your job despite ups and downs. Understanding the industry, job responsibilities, and your performance and overall engagement within the company will definitely impact the pay. If you are changing jobs for a pay raise, carefully consider what the company has to offer.
Irene’s advice to young people is to be open to learning, be observant of their surroundings, and read more books to acquire knowledge. Critical thinking is a valuable skill that can only be acquired with work experience. Many real-world issues like customer complaints cannot be resolved with a simple solution. The pros and cons need to be analyzed. Communication skills are crucial. Other than choosing the right words, one also needs to pick up body language, tone of voice, and other nuances to respond appropriately.
Be the change you want to see
Irene’s mentoring has positively impacted many young people and has changed her life. Building close relationships with her mentees inspire her to constantly build up her knowledge to help them. Over the years, she received messages of encouragement and thanks from many mentees.
Finding and building the right relationships is the simplest, and also the hardest thing to do in this world. Having a mentor is the most valuable asset in a career and life.
Where can you find the right mentor? Let us connect you to a Young NTUC Career Guide for the invaluable support that will shape your career journey.
Want to step up and do more? Sign up as a Career Guide and build a better world today!
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