Up Close & Personal
The Double Life of a Civil Servant and Student - Reeve’s Story

This article was done in collaboration with CareerSocius.

To most people, pursuing a Master’s degree sounds like a demanding and rigorous task.

However, Reeve Seah accomplished the enormous feat of pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering concurrently while performing his duties as a civil servant from 2017 to 2018.

Needless to say, the journey was not easy. A typical schedule for Reeve involved starting work earlier in the day, then rushing off to attend post-graduate classes late in the evening. 

Reeve admits that his evening schedule was packed and had to rush assignments late in the nights or weekends to meet the deadlines.

“There are certain sacrifices to be made in the pursuit of this, such as missing out on gatherings, and time with your loved ones,” he said.

However, he feels that it has been mentally rewarding. “I always look forward to gaining new knowledge and making new friends who share the same passion.”

Reeve and his friend de-stressing while studying for rigorous examinations in 2018.

When asked about his motive on a lifelong learning journey, he said, “I believe it is important for one to keep abreast with new information, technologies that will keep your mind sharp.”

Instead of the well-known phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”, Reeve clarifies that the original saying, in fact, has an additional phrase, “But oftentimes, better than a master of one.” This aptly conveys his stand towards expanding one’s skill sets, and how important it is to not be a one-trick pony in this digital age.

“A lot of companies and industries are developing Artificial Intelligence that may take over repetitive and mundane jobs,” he said, adding that upgrading his skills is one way to ensure job stability.

Given that the incorporation of advanced technology has started to disrupt our jobs market, Seah shared his optimism on the potential opportunities to enhance overall productivity by learning and leveraging technologies in our work.

For instance, Reeve names two examples of AI-assisted projects such as automotive manufacturing by Mercedes-Benz which allows customers to customise their cars in real-time as well as the Deep Patient System by Ichan School of Medicine that predicts a patient’s susceptibility to diseases.

By widening one’s breadth of knowledge, Reeve believes it could go a long way in keeping one relevant and productive.

His motivation for lifelong learning has also inspired him to give back to the community as a Young NTUC Youth Career Network Career Guide, offering career advice to graduating students and first job seekers.

For young professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) juggling multiple priorities in life, Reeve suggests to anchor yourself in what you believe in and stay on track.

Reeve’s advice on juggling work and study commitments involves getting used to what he coins the “Bluetick Treatment” – when one’s effort is not recognised or when plans for projects fall through.

But he said that remaining positive and having a persistent attitude is the key to persevering through such disappointments. “Even if you don’t get what you want, you need to reshape, rethink, or realign what you want in the future. At any juncture in your life, you can get [what you want]. It’s just how badly you want it.”

About CareerSocius

CareerSocius is a social enterprise that helps job-seekers in Singapore maximise their career potential. With a dedicated team of resume writers spanning across various industries, they offer the relevant expertise and experience to help. Check out their services here.

Read more about Reeve here too.