Seeing Work And Careers Differently In A Pandemic

In search of more meaningful careers, relationships and personal legacies.
Our career perspective changed amid COVID-19.

Winning Entry

My previous career mindset was Study-Work-Retire-Die, and to leave a legacy.

With COVID-19, that journey could be cut short, reducing the chance of leaving a legacy. The evolving COVID strains have wreaked havoc and taken more than five million lives. Personally, it has caused me to rethink the value of work, and the value of life itself.

Life is certainly worth more than work. But the question I seek to answer is “How much more?” For me, the answer is in relationships.

I used to view work as a list of tasks to be completed. At times, the desire to complete certain tasks resulted in burning some bridges. I have been on the receiving end of some inconsiderate superiors. Those negative experiences truly hurt. They leave scars that no one else can see.

Nowadays, I am making more effort to learn how to manage difficult people and seek out valuable individuals for enriching, meaningful relationships. I withhold judgement and use words of encouragement in my interactions. I make sure that my tongue is not a sword to stab anyone. I use my head and my heart, and I am mindful to value people more than work.

Morris Koh, MOE

Thank you for sharing your entry, Morris! You win $100 worth of Klook vouchers so you can make more meaningful relationships over joyful experiences together.

Other Winning Entries

When I graduated in May 2020, only COVID-ualations greeted me. I had spent my schooling years chasing my interest in history, wanting to explore how different ideas and facts shaped Singapore into who she is today. With the pandemic, my plan to further my studies overseas were put on hold. I was also confused as to where I should begin my career after my plans were jeopardised.

However, my perspectives shifted when a friend introduced me to a job opening at MOH's COVID Operations Centre. I joined as a temporary staff, hoping to earn a keep while waiting for the pandemic to tide over so I could continue my dream of pursuing history.

At the Operations Centre, days turned into months, and months turned into a year. As I learnt more about the policies that the operations are based on and the role we play in the bigger picture, I started to see fulfilment and necessity in the job that I do in making Singapore a safer place.

Despite the predicament we are in, the COVID-ualations is a blessing for highlighting what I can contribute to the nation.

Shane Tay, MOH

we have the power to take ownership of our work and professional development.

COVID-19 taught me that we have the power to take ownership of our work and professional development.

When I was teaching in school during the early stages of the pandemic, I witnessed how fellow teachers were swift and passionate in picking up new skills to engage students remotely during home-based learning. We ensured that students continued to enjoy key student development experiences with safe management measures in place.

With more e-learning offerings at my workplace and externally, I feel motivated to take charge of my professional development using platforms such as the Ministry of Education’s OPAL 2.0 and NTUC Learning Hub. Learning anytime, anywhere has helped me integrate professional development into my life. I was amazed to see even my parents picking up new tech tools to be more efficient in their work.

Having started a stint at the Academy of Singapore Teachers, I appreciate how the hybrid work arrangement allows us to take more pride, joy, and ownership of our work. This has dispelled my preconception that quality work can only take place in a structured work environment. I appreciate the time I can spend with my parents who are getting older – catching up with them over lunch and helping out with household chores after work – as I can save time not commuting on the days I work from home.

Jason Seng, MOE

Life used to be easily compartmentalised into “work mode” in the office, and “relaxation mode” at home. With COVID-19, work-life balance became harder to maintain. I had more chores to do and family members would abruptly ask for me during working hours. Work meetings also got longer as it took more time to hear everyone out and finalise on a decision.

I had to set clear boundaries for myself to maintain the balance I needed, something I previously never thought of doing. I would shut myself in my room, and mute work chats and log off immediately when work ended.

COVID also made me treasure the companionship that being in the office gave me: the random chats when you bumped into a colleague or at lunch meetings, or simply spending time working together in the office. It formed a camaraderie that I really missed once it was taken away from me. I guess COVID taught me to treasure what truly matters in life.

Sarah Constance Wu, Sport SG

COVID-19 hit as I was on a university exchange in Switzerland at the end of my penultimate year. As it dragged on, the uncertainty and fragility of life – and that of the economy and social fabric – hit me like a truck. I used to crave a life of success defined by how much money I would earn: a sedentary office life spent clicking on the keyboard, poring over Excel sheets and financial statements, slogging my life away for the increasing figures in my bank statement.

The arrival of COVID-19 made me realise that there was more to success than money, and there was so much more meaning to life. It redefined what success means to me, and I resolve to engineer a life of meaning that would allow me to continuously grow, learn and get closer to understanding humanity.

I want to leave a legacy and have a positive impact on the lives of people. COVID has broadened my perspectives, and definitely changed my view about my choice of career.

Kaylee Chung, CNB

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our mindsets and perceptions of many things in life. We tend to live more in the moment now and are more proactive in striking out items on our bucket list.

Instead of procrastinating and staying on in a routine job that lacks opportunities in growth, or waiting for an opportune time for a career switch, one has to take a leap of faith and go for the job that allows us to pursue our heart's desires, even if it means having to compromise on other aspects at times.

COVID-19 has not only been a catalyst in digitalisation, it has also made us realise that sometimes "tomorrow never comes"! We should keep learning and upgrading ourselves. With diverse skills and capabilities, we can then venture into new frontiers when opportunities arise. We should not take things as given. In gist, carpe diem!

Tan Pek Yee, HPB

What recent technology development most interests you and how are you learning more about it?

What recent technological development most interests you and how are you learning more about it?

Share your thoughts in about 250 words, and send your entry to

The most thought-provoking or creative entry will receive a prize worth $100.

All other entries published will win vouchers worth $30 each. Entries may be edited. Please include your name, agency email address, agency and contact number.

All entries should reach us by April 29, 2022.

    Mar 22, 2022
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