Taking Risks At Work


Next Issue

Share a memorable experience you had working with officers across various agencies.

Share your story with Challenge. Send your entry to psd_challenge@psd.gov.sg

The most exciting entry will receive a prize worth $100. All other published entries will win vouchers worth $30 each. Entries may be edited for length. Please include your name, agency email address, agency and contact number. All entries should reach us by June 2, 2017.


Winning entry

Once, a complainant came to enforce a Maintenance Order. Her husband had to pay a monthly sum and for the children’s school books, uniforms and shoes annually. He had paid for everything promptly, except for the uniforms and shoes. I asked the complainant if I could call her husband to find out why he did as she claimed. She was surprised but let me do it. To the husband, I explained that I felt there was likely a genuine oversight or some good reasoning behind it, which was why I was calling in a personal capacity (my own judgement call). He thanked me, and said that buying uniforms and shoes were very personal issues. He was hoping that his children would ask him along to buy them together, and requested that I ask the complainant if that could be arranged. I agreed. Both parties were very happy with the new situation. The Family Justice Courts’ SOP does not provide for personal calls. If either party complained that I was being nosey or doing something unnecessary, I would have had some serious explaining to do. But because of the risk I took, the parties faced less acrimony, not having to clash in court; the organisation was seen to be adding value; and I gained a sense of fulfilment, as the parties’ compliments inspire me to take risks now and then in the interest of justice.

Santha Devi Sivanathan, Family Justice Courts

Congratulations, Santha! You win a $100 voucher to NOX - Dine in the Dark. Enjoy the sensory experience of tasting food from a different perspective!


On the third day of my first job, I heard the CEO speak about what made a good speech. Being a fan of oratory and the written word, I later wrote a long email to the CEO, where I gave my dissenting views with many points contradicting hers. Brashness of youth? Definitely. It was reckless of me to have written such an opinionated email to someone so senior – particularly when she had no idea who I was! Thankfully, she responded genially and engaged me on the points I had raised. Then, she assigned me to write a speech for an event, even though that was not part of my job description (in organisational development). I guess I did ok because more speech assignments followed. From that, I discovered that I enjoyed corporate writing. So when the opportunity came, I transferred to the corporate communications department.

In hindsight, as much as I took a risk in writing to her, she took one too by giving me that first assignment. The speech could have turned out very differently from what she was used to. I’m glad the risk paid off and led to me working in a role that I enjoy very much.

Tan Yi Shu, PSD


In 2014, I was tasked to deliver the OneService project. In the tender for the project, we missed out one part of the mobile app scope for its development (the backend APIs), and had to build it ourselves. Luckily, we were assigned a Solution Architect to help us build it. That went quite well until in September 2014, when my Director informed me that he had to re-assign the Solution Architect to other tasks, and I should negotiate with the vendor building the backend to include API development. I knew right away that this would delay my schedule by at least two months, but the app’s launch date had already been announced. So I told my Director, “I will do it myself.” A few days later, with the Solution Architect’s help, I had a new laptop set up for development. The rest, as they say, was history! I completed the APIs while juggling my project management work, and the app was launched in January 2015 as planned. Looking back, it was a huge risk. Even my team members were sceptical. I guessed they had never seen a Deputy Director code. But the biggest risk, and what many did not know then, was that the APIs were developed in .NET C#, a programming language I had never touched before!

David Chua, MOH


    May 12, 2017
  • link facebook
  • link twitter
  • link whatsapp
  • link email