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18 Sep 2015

How to Recession Proof Your Career with a Strong Why

The Business Times on 18 Sep 2015 reported that because of falling August domestic exports, Singapore could be entering into a technical recession soon. Many people asked me what they should do. 

We have already seen a large swing towards the ruling party in the just concluded 2015 General Elections. Singaporeans sent a strong mandate to the ruling party as they want the government to be strong in handling the recession that may come.

So it seems that a recession is imminent. Instead of panicking when the recession comes, why not we ‘prevent’ the recession from happening to us?  In other words, can we ‘recession proof’ our career? 

The proven way to recession proof your career is to go for upgrading courses, for when you know more, the easier your job will be. Some will tell you to stick to your current employer, for at least you may get some retrenchment benefits in case your employer gives you the pink letter. Recruitment firms advise employees to look out for other job opportunities while still holding your current job so as to ‘get some insurance’.  There are some that will tell you to go and start your own business for this is the permanent way to really protect your career.

The above advises are definitely rewarding, for they are from many years of real-life experience. But today I will teach you something that very few people teach: know your ‘Why’.

When you know you ‘Why’, your ‘How’ will come out easily. With ‘How’ you will get ‘What’ you want.

Your ‘Why’ is the strong reason why you need your job. Many people have the following reasons:
·       I need the job to support my family
·       Without this job I cannot survive
·       My vocation is my vacation (I love my job)
·       The people in my job are like my family
·       I have many mouths to feed
·       I have tons of debt to repay

The above reasons are good, but they are not strong enough as they lack one thing: longer term perspective.

When you hold on to your job with a short term perspective like need to balance your bank account, how can you ever have a long term job or career?  It is like you walking into DBS Bank and the bank told you that they need your deposit to pay for salaries for the bank. Would you feel safe with such a reason?  

It is obvious that we need a longer term ‘Why’ if we too want to have a long term career. With a long term ‘Why’, we will have the stamina and tenacity to surmount the challenges that may come along the way. For example, DBS’s vision is ‘Living Breathing Asia’, that’s why DBS can overcome the 2008 financial crisis that even banking giants like Royal Bank of Scotland cannot overcome.

What would be your long term ‘Why’ in your career?  It can include the following:
·       To fulfil your dream of (whatever it is)
·       To realize your childhood ambition
·       To see your children into university of their choice

As a guide, your longer term ‘Why’ must transcend your short term goals.

Examples of successful careers with a strong long term ‘Why’
·       Facebook’s founder Mark Zackerburg ‘To connect everyone’
·       Microsoft’s Bill Gates ‘A computer at every desk’ (1980)
·       Air Asia’s Tony Fernandes ‘Now Everyone can fly’
·       Asia Trainers’ founder Andy Ng ‘World Abundance through Business Re-education’
·       Jenuesse Global’s top leader Ms Kim Hui “Strive to make your dream a reality’

By Andy Ng, a Business Coach and Trainer with over 28 years of experience. Andy specialises in short but effective courses that helps people to be more empowered and effective in their career and business. All his courses are subsidised 60% by the government’s PIC scheme. Email to or visit now!

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