20 Sep Letting Go Of My Old Self

For 16 years in my career, I have been in marine, shipyard & offshore industry. I have taken up different roles – from being a project engineer, to purchasing/technical role and lastly a supply chain manager. It was never easy, but I was able to gain first-hand experience and knowledge. This allowed me to progress upwards through hard work and cumulative experiences. At that time, I felt that I could stay in the same industry throughout my career life.

Everything changed when the oil crisis struck in early-2015. Like many others in the same industry, I was retrenched in matter of months. I used to think that getting employed was like that Jackson 5 song – as easy as ABC. I was confident in my networking and in my skill set that would help land me another job. After 6 months of sending resumes to the same industry, there were no results. The market had changed. So did the expectations of the economy and employers.

At this point, I stood aimless and without direction. Retrenchment had me realising that without proper qualification & skills, I could not move on. In fact, I was not equipped to move out of the area I was familiar with.

Facing these walls and barriers, I was so close to giving up. Yet, it was through these pitfalls that motivated me to explore uncharted territories. I finally picked up the courage to explore other avenues. Yet, I found myself failing many times. I had to tell myself to keep going strong.

Realisation and Restructuring

It was during this period that I found The R.A.C.E. Program. I realised I was in need of a clearer career direction. It seemed like it would allow me to explore more possibilities regarding my career goals, hence I decided to take the plunge and signed up for the course.

During this journey, it got me to think about areas that I’d never thought of before. This was especially so due to my Career Strategist who made the biggest impact in my turning point.

Initially, I had no clue as to what a coach was supposed to do for me or even what to expect from coaching. So, naturally, my first meeting with my coach, a total stranger whom I was expected to share personal information with, was slightly awkward.

To my relief, Winson, turned out to be more than just a coach. He became my advisor and a friend. Someone whom I felt extremely comfortable confiding my career plans and worries to. With every session, he broadened my perspectives, especially with the strengthening of my individual beliefs.

One valuable lesson I learnt, was knowing the appropriate time to stop talking and listen to others during communication. I am actually quite a confident communicator. What I was unaware of was the lack of engagement from others as I might have not listened enough to them in the past. Such were the little things that I had not taken into consideration before.

Another interesting part of coaching was personality profiling. I did a number of profiling surveys, which enabled me to pick out my strengths and weaknesses. Coupled with newly learnt theories in the course module “Managing Self”, I was able to reflect. I learnt that in order to manage and lead people, I must first manage myself. It made me internalise different ways to tailor communication and management for various personalities. This allowed me to look past the inflexible mould I was so familiar with.

Armed with new mind-set and theories, I am able to visualise a clearer framework regarding myself and work on previously unknown issues. I am now able to build a new basis for my personality. I am more prepared to change the way I would manage and lead my team for the better.

My New Self

Looking back, I have come to realise the importance of developing professional connections. I was too focused on completing my work in the past, which was a mistake. It dawned upon me that I had lost many opportunities that I could have used to cultivate workplace relationships.

In fact, my biggest takeaway from these three months is the journey of transformation in mind set, development in willingness and reception to change.

This didn’t come easy for me. Accepting the fact that there is change needed is always hard. This breaks down the fundamental beliefs or even values that I have constantly pride myself upon. I am now able to resist the feeling of familiarity, the confidence in my behaviours and mind-set that have once led me to inflexibility.

R.A.C.E is not an academic journey. It is a transformational journey, allowing me to take a path that I had never thought was possible in the past. It was through tough decisions and enduring pain that I was able to emerge as a renewed person.

“Always be prepared and upgrade yourself. We never know when opportunity will strike, when it does, only the ready would be able to grab it. Don’t give up! You are your biggest obstacle. Open your mind, be positive and continue to move forward with confidence!”


If you would like to start your path to career success now, visit here to learn more about the RACE program.


Clifford Fong
Pioneer Cohort
R.A.C.E. Learner

“Letting Go Of My Old Self” as narrated by Clifford Fong, written by Yuxin.

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