Four years ago in 2013, Mr Samsi was looking forward to tying the knot and starting a family and wanted to provide well for his wife and children. At that time, the construction industry was booming and his friends told him that he could potentially double his salary. As such, he seriously considered a career switch bearing in mind that he would have to upgrade his skills and put in more hours at work.
He added, “I was interested in the safety aspects of the construction industry. My experience in the Police Force helped me develop a keen eye for spotting hazardous objects. I also knew CPR. These were knowledge I felt could help me excel in the construction line.”
Despite the resistance Mr Samsi received from his concerned parents, he left the police force after 10 years of service to join the construction industry.
Mr Samsi, whose father was also a former police officer, said, “My mother didn’t understand why I wanted to make a career switch at my age. She was worried that I would regret my decision.”
He said, “I would have wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. After all, I spent a decade working as a policeman. The work was exciting and I knew I was helping people, which gave me a lot of pride and satisfaction. But at the same time, I wanted to challenge myself, push myself out of my comfort zone and see how far I could grow. I also want to provide more for my family.”
Making the Switch
With the help of his friend, Mr Samsi managed to get a job in a construction company as an Assistant Engineer. Two years into the role, there were rumours that there might be manpower cuts as the company lost an important project. Being one of the less experienced employees, he knew he would be among the first to be let go.
It was then that he tendered his resignation, deciding to focus on upgrading his skills so that he could get an even better position with the right qualifications. For the next six months, Mr Samsi put all his energy into attending safety courses at NTUC.
Believing that he and his wife would be able to survive on the savings they had, Mr Samsi recalled the wake-up call he had when his wife suggested to him to seek financial assistance. Their savings had run out and the monthly finances were beginning to take a toll on his then-pregnant wife who had become the sole breadwinner for the two of them.
“My wife was supportive of my goals as she knew that all I wanted was to give her a better quality of life, but it was getting hard on her. On top of the monthly expenses such as food, utilities, and the car, there was the added medical bills for the pregnancy.
Recognising the Challenges Ahead
“The wake-up call was when she suggested that we seek financial assistance from the North East Community Development Council at Our Tampines Hub. The additional medical bills for the pregnancy check-ups meant we couldn’t pay the utility bills on time. We were in such a desperate state and I knew I needed to get back to work. I approached the CDC which then linked us up with Careers Connect.”
“That was where I met Eunice, my career coach.”
Recalling Eunice as patient and friendly, Mr Samsi said that she immediately enrolled him in a career talk at Paya Lebar.
He said, “The talk was good for someone like me who had not done a resume in years. It covered useful information such as what to prioritise in the resume, how to dress up for an interview and appropriate questions to ask the interviewer.”
Mr Samsi recollected that Eunice called often to check on his job search and gave him additional interview tips. The regular follow-ups comforted him because he felt that someone was around to help him get back in touch with the workforce.
“The calls were a convenient way to keep her updated and to ask for last-minute career guidance”, he said.
“As I was looking for a good-paying job, I particularly remembered this tip – ‘Never talk about salary first.’ If the interview was going well, I should ask, ‘When can I start?’ The tip seemed to work because as much as I wanted a better salary, I didn’t ask until the interviewer broached the topic. I had to convince them that I was worth the money first. Since then, I received several calls from different companies.”
Today, Mr Samsi is a Safety Officer in a Singapore-based construction company. The project is in Thailand and he would be in charge of inspecting site conditions to determine if hazards were present and to establish procedures and policies to overcome those hazardous situations.
Excited to put his investigative skills to good use in his new job, he said with a laugh, “Fortunately, I’ve been trained well to spot dangerous situations.”
When asked if his wife was supportive of the job offer even though he would be stationed overseas, Mr Samsi shared, “If the discussion goes well, I am looking at possibly doubling my last salary. My wife doesn’t have to work anymore. She deserves a better life for everything she has done for me. Plus, she can spend more time with our children at home. When I told her about the plans, she was very excited!”
Looking back at how his career has panned out, he said, “Meeting Eunice was timely and I have my wife to thank for persuading me to get help with my job search. If I hadn’t met Eunice, my job search would probably have been slower as her calls gave me the push to update her with positive news.”