The Big Read: For youths, will pragmatism or passion rule as Covid-19 gives pause to rethink life’s priorities?

The Big Read: For youths, will pragmatism or passion rule as Covid-19 gives pause to rethink life’s priorities?

Based on findings of the inaugural annual TODAY Youth Survey, youths have a different take on what success in life means. No longer is it defined by the 5Cs — cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership — that were once deemed as the ultimate Singapore dream by an earlier generation. The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched on long enough for young adults here to reshuffle their priorities

Some see the turbulent times as an opportunity to pursue their passions, while others see the need to be pragmatic and protect their livelihoods

Another group that has anecdotally grown in numbers recently is determined to quickly expand their wealth and retire early

Experts and employers agree that whichever path one chooses has its pros and cons

As employees slowly grow to accept hybrid work and home arrangements, employers should adjust their policies to suit such preferences

SINGAPORE — When the Covid-19 pandemic struck early last year, 29-year-old Fiona Loh found herself working for up to 20 hours a day, juggling her day job as a technology product manager at a bank and baking pastries at home for sale.

Ms Loh, who has a passion for baking, saw a boom in her home-based business when hundreds of orders streamed in during the circuit breaker period from April to June last year and beyond, with the bulk of the demand coming from customers who were working from home.

She soon found herself working through the night until 5am baking brownies and cookies, and waking up before 9am for her day job at the bank.

Ms Loh then had to make a decision — to continue her juggling act, or to turn her side hustle into her main career.

“That was when I took a step back and had to rethink what it was that I really wanted to do.”

She then made the calculated risk to turn her baking passion into a full-time career in June last year, and opened Whiskdom, her own bakery.

Ms Loh has not looked back since, with demand for her bakes continuing to stay strong, and she now has four full-time and two part-time employees. Subscribe to our email newsletter

29-year-old Fiona Loh turned her baking side hustle into her main career after she saw a boom in her home-based business during the circuit breaker period. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY While Ms Loh has taken a leap of faith career-wise, 29-year-old Anthea (not her real name) prefers to play it safe even though she is not happy with her work situation.

Anthea had largely enjoyed her work in the marketing department of a public relations firm, until it began to take on more projects amid the raging pandemic last year. While she normally ended work at about 8pm pre-Covid, she found herself staying up to the wee hours working to meet project deadlines, as working from home had blurred the lines between office and rest hours.

“After a while of working overnight, I just felt burnt out and that it was no longer worth it,” said Anthea.

However, she stuck it out for over a year — before leaving the company in July this year — for very pragmatic reasons: She needed the money to pay her bills and did not want to dip into her savings.

Anthea is presently working in a contract marketing role at another firm that pays about the same salary but has better working hours. But she no longer enjoys working in the industry, and feels “stuck” in her current role.

“After a while, I feel no purpose in what I am doing,” she said.

For yet another millennial, 25-year-old Terence, the pandemic has led him to embrace the “Fire” movement, whose mantra is “financial independence, retire early” . Proponents believe that this can be achieved by saving hard, investing well and living frugally from young.Having graduated from university last year, the bleak economic outlook at that time — as Covid-19 decimated one key industry after another in Singapore and elsewhere — nudged Terence into subscribing to the movement seriously, starting with saving his money.“There wasn’t a major impetus to spend on anything… we couldn’t travel, and any plans I had such as graduation trips were out of the window,” said Terence, who wanted to be known only by his first name.His difficult job search after graduation made him more determined to be frugal with his spending, even after he finally landed a position with a consultancy firm in August last year. For instance, he would hold off […]

source The Big Read: For youths, will pragmatism or passion rule as Covid-19 gives pause to rethink life’s priorities?

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