Why do I share my life story?

There are two school of thoughts. One thinks that you should keep your professional profile clean, highlighting only your academic and professional achievements and track record, while the other thinks that you should also share about yourself.

Sharing about one’s life story, stages and other personal details may result in discrimination. For example, some companies might not want to hire you, knowing that you have just gotten married, thinking that you will be away for paternal/maternity leave.

But pause a moment and ask yourself: Do you want to work for a firm that behaves like that in the first place?

For me, I would rather a company knows everything about me, then decide for themselves if I am a good fit. For some, they may choose to obscure some information in order to present a perfect image as a candidate. No one is perfect. So why pretend to be?

One company that I am very thankful for is my current firm: Outward Bound Singapore. To be honest, when I apply for this job, I was not in the best state of my life. I was halfway through my education and it seems like I don’t have a long-term plan. In fact, I really don’t. Yet, the past three to four years turned out beautifully. I managed to finish my full-time degree without breaking my bond, working full time at the same time. Who would have even imagined that this is even possible? I wouldn’t encourage or advise anyone else to do this; I was in a situation in which I felt necessary to take that step, and it could have ended up either with me breaking my bond and paying the penalty, or dropping out. Luckily, it didn’t turn out that way.

So why do I share my history? I think while it is important to hire for skills and competencies, it is more important to hire for character. After all, when we hire someone, we are working with that individual for many hours of the day. Even if he/she is highly competent, would we want to work with someone unpleasant? Hence, by sharing my story and my background, I hope to let others understand me, then decide for themsevles if I am someone that they can trust and work with.

Categorized as Thoughts

By ben@sgben.com

Hi, I am Benjamin. I am a Singaporean son, born and bred. I came from a modest background, just like most Singaporeans and went to mainstream schools like most middle-class Singaporeans. What makes me different is my unconventional choices and journey in life, giving me more profound insights. Entering a secondary school infested with secret societies in the earlier days exposed me to a different side of Singapore. I graduated well despite having a volatile phase. I chose one of the youngest polytechnics despite having a score good enough for JC, even as others tell me it is not recognised, and I would not make it into university through that path. During my National Service, I also went through a difficult phase of rediscovering the purpose of serving. My university was another defining chapter, spanning over nine years, involving many adventures and endeavours. As you can see, I seldom bother myself with dogmas. I strongly believe in Steve Job's speech at Stanford University. I hope to lead others by example, inspire them to do the same and empower the decisions they have to make in their lives. Reach me at sgBen.com.

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