Farah starts off each day at her company by motivating her staff to simply be happy. “Happiness is contagious,” she says. “When you’re happy, I strongly believe that your clients will pick up on that and in return, be happy too!” Even in this simple little black dress, amped up with a statement necklace, her wide smile and relaxed demeanour make it easy to see how Farah does it. She manages JustOffice, which she describes as something like service apartments, but for different companies and clients. It’s something that she likens to her dream job, having left her previous one after 17 years. “It took a lot of guts and a huge pay cut to step away, and I was able to make that major career move through encouragement from friends and family. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And I’m glad I did,” Farah says. “I get a sense of fulfilment, pride, and satisfaction when I am able to assist someone, and hopefully make their day.” We speak to Farah to find out more about what makes her tick.
1. What is your favourite part of your job, and your least favourite, and why?
The rapport and relationship that I’ve built with my clients. It’s amazing to meet different types of people from different cultures. Least favourite? None actually, because when you love what you do, what is there not to enjoy!
2. What drives and inspires you to continue to do what you do, day in and out?
That smile and when your clients say thank you and appreciate what you and your team do everyday, giving them only the best. We have to justify why they chose the company I am working for as their preferred service office, so I would want my clients to think that they are my guests, in my humble home. My job is to make them feel welcome and comfortable, and for my team and I to be the hostess with the most-est!
3. What challenges do you face at work on a day-to-day basis? What challenges do you foresee in the long run?
Everybody as we know is different, from your peers to your bosses and clients. It will be impossible to please everybody, but I certainly do try. Its all about managing their expectations. It’s an art if I may say so.
4. What do you think about entrepreneurship in Singapore? E.g. Are there more opportunities for entrepreneurs? Is it becoming easier or more difficult for people to start their own businesses?
I think people in Singapore are generally more open and accepting to new things. Entrepreneurship shows hard work, determination, and bravery in more ways than one. It is important to give these entrepreneurs all the support they need; some of them leave comfortable, well-paying jobs to take a leap of faith that might or might not make it. Giving them credit for taking that leap is more than what they could ask for, and it’s a battle half won, in my opinion.
5. If there’s one piece of advice you would like to give anyone who is just starting his/her career, or his/her own business, what would it be? Or, what is the one most important thing you’ve learnt in your years at work?
Take that leap of faith and learn something from it. If it’s not meant for you, try something else. But never stop trying. One piece of advice someone once told me was to never, ever burn bridges with your previous boss, manager, or employer. You never know whats in store in the future. Leave with a firm handshake and a ‘thank you’, and don’t forget to smile!
6. Describe your usual workplace style in three words.
Effort does wonders!
7. If you could wear a uniform of sorts to work for the rest of your life, what would that outfit consist of, and why?
Wearing a uniform portrays a sense of belonging. It’s something you be proud to wear when you’re representing your organisation. In my opinion, that uniform has to be comfortable, up to date, fashion-forward, and with a hint of sexiness. Classy, not cheesy.
8. Do you have any philosophies, mottoes or quotes that you’re living by right now?
I’ve got tons, to be honest! My top three are: firstly, fate will take you somewhere, but the rest is up to you to make it happen. Secondly, no question is too small or stupid. And finally, fall. Don’t be afraid; what have you got to lose? Just get up, and move on.