The surprise is written all over No’man’s face when we pull him away from his after-hours drink for these photos, but there is no question that he pays attention to how he dresses for work. If there was one thing he had to wear for the rest of his working life, he would pick a three-piece suit. “It exudes confidence, intelligence, and professionalism,” he says. No’man has to learn on the go in his new job in business development, but he seems to be taking it all in his stride. “I love learning new things, and meeting new people,” he says. And while rejection is something that he’s still getting used to, No’man says his passion for his job and his desire to better himself every day keeps him going. “In the long run, I only fear complacency,” he says. “I have to step up my game to always be on top.” Read on to find out more about him and his work.
1. Describe a typical day at work.
I am in the Facilities Management service, and currently transitioning from daily operations to business development. So, I’m now on a very steep learning curve to understand the business side of the service, knocking on doors for new opportunities and supporting my boss for new prospects.
2. If you could start your own business or company, what would it deal with, and why?
I have this yearning to start a laid back cafe for anyone to do their thing. No fancy stuff, just a place where you will feel very comfortable, both alone, and with company.
3. Can you tell us about one milestone in your company or career? Something that you’re most proud of, perhaps.
I managed to be promoted to the senior officer position from a junior one when I was in the police force, back in 2001, within 5 short years. I think that was the fastest anyone was ever promoted. Well, that was what I was told!
4. What challenges do you face at work on a day-to-day basis? What challenges do you foresee in the long run?
Well, in business development, getting rejected straight to your face is a definite challenge. It’s a frustrating feeling at first, and quite demoralising, but I have to take it to stride. Talking to more people means more people get to know me, my service and my company.
5. What do you think about entrepreneurship in Singapore? Eg. Are there more opportunities for entrepreneurs? Is it becoming easier or more difficult for people to start their own businesses?
There will always be people out there who will say that you cannot start a successful business in Singapore. I will be 42 very, very soon, and I’m still holding on to my dream of opening a cafe. Whether it’s easy or difficult depends on you. Do not blame the infrastructure, legislation or bureaucracy.
6. 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?
When starting a career, always be humble. Humility will be the foundation of your future. Treat everyone as someone who can be of a source of knowledge and experience, even someone who is younger or more junior than you. One piece of advice I’ve always given to anyone who needs it: work smart instead of working hard.
7. Tell us something interesting about yourself. What do you do in your spare time? Any unusual hobbies? A childhood pastime? Favourite book/movie/music genre? Role model in life? Anything that you can come up with at the top of your head.
I’ve just started reading novels, about a few months back. I find it relaxing and it teaches me to be calm, something which I could never do before. My role models — simply my parents. They aren’t famous, or hold high-paying jobs. My mum is a housewife, and my dad is retired. But their mission in life was to not only raise good children, which all parents do, but to also make sure that their children grow up as a family. Now, everyone has a family of their own, but we make it a point to meet up every Friday night — all 38 of us. We catch up on work, family, hobbies, sports, etc.
8. Do you have any philosophies, mottoes or quotes that you’re living by right now?
To always be humble.