Getting Promoted in Singapore and Understanding the Meaning of Value

What’s up guys, it has been a while since I last wrote and posted anything. Forgive me, I have been putting like 200% of my heart and soul into my job and had really no time for other things.

But guess what, it was totally worth it, because I GOT PROMOTED!

While I am truly grateful of the luck on my side, for finding such a good employer and good job in the pandemic, there are some lessons, particularly about value, that I have learnt throughout the entire process from working since day 1 until present. And that is what I will be writing today.

Value is not determined by hours.

When it comes to salary, most of us measure it by hourly rate. And somehow we cultivate the mindset that working longer hours is one way to get higher pay. In reality, however, it is not the case.

As this is the first time ever I got promoted, the experience I have collected from all previous jobs allow me to understand the meaning of value in business.

Think of it this way, everyone of us has values in this world, and business is essentially trading of values: you pay money to the hawker to get food in return, the hawker receive money from you and return you in the form of food and services.

In simpler, we trade our value for money.

The similar transaction happens between us and our employers, we hand over our valuable time in return of salary, the employers pay us salary in return of our time and services.

This is why, simply working longer or harder, does not guarantee career advancement, does not guarantee job security either. If our value does not increase, simply by working longer or harder would not increase our chance of getting promoted because we are still just giving our hours to the employers and they are already paying us for that.

Therefore, we have to increase our value, then only we have the stake to ask for a promotion. That is what I did. On my first day at work, I wrote down on my journal: what can I do to add value to the company? It could be discovering a problem and finding a solution, it could be improvising the old ways of doing things, etc.

Value is more than just on papers

I mean, in generally, public thinks that high academic qualifications mean higher pays, right? That’s why our parents and relatives have always been talking about studying hard, becoming doctors or lawyers and engineers and you’ll be paid well.

Will higher academic qualifications give us a good pay? Yes, you will see in both Singapore and Malaysia, a university graduate will definitely get a better job entry and starting salary.

But does it mean that without academic qualifications, we are not able to have better job prospect? Definitely no.

Value is always more than just a piece of paper. Even if we did not have the opportunity or did not do so well in formal education, it does not mean that we are not up to great things in the later stages of our lives. And many self-made entrepreneurs have proved that.

The key is, continuous learning, either by formal or informal education. If our company does provide the training, good, don’t take it for granted. And if they don’t, make an initiative to self educate, there are a lot of free courses on internet nowadays.

Your value has to be seen by the right person.

This is not the first time that I write down and think about how to add value. Yet, I did not get any promotion from my previous jobs and I believe this happen to many of us, where we are confident that we are providing values to the company yet underappreciated, even worse, someone who take the credit for the works we did and yet get promoted (This is what happened in my previous job). Sometimes even if we are getting recognised by the superior, we still do not receive any news.

Upon reflections, I come to this conclusion: our work, our value has to be seen by the right person, who has the authority in deciding our career advancement.

Depending on our work environment, our superior sometimes may not have the authority to promote us, or may not have the interest to promote us at all.

It is okay if you don’t know, but always make an effort to find it out.

No matter what line of industry you’re in, your boss surely love to ask you questions as well. Sometimes the questions may involve what’s totally outside our expertise or job scope. And none of the bosses like to take “I don’t know” as an answer.

Reality is it is impossible for us to know everything, but it is possible for us to find out about everything. So whenever boss asks us about something that we really don’t know, don’t just stop at “I don’t know”, make an effort to find out about it, either by learning about it, or finding someone who knows how to do it.

What you learn will always be truly yours.

There’s this old Chinese proverb that says:”世有伯乐,然后有千里马。千里马常有,而伯乐不常有。” which means talents are everywhere, but people who are capable to recognise the talents are rare.

So, it is completely normal if you have talents or certain valuable skill sets and yet unrecognised or underappreciated at work.

Don’t get disheartened, because what you have learned, will always be truly yours. And remember that every job is just a small part of our life journey.

This is what I keep in my mind when I feel unrecognised or underappreciated at work, and when I was given extra works or tasks to handle, including those from taichi masters at the work place.


Everything we have learned, experiences, skills, networks will ve our assets forever, even if they’re not recognised, even if someone has taken credit for it.

And when the next opportunity arises, perhaps in the form of a new job, or a new business opportunity, with all these assets you have learned and persevered, you will be well prepared. Remember, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

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