When Noor Lyna Zainuddin, 35 years old, decided to leave a job she loved after a decade, to pursue personal growth, little did she know that she would enter the unemployed pool just a mere six months later. The personal choice to leave aviation affected everyone in her family. But it was a choice that changed the course of how she viewed employment & your typical work day.
An educator by training and having spent slightly under a decade in post-secondary institutions, lecturing students on soft skills such as interpersonal and communication skills, Lyna left education in Nov 2018, hoping to sharpen her skills by joining the corporate world. She claims that she barely survived the 6 months, confirming what she always knew. That you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can never take the classroom out of the teacher.
In June 2019, she found herself unemployed with two young children to care for & a monthly mortgage on her 5-room BTO. Fully aware that she could contribute financially to the family in other ways, she turned to an unlikely source of income – flexible, adjunct employment.
In an uncertain post-covid world, Lyna feels that more women should look into this as a viable option when faced with key challenges in their lives.
“When we change how we view work and our careers, our minds will broaden and we will see new opportunities all around us.”Noor Lyna Zainuddin, Adjunct Lecturer at SP & NUS
Focusing on her own three-pronged approach, Lyna continued to stay competitive and relevant as an educator.
1. Faith in the unknown
Have faith in knowing that you know nothing. In economic uncertainty and in an ever-evolving workforce, we must always remember to embrace the possibility of unemployment. Yet through these difficult decisions to be made, we must have faith. That the right fit of a job may come in variant forms.
She never thought that she would begin her day by sending her kids off to school then stepping back into her dining room, switching on her ring light and giving a lecture to students who may have just rolled out of bed a mere 5 minutes ago. But that is the beauty of choosing flexible employment. The unknown pushes you to grow.
2. Courage to change mindsets
When choosing flexible work arrangements, you must push boundaries and change mindsets. And not just society’s idea of what full-time work is but your personal mindset of what a job entails.
From the concept of working hours to lunch time and the physical office space that you were used to, these concepts need to be revamped. When you change your mindsets to these, you push boundaries.
Whilst having the flexibility to choose her clocked-in hours for classes, it also meant working through the night because she had the day to settle her children. Home spaces were transformed to allow for Zoom sessions and equipment were upgraded to benefit her students. Lyna changed how she perceived her average work day would be and embraced the change.
3. Belief in the grand scheme of things
Change can be difficult for everyone, but we must also have the belief that things will fall into place. Because as women, we strive to endure & thrive. And with support from those around us, the change in our work arrangements, will also see changes in those around us.
With undertaking a more curated work arrangement, Lyna saw herself freed up to send her children to school, cook dinners during weekdays and pursue personal interests, such as baking. These were often kept as afterthoughts when she was previously working full-time. And in the grand scheme of things, she saw more time being spent with her aging parents and in-laws. It all eventually fell into place, but it took time.
At the core of it, choosing to move towards a flexible work arrangement is never an easy choice but one that is a choice nonetheless. We must see that at times, in juggling things in our lives, careers may take a back seat but it must never be forgotten.
As women, we are adaptable and courageous in more ways than one. Let us channel that courage into choosing to change our perception of traditional workdays.Noor Lyna Zainuddin – a freelance writer
Noor Lyna Zainuddin is a part-time lecturer and a freelance writer. She is also one out of 57 citizen panels who contributed ideas and suggestions on ways to improve work-life harmony in Singapore. Read more about it here.
If you resonate with Lyna’s write up and feeling motivated to take the next step, check out our job board. You might just find one that brings you a step closer to Work-Life Harmony we are striving for. And if you know of someone whose story can be inspirational to others, contact us and we promise to get back to you as soon as possible. Hugs & Kisses from WLW team.