Being able to grow continuously helps to keep us on our toes and prevents us from hitting plateaus in our careers. Mr Goh Mui Pong, Deputy Director and Head of the MAS Academy, has been in the Public Service for about ten years, and he shares from his own experience on how to spice things up in our careers and push ourselves out of our comfort zones to keep growing. 

His first tip is to stay curious. Learn about different ecosystems and talk to people from other public agencies, diverse industries and companies.

He also encourages us to take stock of our growth and learn through regular reflection. Mui Pong tries to keep track of his learning through a daily journal, where he asks himself the same set of questions about his new discoveries and learnings. This has helped him to identify what he needs to be more intentional in doing.

“Some questions my team reflect individually and together are, ‘What is one new skill that we acquired thus far this year? Which other skills do we need to acquire and how can we do so in practical steps?’”

His next tip is to try new things. While most people associate trying new things with more drastic measures like moving out of a department or organisation, Mui Pong thinks that there is value in trying new things within our current roles. He suggests volunteering for cross-functional teams and projects, as well as learning more about what other people are doing and how they do things, as opposed to changing jobs or even sectors altogether.

“If it doesn’t work out, you can move on to the next thing. If you change department or job, it’s like jumping straight into the deep end of the pool,” he said.

Being clear of our purpose is also another way to ensure continuous growth as we would be able to see the most mundane tasks with a new perspective and meaning. Purpose is what keeps him going.

“When I’m on my tenth draft of a deck of slides, wondering where a particular graph should go and knowing that the next person might remove it anyway, purpose is what gives me meaning to push through. I am reminded that I’m not just making a deck of slides but creating frameworks so that other people can flourish and grow.”

Lastly, in a rapidly changing workplace, being able to pick up the new skills will help us adapt and grow continuously in our career. It is not just about picking up data analytics, design thinking or whichever skills are in vogue. Instead, he believes that learning how to learn and learning to solve problems creatively are skills that will go a long way.

“The lifespan of skills is shortening, but learning how to look for resources instead of waiting for someone to show you how it’s done, and learning how to tackle a problem without waiting for someone to show you what the different options are will take you far,” he said.

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