Lynn Er quit her demanding job more than seven years ago to become a successful property agent.
Property agent Lynn Er is a married mother of two boys who quit the rat race more than seven years ago to become a property agent, so that she could spend more time with her family.
When Er was younger, she followed the path of scaling the career ladder to find success. She worked as an auditor at KPMG before joining Yum! Brands (the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) as an account manager.
But this meant working very long hours to meet deadlines. “Basically, my life revolved around work so much that I didn’t have time for other things,” said Er, who is in her 40s.
“It was normal for us to work till midnight. I remember a few projects where we had to work till 3 to 4am in the morning. Then I would have to go back home to freshen up and return to the office again.”
She soon found it difficult to provide her family with the attention they needed.
Cases such as Er’s are not uncommon in Singapore. In fact, a recent JobStreet.com survey revealed that 75 percent of working mothers here spend less than 10 hours with their children during a work week. The study involved 480 female respondents.
“According to our survey, work-life balance is the top challenge faced by women in the workplace. However, most of them have no choice but to earn a living,” said Chook Yuh Yng, Country Manager of JobStreet.com Singapore.
“Our survey found that 69 percent of these females are working for the need to support their families, the need to plan for retirement, and the need to be financially independent.”
As for Er, she decided to refocus her life and work by joining ERA Realty, and now handles local and foreign clients. She has closed sales at numerous luxury projects in the prime districts of 9, 10 and 11, including OUE Twin Peaks, Ardmore Park and Scotts 28.
Er’s job as a property agent means she enjoys flexible work hours and can plan her time better. Still, working as an agent has its challenges, especially with the current slowdown in the housing market.
“Previously, we could close sales after 10 viewings, but nowadays we need to conduct about 30 viewings,” she said.
Er relies a lot on the support of her existing clients, who provide her with referrals.
However, the career change has made her home life more fulfilling, as she’s able to make her family a priority. Er now spends much of her time bonding with her children.
Her daily routine includes sending her seven-year-old son to school. She also tries to communicate more with him, to understand what he’s going through at school and whether he needs help with his studies.
“I will spend time with him to go through his homework everyday. After sending the older boy to school, I will spend time with my seven-month-old baby, teach him new things and prepare food for him,” she said.
Er has this advice for other working mums struggling to strike a work-life balance. “Dare to dream and do what you like. There are many opportunities that allow you to fulfil your career goals and take care of your kids.
“I think as a modern woman, being financially independent is important, as you can always afford to pursue things you like,” she said.