Switching for the better

At age 40, Desmond Khoo switched from the media to the healthcare industry and found his calling as a radiographer.

At age 40, Desmond Khoo found himself standing at a crossroads after 15 years in the media industry. In 2014, the company he was working for, which specialised in building a digital music store, had lost its competitive advantage - and was on the verge of shutting down. As a content manager responsible for aggregating music from major labels, it was difficult for him to find something else in the same field as his skills were deemed too niche.

With a young family to take care of, he did what many considered unthinkable. He left his job and made a career switch to join the growing healthcare industry. He had knowledge in biology and chemistry - which he wanted to put to good use. His priority was also to re-skill in a field that was in demand and would not make him easily replaceable.

He chanced upon the Career Conversion Programme on the Workforce Singapore website, and there was an opportunity to train to become a diagnostic radiographer. With encouragement from his family, Desmond signed up for it.

I chose radiography because I wanted a job that would give me a ‘special skill set’. One that would make me unique and help me stand out. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but since I was already doing this, I wanted to go all the way.
said Desmond.

For three years, he studied and completed attachments at local hospitals. It was stressful, as he found himself juggling his studies and taking care of three kids while his wife was away at work. But he was motivated to give his family a better life, so he persevered.

Today, Desmond works at Changi General Hospital where he supports various departments and their patients in getting their x-ray examinations done.

"I get to rotate around different departments which keeps things fresh. It’s been eight years and I still don’t get Monday blues!" said Desmond with a laugh.

Desmond was one of the oldest students in the programme, and this turned out to be an advantage in his workplace. Being fluent in dialects, he could connect well with elderly patients and make them feel at ease.

At my age, you may feel uncertain when you have to learn something new or enter a new industry. If you are still considering it, I will say 'Just do it!' You will have to do your part and work hard, but there’s support available – you are not alone and it’s very rewarding.

Rising Above Together - Daniel Ravindran
Every Drop Counts