Foong Ling – Mum / Tax Analyst

Q : Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am an ardent supporter of part time working arrangement for mothers.  I am fast reaching my 50s and currently still in the workforce working as a Tax Analyst in Lenovo.  My daughter is currently in her 2nd year in NUS and my son is taking his ‘A’ levels this year.


Q: When did you start working part-time and why did you make that decision?

I started working part time in 1995. At that point, my daughter was only 3 years old and my son one. My mum had been helping me to look after my elder daughter.  Though she was willing to look after my baby son for me, I felt it was no easy task for her to look after both toddler and new born baby at the same time.  Hence, I decided to quit the workforce at that juncture.  After a year at home, I happened to chance upon a part time advertisement and thought maybe I should give it a try as things were pretty stable at home.  That started my decade of part time working.


Q: What were your working hours like in these part-time roles?

In my first part-time job with PF1, I worked half day from Monday to Friday doing administrative/payroll jobs.  I managed to work out different part-time working arrangements with my subsequent employer – 4 half days a week, 2 full days.  Thanks to my understanding superior, I was able to arrange flexible working hours.  There was a period of time when I worked 2 full days, clocking 20 working hours in the 2 days.


Q: What is the biggest benefit you see from working as part-time?

Such working arrangements enabled me to be around for my children.  I was able to ferry my children to and from school or classes, spend time with them and coach them in their studies.


Q: In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of working part-time?

Till today, I have managed to maintain very close relationships with both my children.  I think being around helped a great deal.  You see their growing process, you are aware of their happenings, you are able to share their problems.  Besides that, working part-time also helped me keep in touch with working life, colleagues and work skills.  In a way, I am able to get away from the children for a few hours to satisfy my other social/knowledge needs.  Of course, having an income, though not much, is also an added bonus.

However, my decade of part time work has in a way, put me far behind in the career ladder/earning power.


Q : What are the changes you have seen in the employer’s sentiments towards providing Flexiwork Work Arrangements (FWA) between 10, 15 years back and now?

Compared to 10, 15 years ago, Flexiwork Work Arrangements are far more common and opportunities much easier to find nowadays.  However, with higher cost of living, it is actually quite a hard decision for mothers to make the switch.  Much still needs to be done to ensure that such part time jobs do not exploit and underpay the job holder.


Q : If you were given the chance, would you work part-time again?

Oh yes.  Though my children don’t need me around that much, I hope to have more time for myself and my mother, doing things I wished I had time to do when they were younger.


Q: What words of encouragement will you give to the mothers out there on achieving work-life balance?

Do not be disheartened.  Your presence during their childhood time is appreciated when they are young and even when they have grown up.  Fighting  🙂

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