These days, it is common for some professionals to change jobs several times in a lifetime.
So, you know it is nothing short of special when someone tells you that she has been serving the community with the same excitement and passion as she did three decades ago, at the very same organisation!
A recent employee engagement survey within TOUCH revealed that about 8 out of 10 staff felt that they were engaged with the organisation. This engagement shows staff’s connection and commitment to TOUCH and its goals, which impacts their performance, innovation, and retention.
2022 marks the 30th year of service for Ms Julia Lee, Senior Director of TOUCH Professional Deputies and Donees. Julia is also a winner of the Outstanding Social Worker Award in 2014, which is the highest accolade given to social workers in Singapore.
We share some anecdotes from TOUCH’s longest-serving social worker and reveal some of her tips on reigniting the passion at work.
What keeps Julia going over the years?
“Remember why you started.”
Her heart to make a difference is what drives Julia in giving her best at work. It is important to her that the work she engages in is purposeful and meaningful.
When Julia first started out as a social worker, she worked closely with the elderly and saw them as her family. She learnt to be creative and resourceful in the activities she engaged with them so they could do things they enjoyed while building their independence. This led to the start of the Seniors Caring for Seniors programme where the elderly could be befrienders to other seniors in the community. This gave them a sense of purpose and achievement in life.
Julia’s tip: Consider why you chose your current field of work. As you think back on why you started and your purpose, you could reignite the spark you need to fuel you for days ahead.
“Enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles.”
As a social worker, Julia cares for the day-to-day physical, emotional, and social needs of each client – working with them to set goals and develop case plans to address concerns. Apart from these micro details involving each client, Julia has to consider the macro aspect of each client’s situation. How could she lead, influence and advocate change as she carries out daily intervention work? Just like doing a jigsaw puzzle, Julia enjoys piecing together the parts to effect greater change in a client’s life.
Julia’s tip: You may lose sight of the big picture when you get caught up with the tasks at hand or the difficulties along the way. Viewing tasks and challenges as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle would help you to see a larger perspective and enjoy the process.
“I want to keep learning!”
Julia feels that there are many things that she is still not good at and wants to learn them. Because of her desire to learn, Julia took on different portfolios over the years to serve various people groups – from the elderly, people with special needs and healthcare needs, to vulnerable families. Learning is exciting for Julia, and she hopes that with experience, she will excel better in her roles to make a greater impact in the lives of TOUCH’s beneficiaries.
Julia’s tip: Try learning something new! There is joy in gaining new knowledge and excitement in challenges. As you learn, you may find greater opportunities to engage in different roles in your company.
“Pick up new hobbies.”
In her various portfolios which she held in TOUCH, Julia has been highly involved in the lives of all her clients. She takes great care in analysing their needs and finding ways to meet them, as well as making plans to ensure that they are equipped with the skills and resources to overcome their challenges.
While she serves the vulnerable within the community with utmost sincerity and compassion, she recognises that self-care is key to personal growth and success.
Picking up new hobbies outside of work brings Julia pleasure and helps her de-stress. It also provides new perspectives that could be applied to work. When Julia started taking photography classes, she applied her new skillsets at work and shot lovely images for her clients. This inspired her colleagues to attend photography classes too.
Julia’s tip: Is there something you have always wanted to try but lacked the determination to start? Now’s the time to try a new hobby and take your mind off stresses at work!
Last but not least, “Live life and enjoy the moments. Don't be too hard on yourself and take care of yourself.”
As Julia embarked on her current role at TOUCH Professional Deputies and Donees, she realised how precious and fragile life is. Handling and witnessing cases as a Professional Deputy have showed Julia that all it takes is for something – expected or unexpected – to happen and we could lose a loved one in a blink of an eye. What counts in the end are the precious memories of moments that make us laugh and smile.
Julia’s tip: Take time to create precious moments with your family and friends and to rest and relax. Even though we may spend lots of time on work, life is so much more than that.
Do you want to impact lives in our community? Turn your passion into a fulfilling career at TOUCH. Visit www.touch.org.sg/get-involved/join-us to find out more.
Since 1992, TOUCH Community Services has served people of all ages, races and religions to see sustainable change and transformation in their lives. It believes in the worth and potential of every child, youth at-risk, family in need, senior and person with special or healthcare needs to grow, participate and contribute in the community. The heartbeat of TOUCH is to activate potential, build independence, connect people, and deliver impact by developing sustainable solutions in society.