Make the most out of it
Just like many parents, Tan Meng Wei longed for worklife balance. But that goal was near impossible in one of his previous jobs.
Then a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, he had to fly out of Singapore every Monday and catch the last flight home on Friday.
“I was travelling way too much and I wanted to spend more time with my eldest son who was 1.5 years old then,” recalls the 45-year-old, who has a brood of four – Matthian, 16; Danelle, 13; Merrick, 11; and Deborah, eight.
So, he quit his job and joined Standard Chartered Bank, where he was only required to travel once a month.
During a business flight, he decided to branch out into the preschool industry and bought over his first Star Learners childcare centre in Eunos in 2003. The business existed on the sideline for seven years – he had acquired five more childcare centres during that span of time – before he quit his bank job to manage it.
“People told me I was crazy to give up my job, which paid well,” he recounts.
“It wasn’t so much about the business opportunities – it paid a little bit of the bills – but it was primarily driven because I wanted to have more time with the kids.”
Even with a saner work schedule, he was spending 10 hours in the office and reaching home at 8pm daily. And the only time he had left with his kids were after dinner and before their bed time at 9pm.
“At the end of the day, I asked myself, what is it that I want out of life? And to me, the kids are of utmost importance,” he adds.