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5 minute read

Resilience in Transition: Former Tech Startup Boss Found Renewed Purpose as Salaryman

Discover how one tech entrepreneur’s journey from boss to employee unveils the transformative power of resilience and the pursuit of renewed purpose.

Names like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tan Min-Liang evoke images of unparalleled success and glamour—the epitome of achievement in the tech sphere. However, amidst the glitz and glory lies a lesser-known reality: for every triumphant tale, there exists a multitude of individuals who have embarked on similar paths only to face fewer fortunate outcomes.

Among them is Faizola Nordin, former co-founder of Datavis, a tech startup specialising in providing big data visualisation for businesses. Now, a media production company consultant, Faizola shares with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture his journey of career resilience transitioning from boss to employee.

Looking for a new role? Explore over 100,000 jobs available on MyCareersFuture now!

Dreams and realities: The tech startup journey

Faizola co-founded Datavis with a trusted friend in 2015. “We thought we had the key ingredients for the business to succeed. My business partner and I had been long-time friends, and we had a great business idea and product—a data visualisation platform that crunches big data,” said Faizola.

What began as a grand dream of riding on the technological wave brimming with potential soon confronted the stark reality that success in the tech industry is far from a walk in the park.

Faizola in a business networking session with other business leaders. (Image credit: Faizola Nordin)

Running the business took its toll on him financially and emotionally. “It wasn’t those unicorns, and we struggled daily to keep ourselves afloat. After five years, I felt jaded,” said Faizola. 

Faizola was also experiencing signs of burnout that affected his mental health. “I wasn’t sleeping well, my mood was getting negative, and I also began to doubt my capabilities,” he added. 

Faizola (third from left) in a group photo with other local tech industry players. (Image credit: Faizola Nordin)

This prompted him to embark on a new chapter, leaving behind the world of start-ups for the stability of a corporate role in the media industry. “The struggle was no longer worth it,” he admits with a hint of regret.

Career resilience: Charting a new course

Faizola went back to the drawing board to plan his career roadmap. “I was not going to let my experience discourage me—I have a family to feed! But I want to do something that taps into my strength in business leadership and passion for photography,” he shares.  

Through his professional network, Faizola landed a job as a business development executive at Studio Five Corp, a media production company that specialises in creative solutions for corporate businesses.

Looking for career guidance? If you are exploring career changes and need professional advice, register for a complimentary session with WSG’s Career Coaching today.

Being an employee is something that he relishes. “To put it bluntly, I feel relieved not having to feel the complete weight of responsibilities on my shoulders.” 

His wealth of experience in entrepreneurship also gave him an edge in his current role. “I can better understand what management is trying to achieve and offer useful insights to help optimise business operations,” Faizola explains. 

“I provided them with different solutions than they would normally come up with. As much as possible, we try to automate a lot of the processes in the backend as possible.”

Reflections and growth: Evolving mindset and perspective

Yet, the transition was not without its challenges. Adapting to a new leadership style and learning to communicate effectively were essential lessons in his journey of growth and adaptation. “My biggest challenge was having to unlearn a lot of the independent thinking that I developed over the years and relearn working as part of a bigger team,” Faizola shares candidly. 

Faizola with tools of the trade in media production. (Image credit: Faizola Nordin)

Deciding to work in the media industry proved to be the right career move as it allowed him to be creative with like-minded individuals, “Working with other creatives allowed me to expand my creativity too,” he adds.

Reflecting on his career switch journey, Faizola advises fellow entrepreneurs contemplating a similar transition on the importance of continuous upskilling for career resilience: “Inflate your skills and experience, not the ego.”                

“I believe that even as an employee, it is vital to adopt the mindset that we are all micro-businesses. We provide a service and our skillset to clients and employers. Our professional value depends on our professionalism and ability to keep our skills relevant.”

Need support in your career journey?

Navigating your career journey in an ever-changing professional landscape can be challenging. If you’re looking for expert support, Workforce Singapore has an array of platforms designed to help you meet your career goals.

Mid-Career Pathways Programme

For mid-career individuals who desire to gain new, in-demand skills through industry-relevant attachment programmes lasting up to six months with approved host organisations.

Career Conversion Programmes (CCP)

For mid-career individuals who desire to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression. WSG offers about 100 CCPs to support mid-career individuals in career conversion. 

SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme

A newly introduced programme that seeks to support workers aged 40 and above in undertaking significant reskilling and upskilling to boost their prospects in their current job or to pivot to a new career.

  • From 1 May 2024, a SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career) top-up of $4,000 to further offset out-of-pocket course fees for selected courses that have better employability outcomes
  • Currently, Singaporeans qualify for the Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES), which covers up to 90% of the fees for courses funded by SkillsFuture Singapore and at least 90% of the programme cost for Ministry of Education-funded courses
  • From the Academic Year 2025, Singaporeans can receive subsidies for another publicly funded full-time diploma and qualify for the MCES.

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