Engineers Share What They’ve Learnt From Being A Dad

By Engine Room Posted 10mth(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes

Dads, they come in all shapes and sizes. There are the “cool” dads, the dog dads and one of our personal favourites - the work dads. This title is usually given to a mentor figure at work, who takes on the role of a father figure, but just in a professional manner. Basically, they’re the ones who spend their 9-5 with us, teaching us all the survival skills needed in this working world, and then head home to raise their children.

This Father’s Day, we want to shine the spotlight on our engineering work dads, who more often than not, are fathers in real life too! It might be hard to imagine what your work dad is like as a real dad, so we asked two engineers to share how fatherhood changed them, and some of the biggest life lessons they’ve learnt from it.

“Let children explore and experiment, staying curious and hungry will keep the passion to learn and create”

You could say that ExxonMobil has watched Han Wah grow up, seeing him through some of the most important milestones in his life. He joined the company in Singapore 15 years ago, as a young intern. Since then, he’s not only progressed to become a Process Controls Engineering Supervisor, but also met his wife (an engineer at ExxonMobil too) and are now raising two children together.

Working with his team at ExxonMobil has given him the freedom to explore new perspectives and ideas, something he hopes he can teach his children from young. He and his wife take a hands-off approach when it comes to play-time, letting his children be as creative as they like with their Lego pieces (although he admits it can be difficult not to get involved) and with decorating reusable boxes. He even tried to let them organise their own schedules - something that didn’t quite work out as well as he thought it would. But just like at work, he’s embracing these small errors, believing that it’s important they learn to keep trying, even if it means failing first.

Being a dad is about helping my kids discover what they can do, and celebrating every tiny victory to make them better each day. - Lee Han Wah

Whether it’s encouraging his daughter (with ice-cream) to finish a trek at Pulau Ubin on her own or spending the day at the zoo together, Han Wah is enjoying every minute of being a father. To him, what makes it all worthwhile won’t be when they come home with straight A’s, or even climb up Bukit Timah Hill without his help. It’s their unconditional love, and how they can be angry with him one moment and the next, climbing and massaging his back. 

“My daughters will also be my #1 priority”

Before becoming a dad, Jimmy, a Production Manager at Fastweld Engineering Construction, had one main priority - his career. The only “babies” in his life were his projects, and he would often spend long hours and even weekends on them.

After his oldest daughter was born, Jimmy quickly realised he needed to make some changes at work to adjust to his new role of being a father and balance his priorities. In addition to guiding his team, Jimmy invested more time in training, to give them even more confidence to tackle projects together.

The best part of my day is coming home to my kids. It makes me feel like all my hard work is worth it. - Jimmy Ong

Today, Jimmy’s weekends are spent shuttling around the island, taking his daughters for tuition classes, extra-curricular activities and their favourite - enjoying a delicious meal together. In fact, he’s such a pro at this whole work-life balance thing that he’s even found time to pursue his dream of doing an MBA programme!

As children (and even as grown-ups), we rely on our dads for so many things -  from being our cheerleader when we’re trekking through Pulau Ubin to shuttling us around to our many enrichment classes so we can pursue our dreams. Han Wah and Jimmy are two of the many, amazing dads in our engineering community.

So this Father’s Day, also show some love to your work dad, not just your real dad. Send him his favourite cup of kopi-o, or even just humour him by genuinely laughing at his hilarious dad jokes for once.

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