The 5 Cs of having a good job in Singapore

The 5 Cs of having a good job in Singapore

Most of us would have heard of the 5 Cs of Singapore. The term, which was coined back in the 90s, was used to describe the material aspirations that some people in Singapore strive towards.

The 5 Cs referred to the following: car, cash, credit card, country club and condominium.

Yet, one could argue that these material aspirations would not be possible without an individual having a great job. After all, having a great job is the first step towards earning these material possessions (if that's what makes a person happy).

But what exactly is the definition of a great job? Here are the 5 Cs that we believe define a great job.

1. (C)ash

We hate to start this list with a material aspiration, but there is no denying the fact that earning enough cash in a job is important.

Having a comfortable salary that takes care of your personal and family needs, as well as provide you with enough to save and invest for the future, ensures a peace of mind in life. It assures us that whatever we are doing is sufficient in providing a decent living standard.

If you are being paid the equivalent of an intern, you could still do your job and enjoy it. But your joy would be short-lived because ultimately, you would need to find something sustainable.

If you are not getting paid for what you are doing, then all you have is a great hobby, rather than a great job.

That said, cash has a decreasing marginal utility. The more you earn, the lesser it becomes a factor of whether you have a great job. A job that pays $4,000 looks much better than one that pays $2,000. In contrast, a job that pays $14,000 would only seem marginally better compared to one that pays $12,000.

A Princeton study done in the USA reported that a salary of $75,000 annually ($6,250 per month) is the magic number. Beyond that amount, earning a higher salary does not translate any further to people being "happier."

2. (C)areer interest

Earning enough cash is great, but what is equally important is doing something that you like, or dare we suggest, love.

What are the interests in your life? Do you enjoy writing, teaching, or working out complex problems? Alternatively, you might have an interest in a certain topic such as economics, finance, history, or art.

Think about job opportunities surrounding these areas that you are passionate about. All jobs would bring their own set of challenges. But if you have to overcome them on a daily basis, it may as well be about something that you have a passion for.

3. (C)olleagues

For most jobs in Singapore, spending between 9 - 10 hours each day in the office is the norm, rather than the exception. Hence, it's important for you to spend it with people that you enjoy working with.

Colleagues have the potential of making your work either a joy or a living nightmare. If you were part of a cohesive group of team players, then tackling difficult projects would be a goal that you seek to achieve. If you are working with people that you already dislike (or dislike you), then even a simple project becomes difficult.

This extends to your bosses as well. There is a saying that goes "people don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses"

Having a great boss is like striking the lottery. You didn't do anything to deserve it but you still reap the benefits.

4. (C)ompany advancement

Today's generation takes company advancement very seriously. If we do our job well, we expect to be able to climb up the company's career ladder. This is why most MNCs and SMEs in Singapore will have a career advancement programme in their company.

A mentor once said this to us. If a company does not have a career advancement programme, then it is simply training people for its competitors.

Career advancement opportunities give employees something to work towards in a company. An executive holds to move up to a managerial position, and thereafter, a director or business unit head. A well-charted career advancement programme spells out clearly to employees what they can expect from the company if they perform well and remain loyal.

5. (C)ontrol

In the working world, we are all adults with rights. While most of us are working under someone else, it does not make us a slave of the person we are working for, or the company we are working for.

People want to feel like they have control over both their work and life. Nobody wants to be micromanaged every day by someone else.

Our personal time is equally important as well. If we are required to do work after office hours, we want to be in control of that.

It's difficult to find the perfect job

The 5 Cs highlighted is a simple framework on how we can evaluate the current jobs we are in. Most of us are staying at our place of work for a reason, be it the money, the people, the work, the career progression or the flexibility that it gives us.

In our opinion, a job that fulfils 3 of the above 5 areas can be considered a good job. If it ticks 4 of the above 5, you can consider it a great job. If your current job ticks all 5 of the above 5 areas, you already have the perfect job in life.


DollarsAndSense.sg is a website that provides bite-sized and relevant articles to help Singaporeans make better financial decisions.

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