Heigh-ho: It’s off to work (and training) after the Paralympics

Team Singapore Para Sailor Apple Yap Qian Yin, 27, has been busy juggling her rigorous training and a new job. As a finance executive at Pan Pacific Hotels Group, she manages and consolidates accounts while assisting with preparation of the annual budget, audit schedules and financial statements. Apple shares with us how she manages her time successfully.

Your previous job allowed you to work from home. How did this job opportunity come about?

I think it was time for me to explore and learn more. I could experience how it is like to face the outside world in terms of physical structures and how people look at my disability.

To be honest, just like any other person on a wheelchair, my concerns were how other people would actually look at me. I was also worried that the company would have to do a lot of redesigning in terms of their physical environments. (Pan Pacific Hotels Group made the washroom wheelchair-friendly. Provisions were also made for a dedicated access card that would allow Apple to navigate the different floors easily.) But after I started working, I felt just like any other adult out there. So I was worrying too much on my part.

What do you enjoy about being in an office environment for the first time?

It helps me to deal with people and I have to learn how to communicate more. It’s really all about the soft skills like interaction and confidence building that I don’t get to acquire while working from home in my previous jobs.

Are there any values you picked up as a sportsman that you apply to work?

I hold high standards for myself, like how I do in sailing. In sports we often deal with stress, pressure and the unexpected. These apply to work as well. When encountering challenges, I find that it’s perfectly fine to take it negatively at first, but after the initial response, I tell myself that every mistake helps to make me better.

It is about discipline and time management. For example, I come early for work so that I can complete my work and leave on time for training.

You train on the weekends and at least twice during the week, all while juggling work. What inspires you to push on?

I am someone who can’t slack off, so I will keep pushing myself. That’s just me. I find that if I don’t have the drive, I think eventually my life will just collapse. I may get into a very depressed mood, which I find very unhealthy, so I constantly keep myself up to par. I set a target for myself each year to meet to keep up my drive.

Sometimes I will wonder why I keep pushing myself. But ultimately, it is a calling. My work is not done, so I still have to try. I am thankful to my family too, especially my mother. Without them, I could not have achieved a lot of things.

 

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