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Career Change: From working in a bank to boxing

Whether your career brought you to Singapore, or you came here as a so-called “trailing spouse”, you may be feeling lost or uninspired. Here are women shaking things up by taking a completely new direction in their lives.

Given that her sister lived here and that she loved the idea of travelling around Southeast Asia, AMY BOWLER knew that  working in Singapore would be the right fit for her, both personally and professionally. “Ireland was in the throes of a recession, so it wasn’t the most positive of environments for a 28-year-old with big plans!” – so she moved here in 2013 with her job at a global American investment bank. Recently, seeking out a new challenge apart from her highly stressful desk job, she trained to take part in an IPP White Collar Boxing competition and won her fight.

Career change
“There is something very humbling about getting punched in the face voluntarily”

When I hit my thirties, I wondered what more I could do with my life. I already played football for the Singapore Gaelic Lions in a large squad of more than 60 women. But I was drawn to boxing because it’s an individual sport that really tests your personal fitness limits. When I tried out for the competition, which is sanctioned by the World White Collar Boxing Association (WWCBA), I honestly didn’t expect to be picked for a squad of only 20 people from over a hundred. I became dedicated to a life of zero alcohol, 6am classes five times a week and getting in the ring every night and weekend to spar, along with my football commitments.

I think some people expected me not to last through the 12-week training course, especially considering how unhealthy my diet and lifestyle had been beforehand! The charity factor behind the event was a big motivation for me. Knowing that all the donations and ticket sales would go towards fundraising for the Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC) in Cambodia spurred me on.

I also signed up to the White Collar boxing to improve my self-confidence. I’d recently broken up with my boyfriend, which had knocked my self-confidence a lot. I wanted to accomplish this challenge so as to feel not only physically but also mentally stronger. Punching Goals Winning was truly surreal. Everything was a blur, but I do remember praying that I’d done enough to win. When I realised it was all over and that I’d won, I couldn’t believe it. As a squad, we all trained together and we knew how hard it was to go through the experience. I’m good pals with Amelia, my opponent on the night, and have made a lovely bunch of new friends from the sport.

There is something very humbling about getting punched in the face voluntarily. It takes away your ego and self-vanity, and makes you razor-focused on your goal: survival. During the 12 weeks of training for the event, I found myself approaching other aspects of my personal life in a much more open-minded and relaxed way, because boxing took the stress out of my day and helped me unwind. I was mentally stronger, more positive and totally determined to see the challenge through to the end. Now, when I set personal goals, I try to remember the fear and nerves I felt going into the ring the night of the fight, and use that to help me overcome the fear and do it anyway. It’s working so far.

She Says…

Choose what truly makes you happy. Don’t feel under pressure to do something because everyone else is doing it. Surprise yourself – pick that random hobby that you’ve been mulling over and go for it on your own terms. You might turn out to really love it.

For more like this story see our business section

This article first appeared in the August 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!