The Elusive PME

What does a PME want?  For the un-initiated, PME stands for Professionals, Managers and Executives.

There is so much talk about being relevant to the PME these days, especially by the Government and set-ups such as the NTUC, that one begins to wonder, who really is a PME.  Besides the technical definitions and classifications of who should a PME be, everyone seems to be struggling to understand the psychological make-up of this group that is growing in numbers and hence significance.

When people talk about PMEs, the general stereotype seems to be this educated person, someone who has moved up the social ladder, and hence has the ‘atas’ image.  But are PMEs really people who care only for the high life, or need to be treated with ‘atas-ness’? …

That is what the people who are trying to market to PMEs seem to think.  Got an event targeted at PMEs?  Hold it at the hotels.  Want to catch their attention?  Give them spa.

But do the PMEs really need hotels and spa …

I don’t know about other PMEs, but a PME like myself, don’t need someone to throw in a free spa for me to join something.

If anyone’s interested to have a deep conversation about Lincoln and his impact on today’s world, I will turn up even if it’s held in a quiet corner of a grimy hawker centre or coffeeshop.  Or a book review of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and how it reflects the idiosyncrasies of today’s world, I would find time from whatever busy schedule I have.

But that would be me.  There are so many other PMEs out there with diverse interests and passions.  I have a friend who can talk all day about martial arts and the differences between Wing Chun and some other kungfu lineage.  He would go for any kungfu enthusiasts sessions to exchange friendly blows, both physical and intellectual.

Another who recently took time off from work to stay home with the kids, and talks enthusiastically about her 4 children, and how she hopes the education system in Singapore could allow her kids to have time and space for childhood.  She would talk to any other PME mother who choose (or considering) to stay home.

Another who bakes cheesecakes and make mushroom soups for her family and always in search for the best and most easy to follow recipe. She would love baking sessions to exchange the most practical home-baking ideas. Not every modern woman is about dresses, and bags and shoes these days.

For every so-called “rank & file” profile person, there is a PME equivalent.  The only difference is probably the level of engagement and type of engagement.

For instance, the so-called rank & file mummys and PME mummys for example, all talk about kids.  But they talk about kids in different ways and may have different preferences and choices for their children.

At work, PMEs also grouse about their pay, miserable increments, wish for more recognition of what they can contribute, and hopes for better training and exposure to opportunities.  Same as any other employee.

But they also hope to hear from their top management more often and be inspired and allowed to apply their minds meaningfully for their company.  They hope to see their companies do good for the society too, and not just focus on the bottomline.  They want to see justice in the workplace too, even if injustice is not directed at themselves but perhaps for the person cleaning the company’s toilet.

In their social lives, besides often being associated with ang-mo sounding watering holes offering upmarket booze and the parties, they also are looking for meaningful relationships.   PMEs too want to find like-minded people and form trusting friendships, those that can last a lifetime.  A round of beer at the coffeeshop with the closest friends can be relevant to PMEs too.  Except, don’t disturb us with beer ladies.

So what does PME want?  Put it this way.  If you are reading this, there’s a high chance you are a PME.  What do you want?


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