2017-08-03 by Steve
Most of us will whizz through high school and college believing that we have the world at our feet, only to be disappointed some decades later that our professional lives didn’t turn out as we expected them to. But, what went wrong along the way?
1. A career vision is essential, but so are the accompanying goals.
You want to be a doctor? Fine, go to med school. A pilot? The aviation school beckons. Yes, it appears simple from a superficial standpoint. But when you throw in the fact that a prestigious college degree is not a semblance of a promising career, things get a bit more complicated. A good number of us have an idea of where we envision ourselves to be careerwise in the next ten or so years, but we’ll rarely set accompanying short-term goals. Short term goals don’t have to be anything fancy as per se. There are small, easily achievable but significant milestones that push us to our dream jobs and career placements.
A goal to spend less time online on social media, for example, may appear insignificant at first or without any correlation to one’s dream job. However, if you consider that the average person spend will 55% of their day on social media simply idling around, then you’ll realize that you can salvage an enormous portion of your life by cutting off social media.
2. Adapt early to the fact that there are no lifetime jobs anymore.
Nowadays, reshuffling of management positions, retrenchments, demotions have now become common terms in the corporate world. Thanks to the volatile economy, company heads no longer have to pen lengthy explanations before laying off their workers. They only need to utter some phrases along the lines of “business hasn’t been that good” before the junior employee unwillingly packs and leaves in search of better pastures.
Nonetheless, this can be demoralising especially if you had put in some serious work into getting that job. For those who spent sleepless nights rehearsing for interviews and board presentations, it is easy to despair and sink in self-pity. The brave will go back to school and hone their skills before attempting another stab at the corporate world. The optimistic will apply for a million more interviews and will be lucky if they are even shortlisted for one or two. The pessimistic will sit at home, mad at the world, sulking and wondering why life is so unfair. But the smart will call their old boss, ask him for a few useful contacts and later plead with him to put in a good word for them. Eventually, they will be sailing in the corporate waters again. There are no lifetime jobs anymore. The earlier you come to terms with this, the better.
3. You career choice doesn’t have to match your talent. But it has to be in sync with your passion.
When choosing a career path, especially before or after college, a majority of fresh graduates find themselves at crossroads when it comes down to deciding the career path to follow. Contrary to the common misconception that your career path has to match your talent, you’ll be surprised to know that 90% of the successful people today are not naturally gifted at what they do. Their impeccable skills are a product of many years of polishing, hard work and perseverance. The marketable accountant you see today wasn’t necessarily good in maths, and the flamboyant lawyer wasn’t even a member of their high school’s debating club. So, quit soul-searching or spending long hours ‘fishing’ for talent. As long as you have the passion to match, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
4. Practical and hands-on experience can be valuable than academic qualifications.
As much as degrees and diplomas are important, most of the time, a few years of relevant experience appears more attractive on a resume/ CV than stellar grades. If even gets better if you have both. So instead of spending decades upon decades in school pursuing MBAs, consider venturing into the real world and spice your classroom knowledge with practical skills.
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