Fresh Grads Forced to Lower Career Expectations? Follow These 5 Tips to Get Ahead of the Competition
The TL;DR version can be summarised in one word - Pivot.
Fresh Grads Forced to Lower Career Expectations.
Many graduates can't get jobs. This has been a year on year topic and I even wrote an article on this a few years back. Situation is not getting better and expectations have not changed. Graduates come out to the work force feeling disgruntled even before they started working. Parents and educators are still feeding them the same song and dance people from my parents generation fed me.
Study hard. Get your A's. Get your cert. Get a job.
Fresh Grads will tell you that's BS of the highest order. It has not worked for the last decade and statistics show the situation getting worse year on year.
If you stop for a second and consider who you are in life, you might want to question why is it that you are defined by your job. Is that who you really are?
I don't know about you, but that thought depresses me. Here's where I want to offer an alternative point of view that worked for me.
What if... What If, you start looking at your life from a broader perspective. What are your interests? What are you good at? How can you combine that with what you graduated in to value add to yourself or the company you work for?
For example. Let's say you have a degree in HR. You go out looking for a job to be part of the corporate machinery and offer to do just about whatever it is the other 1000 graduates are offering. Why you?
And don't get upset when companies say they want people with experience. They are there to make money, not to pay you to babysit you.
So if this situation upsets you, and you're googling around for solutions, I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse.
I suggest the following Alpha Mind upgrades to your life:
1. Start working before graduation. Start mini projects as you are studying. Have a blog, build your linkedIn profile, have some live works that you can show off to the world. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just have to exist.
2. Execution is key. Your ideas are less useful than doorknobs in the real world. Got an idea? Don't wait till you get a job before _trying_ to execute it. Just have a go at it. See where that takes you. While you still have your creativity and haven't been hammered to jadedness by the harsh realities of bills and taxes. You might even build a following that would come in handy when you start embarking on your career. Never underestimate the value of your network.
3. Failure is crucial. In school and throughout all your life, you have been told not to fail. Then all of a sudden, you hear fluffy talks by motivational speakers that failure is vital to your success. WTF?! Yeah. I get it. I've been down that road. It can get very annoying when the old farts contradict themselves. I'm not gonna feed you lines from motivational posters. Instead, I'm gonna ask that you allow yourself the freedom to explore and experiment. Don't aim for perfection, aim for creation.
4. Don't get railroaded into what you think you _must_ do. Many successful entrepreneurs or employees will tell you that their initial game plan looked nothing like the career they have now. Planning is good but don't get anchored down by a plan if it isn't effective. But that's not to say that you should be flaky about your ideas either. Jumping to a new plan every few weeks. In fact you should actually...
5. Iterate your ideas as opposed to giving up on them altogether. A great idea sounds good in your head but may not necessarily turn out as planned the first time you execute them. Work out the kinks. Keep at it. Give yourself time to bring the idea to life instead of just dumping it for a "better" idea when the next trend comes along.
If you approach your work-life with these 5 Alpha Mind tips, you will begin to grow as an individual and see the bigger picture of where you want to be career wise. You will have an edge over your peers and you won't be stuck in a rut waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap.
And if you just flip over to the very next page of Today, you would see an article about a startup idea that is so simple, you would ask yourself - why didn’t I think of that? Mr. Khoo Kar Kiat, 33 worked for 8 years at EDB - a stable government job - but isn’t afraid to come up and try something new that maybe outside his comfort zone, yet not outside his skillset. That right there is a very elegant pivot.
I wish you all the best! Share this message if you think this will help others. Leave me a message after trying this out and let me know if it has improved your life.
I'm gonna be giving a talk about pivoting on Monday morning (7th August 2017) on 938Live alongside Singapore Hustler, Jonathan Chew.
One of the questions that I imagine would come up as a possible topic to prep for is: what can the listener do today if he or she wants to start adopting a pivot mindset?
The short answer is: 'You just have got to do it'.
That's of course easier said than done. Which is why most motivational messages annoy the hell out of me. They provide a feel good statement but not the steps required to get there. A mindset change is never easy and most of us require a near catastrophic experience before we are able to make a switch.
Willingness to change and the readiness to change are quite far apart.
For example: I'm willing to workout, and I would try my darnest best, but it might not be until the doctor gives me an ultimatum to keep fit or die within 3 months that tips me over the edge of readiness.
Many of us aren't desperate enough to make a change in our lives.
The concept of a pivot is a very simple one. It is about not being too fixated on what you think you know best and being able to look at other opportunities and improve your current position in life. It's commonly used in business but it's a mindset that is useful in just about every aspect of life.
Maybe you're an employee right now who is fixated on your role in the industry because that's what you graduated in or because it's a job you have been in all your life. You could employ the pivot mindset and start seeing yourself as more than just the definition of a job. You're more than that. You have interests, skillsets, experiences. Look at what else you can do beyond what you are already comfortably doing.
Pivoting doesn't have to be monumental but the harsh truth is that it is only when we have hit rock bottom desperation point, and pivoting becomes the only option left for us, that we begin to develop resilience and an appreciation for change.
So how can a person adopt a pivot mindset you ask?
Try failing. Fail so hard that the only way you can pick yourself back up is to pivot.
If you aren't into such drastic measures, tune in to 938 live Monday morning at 9am, where Jonathan Chew and I will dish out useful tips, baby steps, you can use to improve your life.