Three things I wish I knew when I graduated

"Do what you love" is perhaps the most trite advice there is for new graduates. It's ok advice but it also encourages the entitlement complex of young people! You don't deserve anything just because you love it. You have to work at it harder than you ever thought you would and you'd have to do it for little money in the beginning. Passion, however, does not guarantee success.

Bottomline: you can't be sure about anything and no one owes you jack shit just because you graduated from school. But there is someone out there who has a vested interest in your success - you. You are the only person who can truly make things happen for yourself. Don't expect anyone else to give you any breaks, because they don't have to.

cheryl tan chua 2

That said, these are three other things I wish I knew when I graduated five years ago. 

1. Your first job should be in the field you truly want to be in. Graduates typically consider two jobs: the job they want, and the job that earns them security/ money. (Lucky if you get both!) They think, "I'm gonna take this okay-paying job first and when I've saved enough I'll go on to be a makeup artist!" Everybody's situation is different but if you're are able to pursue something without you and your family starving to death, you better go for it.

Why? Because the longer you stay in a job you dislike the harder it is to leave it. The more time you spend there, the more time you lose in gaining valuable experience and contacts in the industry you want to be in!

If you spend your first two years in a job you don't like then those two years mean zero in a completely different field of work. Of course, it doesn't all have to be a waste. Spend all your free time doing that thing you love so that when you're ready to leave, you have something to show prospective clients.

2. "Pwede na" should never be an option. When you submit your work, it has to be the culmination of your best effort. I suspect that our generation was conditioned to think that cutting corners and spending the least amount of effort on something is admirable. It's not. You're not a genius for spending only an hour on something that should have taken you five hours. That makes you a lazy piece of crap.

You have to push until you can't. If that presentation or deal can be better - and you know it - make it better! Spend the time. A mindset of mediocrity might get you through the door, but you'll leave it the same person you were when you entered it.

3. Network successfully by being genuinely interested in people - and not just in what they can do for you. The best way to build contacts is to be interested in the people themselves, and not just in what you can get out of the relationship. Know what they do in their free time, how many kids they have, how they like their jobs etc. Also be open in sharing things about yourself so that they can get a better grasp on the kind of person you are. (Unless you're a terrible person, if so that's probably not a good idea. But then you wouldn't know that, wouldn't you?)

Note that the key words here are "genuinely interested". The worst kinds of relationships are fake relationships. Only be friends with people you actually like. If they happen to be connected to opportunities that are interesting to you, well, that's just awesome! You get a friend AND business contact in one.

Related: get rid of "friends" who suck out your resources and give nothing in return. Allowing that doesn't make you a saint. It makes you...well, not the sharpest crayon in the box. Healthy relationships engage in give-and-take! 

So that's it. :) Are you a new graduate? What are you planning for your future?