3 things no one told you before graduation


I’ve penned several notes about work post graduation but just have not gotten down to compiling them into a sensible post on the blog until now. I’m wary about posting things too personal on the internet in general, lest I look back in the future and cringe at my past self. A bigger reason is of course I worry, tho I’d like to think them as unfounded, about people reading what I write and judging me for it. Which leads me to digress – why am I, or I believe why are we humans so fearful for others’ judgement on us? It isn’t to say that others’ opinions of us will make us more or less of whom we already are, if that makes sense to you.

So anyway, lengthy introduction aside, if I have not already bored you away, here goes my list of 3 things no one told you before graduation:

1. Be certain of uncertainty.

You know how in school we always have that next thing to look forward to? The next semester, the next exam, the next academic year, the next grade, etc.

But when you come to the working world you’ll find that things aren’t as clear cut. There isn’t (for most people or for me at least) a certain bar that you need to meet and pass before you rise up and go on to the next stage or level. Sure, some routes are tried and tested, perhaps you have a manager above you and you have an idea of how long you’ve got to work before you’ll rise to his level. But in the world of business (yes, so if you belong to the public sector this might not be that relevant to you), there is no guarantee. In worse case scenarios the company might go down but in the best case scenarios you might be promoted and be placed in higher position/s that comes with responsibilities perhaps more than you can manage.

2.  If you have a choice with whom you can work with, then pick people you’re comfortable with. 

Some of you reading this might go, “Jia En/Ena, isn’t that a “duh/ needless to state opinion” ? Yes, to many it’s common sense, but sometimes in the hustle and bustle and the thick of working life, we forget things. We think that just cause we have goals to meet and benefits to gain from another party, we simply have to suck it up and work with people are simply plain bad. That’s not true.

To elaborate, I’d like to humbly suggest for you to choose to work with accountable and responsible people. If you’re the person in charge, then you’d better be accountable and responsible. Choose to work with people you like and likes you back. I can’t emphasize enough how this mutual good feeling of the other party contributes to the success of a project.

3. Chances are, you’re the only one who feels for your dreams and ambitions and the only one responsible to make them come true.

Yes, keeping in line with the idealistic self in me, and thankfully still am at the young but not so tender age of 23, I still believe in having dreams and ambitions and making them come true.

It’s true. When you’re working for someone else, you’re working and helping them make their dreams come true. Unless your dream is to see the team and company succeed, then it becomes your dream as well.

But what about your dreams and ambitions? The truth is, no one else but you will be responsible for making them come true. If you don’t work on making your dreams come true, chances are, no one else will.

I’ve had a wake up call just recently, on one of the past day this week. I love what I’m doing now but being realistic and wanting to get on faster in the professional life is pointing me to another direction in life that I’ve previously turned down. Anthony Robbins once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve gotten.” And thus, to get what you don’t have, you’ll have to do what you’ve never done. And that my friends, is my wake up call. I want so many things in life, and I know that I have the capability to do so, but I need to take that big step and do it.

Cheers, to life, to knowledge and taking action!


5 thoughts on “3 things no one told you before graduation”

  1. I can feel your 3 points as a working adult who hasn’t graduate long ago.

    Personally I do agree that progression and prospect in career is so vague that nothing is certain. Some people could work hard, yet never get recognised, yet there are some who is not very capable and get fast track promotion. We cannot ignore the fact that sometimes luck do play a part too.

    And for no one but yourself is responsible for your own ambition, I think is just so spot on. Hardly will any colleague will be willingly to fight with you to achieve your goal. Usually the fighting is more for benefit of the team as a whole or the company, not yourself. Maybe is good to think for yourself once a while, in making sure we are living our own life and not others.

    As for choosing someone who you are comfortable to work with, I must say sometimes we might need to make tough choices. I wanted to be comfortable too, but sticking to the same teammates over and over again might mean no exposure to other colleague and what they are doing. This can greatly reduce chances of innovation and collaboration. Worst still if you belong to a small team, you will be like trapped in a well. I don”t know if you agree with me on this.

    1. Hi SpectraOfLife,

      Thanks for dropping by! I agree that luck plays a part in promotion and progress, but as an opportunist, I’d rather create opportunities rather than wait for luck to happen for progression in career. For an office job, that might mean speaking up before colleagues and bosses to get ideas heard and taking initiatives for positive collaborations, etc.

      And yes it is always good to take time to reflect on personal goals and ambitions and see how we make them happen instead of always being focused on making our work goals happen. Of course if both can collide, that would be even better.

      For the last part, I don’t have the experience to agree or disagree with you on that. But I can see where you are coming from and it may be true to a certain extent. It is an assumption that sticking to the same team might reduce chances of innovation and collaboration or that going to a different one might increase the chances. I think it all depends on the individuals that make up the team. As much as possible I will rather pick people with integrity and great work ethics to be on my team than arrogant geniuses (hypothetically speaking). Generally I find that as long as the people with the right work ethics are in the group, the results will come. 🙂 So if you require to work with a different team to get results, then I’d say go for it – as long as you know you can trust these people. 🙂

  2. “You’re the only one who feels for your dreams and ambitions and the only one responsible to make them come true.”

    Very true. Everyone is so preoccupied with achieving their own goals that they hardly have time to make yours come true. Outside of school, it’s every girl for herself. No lecturers or TAs to guide you, no friends to exchange notes and study with, and yes, everything is much more uncertain. Uncertain of whether you might ever succeed.

    A very insightful post. I wish you all the best!

    ~ a fellow 23-year-old fresh grad

    1. Hi Joyce! Thanks for coming by my blog! 🙂

      To a certain extent yes it’s true that it’s every girl for herself but if we’re lucky we get good mentors/bosses/managers who will groom us to meet not just the company’s goals but also ours along the way. And also to meet good colleagues to be jointly pursuing our goals is also possible!

      I am quite a firm believer that success is always in reach. Change and uncertainty in a constant in an ever-changing world. If we don’t believe that we can succeed and work towards success, then it’s unlikely we will achieve it. Believe first, then take the necessary action and the success will come. 🙂

      Wishing you all the best too and I am glad to be acquainted with you through this vast internet land! 😛

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