Things I wish I knew after Graduating from University, Part 1

Sister's Graduation photo

Sister’s Graduation photo

My first year of full time work was a breeze. I landed a job in my top company of choice. As a fresh graduate, I dived in head first, eager to prove myself and make a difference in the world.

Soon the reality of working life caught up with me and left me disillusioned. Workplace conflicts. Unmet expectations. Feeling that my work didn’t matter.

Having open and honest conversations helped me move forward in my disillusionment. Over time through conversations and books, I realised that I had a warped view of what work life was meant to look like. Knowing these things could have softened my transition from study to work life.

Don’t be in a hurry to change the world

Companies hire you to first make money, whether it is in the form of generating sales or reducing costs. Once you have proven your ability to generate profit, you will naturally earn the power to make decisions that can make a difference in the world.

Take risks

One of the best things about being fresh out of university is that you have nothing to tie you down, no mortgage, no partner, no kids. It’s a great time to take risks because you have nothing to lose. Join a start-up. Take three months off to go and travel. Run marathons. Do an internship at your local church.

Hard work and connections make a killer combo

Hard work alone does not sell itself. Good connections with people of influence combined with excellence in your job will enable your reputation to travel by mouth. Rather than talk yourself up, allow others sell your talents by helping them and doing a good job in the process.

Your first job will not likely be what you imagined work life to be

Instead, your first job will help you find out what you dislike and you can use that to narrow the scope down to what you enjoy. Finding a job that you love is a journey that takes time, so enjoy the journey while you are at it.

Embrace mundane, routine work

Routine work is unavoidable. Use this as a chance to take a breather from stressful periods. Be grateful for a job that provides.  When you are constantly under the pump to produce results, you will come to relish the times when all you had to do was menial tasks.

You are more than your job title or description

Your job title does not define you anymore than your name does. You have hobbies, passions and a personality that is greater than your job description. Your job only makes up a small part of who you are. Even Solomon found that his work was not able to fulfil him in the end. Place your identity in God and not in your work.


5 signs You are Ready to Pursue your Dream


Photo of sunny Lake Taupo by me

You have a dream.  This dream has been brewing in your heart.  You are finally ready to step out and make it a reality.  But are you really ready?  Here are 5 signs that you are ready to turn your dream into a reality.

You have a strong motive behind your dream.  That motive is not fame or wealth.

Perhaps you want your family to live a comfortable life, so you hustle at work all day.  Your motive is the security of your family.  Maybe you genuinely want to see the community changed for the better.  Or you just simply enjoy your craft and want to share it with others.  Is it self-driven or people-driven?  Fame and wealth are a byproduct of success, but should never be the driver of your dream.

You are ready for the public to see your work.

You have done the hard-yards and your research.  You know what is needed of you in order to succeed.  You are not waiting to go viral and be an overnight success.  You are not ashamed first and foremost, to show your friends and family your work, because you are genuine and honest in your intentions.  With that…

You have braced yourself for opposition.

A backhanded compliment.  An unintentional comment that stings.  You are ready for opposition if it comes, because you have erected a wall around your dream to deflect it and you have vowed to fiercely protect your dream.  Opposition [Read] comes when change happens.  Change ruffles other peoples feathers.  Change forces others out of their comfort zones.  And the real truth? No one likes being reminded of their unrealised dreams.

You are in it for the long haul.

You have the focus of a gold medalist champion.  You know that chasing your dream is not an easy road.  You know that you have to first learn to earn the trust of others and that this takes time.  You understand that any reader/ listener/ spectator of your work is a gift, not a given.

You are willing to take one small step today towards living your dream.

In the age of digital media, it is so easy these days to be an entrepreneur or pioneer something new.  Blogs and websites cost almost nothing to setup.  Websites like Kickstarter enable crowd funding internationally.  All it takes is your willingness to invest time and energy into it.  Once you start, the more you do it, the more you get to practice and the better you get at it.  Will you start today?