We Indians have grown up hearing that we just need to cross the next step and life will be easier and once we come to college, we realize that our parents have always lied to us about the career path and life goes on becoming tougher with every step we cross. During our parent’s age, being a graduate was a big deal and the neighbors would say “Sharma ji ka beta has passed his B.A.” but if you consider it in this time, a college degree doesn’t mean as much as it used to be. You will surely realize this once you start with your job.
This is why 95% of Indians now, go for their MBAs after working for some time.
After my graduation, the real world kicked me hard and this is why I am writing this so that you don’t make the mistake I made. I talked to some of my friends and seniors before writing this article and I was blown up by the insights they had and to sum it up, you all will be too.
- Don’t be afraid to fail
Job descriptions are deceptive. It is definitely important to know what the organization is actually asking in an individual but it is not the be-all-end-all of your work. This one lesson I have learned in my 5 years of experience. You will always be asked to take on more responsibilities which are not limited to your job description. Take this as a challenge rather than complaining, look at it as a new opportunity to learn and grow. This may be a chance where you will become the most valuable employee for your organization. It is OK to fail at times but if you are curious, it will take you a long way in opening up some new possibilities.
- Escape the social media hype
Social media is a great platform to stay connected to your friends which otherwise won’t be possible. It was a great place to be in while you were in school or college but limiting your time now on Social Media will help you in connecting yourself to your career and work. Don’t measure your success with others on Social Media. While I was in College, I saw many of my friends starting themselves off to business, getting placed in organizations they were interning in while I was still searching my area of interest. Now when I see myself, I am happy and I thank god that I didn’t drown myself into depression seeing them. Social media is a happy place where everyone posts their best parts of life and not the messy journey that gets them there.
- Your degree means so little when compared to your experience
Getting a degree is great but if you think you will instantly get a job based on it then you are so wrong. Most industries nowadays care about your experience more than where you went to school. When someone like Ritesh Agarwal dropped out and founded a unicorn, I learned that our society has moved to ‘What have you accomplished’ from ‘where did you graduate’ mentality. A degree is good to have but to succeed you have to have the skills that set you apart from the rest.
- Find friends who helps you in becoming the best version of ‘You’
Once you start working, the friendships you form become very important not only for your free time but also for your career. Good friends help you in developing skills and dream bigger. I personally choose friends who call me out and tells me where exactly I am doing wrong and this helps me in understanding and rectifying my weaknesses. It is important to keep real friends when you are getting into the real world.
- Read the biographies of people you admire
I have always believed that if you want to lead then you will have to read. The best way to walk in their shoes is to know from their biographies. How does Sundar Pichai respond to adversities? What was Steve Jobs thinking when he founded the iPhone? How did Mark Zuckerberg manage the data breach issue of Facebook? Until you read their biographies you will never know what were they thinking about when the worst or the best happened to them. This is the only way to progress in life and if I can, you too can. So, get off from Facebook and time travel to learn from your role models.
- Get out of your comfort zone
We Indians are made to believe to live inside the shell our parents have built for you. They think it to be the best but when you get out of that shell and step to the real world you meet different people from different races, religions, and backgrounds. Keep moving beyond your comfort zone. Interact with people who have different and multiple viewpoints so that you can get exposure to different thoughts and opinions. It is so overwhelming and beautiful to get the ‘Other’ perspective which otherwise we won’t have listened to.
- Trust your capabilities
After you graduate there will be a lot of people who will try to tell you what you can or can’t do. It can be really scary to jump into a new career you know nothing about. You should never let this doubt weigh you down. You should never be afraid of trying new things and opening the door to new opportunities. I have always gone the way my heart wanted to and trust me; life is full of surprises. Do yourself a favor and start trusting your capabilities. You will be unstoppable.
- Practice Humility
There is no shame in asking for help. You will be surprised to know that there is always someone willing to help you if you ask for one. As a college fresh graduate, I was confused about what to do next. Instead of waiting for the right opportunity, I started making connections and asking industry seniors to help me in getting an internship, placement, or referral. I couldn’t have landed a great job if I hadn’t asked for help.
- Stop Pessimism
Each one of us experiences a setback after graduation. Most of us are clueless about our next step and this may result in frustrations and gloomy thinking. As soon as we think that something can go wrong, we immediately jump into the conclusion that it will certainly happen and we start our emotional suffering ride along. Instead of this you should track your bucket list, record your outcome, and reflect to see your naked truth without any biases. This is the only way you can prevent yourself from falling into the loop of excessive worrying and pessimism.
- Focus on your personal brand
Start-ups are not the only ones who should be worrying about branding. Even you have to have a personal brand that will help you in standing out from other candidates. Start working on your personal brand today and not in 10 years. How to do it? Focus on your strengths and have a clear idea on what are your unique value proposition; polish your strengths until you master it. Join some public speaking class, listen to TEDx, and learn about storytelling if it really excites you. Connect with people who push you to the best.
- Your first job isn’t your last
Until you are getting into the Government sector your average stay in an organization is never more than 3 years. Job hunting can be nerve-wracking but don’t ever think that you will be into the job forever. When I was looking for the first job, I was so stressed about which position and which field I should get. I was so passionate about operations and got myself into but then I didn’t like it and shifted to Product Management in 9 months. Now I realize how stupid I was when I started out; though it made me realize what excites me more and what I really want to do. My first job is not the field I am in but that was the job that taught me a lot and helped me in becoming a professional I am today.
- Learn from the mentors
Mentors add a boundless value to your career. They may always not have the answers but they definitely help you in asking the right question.
- Never procrastinate your vacation
While we were growing up, schools and colleges always provided us with vacation. Everyone was off together in spring, summer, and winter. You obviously had no choice but to take the break. Once the break was over, you refueled and went back with greater energy. It was so easy then but in the real world, it’s harder to take some time off regardless of your company leave policy. Your rest matters as much as your work. You should know when to rest so that you can bounce back. Always believe that you work to live and not live to work.
Ankita is a strategic Product Management Specialist with 4+ years of experience in Product conceptualization, design, development, and lifecycle. She is passionate about solving complex problems in a simple, intuitive manner. She has a keen eye for the data trends and believes that data gives the solution to all the problems if analyzed. Her experience aligns well with software B2C products in Web, M-web and Android platforms which is most diversified to consumer engagement tools, marketing tools, ML in recommendation blocks and vehicle loan for consumers.