Getting started on your career

January 29, 2015
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, Heshan S

Employed or not, whether you have attended university or just primary, there is one thing we all have in common – a need to make ends meet and to pay our bills.

Whether you are fresh from university or finishing a 20-year career at a corporate, you can always start again. That’s the beauty of life; you are limited only by yourself, your own desires and goals.

First, let’s get the uncomfortable truth out of the way. Not everyone is going to financially succeed. That’s just a basic fact. We aren’t all going to be living lavishly and having cash on hand to squander – and that’s OK! The most important lesson I have learned to date is that money does not mean success.

Success is complex because it involves so much. Contentment in your personal and business life, peace in your decision-making, and an ability to see the good in every situation while taking the bad in stride. All of those do not require money; success is a mindset. Get your mind right, and half the battle is already over.

But I digress. So there are two different options for your career. Either it is employment or it is the entrepreneurship route. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to provide a few tips on both so that your start is a little smoother.

This week we’ll focus on Employment
There is nothing wrong with being employed. Crazy that I have to say that, right? Today, there is a bad*ss factor associated with being an entrepreneur. A person who looks at the system and says they will create a new path. Well, every successful entrepreneur needs a team of people to make his/her vision comes to fruition. That team is vital.

Employment comes with guarantees that entrepreneurship does not like a monthly steady paycheck and better job security. These are not things to take lightly. I believe every young person should try their hand at working for someone else. It doesn’t matter whether you get paid or not – get the experience. You may think you know it all; you don’t. The lesson you can learn while working for an organisation is priceless and will shape the person you chose to become.

Some of the best experiences I ever had were working in a warehouse stacking boxes, making sandwiches and coffees in a coffee shop, answering calls at a call centre, and being an errand boy in a tea company. None of these jobs were glamorous, and while I was doing them I often hated it! Looking back though, I am so thankful I had those experiences because it makes it easier for me to relate. As you grow, you need to connect with people – and employment fosters that ability.

Getting a job is not easy. Do not believe for one second that you are worth a job, because every job is earned. Starting salaries are low, and requirements are high. Doesn’t sound exciting does it? Well, being an entrepreneur doesn’t ever guarantee a salary, but that’s for next week. To become more competitive in the hiring process, you need to stand out.

As HR departments become more particular, background checks become more intense. Who you are online will play a major defining role in whether you are employable or not, are you a troll? Someone who parties excessively? Someone who has polarising views on generally agreed upon circumstances? Whatever it is, it will be found out.

Were you an entrepreneur that couldn’t quite get it right? Your experiences in many companies are valuable! Never look at your shortcomings as a hindrance, because in every negative there is a lesson to be learned. As soon as you master that lesson – you are valuable to someone else.

No opportunity is too small. Keep your big dreams and baby step your way over to them but most importantly, whatever opportunity comes your way – aim to be a master of it. You may have had your heart set on being your own boss, let me tell you – not everyone is cut from that cloth.

You can be equally if not more, successful as an employee. It means that you have to plan your career out. Stop thinking short term and plan for the long haul. There are no shortcuts in this life but the more experiences you have in your professional life – the more well rounded you will be.

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