The reason I am putting this post together is because I received an email last week from an angmoh working for a job portal. He wanted to know my take on this issue. I don’t know if it’s for an article, their newsletter or what not. And like all such requests, there is no guarantee they will post my answers on their site, so I’ve decided to post it here too, so my efforts don’t go to waste.
1) If you were going to give career advice to a fresh college graduate based on your experiences what would it be? Would it be to settle for nothing less than something they are passionate about?
Grace: My take is always to gain as much working experience as necessary. It would be best to get a job in sales right after graduation. This is because the skills learnt will be very useful in any job later on, even if he/she decides to become an entrepreneur.
The danger lies in getting too comfortable in any one job. If you stay in a company for too long, i.e. anything more than 2 years, you might get addicted to that (reliable) monthly paycheque. And quash your dreams of becoming your own boss in an instant.
[Addition: My first job right after graduation from NUS with a History degree was in real estate. After I’d sold property (off the piece of paper) worth over a million Singapore dollars, it gave me an unshakeable confidence that I can sell just about anything, except for rockets I guess]
2) Would you tell them to not put too much stock into their first job?
Grace: Whatever you do, give it your best shot. Don’t hold back.
[Addition: I don’t know why this question was even put together. Who, in their right minds, would advise a fresh graduate to ‘not put too much stock’ into a first job. NO! How you do anything is how you do everything! If you hold back, if you are lazy, if you don’t take the initiative, if you like to take the backseat always… well, good luck for getting that testimony that will land you your next job :P]
3) Would you tell them to put as much money into their savings as possible?
Grace: Savings are important but investments are even more important. Make sure you set aside some funds for investments every month. And don’t forget about investing in yourself too – no, not that new Chanel bag! Go for courses, workshops, buy great books.
No matter how much you can save, you won’t beat inflation. Make sure your money works as hard as you do.
[Addition: Set up passive streams of income too. You could write a book and get royalties. Buy the right stocks and get dividends? THINK… then DO… and grow rich!]