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5 Advices for Young People to Survive in this 21st Century

And yes let’s face the fact that, the moment you have graduated or you hit your 20s, this is it, welcome to the “battlefield”. I always consider the 20s as the most exciting stage of finding yourself in the working world , and from 30s onwards I suppose it’s the start of your family while also advancing your career already by that time. Well of course i do not hold the experience to be a guru in this matter (and hoping 5 years after this I will look back at this and reevaluate it) , but these are just my thoughts on how the ever fast changing world will affect young people like us in the 20s in the search for our career and life.

I am writing this because I think that our current education system in Malaysia does not prepare us for anything better in the working world, be it academically or mentally. If we are expecting to finish our university degree life just to get that piece of certificate and start applying job and mass-applying for all companies and looking for the highest pay that could ever offer to you, yes, you could, but I doubt you will survive happily for the next 5 years climbing the corporate ladder. I personally see how the working world today is so different from the previous generation. Whether you are a fresh grad or even just fresh school leaver, the working world today is no longer the same like 30 or 40 years ago during our parent’s 20s then.  Here’s why:

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The career paths today are changing fast, and many new jobs are not defined by the old conventional working world, and many job descriptions are not said by the degree certificates you hold or whatsoever. Today’s jobs pay rate is no longer like what our parents will tell us that only professional jobs can earn big bucks, in fact, professional line such as Architects and Lawyers is a long stretch career that you only start earning the big bucks when you hold professional title in the mid-30s or 40s.

Because all it matters is your ideas and knowledge, then to start off an entrepreneurship. It is true that if anyone is hardworking enough, especially with the edge of information technology today, you can find opportunities so easily, or perhaps by knowing what demands the working world will have in the next 5 years, new lines such as e-commerce and e mobile applications is the latest pool of exciting jobs comprising mostly youths. In fact, if you have any good ideas or innovation, I don’t think it’s hard to get start-up investment into your business, and people don’t look at your certificates at all, at this point in time, but your passion for the ideas you have.

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Most businessmen and entrepreneurs will be talking about adaptation, on how to position their company brand into the ever-changing facade of the market world. I will put it the same here, everyone carries a brand, their ‘own brand’, and all it matters is how you sell yourself to people, how you brand your skills and experience at the right time and right place. To adapt to the working world is to able to change your seat to an entirely new career line and unlearn & relearn what you know because you know that is your potential field. With this age of rapid changing media and interaction, you can expect many changes within a short period and it is only those who can’t react in time will not survive for themselves.

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We all have been saying about good attitude development, well be it on however you define it that suits your organizational behavior, but Aptitude matters as much as that, which is the ability to learn a component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level.  Well not everyone that is with a good attitude can have a good attitude, different people has abilities in different areas that determine their aptitude. It’s best if you are someone that comes together with couple of skills, be it web design or photography or creative arts, any under great career path, never doubt that you need some day to day skills to help you with your living or work, or with the ability to speak 2 or 3 more other languages fluently, that beats a lot when it comes to resume screening, especially for big MNCs. So yes focus on the development of skills, have a good attitude.

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Yes you are in the generation of social media, with so many networking events going on from day to day, you will soon realize that many will come and go easily within weeks or months, I am not talking only about the working world but especially if you are a youth who attends a lot of public forums and conferences, you have to start bearing in mind of managing your network rather than treating everyone as your friend, you could, but time will tell you well soon, friends stay on then, and it is usually just countable by your hand or both hands as you start working.

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Education is Not (all the time) the Answer for Career. And in the 21st century today, whether you are attending a university or not, or whatever diploma or certificates you have. I personally think you can prove yourself much better compared to a 3 years business course graduate if you spend the 3 years learning yourself, I mean for the fact that lecturers grab their notes from Google, why on earth are we in university then. Yes, some courses (back to reality) we need the certificates to secure an interview if you are in the professional line. I am speaking this for example of my current career in the green building industry where you don’t have any education degree to prepare you for this career line, and what I learn in this 3 or 4 months is what I learn in 2 years.

So yes sometimes you can even learn more from going into working world, and the point I am making here is that if you are going to University make sure it is more than the urge of earning your certificate at the end of the day. Because in this 21st century, I think it’s quite common for people to already secure jobs while they are in university, not because of their results only but because of them proving themselves worth by making the extra mile from establishing start-ups or even challenging their lecturers in terms of research and academic knowledge. University is a platform to prove yourself worthy much more than the certificate.

And yes that’s just my ramblings and 5 pieces of advice to the fresh graduates today. It can be frustrating when you see graduates writing in resumes and unsure if they really want that job in the first place, it is not about the result but it’s about how you want to present yourself to show that you, not your results, are worthy for the job. What matters in climbing the corporate ladder today is not on your results only but leadership and ideas and lastly, passion.