5 Things I learnt in My First Job

Earlier on I wrote on the 10 things I learned in university, as a way to wrap up the 3 years of university experience with some take away learning points to remind me on the stage of life where I call, the university learning curve. Moving on almost 2 years from then, I decided to have a pause and look on how the learning context around me has changed, as a mean of my periodical self-evaluation.

So the 5 things I learned in My First, Post-graduate, Job.


As simple as how fundamental it seems, i believe it’s the first question anyone should ask to understand his own purpose of working. It is a stepping stone question that will lead you further understanding on your focus better. Are you working for the sake of experience or money? What are the perimeter boundaries that set you to this career path? What do you want to see yourself as after 5 years and how do you move on from here? Is your vision going hand in hand with your department/organization’s? Are you working because everyone else just seems to be working? Why not just take your time and travel around the world when you have your financial reserve? Are you working for your interest? Or to gain skills? Or to harvest opportunity? (Read More on ISO)

The reason is simple, time is precious in your early 20s to discover and sail to your desired direction when you have the least responsibilities. By knowing your objective in your undertakings and day to day challenges, you are not bound to wasting your time beating around the bushes . What about now having any objective at this moment? Then your objective is simply now to find one, which pretty much sets your focus, trying out different things and charting out your career journey to your destination.


I am not generalizing all education system here as I only went through a conventional public university institution, but by stating that some of us learn little in academics, I meant in terms of technical knowledge and its applications. I cannot represent all industries again on this matter but often what is done in the real working world is not reflected in our academics, despite how much our education system has tried to produce ‘factory workers’ instead of thinkers. What we should fear is an education system who does not provoke us to think about how we are being educated.

But nevertheless, it’s when one who has stepped out of the academic box and be hands on to try, to understand what the world outside seeks after, and he gained something more important than technical knowledge, it’s when one is able to think about the way he thinks. One of the few relevant lessons I find that is adaptable from the university is to learn, unlearn and relearn, and this also forms a person’s attitude and ultimately aptitude, the ability to learn. Aptitude is important to be able for a person to learn fast, to understand and execute a practice without flaw in anytime sooner. And that I am struggling with as I need to find ways to remember on my mistakes. This brings to the next point.


By saying this I am not saying keep on doing mistakes, but rather, do not be shy and grieving in shame when you have committed a mistake due to the unforeseen situation or just the lack of experience. Make mistakes, learn from it, and move forward. Everyone does mistakes, it’s just how fast you recover and learn from it. Don’t refrain from asking more questions due to the disappointment within yourself if you want to help yourself.

I suppose it is good to be the thick face and KayPoh aka asking anything (within rationale context and excluding P&C matters of course lah..), it will be great to have seniors that are keen to answer and teach you, as your questions also allow them to reaffirm their knowledge. Show the initiative that you want to learn more and improving yourself, not because for the sake of impression but because this is what you really want to learn, and thus kaypoh here and there a little bit is fine. IF you cannot, then just go GOOGLE it, and ask even more question that (perhaps) may drive your senior to GOOGLE it as well.. so sometimes being Kaypoh will help others also 😉


And don’t think about doing that when you are  in the working field, when you are tied down to gazillion of new vocabularies, responsibilities, tasks etc etc etc. I do not speak for everyone again, but i am always glad that i studied university outside of the class room. I skip classes, i traveled back to KL just for conferences and hoop on to the bus back to Penang the night itself, without even dropping by home. I skip lectures once i know that it’s not a class worth sitting down when i can learn more from uncle Google, unless it’s a lecturer that i can learn more by allowing me to question on what he/she teaches. I flew to China, India, Indonesia and Germany for various conferences during then, and met different people, gained different insights, and found parts of myself. And it is also through all these activities, i found my came to know my current employer.

I knew all the unfolding events and how I have changed from year 1 to 2 and to 3. The point is, I found myself during university, I found my passion and I know that I want to be in an industry or career to fix my eye upon feeding to that passion. And I do not see how soon one is able to have the freedom in the working world as much as in university to space out and think about all these little significant puzzles of life when every day is so packed with never ending list to do, what more when you are in the monetary race rat? So I will say this again, that university is the ultimate, earliest learning curve for young adults to set with, so go and fail exams, drink a lot, fall in love, do start ups, it’s a place to fail constructively, but to find yourself.


 Then yes following up from that learning curve, no doubt that early 20s are the golden years. Aside there are dozens of articles which uncle Google will tell you that why the 20s are your golden years, I will totally agree so after various conversations with young adults. Being one of the youngest in my project team, a lot of young adults in the range of 30s will tell me of the things they regret, most of them share the same opinion, finish university as soon as possible, come out and thrive and set targets before the time is up, time to have additional responsibility, family.

Being in the 20s definitely allow you to explore things through the quarter crisis, to understand yourself and the world better, to foresee what you want to be in the next 5, 10 and 15 years. It’s a race against yourself, and perhaps others, to set your mile stone, to realign your focus, to harvest the opportunity the right time. Because the longer you stay on the fence thinking of what is ahead, the later you are starting to race. So be effective and efficient, like I always like to say;

“Effective is doing the Right Things, Efficient is doing Things Right”

While undeniable that My first job or the entrance to the working world has punched me hard on what reality is, it is nevertheless a fruitful journey so far, to understand money sense better, to learn on responsibility in a different dimension, to be in between adults and university age to see the paradigms in thoughts. But as for me, it’s the whole new experience in redefining and catching my pursuit of Happiness.

Till then, another post to be up when I hit the age of 25, the check point which I hope my check list by then is fulfilled 😉

P/S Writing this post doesn’t mean I am leaving my first job lah…