Opinions, Self-Improvement

I’m Graduating. Now What? – Matthew Fam

Are you in your early twenties and still deciding what you do with your life? While staying focused on a single ambition early on can give you a headstart among corporate ranks, there’s nothing wrong taking your time to decide which career is right for you. By Matthew Fam.

There is a rumbling in the air: a brand new wave of people is surging forth into the workforce, like an impending tsunami. Alas, the first batch of post-80’s Millennials are done with university; Facebook feeds are being flooded with graduation gown selfies. And the top remark I hear from most of them?

“I don’t know what I want to do.”

Myself? I have a year till graduation, and- with my devotion of time to studies, copywriting, arts administration, and performing on stage for various young theatre groups- I have too many things to do!

Here’s where things get complicated. Friends advise that I should decide on a career path. My university lecturer tells me that I “need to focus”. When this happens, I’m thinking:
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Or:

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(Before triple somersaulting my way out of the NUS AS5 General Office.)

The fact is, graduates and students alike are facing the same pressure: pool your energy and resources into a set career path for maximum mileage. By principle, you would be able to devote your focus on work at hand, and rise up the ranks faster than someone else who takes her time to decide.

A one-track path to success

This early decision to decide on a set career path does reward people.

A fellow intern at a women’s magazine I used to work for- who has established her passion in journalism and the media industry early on- has landed a full-time stint at another publication since. Similarly, friends who have channelled their time into theatre have been awarded prestigious arts scholarships from government boards to study overseas.

At this point, I’m thinking, “Am I missing out on something??” Is it truly better to stick to a single path since it’s a more convenient route to success?

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to follow through with an early decision. But my contention here is that it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone else.

5869903627_e8acd44f69_zI am a closet wanderer!

Right now, I would classify myself a closet wanderer. And despite dabbling with various jobs over the past two years, I haven’t made up my mind on what I want to do.

For example, I’m not 100% certain if I will work in a women’s magazine in five years time because of 1) the rapidly changing nature of print publishing, and 2) the long-term prospects of being a male working up the ranks of said publication type in Singapore.

This uncertainty scares me. It almost feels as though I will never be able to live life to the fullest if I keep up with this indecision.

However, for those who wander- fret not. Heed these three pieces of advice, and you have a shot at being just as successful as those who make early decisions.

junglegymSometimes, wandering can boost your career. 

According to Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President of fitness chain Equinox, “Careers are more like jungle gyms than ladders- sometimes a sideways or backward step can propel you forward.” Likewise, don’t feel limited to stick to a specific career path. Your exploration could reward you with the numerous transferable skills picked up along the way.

Your journey is yours to make, and should not be influenced by another person’s definition of success.

Try being a freelancer first before deciding to go full-time.

Grounding yourself in a desk-bound job straight after graduation can be daunting- especially if you later find out that this isn’t a career you like.

Try freelancing. Take up an internship and (politely!) ask your supervisor if there are opportunities for you to contribute on a part-time basis. Don’t feel as though you need to dive head-first into the corporate jungle. Who knows? You might even enjoy the freedoms afforded by being a full-time freelancer!

Sharpen your skills.

Wandering can be seen to benefit you in more ways than you think. But how can you match up to other people who have been taught skills in their vocation-oriented university course? This is where self-teaching is crucial. You need to do your homework. Be proactive in eating, sleeping, and breathing the very industry you want to try out; talk to people who are already working in them.

That old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’? Your new mantra.

 

Sure, at some point, a focus on what you want to do would be beneficial (you can’t do 20 things at the same time!), but don’t succumb to the pressure of making that decision right now when you don’t feel ready.

 

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines. Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.

If you liked this post, you might like:

1. 20 Things You Will Learn In Your 20s – Deborah Tan

2. 7 Lies You’ll Hear About Millennials – Matthew Fam

3. Myth: Job Hopping Is Career Suicide – Tan Lili

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Entertainment, Lifestyle

7 Lies You’ll Hear About Millennials – Matthew Fam

Millennials are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Seriously! Contributing writer Matthew Fam debunks the  7 negative traits commonly associated with this generation, and insists that this misunderstood bunch has much to be celebrated for.

#Justsaying, whenever I read articles of why Millennials are lazy, selfish, entitled, or [fill in negative trait], I’m like:
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But on the inside:
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There are major misconceptions out there about us, okay? And I think it’s easy for people to discount the capability, passion, drive and resilience that we have within us. It’s just expressed in different ways from generations past. Here are the 7 lies you’ll hear about Millennials:

1. We want to be mutli-hyphenated everything because we’re fickle.
We are the generation most prone to job hopping. Forbes listed that 91% of Millennials expect to stay within a job for less than three years, which translates to over 15 jobs in our entire career! Unfortunately, this gets misinterpreted as us being fickle for not being grounded in our ambitions. However, with a plethora of transferrable skills learnt, job hopping is hardly career suicide or disadvantageous, as this article will tell you.

2. We MUST have our sacrosanct weekends. (Don’t touch them!)
We’re said to demand work flexibility and leave at 6pm on the dot every day. In fact, the statistics from a study by Cisco backs this up: with 69% of Millennials believing that office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis, heaven forbid that you touch our weekends!

Sure, we value free time and a work-life balance. But we also know how to manage our expectations to find a compromise, and don’t shy from hard work- even if it means clocking in overtime. We make those hours at the office count and work. It. Out.

Why? Because we are…
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3. We expect to climb the corporate ladder at an abnormally fast pace.
Entry-level position today, CEO tomorrow. Truth be told, detractors tend to view us as entitled little brats.

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This suggests that we lack the patience to gain adequate experience in a job before being handed bigger responsibilities. Yes, sometimes our inflated ambition gets the better of us, but if there’s one thing this generation must be lauded for, it’s our undying idealism. We don’t settle for mediocrity.

4. We’re selfish because we take gap years and spend our first paychecks on holidays.
Q: When does taking gap years and travelling the world become a bad thing?
A: When delaying a salaried income and not providing for your family unfairly labels you as selfish.

YOLO (you only live once), people! Besides, often times, Millennials make use of their gap year to take up internships, part-time work, or volunteer for a cause. The extra income earned from these ventures go into our vacation funds. So we’re not leeching off from parents, mm-kay? #Independence

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Sorry, we do not all behave like Miley.

5. We’re reckless, and we pride bad behavior above anything else.
“Oh, that’s how the youngsters these days behave.” (While commenting on Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball music video.)

First of all, it’s funny how people make assumptions on our generation’s behaviour solely based on Miley’s bare bum. Secondly, NOBODY twerks in the streets for fun or enjoys public nudity! Miley Cyrus is not our spirit animal!

6. We speak in nothing but hashtags, emojis and tumblr gifs.
Okay, fine. So we can get a weeee bit overdramatic with the way we communicate. But seriously, just because we pepper our speech with these humorous titbits doesn’t mean we have forgotten how to speak eloquently! The English Language has not been butchered, RELAX. #Itiswhatisits #Sorrynotsorry

7. We are all experts in technology.
According to a study by PayScale and Millennial Branding, online marketing and social media are reportedly the most common job skills among Millennials. However, that doesn’t mean we’re complete whizzes with technology. It’s one thing to be able to update our Twitter accounts, or make credit card payments on ASOS. But no- if you expect us to programme a phone application from scratch, then this is what we have to say:

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What other misconceptions of Millennials do you know of? Share with us in the comments section below!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines. He is also a proud Millennial! Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

1. I Miss How Facebook Used To Be! – Matthew Fam

2. 4 Strategies To A More Decisive You – Deborah Tan

3. The 17 Emotional Stages You Go Through At Beerfest Asia – Tan Lili

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