Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Advice to the Newly Grads

I graduated from college in September 1990 with a Business degree in Marketing Management from De La Salle University. Thanks to having skipped Nursery and Kindergarten, plus going through DLSU's trimestral system, I plunged into the real world at 19 years old.

My first job was for a company that sold multi-volume encyclopedias. You know, those huge books that you could hit people with to knock them out. I didn't know if I could hack being a door-to-door salesman, but it was a job. I went through the training, but eventually bolted before they could send me out to the field.

I moved to Sterling Paper Products in Caloocan. It was November 1990. There, day in and day out, I was literally cutting and pasting typeset text on blank cards to be used in greeting card production, or cross checking greeting card sales in reams of dot-matrix printed reports. Super clerical work. I spent nine months in Sterling, even though my immediate supervisor had told me that I was overqualified

My next job was in a small advertising agency, Well Advertising, in Makati. I spent three months there doing basic art stuff by hand as a "visualizer trainee." Then I was back in DLSU, under the then Institutional Communications Office, where I wrote articles and did simple graphic design and photography.

While working in DLSU, I attended a seminar that gave out the results of a study conducted to assess the performance of LaSallians in the workplace. Feedback was mixed--while companies applauded the intelligence and gregariousness of LaSallian graduates, also noted were the LaSallians' resistance to doing menial work, as well as giving off a privileged air, wanting to advance prematurely despite not having effectively paid their dues. This report was 20 years ago. I don't know if the feedback towards LaSallians has changed for the better.

A trend, however, has emerged in the last few years involving the Me generation, possessing an individualism which had its roots in the 1970s but only became more apparent as parents in the early 1990s began conditioning their children to "be what they want to be" and "you can succeed if you believe" as opposed to being a cog in the societal machine. Add that to a more progressive economy, a get-popular culture, and a technologically spoiled society, we end up with young adults bearing the notion that getting ahead is easy. Easy, at least, in the eyes of the older generation.

There's a story told by my former boss, about her interview with a young applicant for an assistant position. When my former boss gave the laundry list of an assistant's duties, young applicant expressed unwillingness to perform them. My former boss was mortified.

On one end, I credit the young applicant for being honest about what she's willing and not willing to do. But the applicant will have to realize that even dream jobs will entail doing the unenjoyable. Even though I enjoy making comics overall, there are some tasks that I dread doing.

So to those who are about to graduate from college and dream of bagging a great job, don't keep your hopes up. Be prepared to do things you don't want to do. Be prepared to not getting your way. Be prepared to be told that you have a lot to learn. And even if you do get your dream job, not everything about it will be dreamy. If you want to get ahead, you'll have to wake up.

1 comment:

rudeboy said...

Ah, that sense of entitlement.


Yes, indeed.


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