After graduating from high school, one is confounded with several questions: What is the college I would like to study in, what do I want to major in, how do I find my purpose, what are the career paths that provide the greatest financial stability, which jobs make me happy, and should I take a gap year to assess and decide?
Though one is excited to finally be an adult, they also dread making big decisions that will determine what shape their lives take. Recently, when People Matters rolled out an interesting poll on LinkedIn, asking professionals to give career advice to 18-year olds entering college, the answers are reminiscent of the 2009 Hindi blockbuster 3 Idiots, which encouraged youngsters to follow their passion, and pursue what they wanted to, and not what the society or parents expected them to.
Among the 987 respondents, about two-fifths (39%) advised the newly-minted adults to become an entrepreneur, while 37% encouraged them to work at a start-up. A paltry 12% were of the opinion that these youngsters should take up government jobs after college.
The need to build your own identity and stay happy takes precedence over everything else in today’s world. According to a recent Randstad’s Workmonitor survey, which received inputs from 35,000 workers in the Australian and New Zealand, Gen Zs are more willing to be unemployed than be unhappy in their jobs. So, it comes as no surprise that working professionals had similar advice to give.
Many felt that becoming an entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to be your own boss, with your own targets and deadlines in sight and a company, which is based on your belief system and a cause close to your heart. It also helps that there are so many success stories of young entrepreneurs such as Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra (19-year-olds), who dropped out of Stanford to start Zepto or Ritesh Agarwal, the founder of OYO Rooms, who was named the second-youngest self-made billionaire after Kylie Jenner, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020.
Working with a start-up also gives youngsters a chance to explore, with a learning arc and immense growth.
Some of the valuable insights we collected from the poll reveal that there are no wrong turns when deciding upon your career, so be brave and put on your thinking hat, because it sure will be an adventure of a lifetime.
- Here are some of the key suggestions that professionals shared in the comments section of the poll.
Find out what makes you happy as an individual. Don’t rush into a course or a job because that is what the society expects of you or that is what your peers are doing. Think hard over what drives you and motivates you as a person.
No opportunity, experience or education goes to waste, ever. If you don’t know what you want to do as a professional right now, explore internships, apprenticeship and training programmes at an organisation that aligns with your core values.
If you harbour dreams of becoming an entrepreneur but don’t know how to proceed, work with an organisation in the same field that you are interested in, so you can learn the intricacies of making your start-up successful.
Start-ups are a great place to begin your career and grow as everyone is juggling different roles and there is an abundance of creativity and unconventional ideas. The work culture is also unlike that at big corporations, with smaller teams and everyone aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses.
If you are still in doubt after your graduation, it is only natural. You don’t need to have all the answers in life in your 20s. Talk to career counsellors to learn more about unexplored fields and to know where your aptitude lies. But the most important and essential thing is to follow your heart, staying true to yourself, learning, exploring and staying happy because life is too short to live someone else’s dream.
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