mlkbx.: These Things They Kept From Us
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These Things They Kept From Us

24/01/2018


Recently I've been seeing a lot of tweets, posts and people expressing their concern and doubt regarding the possibility of adulthood the moment they're done with school. First of all, let me say that I have not mastered the art of adulthood yet so what I'm going to share today are based on my personal struggles experience. Second, I've realized that despite all the advises most "experienced" adults tend to say, I never really heard any of them say these blatantly obvious things. This is where my words are going to slip in.

You don't have to figure everything out but do figure some things out if you must


Sounds confusing? Okay, here's the deal: most internet angels will tell you that you don't have to figure out life at this very moment regardless of your age and that's true for the most part. However, when you're not a princess (or prince) born with a silver spoon in your mouth and there are bills to pay, what are you going to do? Here are some options:
Freelancing — there are a lot of tips on the internet giving you a guide on how to charge clients when you are a freelancer but one of the most difficult things to master is time management. When you're a freelancer, time is all you have. Once you get the hang of it, your effort will be paid in cash and that's an achievement worth celebrating right there.

Commission — just like freelancers, illustrators benefit from opening commission to get a little bit of extra cash here and there. This is what my friends do when they're not ready to commit to a full time job. It's also safe to say that commission isn't only for creatives freelancers. You can always try to reach out to people and see what kind of commission they do for reference purposes.

Make use of your hobbies — so you graduated and you have no idea what to do with your degree. Okay, now shift your perspective; what's your hobby? What's your passion? Is there anything you can do with them to give you something in return? Who cares if your university degree isn't anything related to creative writing? If that's your hobby then you can nurture it and make a profit out of it.

Be a contributor — this means helping out a family business or fill in a position available in your university. Most, if not some, universities do offer paid recruitment as an assistant lecturer for one whole semester, depending on said university's policy. Even though it's a temporary situation, it's something that you can do while thoroughly looking for a full time job.

Online surveys — probably the most common thing anyone would do to gain a little bit of something.

The above list is for references only. The key here is to utilize what you can do instead of what you want to do. Waiting for the spark of inspiration to tell you what you want to do will take time and time is something that you are going to run out of when you're in a pinch.

Take your time, find your rhythm


In correlation to the previous point and unless circumstances insist you do it, you don't have to start a full time job the moment you're done with school or, in this case, college. Just because your friends have started working doesn't mean you must too. We need to remind ourselves that different people have different pacing and forcing yourself to commit to a full time job will only lead to low productivity, prone to mental breakdown and dreadful mornings. For example when I graduated from college, I took a few months break to enjoy the taste of freedom before going crazy with the job hunting. Or, if you'd like, try submitting your job applications in between those breaks.

You most probably will hate your first job


My friend said this when I was venting out my frustration in search of a new workplace. I never thought about it but she's right. Whether you work in retail or behind the desk, there's a high chance that you're going to hate your first job. It doesn't matter if the feeling comes from a place of boredom, disparity or power — point is, you are not supposed to be satisfied with your first job. Why, it's because when you finally feel satisfied and content, you will no longer seek improvement. Instead, it's necessary to always feel like you want more, deserve more and can do more. Tell yourself that there should be more than this — better work culture, better ideology, better philosophy, better things. Strife for greatness, not goodness.


Chances are, your GPA won't really matter


What? Didn't you say strife for greatness? I worked hard to get straight As! Alright, before you break into a chorus of disagreement, hear me out. As someone who lives in a conservative, typical Asian mindset family, I grew up being told that 80-90/100 is the benchmark I should set my scores in. We often hear people say that Asians are smart and especially good in math, or that most of us aim for straight As and cry when we get B and lower. The thing is, it's nothing but bulls flocking together. I know what it's like to have your parents yell at you because anything less than 80 is not enough. I know how it feels when they tell you to be better than your neighbor's kid who ace every single subject. Here, allow me to say it: it does. not. f-ing. matter.  

First of all, let me tell you the truth about job employment based on my experiences: chances are, your employer will not give a damn about how well you ace math. What your employer wants to know are: a). your skills, b). your personalities as a character, c). your philosophy and/or vision and d). how you are going to contribute to the company. While I cannot guarantee you that this is how every employer or company thinks, it's safe to say that most people today will ask you these questions. They want to know who you are as a person because they are not giving the job to your report card — they are giving the job to you. Is someone with a GPA 4.0 guaranteed to perform better than someone with a GPA of 3.5? Not always. Can someone with a GPA of 3.0 create something innovative and groundbreaking? Sure, why not. In the end, what matters are the things you can do, not how well you scored on that stupid paper test. Of course, this does not mean that you should throw away your education, skip classes 90% of the time and not do your responsibilities properly. I'm just saying that there is more than just paper grades.


Companies use jargon they don't understand all the time


One of the most annoying things I experience while looking for a job is how companies use buzzword terms as a decor in their list. For instance, most tech companies here use the term "UI / UX designer" easily when they don't understand a). the differences between ux designers and graphic / visual communication designers and b). what ux designers actually do. This creates not only confusion but also a waste of time misleading responsibilities for job seekers as well. This is why before you start sending resumes, do a company background check to see what they know.


A perfect workplace is just a myth


Let me break it up to you: the perfect workplace does not exist. It might, somewhere in the future, but not for the mean time. You can have your theory on what is ideal for you and it definitely is not impossible. In fact, my current workplace is almost ideal. The key here is almost. Because no matter how convenient a workplace feels like, there will always be one thing or two that irks you and that's just how it is. I'm not saying being an idealist about this thing is bad. On one side it's good to have a goal or a standard in mind but in the end, you just have to stay realistic about it.


You will be extremely picky about your first job and that's okay


Society demands us to grow up fast and quick; the world demands us to pay taxes, take care of bills and work overtime because we will always need more, want more. As such, they tell us to "stop being a picky millennial and just get whatever job is offered on your plate!" In my opinion, this is a bunch of bullcrap. Ask yourself this: who is going to suffer, emotionally and physically, if the job is extremely dreadful? It's you, not them. People are going to haunt you and call you names because they won't be the ones who go through hell from 9 to 5. Just like any other things, it's easy to shame others because we aren't the ones who have to bear the consequences and risk. When I was hunting for my first job a year ago, I had a lot of people say these things to me and honestly, it was frustrating. But did I succumb to their demands? No. Because I knew I was going to regret it. My advice to you is never back down; if it's not what you want then don't do it. Your life is yours, not theirs.

Likewise, even though being picky and having a standard is completely fine (and in fact, advisable to some end), don't forget to stay realistic by finding the middle ground. You don't have to do "just any job" but you can't turn down every single opportunity ever is what I'm saying. On the other hand, if you feel like you have to take a job you know you're going to dislike, remember that you are supposed to hate your first job before you start moving forward and find something better.

Screw those buzzfeed and daily mail articles saying how millennials should just whatever job as long as we get money from it. That's how the old generation lost their soul and passion first thing in the morning with sunken dead eyes as they commute to work.



I'm sure these aren't the only things necessary to be said so I might actually expand this list in the future once I've improved myself. If you have any uncommon advises that you feel like adults never really told us, feel free to share them in the comments! It's nice if we can help each other out through this journey.

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