What to Do After Graduation? (On Business and Life)

by . May 16th, 2014


Graduation season is around the corner and a new batch of bright, young hopefuls are about to take on the business world. And maybe, you’re one of them. You’ve been practicing your march, and maybe even a speech. You’ve worked hard for this event: sleepless nights, cramming, and reduction of social life.

For some, this is your first step into the real world. You’re used to nothing else but youthful trivialities. But what does that matter? You’ve spent the past few years getting to know how hard the world can be. You’ve done your thesis. What could be worse than that?


Oddly enough, the transition between school and work is not all about the work itself. Some say school is even harder. What makes the working life so different though, whether you plan to be an entrepreneur or not, is the culture. Lifestyle changes both big and small and if you can control it, bravo to you.

So what is the work life like? If you’re an avid reader of YTE and similar blogs, you’ve probably read up on technical things like coming up with business names, how to write certain documents, or cheap alternatives to usual work practices. These are great questions. People keep asking them for a reason. However they don’t touch the other aspect of life: the actual living.

Here are some lessons that I’ve personally learned along the way, and hopefully they help you too.


You’re Still a Beginner

It’s a new field out there, and every business is different. You could have been the top of your class, maybe even a prodigy. The truth is school does not mimic work in any way. You’ll be learning new skills, and new techniques to make yourself more efficient. What you learned in school is but a mere speck of what’s to come. And with the rapid growth of technology and information, nobody can tell you what you will learn and use except the future you.


More Education Doesn’t Mean Better Jobs

It’s true that some jobs require higher learning like masteries and doctorates, but degrees beyond what is required don’t mean anything. An extra MA in English will not grant you an instant promotion at a law firm nor will it look your startup look any better. In this New World, promise is graded by action and not by years of certified theoretical study. Learn through practice or maybe even workshops. The money and hours spent on 4 years of another full course is not worth it.


Invest on Legacy

Most people at a young age would view happiness in a very selfish manner. However as your eyes start to open and your life is filled with greater responsibilities, you realize that fame and fortune cannot fill a piece of the void. What does is not how well you were known, but rather what you were known for. When you help out others that can’t give back: that’s living. And don’t forget to be proud of yourself.


You Haven’t Scratched Your Surface

Just when you’re confident that you know everything about yourself, life throws new challenges to your face and you adapt in ways alien to you. You grow stronger and realize mistakes you never knew existed. Giant problems of the past become trivial. Reasons of why you react to things start to complicate themselves. This is true for any time you are faced with something new.


Life Is a Popularity Contest

Sadly, plasticity doesn’t stop at high school or college. You’ll realize that all your skill and manipulation of your craft mean nothing if people don’t like you. This goes to the point that there are so many unqualified higher-ups and just as much unemployed talent. It is emotion and not logic that drives decisions, and people want to be with those they enjoy and feel secure with.


Sleep is Necessary for Living

If you are most people, your grades during the last few and most important months in college were dependent on whether you were going to sleep that night or not. For me, sleep became a precious commodity yet often ignored. Whether this was because I was actually working, or if I wanted to level up in an online game or catch up to the latest episodes, I would think of excuses to stay awake, yet cry for sleep when it was already too late. Take care of your body, and your business too should follow. A dead mind through the day can cost you a lot of money.


You Can Set Limitations

A lot of times, people can be really frustrating, especially when your environment can drastically affect your business. You might even wish you could control minds. While forcing people to do things against their will is morally objectionable, you do have the ability to say “yes” and “no” to help control your life. You have the option of not giving your aunt that “family discount.”


It’s Ok to Switch Paths

Try and remember that time when you were young and your teacher asked you to draw what you wanted to be. Chances are your answer then is completely different from your answer now. Chances are your answer now may not be the final one. I am guilty of choosing a broad course for college because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, then switch to a more specific course only to give it up in a few months because it just wasn’t me. Outside of college, I did many things: painting, animating, graphic design, business development, call screening, marketing, etc. But I’ve come to realize that it’s alright and just human nature.


Legends Start from Adventures

Although this is well-known advice, it’s usually one that people tend to ignore: travel. The benefits of this are quite amazing. When you’re stuck in one place, you get used to a certain culture and your imagination and drive get cut off. A fresh new environment can spark your creativity to innovate and your energy to keep on running. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just new. And there are tons of promos and communities online to help you get going, such as car sharing and couch surfing.


Banks are Businesses

Bank employees may seem like the friendliest people at times. They say the right things at the right times, and have award-winning smiles. However, it’s important to remember that in the end, a bank is a business and those people are just doing their job. I’m not saying that bankers are malevolent beings. It’s just that the plans they market towards you with all its flourish and embellishment may be less to your advantage than you think. Be careful and don’t be swayed.


Your Industry Might Be Endangered

Whether you plan on starting a business or joining somebody else’s, study world events. Even though you might have an idea that seems amazing right now, what good would your long term plans be if the model is dependent on technology that’s already on its final hour? This is for the same reason you shouldn’t name your company based on fads and memes.


You Are Not Alone

Probably one of the most important pieces in this list is that you have people around you. I am an introvert and tend to be egotistic at times. Thus it took me quite some time before I realized I could ask others for help. Even if you’re working on a one-man sole-proprietorship, you have friends, family, and affiliates. Of course, don’t be a dependent beggar and pay your debts.


Money Can Buy You Happiness (Sort of)

Although you can’t literally buy happiness off of Amazon or eBay, you can save a lot of stress by pouring a bit of your income to investments. There are lots of benefits from having passive income, but one that comes to mind is entrepreneurship. You’ll find that one of the biggest hurdles to trying to do your own thing is the lack of money, not only to build the business, but also to feed yourself without a stable job.


You Are Sometimes on the Winning End

The business world is a battlefield and there are amazing strategists in it. There is a reason why lawyers are sometimes called sharks. Do your research and assess situations as they come and go. Sometimes giant companies will make you feel that you need their services, when they actually need your participation to move forward with a multi-million dollar project.


Life Is Worth It

Honestly, this post and other posts like it don’t give life justice to life. They’re all quite cynical because they focus on bad events and how to avoid them. You should live life, be happy, and do happy things. Problems arise from an endless reservoir. There’s no running from them. But life is also filled with great opportunities which you should take. After all, if you don’t do the things you do to live a happy life, why do you?

Have a good graduation. Live long and prosper.

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