Career Compromise

Written by Okky Mawardi

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It’s not unusual for students to be unsure of what they want to do with their degree after graduation. The Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) Survey 2019 found that in most cases, the number of graduate applicants for entry-level positions outstrips the number of available positions.

School and work environments are quite different, and the strategies that helped you excel throughout your academic life are not necessarily the same ones that would lead to success in your working life. There may not be regular or straightforward opportunities for advancement, with new realities that can be disorienting and demoralising.

It may be applying for more jobs than you can even keep track of, and learning how to keep moving forward when you do not even hear back from one. 

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In fact, the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018 found that while a university degree does result in improved job and salary prospects, there is also a huge number of graduates not using the skills they acquired at university when they get a job.

The survey also found that creative arts graduates were at the bottom of the list at only 52.2% full-time employment in the short term. 

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It can become difficult not to feel like a failure when your life is not what you had always hoped it would be. We do a really great job of encouraging everyone around us to reach for the stars, but often fails at telling people how to recover when things don’t go as planned. It’s also easy to get insecure and concerned if you feel like you’re not moving forward while others are doing so quickly. 

All we learn is that if you keep plugging in all the necessary steps to achieve a perfect, well-balanced life – one day you will have it all. But life is not that simple of an equation.

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Although it can be unnerving not to know the “answer” to your career puzzle, take the time to make an effort in setting your own goals, and track progress against your own goals. 

One great way to do that is through a process called ‘career mapping’, to create a holistic view of potential career progression based on skills, competencies and goals. The most effective career strategy is more directional than specific. That is, it may point to an ultimate dream position, such as a directorship or executive management role, but it should also take into account the fact that, inevitably, there are multiple routes to the same destination. 

Before launching viral new media sites Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post in his 30s, Jonah Peretti was teaching middle-schoolers how to use Microsoft Office as a computer science teacher.

As Denzel Washington said in his 2011 commencement speech:

“ I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks. You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something There is no doubt about it. Never be discouraged. Never look back. Give everything you’ve got. And when you fall throughout life, fall forward.”

Please remember that even in our darkest times, all is not what it seems. That even faced with great adversity, you will prevail.

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