So you are graduating or stuck and not sure what to do with your career.
What life has to offer really is up to you. There are several paths you can take and again it all is up to you. Not your family, friends, community, dog, or cat should decide the path you take. It’s your life and at-least when you make your own choice you don’t feel so bad if you stumble along the way. What I have noticed nowadays is that a lot of men and women are influenced by those factors.
Let’s deal with each factor one by one:
Your father was a lawyer, your uncle was a lawyer, you HAVE to be a lawyer. I see that happen a lot. What’s unfortunate is that we don’t realize that as time passes by and generations emerge, new jobs shape up and new industries are revealed which has more potential for our day and age. For instance, and I will use my experience as an example, in my family if you weren’t a doctor or an engineer, you were an idiot. It’s just how they were raised and what their parents expected from them. I remember my granddad may his soul rest in peace asking me what the hell I was going to do with a computer diploma. "Are you going to be fixing Atari's with that? " he said. Its true at their time, those two jobs were the highest paying and most respected two jobs at the time. Today’s world is different with the constant development of technology we cannot even predict what new jobs will emerge in the next 10 years. Also the majority of our family (parents) work or worked in government and public sector jobs. That was what was available at the time. Considered to be stable, and easy going, a lot of families encourage their sons and daughters to try work in public sector jobs. The public sector for me is like a farm where you are part of a herd, the fence bounds your ambitions and you are confined to wait and see what your master gives you. A routine of a job with no room for innovation or even to express your ideas. Nowadays a lot of the public sector roles are trying to convert their environments into private sector environments, and we see that in Saudi with the Ministry of Labor as an example. Going back to the topic of what family thinks, ofcourse they would tell you go work in a public institute because they want to make sure you are stable and are able to grow and get married and live the life they lived. That’s fine, but you can also do that in the private sector and you would actually grow faster.
Being successful is a decision that is hard to make, because it is not easy in any sense of the word. The main reason for this, is you have to let go the people from your past with whom you may have strong relationships. I have put together some of the reasons why you may need to let go some of your friends:
Just because you choose to be successful does not mean your friends or family will. In general, people have a natural tendency to not want to be left behind whether they realize it or not. Some close friends will make you feel bad for making too much or being so successful. Many of them will suddenly expect you to pay for everything just because you are making more than them or use you for your connections. I know this because I used to be one of those people and now I know what I was doing.
They see you for who you were and not who you are becoming. A few close friends will see you for the bumbling, unsuccessful person that you used to be. In many ways, I can’t blame them. It is really hard to shake first impressions and again I remember how I wasn’t the brightest book in university or throughout education. The only friends you want to keep are the ones who support you along the way and realize the new man or woman in their life.
Once you are on the way to become successful, you will have conflicting values. A big lifestyle change has to occur to become successful whether you like that fact or not. For instance, you may wake up every day at 7 am to start the day off strong but how are you going to do that if your party friend is always encouraging you to stay out till 3 am? It is very hard my friend. Is it Possible? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. You may begin to improve your character, which is necessary for success, and so you will be disturbed by lack of it in your friends who aren’t successful. Be careful who you allow to influence your life and strength of character.
Your income will equal the sum of your closest Five friends. Don’t believe me? Think about it for a second. I remember hearing this and realizing the truth of it for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to give up your friends because they don’t make more then you. But it is something you have to be aware of. If you choose the wrong friends, you may choose your financial fate.
A few friends may start asking you for favors all of the sudden. Can you lend me money, I need rent? Can you help me pay some debt off? I need to pay for books for school, can you help out? Be careful with subtle hints like “ahh man my rent is due in two days”. I encourage you to help your friends but you and I both know the difference between helping a friend and being the go to person to provide support. Where were they when you needed them?
The main factor in being successful is ATTITUDE. You probably have friends who don’t support your dreams and have no qualms about telling you. Tell me this. How are you going to fully and I mean fully commit to your dreams if you have people telling you that you can’t accomplish them. It would be hard to do so. A positive attitude is nowhere near as contagious as a negative attitude and that’s why you have to be very careful with the things you allow into your mind. Get rid of the negatives!
Some friends suck the energy out of you because they don’t have a life of their own. They get mad or take it personally when you can’t go somewhere with them. Since they don’t have their own life, they try to stick to you like a fly on a fly swatter. You may here things like “Oh you can’t hang out, how about I go on your appointments with you? “.
One thing I learned is that your best friend on your road to success should be yourself. Ofcourse with time you will meet new people and get acquainted but at the end of the day, you are unique and you need to throw all the negativity out of your head and life and replace it and them with optimism and those who give you reasons to smile, work harder and be more successful.
This one baffles me. Till this day we have people who are ashamed of working in certain roles or certain jobs or even certain industries. Let’s get this straight, there is no shame in working.. FULLSTOP. Did you know that the average Garbage Collector in Canada earns $33,000. That’s like earning 9000SR per month. Do you think he is ashamed of doing that job? That is money well earned. What I am trying to say is, don’t let what the public’s opinion on what you do influence you to back out or stay away. I am not saying go work as a garbage collector, but in Saudi we have 8 million expatriates working several positions that all these companies would love to have men or women nationals replace them, IF they were willing to. Unfortunately that is why we don’t have many Arab role models. We are afraid to take the first step. We wait till someone jumps into it and fails and instead of encouraging them to get back up we laugh at them. Look at Einstein, or Mark Zuckerburg both outcasts, unliked and were thought to be crazy/nerdy. Both have now developed a legacy to respect whether you like them or not. This also gets me to touch a bit on the topic of entrepreneurship in the Arab world. We are all afraid of failing, when in countries like Saudi or UAE, if you fail today, you will be hired tomorrow. You have so little risk to bear as opposed to how it is in the US and other countries. Taking that risk is what differentiates us.
Do something you like. Do something you enjoy. Do something that makes your kids proud. Do something that makes you proud of yourself. Leave a legacy for others to speak about for generations. Do something that makes others happy and smile because with that you get the best reward of all, self-fulfillment. We all want to make money and in my experience that’s very important, but be patient, you need to master your work and master your passion, and when you do that, you can put the price of your worth.
I will wrap up by saying what I said in the beginning. It’s your life… Live it