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An Open Letter To The Budding Professional

Having freshly graduated from college, “FINALLY!!!” we say to ourselves. Sleepless nights, terror profs, and less than ideal exam scores are out of the way. It’s what many would say — a new chapter in our lives. And it’s been on our minds for quite a while too, especially during senior year. That’s when you start to realize that the days are numbered. Before you know it, you’ll rarely get the chance to be in the same space with all your batchmates, classmates, and professors.

Then comes graduation! The coveted moment to wear a toga, come up on stage and get a hold of your diploma. It’s something you’ve been working towards ever since you first stepped onto campus as a freshman. Everyday has been leading up to this moment. And I want to emphasize, that no matter how long it took to finish your degree, with honors or not, you should be extremely proud of yourself.

This begs the question,

For some, they already have it all planned it out, while others follow a more go with the flow rhythm. No matter what approach you choose to follow, you’re bound to hit some obstacles during the whole figuring it out process. And it can be an odd mix of feelings — equal parts of overwhelming, terrifying, and exciting. But even so, you send your resumes and CVs to multiple companies hoping you land your dream job at your dream company.

But what if things don’t go as planned? I’ve had my fair share of realizations in the

past year as a fellow budding professional. Here are some of things I’ve picked up from personal experience and endless self-help books:

Savor the good moments
Our mind often wanders to the point it runs on autopilot and we barely even notice it. Think about it, when we’re in high school, we can’t wait to reach college. Then when we reach college, we can’t help but daydream about finally working and earning our own money. Or let’s say the day has just started and you’re already thinking about your to-do list while having breakfast.

How often have you been fully present? We’re so caught up thinking about our future that we forget our current situation is one we’ve been dreaming about not too long ago. So this is my challenge to you:  any time you’re having a good experience, STOP AND SAVOR. Enjoy the present moment. It doesn’t have to be a grand moment either, it could be as simple as eating your favorite home-cooked meal.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Every day might not be a good day, but there is good in every day. It really reframed my way of thinking. If you have a roof over your head, can eat 3 meals a day,  and have means to support you and your family, everything else is a bonus. It’s much more fruitful than complaining about what you lack too. Realize how lucky you are!

But that’s not to say that sometimes, we may find ourselves stuck in unfortunate situations. We’ll always have bad days, but don’t let it make you forget the good. In fact, it helps us even appreciate the good days more. You just have to train yourself to look hard enough, and a gratitude journal helps a lot.

Spend money wisely
One of the most rewarding things about work is payday! Another reason to

As tempting as it may seem, develop good spending habits early. Manage your finances wisely and definitely allocate some for investment. Think of it as paying it forward to the future you. After all, you might have some things on your wishlist that you can’t afford yet such as a house or a car.

The first step is to track your expenses, where does the money go? Take into account how much of it is going to necessities and “treat yo self” sessions. More often than not, small culprits that slowly eat away our salaries are things like coffee, bubble tea, or dining outside; all of which we can cut down on. Helps us with living a healthier lifestyle too since we’re more in control of the ingredients and nutritional value.

Allocate 20% for investments, 10% for tithes, and 70% for expenses. This is a rough estimate so feel free to modify it accordingly.

Surround yourself with better (if not the best) people
Your environment is crucial to your success. Repeat that to yourself a couple of times for it to sink in. Actively choose to surround yourself with supportive people, your homies that you can count on. These are the people who will cheer you on every step of the way, those who will remind you to keep on going when you can’t find it in yourself to push through. I’m a firm believer that success is almost never achieved alone so when you finally reach that stage, these are the same people you want to thank.

Do yourself a huge favor and enrich your life by nurturing the right relationships, it’ll go a long way.

Start where you are
Baby steps. We may not always find ourselves in our dream job or our dream company right away (it’s nothing to be ashamed of), but start where you are. In the beginning, you might not even be sure of which career path to take, let alone know how to get to where you want! If you’re feeling unsure and overwhelmed with the options, do the next right thing no matter how small. That might mean not having the exact job you wanted, but at least you got hired in a good company. Or it could also mean being hired in the industry you always wanted to specialize in. Who’s not to say that someday you’ll also be able to reach your goals?

Keep an eye out for opportunities to better yourself and move your career forward. Your dreams might change along the journey, and that’s okay.

Adulting is never easy, but it can be worth it if you allow it to be.

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