Having graduated from college, you’re now looking for a job to earn your own money. Some may have time to wait for the “perfect” job, but if you’re in a hurry to be gainfully employed, accepting the first job offer often leads to frustration.
According to Richard Gonzales, president and CEO of Development Strategists International Consulting and consultant for Asian Development Bank and World Bank projects in the Asia-Pacific, about 50 percent of workers today are not aptly trained for their present jobs.
How to become competent
Gonzales says job mismatch happens when “a person is in a job group that he or she was not trained and prepared for.”
There are instances when newly hired employees fail to adapt to the demands of their job because they are given tasks beyond their capability, Gonzales explains.
One consequence is the employee will find it hard to get a promotion, especially if the criteria is a fitting educational background.
If you’ve already accepted a mismatched job, however, Gonzales reveals it is still possible to become successful. If a mismatched employee is “flexible, open-minded and willing to be trained, he or she may become competent. Willingness to learn new things and a passion for excellence in all assignments are key to crack the mismatch trap.”
Gonzales also espouses humility: “Don’t be afraid if you make a mistake and don’t be defensive when people notice your poor performance. Instead, try to get acquainted with all aspects of the job that you’re not prepared for. Seek help and advice on how to do those things better without letting your colleagues feel you are dependent on them.”
But Gonzales says no job is really a perfect fit in the first place. “You may have been trained for a particular job and prepared academically, but there is always a ‘missing link’ between your formal training and actual job,” he explains.
You have the option to change jobs. “If you are no longer happy and feel that you are unproductive in your present job, you may start looking for your niche in the industry that you were initially prepared for,” he advises.
Raujane B. Pangue is a licensed nurse. He was asked by his family to pursue nursing because of the promise of greener pastures. However, he found himself longing for his dream job which is to become a fashion designer. “It was a huge risk to shift careers,” recounts Pangue. “However, I consider myself successful because I am able to do what I truly love. Happiness is the ultimate measure of success.”
Gonzales says one way to improve your job skills is to participate in professional development programs offered by your office. “If there are free seminars, grab the opportunity to attend. These may lead you to good opportunities.”
Start a business
Another popular option is to start your own business. But Gonzales cautions: “Not all of us are destined to become successful entrepreneurs. If you are not a risk-taker, don’t even entertain the thought… It is a hit-and-miss game; while some were very successful, others went back to their regular jobs.”
Yohann Sy has a degree in Business Administration, major in Computer Applications. His first job was to create computer programs.
Because there was no one to cook his lunch, he decided to make it himself. His grandmother tried his cooking and encouraged him to run a food business instead.
Today he owns Dimsum Maniacs, a business with products comparable, or maybe even better, than more expensive dim sum restaurants.
“I don’t see the change as wasted time and effort,” says Sy. It’s a more labor-intensive job, but what’s important is you get to do what you love.”
If you decide to set up your own business, Gonzales gives the following pieces of advice: “Don’t venture into it alone; get other people to support you. Also, you must always have a fallback in case it does not work. However, you shouldn’t be pressured if things are not turning out as well as you planned. You should learn how to be patient.”
Sy adds: “You have to believe in yourself and your team. Consumers nowadays know how to spend their money wisely, and only contentment brings them back. So aim for that. Returning customers are the clearest indication of a good product and it is what makes a business grow.”
Whatever job you want, go for it.
My career counselor once told me, “It was too late before I realized what my dream job was. You are still young and have the power to choose your dream. Go and pursue it while you still can.”
PHOTOS BY ASTRID AGBAYANI