Dear Fresh Graduate,
I sincerely hope that this letter will not rub you the wrong way. As I write this, I am seated comfortably in a leather chair in one of the flashy Kampala suburbs in my fancy and air conditioned office. I am not showing off like most young people might think and I do not want you to expect the same out of the job that might come your way.
Truth is, it has taken me quite some hard work and patience to be where I am today, and it did not happen in a day.
Your parents and lecturers might not have explained to you what reality looks like; I would be lying to you if I said that it is a bed of roses. I have reflected upon my own experiences after I graduated several years ago. Things have changed a lot and, as a fresh graduate you need life skills to survive. By life skills, I do not mean life skills as you know; I have re-defined life skills and this is my new list. You will need these skills to survive in this highly competitive and ever-changing world.
Tips for survival
- Like you, I had big dreams. You want to secure a great job that pays handsomely, drive a nice car, settle down and start a family, start a business and live a happy and fulfilling life. If these things are what you want out of life, I am happy to let you know that they are achievable. However, you are not going to be able to get them in a day.
My advice is, be patient. Remember, Rome was not built in a day—and for you to achieve the nice things in life, you need patience, hard work and strategy.
2. Be receptive to learning. Every day and every situation is an opportunity for you to learn and better yourself. You might find a job that is out of range of the things you studied or, you do not possess all the skills you require to deliver on tasks. It is therefore important that you keep an open mind and try to learn as much as possible.
- Do not spend unnecessarily. Some of you are lucky and are going to get offers of graduation parties. For those of you who are unlucky, you will have to spend your own money to have that graduation bash if you want it. I am not going to argue about whether you should have a party or not but I advise you to hold onto that small pool of cash you have. Remember, a job may not come as soon as you want it. Yet, you will need to eat among other needs.
4.Network as much as possible. Having many people in your network could mean that you will get to know of the opportunities out there that you could exploit. Importantly, keep in touch with the people you graduated with at university. You never know where they might have landed and they could be your ticket to ‘the promised land’. Keep your enemies to the minimum, keeping in mind that it is better to build bridges than walls.
5. Do not give up. You will receive many rejections, disapproval and frowns. When these come your way, always remember that ‘failure is not final’. Do not dwell so much on the mistakes you make. Instead, strive to do and be better. Whatever you do, give it your whole and, keep pushing until something gives.
Wishing you the very best!
Written by Joshua Wakabi