You’re finally done with school! Now, what?! One of the hardest struggles in life is this thing called ADULTING. This is so frustrating. I’m really having a hard time with this transition. Though some of you may have lived away from home for many years, this is entirely different. Why? Because you’re out of school. You don’t have that life where everything is in routine and everything is scheduled. I’ve worked in a software company before and what shocked me for the first time is that there is no summer vacation. Yes, there maybe holidays, but it’s still few. There’s even a time where you have to go to work on holidays just to have that double pay. Your time is not yours if you’re already adulting. This is a very hard transistion in life and in my case, I ended up regretting many things because there are things that I didn’t know before. So in order for you not to end up like, I’d like to share to you 10 things I wish I’ve known before adulting. These are just advices to help you get on with life and to avoid having regrets. This is not a perfect list though. You may add some of your own adulting tips in your practice. After all, we create our own strategies in our diverse lives.
So without further ado, here are the following:
1. You are never too old to learn or start something new.
Whether its photography, cooking, fishing or something that is totally not of your character, try it! Discover and discover! It’s fun to go out of your comfort zone. Trust me, I’ve been there. There was a time I felt insecure whenever I see people learning something at a very young age, or when I see people who became experts at such a short period of time. This resulted to depression and low self-confidence and I ended up wasting my time not learning things. But hey, I realized this was wrong and started looking more at myself than I look at others. It felt so liberating and it boosted my morale. It felt good to be knowlegeable on diverse things. So, pick up that interest of yours and start working on it. It’s fun to learn a lot and mind you, smart is the new sexy.
2. Do a personal branding.
You are your own brand. Your bosses or clients will always appreciate quality work. It would never hurt you to do something extra for them, even when others don’t. Always remember: quality over quantity. Furthermore, this will also give you a good reputation as a professional.
3. Always pay it forward.
I’m sure there was a time in your life where you’ve received help from someone, so in return for that, also help others. Like the ripple effect, this creates an endless cycle of people who pays it forward and thus it helps people and eventually helps in making the world a better place!
4. Always strive to be better at your chosen field.
With much information readily available online thanks to technology, it isn’t hard to look for tutorials, blogs, videos that will help you learn something. Take advantage of this and be better! Remember: Don’t just be a good employee, be an excellent one!
5. Show more, talk less.
One of the struggles of fresh graduates is the competitive job hunt. When you are looking for a career opportunity, you are selling yourself. Now, the question is, how can you make yourself appealing to potential employeers? Having an online portfolio is the answer to this. Most of the time people try to win the job interviews by sweet talking. But most employers would want to know what you can offer to the company and most importantly, proof of your claims. A portfolio is perfect for this since it is a validation of your skills. Your portfolio is a statement of you saying “This is me and this is what I can do for you!” I would also recommend that you create a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is the social media for career people and also serve as your online CV and portfolio. Prove yourself worthy by showing what you can do. Let your portfolio do the talking!
6. Go out and socialize professionally!
Build up your credentials by attending conferences,seminars and workshops related to your field. This is a good opportunity to emerse yourself in the community of your career. Having a professional community is a good avenue for learning and for networking (more details on Bullet #7). You can also attend events on your interests. There are small gatherings of people who share the same interest called meetups. I found most of my community through these meetups. I look for events through meetup.com and through Facebook events. I remember that I joined a small community called Cebu Language Exchange where I met some Japanese fellas. They taught me Nihonggo for free and I also help them with their English skills. You see, the best part of socializing is not about fun but it’s about the learning!
7. Build your professional network.
Business card is your best friend on this. Whenever you attend conferences or seminars, always, always bring your business cards with you and don’t be shy to exchange them with the people who you will meet. I met lots of people during events and I became friends with them. I learned a lot of things while hanging out with them and they are also learning from me. Believe me, your professional network plays an important role throughout your career journey. I was introduced to many career opportunities through my friends and acquaintances. I also found most of my freelance gigs through people whom I exchanged business cards with. Expanding your network means expanding your network of opportunities.
8. Think twice before you post
Social media is an avenue where you can express your feelings and share them to the world. But I suggest that you think before you post. I learned from a cyber security personnel that companies do background check on their job candidates and employees through social media. Personality is a huge factor that employers consider with regards to choosing job candidates and social media is their source of information on this. So, if you post rants on Twitter and Facebook, I’m sure that would leave a negative impression about you and you get lesser chances of catching those job opportunities. Futhermore not only employers but most people do data mining through social media. People can know your identity online. Personally, I don’t like it when people get to know me online. I would prefer people to know me in a personal level rather than just searching for me in the web. Nowadays, there’s less human touch in interaction. If you post to much online, everything is laid out there. It’s like walking into the cyber world with your butt naked. They know every bit of your identity. After knowing this, i-deactivated my Facebook account for a few months. Now, I’m using it again but only for the purpose of news, searching for events and catching up with people. I rarely post anything and just normally “Share”. So, I highly encourage a little moderation on these things and you should carefully think before hitting that “Post” button.
9. Always be mindful of your health.
Most of us won’t even think this is a priority since we are young and physically active. We can exhaust ourselves, eat and do whatever we want. That maybe true but having an unhealthy lifestyle will take a toll on your body someday. We should remember to also take care of our future old self. Who wants to be bedridden at the age of 50? We still want to travel, party hard and be energetic at that age, right?
10. Save! Save! Save!
You have been thinking about buying that gorgeous dress and finally you have your paycheck after many days of agony, you just simply can’t resist not getting your hands on that dress, can you? It’s okay. I know that feeling very well. That feeling of wanting to reward yourself after days of hard work, it’s natural. After all, money is meant to be spent, right? But money is also meant to be saved. Without a doubt, saving is one of the struggles of young adults these days. Even I still struggle on this one but I’m trying my best to make saving money a habit. There was a time when I had a severe sinus infection that needed immediate medical attention. I was absent for almost a week at work and what’s worse is my insurance doesn’t cover that particluar hospital. I had no savings back then. I ended up borrowing some money from a close friend and lending money is not easy. I had to learn my lesson the hard way so now, even if I don’t have any reason, I keep a portion of my salary. Just as life is unpredictable, so are the storms in life. So save not only for the things you wanted to buy but also for emergencies that may come. Save as much as you spend!
So, there you have it! I hope this was able to be of help to you. Let’s do well and pass this thing called adulting together!
C.P. Credo (find her as DataAmazon) is a computer science graduate at UP Cebu. She currently works as a freelance programmer. She loves to learn new things and has a great affinity to cute stuff. She plays Pokemon Go during her free time and is desperate to be better at baking. Making connections and having friends from different fields of work make her happy.