Asked by Anonymous
My Friend is asking me question about deciding his career path. Reason being, he doesn’t have faith in the corporate world due to his inability to navigate office politics and being a “tall poppy”. He has tremendous energy and wit to start his business but afraid to fail during recession. What do you think would be good for him? How would you advise him?
Answering the part directly about office politics etc- Unfortunately this is something he will need to navigate no matter where he goes to. If he wants to be a business owner, there is a lot of partnerships and connections he will need to work on. Though not politics per sey, but nonetheless he will need to work on some form of networking.
If we are talking purely about career aspirations, then firstly, you have to know what you are interested in, and what you are good at. If both of these point you in the same direction, then congrats! you have found the ideal industry or occupation to be in!
However, if you have to choose one, I recommend you choose what you are good at, as long as you don't hate it.
Hobbies and passion can remain as such, if you have the finances to support it.
Secondly, try everything! After graduating from university, I had spent most of my time in the education sector. I really do enjoy it, however, I grew jaded for a season, and wanted to try something new! Thus I took on an internship just to gain more insights and experience into what I really wanted to do, and explore the areas that I have not explored before.
Not only did it open my eyes, I also met really great people and formed really great friendships!
There is no "one path" for everyone. Life is always changing, and it does not mean that we have to stick with one path for the rest of our lives. Priorities can change, jobs can change, people change.
Lastly, every business has it's ups and downs. if he has really done his homework, researched, and really believes in his business, then he should go along with it. There is always the possibility of failure in a business- but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. At least you are aware that it can fail, and are not delusional that whatever you do will definitely work.
All the best!
Thanks for this! A very crucial question for fresh grads and first-jobbers. Apart from the fact that a big proportion of young adults jump at any full-time job that is offered to them without careful consideration, I myself used these factors to decide how I would like my career to play out.
At this juncture, if you're still uncertain, go back to the drawing block and perhaps take up internships to expand your work experiences. Go in depth or cover breadth to understand yourself before diving into a full-on role. Of course, do all this while polishing a solid CV including all relevant roles that could pique interviewers' interests. Sometimes the job you go for isn't necessarily the role you'll be offered...!
Next, find out about companies and employers and see if these workplaces resonate with what you believe in. Do you believe in their product, their service and their vision? Is there a way you are going to contribute more than just being a worker at a desk?
All the best!
Cannot escape politics, even starting your own business has office politics, unless you are a solo freelancer but then you still deal with clients and there are bound to be politics.
Just find a job. Don't like then switch.
As a fresh graduate, perhaps I could give some new, young (albeit maybe a little naive) insights!
1) I'd like to think our career path is never determined by a singular decision. It's fluid and is bound to change over time. The most important thing to consider is what he truely wants to do regardless of his worries.
2) For friends worried about office politics, I always tell my friends to ignore it all and focus at tasks at hand. The people who are worth it and true to themselves will come true for you in the end! Takes time, BUT, you'll find them.
3) Why be scared of failure? Did you know... I flunked through my first 2 years of Uni, but hey, still made it through to the end and am doing relatively well right now! You fail to succeed. If you don't fail, you'll never succeed.
If he is afraid of failure then it is very difficult to start a business or even work in a job. As for politics it happens every where in the office, in family, friendships etc. You can run but you can't hide. Honestly my advice is to first work on his attitude and outlook on life before deciding anything else. Good luck!
Its life. You can also choose to sign on.