Graduation grief is real
You’ve done the necessary time and soon, you’ll be released from the “prescribed prison” that is formal education. The only motivation getting you through to the finals is your grad trip - backpacking through Europe to sipping cocktails on the beaches of Bali. The plane ticket are printed and you’re ready to go...
But knocking at the back of your mind are reports of tougher job markets ahead, and the “visions” you’ve been having extend way beyond the holidays to the “horridays” that await you, should you fail to secure a job.
And here are 10 graduate woes you’re likely to face as you leave the 16++ years of sheltered student life for adult life.
1. Finding a job you actually like is a struggle
As much as we aspire to be professional sleep testers and mystery shoppers, we know our chances of actually landing the job of our dreams are close to nonexistent. And even if you do find a job that looks mildly promising, you worry about an inevitable loss of interest and the pitfalls of having to go through the motions of a 9-6 job you abhore.
“What ifs” apply to all available jobs out there, but here’s a tip: You can quell the uncertainty with internships.
Especially if you’re exploring an industry that’s far from the field of study you majored in, an internship - or many internships - lets you test the water and learn the ropes before deciding if the job is a commitment you’re ready for.
2. Your friends have countless job offers but you can’t even get an interview
You’ve done the research, and sent out the resumes - but still, the interviews aren’t rolling in. Meanwhile, the humblebrags you call friends are busy updating their social media channels about their office’s epic foosball table and welfare benefits.
Take it from someone who’s been in your shoes, opportunities will come. Just don’t be overly picky about positions. We’re not asking you to dive head first into commitment, but taking up contract positions can help you rake in the experience you’re looking for and beef up your resume.
3. Choose studying again or face unrelenting unemployment
Whether you’re a Law, Medicine or Finance graduate, you’ll know the first-world problem of sitting on the fence when it comes to getting real-world experience or pursuing a higher qualification.
And as much as you want to be done with deadlines and the incessant burning of midnight oil, the awkward inquisitions about your joblessness at family gatherings is starting to make you realise that between unemployment and studying, hitting the books might be the lesser of two evils.
And when you actually get a job…
4. Adjusting to the 9 to 6 life, just to stay alive
You’ve cruised your way through school with the help of trusty kakis who can “convincingly recreate” your signature on the attendance list and all you’ve to do is make a guest appearance on the day of the exam. But the 9 to 6 corporate life has come for you.
Say goodbye to sleeping at 4 in the morning because your new company will have punch cards, and even biometric fingerprint scans to clock in your attendance. So unless you’re fortunate enough to be working for a company with flexible working hours, there’s no way you can escape your responsibilities even if you don’t feel like it.
5. Maintaining a semblance of work-life balance
From “Let’s keep in touch” to “Don’t let life tear us apart” - you will regret the ambitious promises you write on your friends’ graduation cards, because Singapore has some of the longest working hours in the world. It’ll tip the scale of work-life balance, and not in the favour of your social life.
And if by some miracle the stars and your schedules align, we can bet your little meetup will be spent raging about hectic deadlines and workplace politics.
6. Becoming financially stable and BTO-ing
As if your responsibilities are not heaped high enough as a working adult, your parents now expect you to chip in for utilities and insurance premiums, while your partner constantly tags you in BTO buying guides. And unlike The Sims, there are no cheat codes, fast forward/restart buttons, or instant promotions in the real world.
Inevitably, you realise success and happiness comes in the form of being able to afford all your bills and owning a home.
7. Your physical activity will dip to “sedentary” levels
Back in university, your daily dose of exercise was chionging between lecture halls to get to classes on time. But with a desk-bound job, the only workout you’ll be getting is the 5 metres you’ll be walking from your desk to the pantry. It’s no wonder our older population is gaining weight at an average of 0.5 to 1kg per year. But if you’re lucky, your office might come with an an in-built gym like this one below.
Office gym at the Honestbee Headquarters Source
Every graduate cloud has a silver lining
And while the future for graduates might look an ominous shade of grey, it isn’t all as bleak as it’s painted out to be. The struggle of the job search and occasional rejection is all part and parcel of this new phase of life, and an obstacle most of us have to face before we settle into the workings of the corporate world.
That being said, if you’re mainly relying on word of mouth for available job opportunities, it’s about time you expand your horizons and get your resume out there.
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