By Ammiel Branch
This blog post has come into existence out of frustration and in response to the state of mind I’ve witnessed amongst two university students I consider to be my good friends. Too many young people are underestimating themselves and are therefore restricting their potential and limiting their future. And this is something I feel compelled to address.
I hate this place!!
When setting off on a job hunt, most people’s initial thoughts tend to aim towards retail and thoughts such as “Ah, let me see if Primark or Tesco have any vacancies.” Now I’m not saying Primark, Tesco and the like are not good places to work, but for the majority, jobs like these are usually draining and just-above-averagely paid with little personal development. The typical outcome sees employees screaming out “I hate this place!!” within the first few months. Now why subject yourself to that?
Think outside the box
Look at it this way: is there something you enjoy doing or would like to learn? Do you have any hurdles or problems you want to overcome in order to develop an interest or hobby outside your education?
For example, if you enjoy music and want to become a musician but you’re having difficulty with promotion, why not apply for a job or internship with a company which specialises in social media/marketing or even HMV so you can at least get some discount music to explore? Or if you love child care, what sense does applying to Ikea or Asda make? Why not learn while you earn and apply for a small role in a nursery or at The Early Learning Centre? Do you catch my drift? It’s not just about the money you earn, it’s about the benefits, training and knowledge you pick up along the way even more so.
Use your resources
Take the time to think carefully and thoroughly about what you’d like to learn and what skills you need to develop. Maybe your verbal communication or people skills need improving. In that case, retail could be right for you (I worked in Argos for 2 and a half years building my customer service and sales skills). But use your resources; browse through your college or university’s job board and look at jobs, placements and internships to see what skills, knowledge and exposure they could offer you. If you’re not sure what you want to do or where to look then ask someone – book an appointment with your college or uni’s careers advisor or ask a friend. In fact, ask me! (@realAmmiel) I’ll help where I can. There are always people around who are willing to help. It’s just a matter of finding them!
Don’t underestimate yourself
Don’t be afraid to step outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think big. See each job you apply for as a stepping stone to get to where you want to be. See each job for how it can help you develop as a person, rather than just for the money. If you come across an opportunity, feel a tight shrinking sensation in the centre of your chest and start thinking “I’m not sure if I’m good enough for this”, recognise that you’re only doubting and hindering yourself. Don’t underestimate yourself. Be brave, speak to somebody whose opinion you trust and tell them about the next step you’re thinking of taking. Then you will be well on your way to an enriched and fulfilling career.
“Stop underestimating yourself and making excuses. Think big and ACT ACCORDINGLY.”
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