A Father’s Career Advice To A College Graduate

It is the season for graduations. Celebrations are everywhere for those going on to the next chapter— from elementary to high school; from high school to college; and from college to the work force. But truly the main event is for those graduating from college as this is the point where the majority can become independent.
It seems just like yesterday that my son, barely a toddler, first entered formal education in preschool. But now I am a proud father of a college graduate. Congratulations, Marc Dave L. Anlacan for making it through Legal Management with flying colors!
But after all the parties are over, one must realize that our responsibilities as parents are far from over. It is at this crucial time where our guidance is most helpful. As a father, there are so many things that one should say to his son to help him navigate this harsh world away from the classroom. Having thought long about this, I list below several of the most important points I wish to remind him and other graduates:
Ask plenty of questions. Having just graduated does not mean you already know a lot. In fact, you are just beginning. You will soon find out how different the real world is from the sheltered environment of schools. Be observant of how things are done; try to understand first, before embarking on new things or being critical.
Be willing to do new things. Despite my caution on being too self-assured, do not be afraid to take new initiatives and make mistakes. Just be sure you are acting within the limits of your authority. The youth’s primary advantage is the ability to discover new things because of their fresh perspective. Do not throw away this strength by being too timid.
Don’t stop learning. Learning must not stop at graduation. You could do so by attending seminars or volunteering to do new tasks. If possible, you may even go for an MBA, if you have the time and resources. In fact, there are many positions that require a post graduate degree for an applicant to be considered.
Be humble even towards subordinates. There is a tendency, especially from those who graduated from elite schools, to be intellectually arrogant when dealing with subordinates or people who are not up to their self-imposed standards. This often results in lack of cooperation, which would affect your own performance. In the workplace, most tasks cannot be achieved by your effort alone. A little humility would boost your standing in the eyes of people.
Be friends with a wider variety of people. Getting things done is easier the more people you know. You must get outside your comfort zone and learn to deal with people that are not your type. One caveat though: avoid persons who are likely to lead you into trouble.
Learn how to budget and save. Have the foresight to plan a budget and the discipline to save. Remember that almost all people who became financially successful are extremely thrifty.
Be more mature in the way you dress and behave. Invest in a new wardrobe and make yourself over so that you would look suitable for position you are aspiring for. Look and act like a young adult now and discard things that make you appear like a student.
Continue seeking the advice of your parents. It is likely that they know more about you than anybody else, including yourself. Their suggestions are very valuable as they come from someone who had known you since birth and so have a deep insight on your strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, they are the people who care for you most.
Do not leave your ideals in school. In the frenzied effort to attain material success, ethics and morality are often forgotten. Ultimately, what is most important when you leave school is take your ideals with you and don’t forget to help others.
Congratulations again to my son and to all the other graduates! You have new worlds to conquer. I hope and pray that you will attain your dreams. Never lose heart in your striving. With determination and patience, everything is possible.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. D-4, Sunday, March 30, 2014. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.