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What To Do Next? An Unconventional Guide To Sri Lankan University Graduates

What to do next? An unconventional guide to Sri lankan university graduates

Alright, now you have graduated. What’s next?

Now it’s time to find a job. No matter what you have studied (management, engineering, law, fashion designing or even psychology) your next goal is finding a job. I know that some of you are under the impression that companies will beg you to join them. That only happens in Fair & Lovely Max Fairness ads.

fair and lovely
I didn't get the job!

Your university “name” will not get you a job!

It doesn’t matter which university you have attended. Your university name will not get you any jobs. Some of you may believe that you went to the best government university. Or some of you brag that you graduated from a foreign university (when the whole world knows that you followed an affiliated program in a private institute in Sri Lanka). Frankly, nobody gives a sh*t about where you graduated.

Why? Because the job market is flooded with graduates. Two decades ago, only very few had degrees. That’s why our parents go nuts when we tell them that a degree is not enough to get a job. That’s why we follow so many paper qualifications without even considering what we want in our lives. The competition is tough and it’s not getting better anytime soon.

But no matter how many alphabet letters you have next to your name, that itself will not guarantee a successful future. That’s why you hear so many stories about people who graduated with flying colors who are still at homes looking for jobs.

Future is scary

This is where you’re going to enter after graduation. I know that your lecturers told you fairy tales about the corporate world but it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You’re heading into a cutthroat world with fewer jobs and more graduates.

My job here is not to scare you away. But knowing what’s out there can prepare you for what’s coming next. So how should you face the world after graduating? There is one method that I recommend.

Think and act like an entrepreneur!

All the future doctors and engineers, hear me out before coming to a conclusion. Every one of you, may you be a management graduate, a law graduate, engineering graduate or any graduate should think of yourself as an entrepreneur. Yes, you may be a doctor at a teaching hospital but you should have the mindset of an entrepreneur. Yes, you may be a software engineer but you should also act as an entrepreneur. This concept applies for any graduate. So how can you think and act like an entrepreneur? First, let’s understand the concept.

There are so many boring definitions about entrepreneurship that you can Google and find out. I’m not going to get into that. Also, forget the mumbo jumbo about “entrepreneurship has to be in your genes.” That’s just a load of B.S. that most use as an excuse to hide under the rugs.

I will share how you can adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur. This doesn’t mean that you have to start your own business. No. That’s not what I’m asking you to do. If you have watched the movie, Think like a man, you’ll understand the idea. I’m advocating you to think and act like an entrepreneur even though you work for someone else. If you can grasp the following concepts, you’ll be way ahead in your career and life.

Entrepreneur is a problem solver

Thinking and acting like an entrepreneur is not that difficult. Usually, an entrepreneur is a problem solver. If you know how to find a problem in the market and solve it, you’re an entrepreneur. That’s it. You don’t have to be Elon Musk or next Dulith Herath. I sell books that can help you to improve your life. It’s the least sexy business there is. But I found a market gap and decided to solve it. That’s it.

Once you’re out of the university, think yourself as a problem solver. All you have to do is believe that you’ll solve whatever the problem that gets in your way. My previous boss (yes, I’m talking about you Sajeewa) taught me a valuable lesson. He once said, “Nishan bring me any problem and I’ll solve it.” Now I know, he didn’t mean it literary but I loved his attitude. He was always the problem solver!

Everybody loves a problem solver. In your workplace, always be the guy or gal who solves problems. If the printer isn’t working, try to find a fix without complaining. If the senior doctor is missing to do the vasectomy, take charge and do it yourself (it’s a joke. Don’t do it. Wait for the doctor!)

Entrepreneur is an opportunity seeker

Keep your options open and look for opportunities. If you find an opportunity to learn something that you don’t know, don’t just sit and wait. Jump and take it. If there is a training program to learn about sales and marketing, it doesn’t matter whether you went to medical school or engineering faculty. Grab that opportunity. Even though most engineering and medical students believe that “sales” is not their “thing,” hate to break it to you but “sales” is everyone’s’ thing whether you like it or not.

If your company offers an opportunity to learn public speaking (like Toastmasters), don’t waste a second considering. Just join that program. More than any skill today, ability to communicate properly will take you higher up the corporate ladder. This applies to you too engineers/doctors/creatives etc.

Think of your career as a bucket to collect skills and expertise. Try out novel things. Work with different people. Try and learn new skills.

Entrepreneurs believe in growth

If you’re not growing. You’re not living. I know it will take some time for you to grasp this concept but your happiness depends on your growth. If you don’t feel like you’re growing, you will not be a happy person.

Entrepreneurs believe in becoming better than yesterday. No matter what your career is, always focus on improving yourself. This requires learning new skills and accumulating knowledge. Don’t stick with your field of study. Try and explore new things. Start reading. Read biographies of great people. Listen to podcasts of different fields. Learn about personal finance and investing. Consider yourself as an empty bucket and try to fill it with skills and knowledge.

If you think that what you learned at university is enough, you’re wrong! All you ever learned in the university was to cram and “pass exams.” You didn’t learn anything. So do not ever think that you have finished learning.

So that’s about it. See, thinking and acting like an entrepreneur isn’t difficult. All you need is some common sense. This guide is meant for any Sri Lankan university graduate (both government and private) who are planning to start working. But if you’re way ahead and thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, straight outta university (not Compton), check out this post.

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Nishan De Silva

Nishan is the founder of Jump.lk. He is a life enthusiast who loves reading and eating. His ambition is to travel 100 countries before dying (even though he hasn't been out of the country yet!)

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