Sharon Palawandram (ROYAL & REGAL) And Anjuli Flamer-Caldera (the agency sri lanka) share their best career advice for 20-somethings
You’ve had another rough day at work. And, as you’re talking about your lacklustre job or about feeling lost in your career path, a well-meaning friend or relative responds with, “Well, what do you want to do?”
Silence. If only it were that easy, right?
If clichés like “Follow your passion”, “Give it a 110%,” and “Be true to yourself” just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, we’ve got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career!
You Don’t Know What You Want To Do? Good. Use It To Your Advantage.
Before you get too stressed about not knowing what you want to do with your life, consider how much worse it would be to force yourself to do something that you’re not truly excited about. Most people assume that not knowing what you want to do in life is a huge negative. Not true. In fact, being absolutely certain about what you want maybe the actual disadvantage.
“Pace yourself,” suggested Anjuli. “It’s okay not to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. What’s more important is the process of figuring it out. Focus on the journey rather than the destination, which is ultimately the most important thing. Have confidence in yourself that you will go through that process and end up on the other side, stronger than you were before.”
Have An ‘Experimental Attitude’
When most people look for jobs, they sit back, send their resume out online, and cross their fingers hoping for the best. And, when they don’t hear back, they send out even more resumes until they eventually get demoralized with all the rejections.
Sharon took a different approach.
“One thing I’ve noticed from new graduates is that they’re so afraid of failing, they don’t even try. Before Royal & Regal, I didn’t know how to put together a business proposal or who my competitors were—I was pretty clueless. But I really wanted to try it out. Harness your passion and commit to something you believe in; the pieces will fall into place.”
There Is No Straight Path To Where You’re Headed.
Some people know exactly what they want to do from childhood, while others discover their passions in college elective courses, and still others stumble upon what they truly love years into their first, second or third careers. There are so many possibilities within ourselves, and choosing a career path is about looking at all those possibilities and turning one (or a few of them) into something lucrative.
“I’m a mechatronics engineer,” revealed Sharon. “I was actually the only girl in my batch who took up mechanical engineering and had to work twice as hard to prove myself and succeed. This gave me the courage to pursue what I actually wanted to do, despite what I studied. I knew I didn’t have the orthodox education necessary to start a fashion brand, but I did have a good work ethic and a willingness to learn, which gave me good momentum. You have to be dogged to get to where you want to be, despite the circumstances.”
In both your career and personal life, it can be easy to focus on the negative events, while letting the positive ones roll off your back (“I know I just landed a new client, but I totally flubbed my presentation to them this morning—they must think I’m terrible!”). And because of that tendency, it can feel natural to let one single failure completely redefine your career path or project.
“Whatever hand you’re dealt, you have to work with it and figure out how to make the most of it,” explained Anjuli. “Giving up is never an option for me. The show must go on. There will always be a solution—you just have to invest the time and energy to find it. This is a very crucial component of developing a business.”
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