Saturday, January 06, 2007

Are kids and their parents paying attention to employment trends in S'pore these days? There are no "conventional" jobs any more. The reality of our situation is that regardless of our line of study, there is no reason to assume that our career will fall neatly in line with it.

According to this Star article, there is no lack of employment opportunities here, as long as job-seekers are flexible. Our education does not determine our career destiny. Whichever path our parents have set us on -- doctor, engineer, lawyer -- the world is too unpredictable to allow us to be as deterministic about our own futures.

So why study all the way up to the U then? Obviously, because the qualification is often nice to wave around. But if that's all you're after, you're a very sad person. If all you're gonna do is study, then that's all you're training to do. And the career prospects of grads specialized in sitting at a desk pretending to read difficult books are quite limited these days.

Whatever your faculty, studying at the U is a chance to mix around with the best and the brightest people on the planet, including one or two of your professors. You can discuss, argue and debate your theories and ideas with like-minded people and thereby shape an intelligent view of the world; and network with the people you are likely to be working with, or for, in the near future.

And it's not just in the classrooms or lecture halls, either. The pubs, the clubs and the socials present lots of opportunities to talk to people who will become decision-makers in time. So it's best to go make nice with them before they become unapproachable. You'll never know if the dweeb you picked up off the floor after the jocks have stampeded through might become the next Bill Gates, or if your scruffy buddy on the football pitch might become the next PotUS.

Just don't get locked into the "degree = good job" idea. The degree itself is only a piece of paper after all (at the most it'll grant you a job interview) but if that's all you're interested in, that's all you're gonna get. It's the experience and the process of how you obtained it that's more likely to determine what your next step is going to be. Enjoying a varied lifestyle on campus means more flexibility of career options for when Mom starts her "Get A Job" whine six months after your graduation.

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