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“Ah boy degree finally done!! Wah we goh do?!” “Well I eh have no job so I for anything.”

The “exam season” has long ended for university students and degrees have been completed. No sooner had the celebration begun than the ironic cheers of joining one of the largest cliques in Trinidad & Tobago also begin to ring out; the unemployed.

This is the harsh reality faced by many recent graduates. In this time of recession, rising unemployment and poverty, it is by no means easy to secure employment right out of school.

The question, therefore, is: how are you going to spend your time if you are unable to find a job immediately?

After dealing with the stress of completing your degree for so many years, I know many of you will be trying to make up for all the lost time: beach every weekend, 51 every Thursday, house lime every other day, etc. But this is not the time to focus on just play and fun. Now is the time to enter into BEAST MODE. Now your performance everyday matters. Everyday you are either moving closer to or further away from your dreams. The truth is the degree was the easy part. It was straightforward. Every year you had someone tell you what courses to do, teach you the information and then give you advice to write your exam. In the real world there is no syllabus, no lecturer and no tutor. Now YOU have to create your own syllabus and YOU have to put in twice as much WORK every single day if you want to achieve your goals and make your family proud.

Productivity and positivity are keys to overcoming the adversity in this period of your life. You must set specific goals for each day. Every day must be a day of growth and development. Make a list books to read over the next few months. Read books about your field of study and learn new ideas and theories; create your own niche within your field and distinguish yourself from others with the same degree. Read about how to do a mind-blowing CV and how to develop your interview skills to make you irresistible to any employer. Read about the characteristics and habits of successful people. You need to be passionate and committed with whatever you do at this stage. The work you do today will determine your level of success tomorrow. Even if the opportunities are not before you right now, work as though your opportunities are already in front of you. Work as though your opportunity is slipping away. And through your productivity and positivity, you will attract opportunities.

In Trinidad, we always say that to be successful in this country you need links. If someone gets a job, one of the first questions you might ask is, “who link you dat boy?” It would be naïve not to acknowledge that some people get opportunities based solely on who they know. But opportunity is just the beginning. It won’t lead to success unless you put in the work. So while you prepare for your dreams, it is essential that you develop the habit of never getting outworked. Every day you should push yourself to become more of a beast. Gradually start waking up earlier, start reading more, start training harder, start sending out more job applications, put on a suit and go apply for jobs in person. Dr Eric Thomas said that, “everybody wants to be a beast until it’s time to do what beasts do.” This period definitely isn’t going to be easy but now is the time to differentiate yourself from the rest. All those years studying weren’t for nothing; now you need to perform everyday until your dreams become a reality.

As long as you stay positive and productive, opportunities will appear. If you sit back and wait for something to fall in your lap, time will pass you by and you will become less and less valuable to your future employer…if you happen to find one. Do not let this period demotivate you, focus on developing your mind and developing the right habits- hard work, positivity, passion, confidence and humility. If you push yourself and maximize every day, nobody will be able to stop you from achieving whatever you set your mind to!

“Are you ready to sacrifice who you are for who you will become?”- Dr Eric Thomas

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Posted by J.C. Huggins