5 early career tips for young graduates in 2015

First published in blog.buziebee.com 05/01/2015

2014 was not a great year for young people around the world seeking for work opportunity. In Australia, the trend is looking bleak and 2015 probably won’t create much celebration. IMF had predicted that Australia’s jobless rate to be second-worst in Asia-Pacific region. Here are five tips to survive the rough time ahead:


1. Enthusiasm is infectious
For the top 1% of you who are starting a new role in your dream job, congratulations! For most of you, however, everyone knows your current role is not your first choice for a career. Don’t waste time wondering what could have been, thrive in your role and bring your enthusiasm and your personality into the workplace.
Rather than treating your current role as a stepping stone for a better option in the future, treat your current role as your last chance to make yourself known to the world before you die.

Filter out the naysayers and listen to constructive feedback.


2. Ask for forgiveness not permission
The best talents deliver and they don’t ask around for permission to save their own back if something goes wrong – unless you work in NASA space station or Large Hadron Collider where small mishap always cause months of inconvenience (still ok to try to be smart!). Always ask yourself ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’. If the answer doesn’t involve anyone getting injured or losing any limb, you will be fine. Just hack it!


3. Forget about scoring good grades – real world doesn’t come with academic transcript
I often find young graduates try too hard to conform and to please senior executives of big companies they think they might have a chance of working for. If you think carefully, senior executives have good ‘bullshit detector’ – perhaps not as good as millennials like you. If you want to be in their good books, start thinking like senior executives of a big company and help them solve problems.
99.9% of the time senior executives won’t have any job at their company to offer you anyway – but how many interesting young mind do you think these execs know by full name for being helpful?

Strong professional network will lead you to your dream career, not your fancy resume or your academic transcript.


4. ‘Permanent beta’ should be your new career mantra
If you regularly follow the news , the word ‘startup’ has popped up a lot lately. All aspects of building a new company from scratch is just as vital as building career in the new economy. The sooner you know about startup methodologies, the better. Read more about permanent beta here.


5. Never stop learning
Need anymore explaining?

‘Once you stop learning, you start dying’
–Albert Einstein.


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A funny nation called Singapore

I really enjoy the never-ending political puppet show inside the island country most people love to hate. All of those oppressed souls (especially those who don’t know their freedom has been taken away from them) in Singapore deserve a little sympathy from lucky people who live in Australia or Nordic countries.  Early this morning I saw this article.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is not the smartest leader of modern countries around, but he is certainly the most highly paid one, although it can be argued that he pays himself what he thinks he deserves since his family own the country anyway.  In my humble opinion, PM Lee is a clown whichever angle you try to look at him.

This was a comment he made about the emergence of internet in Singapore as an avenue for expressing dissents, as quoted by the article I mentioned above: “Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there” – PM Lee.

That was a really fucking dumb educated thing to say for someone who earns ~$228/hour this year from salary alone  (not including perks) – just for breathing air.  In a country where many 70-plus-year or older homeless senior citizens still need to earn their keep by cleaning Changi’s toilets (if they are lucky), there is no word to describe his oblivion.

Also, have I mentioned that there is no minimum wage regulation in Singapore?  That’s for another day.  Please visit this FB page if you want to know more about Singapore’s political comedy.



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A new push for Republic of Australia

As a naturalised Australian, I never quite understand why some of my fellow countrymen are content with the concept that queen of England, who lives on the other side of the world, has the power to dissolve both houses of Australian parliament at her whim – it actually happened once.

I was delighted today to hear that Quentin Bryce, ironically the current governor general of Australia, voiced her support for a republic system. That was a very nice gesture from her and hopefully this would spark new debates about having a real Australian citizen as head of state.

God Kick The Queen (eventually)!


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How startup funding works?


I wasn’t able to visualise different stages of startup funding until I encountered this post a few days ago – neat infographic. More details can be found here.

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Clayton Christensen is coming to Sydney November 6, 2013

Incidentally, Prof. Christensen (see my previous post) is giving a one day seminar in Sydney as part of his Australian tour. It’s a very expensive one-day seminar I must admit.

I am a big fan of Clayton Christensen and I really don’t mind forking that much money for his one-day seminar. His talk will certainly be inspiring. Let me know if any of you is going to the seminar.

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Disruption in consulting industry – inevitable?

Recent paper written by Clayton Christensen and his co-authors published in October 2013 edition of HBR caught my attention. I am a big fan of Clayton Christensen especially after reading his latest book, ‘How Will You Measure Your Life?’. The book has radically changed how I think about my goals in live and how I see the world around me.

Only a few months earlier, I was fascinated by consulting industry and how the players had always marketed themselves as game changers. They always say that graduates can make immediate impact from day one. Having had the opportunity to understand consulting industry from the outside beyond many layers of marketing jargons, I finally decided that the industry wasn’t the right path for me and for my future aspirations. My gut feeling was confirmed by two interviews with top consulting firms in Sydney that didn’t end up with any offer :). I think it was obvious to those big firms that I wouldn’t fit in management consulting. I had a great time preparing for case interviews and interviewing with some of the consultants I had the opportunity to network with. Many of them, although not all, are really nice folks.

Clayton Christensen and co-authors, in their work, predicted the inevitable disruption in consulting industry. The force for change will come from big data analytics, outsourcing and automation of many of the traditional processes many consulting firms charge companies a fortune to get done. The large talent pool of ex-consultants sprawling in corporate world also contributes to closing gaps between what consultants know and what their clients know about what value consultants can add to their respective business. It’s interesting to keep an eye on what the industry will look like in the next decade or two. The recent rise of HourlyNerds has confirmed that early stage of disruption in consulting industry is here.

A few new business partners and I are planning to disrupt this industry too by establishing a new startup. We won’t be competing with top consulting firms immediately but we think we might have a good chance to shake up a few things. I hope to tell you more about the project in the next few months. Watch this space!


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