By Braulio Giron, Jr. on November 29, 2018
The path to finding a meaningful job, and subsequent success, is not always as easy or clear-cut, and requires a great deal of grit, as attested by speakers at CNN Philippines’ Universitalk
Pressure is considerably one of the words which best describes students’ final years in university. Apart from being in the final stretch of formal education that often plays a significant hand in deciding future careers, it is also at this time that many are closing out their teen years and entering their twenties and taking on more responsibilities.
Indeed, approaching graduation and moving into the job-seeking phase is always daunting, especially for some who either find themselves about to complete a course that is not in line with their purpose or passion, or those who have yet to discover their purposes or passions altogether.
In an effort to help make some sense of such student worries, CNN Philippines, in partnership with recruitment solutions provider Kalibrr and the University of the Philippines’ SAMASKOM organization, invited several personalities to talk about their own professional journeys at the first ever Universitalk, titled The Career Kickstarter.
Success is a continuous, and varied, journey
Held last November 22 at the College of Engineering Theater in the University of the Philippines Diliman, Universitalk: The Career Kickstarter speakers included socio-ecological entrepreneur Brian McClelland, founder of Bambike; writer and director Samantha Lee, known for her films “Baka Bukas” and “Billie and Emma;” architect Arts Serrano, founder of One/Zero design collective; and Coco Quizon, brand manager of Sunnies Specs.
While the professional journeys differed for each of the speakers, they were in a consensus with regard to how it, indeed, is different for every jobseeker. Lee, who worked odd jobs well into her mid-20’s before foraying into film, shared that there is no single path for everyone, and measuring success based on what others are doing is never a good approach. “Just because you're not traveling the same path as the person sitting beside you doesn't mean that you're in the wrong path,” she says.
Quizon, who majored in Anthropology and Linguistics in college but ended up as a brand manager, also says that her career had not at all been linear - she’s had as many as eight jobs- and it’s through an unorthodox path which one can actually find their purpose, and learn along the way.
“It's okay not to follow a career ladder if you can. A career ladder for me is nakakapagod. I really like that saying na success doesn't have an elevator, take the stairs. Because you can stop, sit for a moment, and just hang there. That's kind of what I did. I went from retail to PR, and now to brand management. And I've learned certain things by taking breaks across the industries.”
Your experiences can help define your purpose
A fresh graduate who was also looking for a job over a year ago, Dean Bulaon, Kalibrr’s Program Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships, also addressed the attendees at Universitalk, chronicling his journey from his last few years in De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde to his repeated searches and applications for work that eventually led him to his position with Southeast Asia’s only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider.
Bulaon detailed how he somewhat cruised through his first few years in college, assuming he would play video games for the rest of his life given he was initially taking a game design course. However, after watching his peers make significant advances for themselves, he decided to double-down and focus more on his studies and other productive pursuits.
“I realized that I have to become a professional in the future. (So) I got my act together, dropped my bad habits, and did some introspecting. What I found was that I liked solving problems that I care about using technology.”
This led to him taking Business Administration, Major in Computer Applications, and being project manager at his school’s most prestigious organizations. He eventually finished school with flying colors, but like with most fresh graduates, later discovered that finding a meaningful job was not as easy as people made it seem back in school.
“All of the applications I sent out, I kept getting rejected. My friends who also graduated got jobs two or three weeks after they applied. So what about me? Needless to say, I fell back into bad habits, and it lasted for three to four months.”
Bulaon says he submitted as many as a hundred applications to various employers, and the little responses eventually had him considering a career as a professional mixed martial artist (one of his other passions), as any other career seemed too difficult to even start.
“ Then, one day I got up, and seeing my family working their butts off, and I realized I may have forgotten my purpose. I wanted to help my parents. I want to give back to them. I want to solve problems using tech.”
As he put himself back in the job market, he eventually renewed his purpose, coincidentally with the avenue he was using to look for work.
“I came across this website called Kalibrr, registered, and sent applications left and right. A few weeks into interviews and applications, it hit me, why not join Kalibrr? It was solving problems that I personally experienced and that I care about. It solved problems with finding employment. Why not work for this company? So I applied, and was hired. All in all, it took me six months to find a job.”
Bulaon concluded by again, concurring with the other speakers, telling the students that looking for a job, and later doing it consistently and successfully, is a continuous process, and failure can sometimes be expected and should be acted upon.
“Instead of fearing failure, condition yourself to respond to failure. It’s inevitable and uncomfortable, but it is when you are most uncomfortable that you’ll be able to maximize your learning because you are challenged to know what kind of person and professional you are.”
For more on CNN Philippines' Universitalk series, visit their official life page.
Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talents from all over, with 1.6 million jobseekers and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.
The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients, and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.
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