Wow 7 Years Already Since Undergrad

This past Wednesday, I paid a visit to my alma mater (UIC) to be among the panelists to share my post-college experiences of working in the corporate world. It was part of an “All Campus Worship” event that was being hosted by a number of student Christian organizations on campus and since I was heavily involved with Asian American InterVarsity all throughout my undergrad years and as such, there was absolutely no way I could not accept invitation to take part in this event. My fiancée also took part in this event as a fellow panelist which was pretty neat.

Well, I am really glad I took part in this. The panel discussion was inside of a small room with about 8 students and 4 panelists and all of the students were studying something either in the business or engineering field. Very small, very intimate, and in the short 45 minutes that we had, I, along with the other panelists, were able to talk about a lot with these students who were eager to learn from our experiences.

As the panel discussion was taking place, I could not help but to reflect on my own 7 years of being out of school and working in corporate America. Well, these are/were my thoughts, some of which I shared with the students and some of which I did not choose to share. These are in no particular order, by the way.

  1. It’s so very important to carefully pick your career choice. You don’t have to get it 100% right the first time and yes, it’s true that people make drastic career changes all the time and many people are very successful in doing so. With that said, however, don’t just flippantly pick your career choice without doing some serious thinking about it. Do you like the field you want to go into? Are you good at it (or at the very least, possess some relevant talents and skills)? Can you picture yourself enjoying your work? Money is important (more on that later), but don’t let it be your primary motivation. Some people say that money will follow when you put your heart into your passion, even if it means you go into a field where good money is hard to come by (i.e. creative arts)–which I don’t completely agree with. The truth is, there are career fields where it’s very easy to make a lot of money and there are career fields where making good money is extremely hard. Regardless, choose a career field that will actually fulfill you. Thankfully I’ve never had to experience this first hand, but I’ve heard and read over & over again your life becomes something very sad when you spent 40, 50, 60, 70 hours per week doing something you do not enjoy doing.

  2. As a Christian, I (you – if you are a Christian) am called to be a Christian in the workplace as well. And from having been in the working world since the age of 16, it is quite difficult to be an effective Christian in the workplace. There have been countless number of times when I became uneasy sharing anything that has to do with my spiritual life with my coworkers. Many, many people in the world (including those in corporate America) have extremely unfavorable opinions concerning Christians/Church/religion and many people (again, including those in corporate America) will have absolutely no problem voicing their distaste/distrust/disgust with their perception of Christianity. There have been so many times when I’ve felt uncomfortable dipping my head for 10 seconds to pray for my meal during lunch with coworkers. There have been so many times when I’ve felt uneasy sharing my church-filled weekend plans with my coworkers. There have been times when I’ve gotten nervous sharing details of my relationship with Christ with my coworkers. They still happen and they probably will for a long time to come. The desire to fit in with the crowd doesn’t simply fade away after your adolescent years–I still have that desire. But I have to fight against it. Actually, I am (you are – if you are a Christian) called by Jesus to fight against that desire and boldly proclaim Christ.

  3. Money is important and developing good money habits when you’re in college is crucial. This is something I wish I knew when I was in college. I wish people around me told me I should start saving aggressively even when I’m in college. I wish people told me I would never run out of things to spend my money on–car, house, utilities, church, charitable organizations, missions, dining out, groceries, engagement ring, wedding, retirement, and the list goes on and on and on. Actually, people around me probably did tell me all this stuff but I just never paid attention. Thankfully, I’ve learned some really good money habits in these last few years, but again, at least when it comes to money, it’s better to earn your lessons earlier than later. Having poor money habits will cost you–not only financially but it will affect your relationships (the #1 cause of divorce is money, I believe), your health (I just read last night in a book that your FICO score can impact your insurance premiums), your spiritual life (when you have no money and are in ridiculous amounts of debt, you’ll have no money to give to church/missions/those in need and this will most likely affect your relationship with Jesus), and your career (prospective employers have a habit of checking up on your credit). Jesus talked about money A WHOLE LOT over the course of his ministry. On a sort-of-a-tangential-yet-somewhat-related side note, did you know that The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 now shows up as The Parable of the Bags of Gold in the latest edition of the NIV Bible?

  4. It’s important to set yourself apart from the rest of your peers in college. It is only getting more and more difficult to find jobs and the level of competition has nowhere to go but up. The stock market was in a cheery mood yesterday because the U.S. Unemployment Rate fell to 8.8 %, the lowest since March of 2009. And while it’s true that the unemployment rate has been falling and many think that the unemployment rate will fall to somewhere around 6% in a few years, I still think that it’ll only get harder to make a living for those of us who are living in the States. The talent pool seems to be exploding across various places in the world and they are competing for jobs even here in the US. And while the talent pool as well as the quality of education is improving in various parts of the world, it appears that here in the US, it’s only getting harder to get quality education. With all the government spending cuts that are/will be taking place, cost of education will only go up, and I think that the cost of college education here in the States is absolutely r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s. And it seems pretty logical to me that less education will lead to less talent, which will lead to difficult times finding jobs. Anyhow, going back to my point, set yourself apart. Take internships, read books that relate to your career field of choice, develop your skillset on your own and don’t simply rely on your coursework to get you to where you want to be.

Phew, that was a lot. That’s about all I have to share for now.

2021

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2019

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2018

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2017

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2016

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2015

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2014

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2013

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2012

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2011

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2010

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