After many years at University I thought was armed with everything I needed to conquer the working world: vast knowledge of the history of the media industry, an understanding of media jargon and the ability to successfully regurgitate information I had read in my textbooks.
While all that got me to the podium, it didn't prepare me for life. Here are a few things I wish I had known before I tossed my hat to the sky and foolishly joined the rat race.
Network, Network, Network
You know that old saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know?" We'll it's true. After graduation, while I hustled to find my first job, I saw a few of my fellow classmates drift into fairly well-paying jobs.
I learned it doesn't matter how you get your foot in the door, it only matters what you do with the opportunity when it happens. Make sure you obtain good connections, speak to people and take business cards because you never know when you'll need a leg up.
Life is a Game of Chess
Life is not always fair. You may not always receive praise for your work, you may be sidelined and you may deal with difficult colleagues or bosses. You can get upset or you can learn to play the game. Never make a move when you are overly excited or very angry; weigh your options and when the time is right, make your move. Whether you like it or not you are in the game and as the Dali Lama said, "Know the rules so you can break them effectively."
Cash is King
There are some things that you will need a credit card for: fancy furniture, a new car or your dream house. When it comes to the little things such as clothes and spa treatments, if you want to avoid the cycle of endless repayments, use cash. There will always be luxuries that you "just have to have" or will "change your life" just tell yourself if you don't have the cash you'll have to get it another time.
Mediation & Zen
When your life comprises of 6 a.m. mornings, traffic, work, meetings and home life, it's easy to get stuck in a rut. Make sure that in your downtime, at home, you are not stressing about the work you still need to finish and people you need to contact. It's important to take time for yourself and find peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the corporate world.
Run Your Own Race
There will come a time when you look around and it will seem as if everyone's life is moving forward beside yours. Don't lose heart, just push on. Don't become distracted with what everyone else is doing, stay focused on your own goals, stick to your lane and the rest will sort itself out. In times of doubt remember the words of John Mason: "You were born an original. Don't die a copy."