Get to know more adults

This is a great commentary by Jonathan Sim about how youths should build relationships with working adults to gain confidence about the working world.


“When students come to me seeking career advice, I would suggest they explore professions that align best with their abilities and interests. Yet, a significant number of them would express reluctance to explore these roles.

As I explored this issue further with them, it was apparent that those struggling to envision themselves in professional roles often lack meaningful interactions with adults who can share their experiences.

This creates knowledge gaps about various professions and fosters unrealistic expectations about the qualifications and personal traits needed for these careers.

I started “real-world work” in 1998 when I was a Year 2 undergrad at Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (where I currently teach). I was bonded to Singapore Press Holdings as a scholar and had to serve mandatory internships. I loved the journalism life so much I ended up doing 18 months of internship over the next three years.

Looking back, those internships allowed me to befriend many newsroom people – journalists, photographers, artists, editors, operations folks – as well as newsmakers. Over long chats, the photographers told me their inside stories and encouraged me to walk my own path. I learned how to interview anyone by tagging along with the crime reporters. My artistic mind opened like a flower just observing how the graphic designers worked.

I am so grateful to all these adults who cared for me and some told me that they did not want me to commit the same mistakes as them.

On the flip side, there were a few adults who were unkind and gave me a hard time. That was also good, as they taught me who I did NOT want to become.

To all the young people out there, explore internships or part-time jobs to experience new things, and make friends with capable and skilled adults. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents, teachers or relatives for career advice. Even if you don’t agree with what they say, at least they cared enough to share what they know.

And one lifepro tip: If you want to approach someone on LinkedIn for advice, ask if you can buy the person coffee. Advice may be free, but many young people don’t realize they ought to pay the bill if they invite someone for a chat. (But how would you know this etiquette unless an adult told you?)

Original post on LinkedIn.