As part of my CSR initiative, I was a speaker at the JCI’s “After School: What’s Up?” At Unesco on Friday 15th of April 2016. Below are some tips I shared with the students:
- You start studying when you finish university. There's a big gap between what you study academically and what you learn from real business practice.
- What are your options: working abroad, getting employed or starting your business: being outside Lebanon is not always a piece of cake, you have to pay the price either in more tickets to visit Lebanon, or in solitude or even in taxes. Being employed is a good option but keeps you far from achieving high ambitious goals, besides the pain of taking days off, being bossed by people you don’t like and growing at a pace which is not always in your hand. Starting your business is another option but also faced with many challenges having no peace in the country, no good infrastructure and no good system to back you up. In all cases, it’s always greener on the other side and the most important thing is to weigh your options and avoid nagging.
- Set clear goals: whether it’s a house, a car, building a family, traveling or advancement in your career, your goals will give you the motive in your journey and keep you walking in the tough times. Sometimes your goals will define which option you will take to earn your income.
- Do internships to find your passion: no matter how much you think you love a certain job, you will never make sure if it’s your career match until you go to the field and see how it works. Make sure to make different internships at different career options to see how things really work on the ground.
- Part time jobs are a great solution to fund your education: start now. Ask friends, family or neighbors about part time job opportunities where you can gain both experience and income. You will fund part of your education (if not all of it) and end your education with at least 4 years of experience.
- Work in sales! It gives you more and more income and will boost your self-confidence.
- Start your business. What are u great at? What do you do best: website, design, jewelry, baby sitting, cooking, photography, you name it…Start now, build your brand, make an income and fund your education.
- Upgrade your family business: many people think that a family business is not a good option. Actually it is one of the best choices you can ever make, provided that roles are well structured and system is well implemented. If you have this option, do not hesitate to explore how to grow it.
- Help a small business: not only you will earn money but you will also gain great experience because in a small business you deal with so many tasks and this will enrich your skills.
- Work in a business where you earn more income: tips, commissions, project based income, per unit, etc. This way the more you work, you more you get.
- Study at night and work in parallel as an option to fund your education.
- No matter how much you earn, get the habit of saving at least 20% from it. You will thank yourself later for that.
- Ask for financial aid. Whether the condition is working for university or even getting outstanding grades, the benefit is always yours.
- Get a loan if you can’t afford the tuition. You might feel a big pressure to pay it back but the benefits are: getting committed, knowing the real value of your education, working harder, maturing earlier and gaining good credit history with banks. You will need this at a later stage to buy your home, car, etc.
- Don't send CVs randomly; HR departments are overwhelmed with CVs. Your chances to enter are very hard. No company wants to add more salaries to its payroll. Instead, be smart in approaching corporates: investigate about them, check their weak points and come up with solutions to help them out. They will invest in you for that!
- I remember my first job interview where the owner kept asking me “what do you know” and I kept answering “I have studied banking and finance…” and then she would interrupt me to ask again: “WHAT DO YOU KNOW” …People care about what you know, your experience, your skills, much more than what you study. That person cared that I know how to use Excel and PowerPoint much more than my degree in finance. I still appreciate how that person made a difference in my thinking process…
- Don't rush to finish your education. Spread the cost over more years, earn money, gain experience and then decide where to specialize. Higher degrees are great if done at the right timing. They become obsolete if you don’t use them at work.
The situation in Lebanon has been always hard. Do not complain. Education is very important and you have to be flexible like water to get over the process of choosing the right career, funding your education and becoming the person you would love to be. It takes a lot of trial and error to succeed and you have to always make the right decisions, organize yourself extremely well, balance your life and be immune to negative people around you. Excuses don’t count in life, connections you make today will end up your future friends, colleagues, managers, clients or even suppliers. Any decision you make today will determine the quality of your future. Enjoy the ride and keep in mind that no one was born great but everyone can EXPAND!
Jade W. Dagher
Business & Wealth Strategist
Certified Management Consultant ©