On Thursday I did a talk on an Australian Computer Society event called Young IT at the Pub.
I hang out with a bunch of young graduates, who, exactly like how I was 5 years ago, are all struggling to secure a job and obtain the Australian permanent residency. When I was in that situation, I knew what went through my mind but I never knew what my friends were thinking, how they cope with the challenge and so on. Coming and meeting all these young graduates and students from various university, I gained tremendous insight into the sort of challenges that many international students are facing today.
What surprises me (or didn’t surprise me, actually) – was how many people actually lacks the confidence to simply be themselves. When they failed to get an interview or failed to get the job, their insecure self takes control very quickly. Is it because I’m a girl? Is it because I’m asian/indian/<insert_race_here>? It is funny how that works because in my 5 years of working outside the university, all of the biggest opportunity, the biggest help and support I have received career-wise came from my Australian friends. And it’s sad because I know this is very commonplace, I was like that too once.
Very rarely do we ask ourself: If I want a job as a Business Analyst / Software Engineer, how far am I from being a worldclass Business Analyst / Software Engineer? What does it mean to be a wordclass Business Analyst / Software Engineer?
Also, like how I was 5 years ago, many have a lot of preconceived idea about certain things, and they are so convinced that it is the truth even before they see the situation. For example, I speak to 4 young graduates who wishes to get a job as a Business Analyst. I asked them, what makes a good Business Analyst, what is the role of an analyst, and why do we need a good Business Analyst in a team? all 4 of them, coming from the same university gave me exactly the *same* answer. The claim is: developers are no good at communicating with clients, so they can be the medium. This is true on the surface and with a lot of rookie developers, but all experienced developers will overcome this shortcomings sooner or later.
What about those developers who worked freelancing job and liaise directly with client in their free time? What about all the open source developers, who have to face the whole open source community, getting bugs, requirements, suggestions and so on? If Business Analyst is all about communication – how come it’s not called Business Communicator? It is sad how our education system never teaches us to think outside the box. We are simply constrained by the horizon that we paint ourselves. Can we perceive beyond the skin and see the essence of what we want to achieve?
I did my best to tell them that anything is possible in this life. Focus on growing your skill and character, and everything will fall in its place – it’s that simple. It’s common sense, right? Great people with great skill attracts great opportunity. Even kids knew this – and yes, we knew this once, but we just forgot about it, or chose not to believe in it anymore.
Yet common sense, like they say, are not common after all. We are constantly fighting our fears, our anxiety, our suspicion, our dilemmas. Breaking through this is the key to making the change. Perhaps the message I can share is this: That so far, all of the biggest challenges I face in life and career are not won by strategizing. They are won by making that switch within. This revolution in our heart. When that is done, the wave of change will flow through, and things turns for the better almost immediately. Help will come in the most unexpected ways, because I have stopped putting expectation on anything and everything I do, and all I can do is to just be a better me, to manifest that worldclass from within myself, and that worked great so far.
So for all of you who are struggling to find a job, all of you who are struggling to obtain your permanent residency, all of you who are struggling in your career and seeking fulfillment in what you do – I wish you all the best. I sincerely hope you can find all the pieces of the puzzle soon enough. It is not mission impossible.