Saturday, 11 August 2012

Should you go to University?

Stevie PUA gave me a tip about using examples to illustrate my themes that I talk about... so I'm giving that a try :).

As you're already aware, a lot of people are conditioned by society to do things that fit in with the crowd. These things may be good for 'society at large' (or at least politicians and the police etc may think so!) but are they good for you?

University season is starting again soon, and maybe some of my readers are thinking about whether to go or not. Have to be honest, apart from one brief moment of doubt, I never thought about whether I would go or not, I always assumed I would. That's what my parents and the education system had told me what's best for me.

In the UK, a lot of smart young people are conditioned to think like this. They are told that "going to university is the (only?) way to get a high paying job". There is the groupthink to an extent that because LOTS of people are going to university, you should as well! My sixth form college was great, best education I've had, but I remember one time when we were sitting in a tutorial and the teacher was asking us what we were going to do next year. Practically everyone there said they were going to uni (in fairness there might have been a couple of people who 'bunked off' who might not have wanted to go!) but there was one person who didn't. Suddenly, the happy atmosphere was gone and the person was subjected to intense questioning about WHY he didn't want to go uni. After the questioning he was told it would be the best thing for him.

Anyway, I'm aware the tone of this post may be slightly 'anti uni'... so I'll try and balance it out, or at least give you some info that might be useful for you if you do decide you want to go! A lot of people believe that going to uni will get them a higher paid job... will it? All depends... a lot of figures showing graduates earning more through their life time are based on past events... the fewer people who have degrees, the more valuable they are, and more and more people are getting them now.

If you do decide to go to uni make sure you research it extensively first. Check out all the modules and the people who will be teaching those modules. Check out the whole uni by visiting it (probably on an Open Day), talk to the students there... (I was a student ambassador for over two years in uni)... but also if you want to be smart, go on a regular day too, and ask regular students about it. You could even 'crash a lecture' for free!

Another key point to consider... going to uni could well be three years of lost earnings for you. Quite shameful to say this, but I was partly in the mindset that you couldn't get a decent full time job until you'd finished uni! You can! There have been people doing the same job I've been doing just recently straight out of school. If you are at uni or want to go, I'd recommend you doing a job at the same time. I did, you'll have plenty of time to do so, and you'll learn at least as much from that as you do from the course.

Remember to be aware of all the costs in going to uni too... you have to decide for yourself whether they are worth the investment.

Quick key point before I blast out... remember that the people you meet at uni and the relationships you develop are VITAL. (This is a plus point for going to uni tbh.) If you're a money thinking kind of person, they're worth money. If you're a social kind of person, you won't even need to be told this and you'll like meeting new people anyway ;).

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Knowing Your Value

It's really important to know your value. Previously I've been guilty of not knowing in regards to work... when I first came out of uni I thought ANY full time job would be good... as I'd never had one before. Most people sell themselves short.

Take a look around in your workplace. Are you smarter than most of the people there, or are they smarter than you? If you're young and looking to learn then it's a good thing if most of the people there are smarter than you, or at least have skills or attributes that you'd like to learn. If you're young and this isn't true (there should be at least a COUPLE of people you feel you could learn valuable skills from) then you're probably in the wrong job.

Another important question to ask yourself is... am I mainly in this job to learn or earn? If you're an inexperienced salesman, for example, learning should be around about as important to earning to you. Think of sales skills you learn as having a monetary value and that will inspire you to learn more.

But if you're an experienced salesman, do you really need to learn the same things over and over again? No. You should be looking to push your comfort zone and learn new things. Good news- in MOST sales jobs, there will practically always something new you can learn about the product knowledge, either that of your own product or of your competitors. Use your work mates as a resource too- if you're in good worksplace there will be much you can learn from them.

Say you're working online... your fellow employees can be anyone you know from forums or who you have on msn. There's a massive amount you can learn!