Here are 14 tips to help youths and fresh graduates make it in life and the world of work
To every fresh graduate (and student) asking “What’s Next?”, here’s the no-bullshit response.
0. Your Health. Everything you dream of is meaningless if you’re unhealthy or dead.
You’re at your peak right now, so eat well, drink moderately, and practise fitness. Your body will thank you decades from now.
1. Work. It’s time for the real grind. The world will only reward you for the effort you put in. At this stage, you’ll only be exchanging your time for money. That’s it.
If you’re like the average Ugandan university student, there’s a high chance you don’t have any skills worth employing. Your employer is going to spend a lot of time teaching and re-skilling you. Don’t take that lightly.
Work hard every day. Understand the job, understand the company, understand the industry.
Then start working smart.
2. Wake up. Dress up. Show up. Step up.
I don’t care whether it’s your own hustle, a job, a family business, etc., always show up, always step up and always push forward.
Whatever you choose to do today, do it to the best of your ability. Nothing hurts (and sucks) like the regret you’ll have many years down the road.
3. Learn. A lot of tough very life lessons are coming your way. Learn from them. Grow from them.
Learn skills aggressively. You need to build your skills to begin earning more, either through higher pay or diversified income. You have to study and practise more than you ever studied at school.
4. Toughen up. The world of work is pure chaos; there is hurt, and there is pain. There are people who will drive you insane. And the places and people that were your refuge will disappear and you’ll be on your own.
You will have amazing days, and you’ll have really, really bad days. Wade through the storm, and remember that the storm never goes away. It only becomes easier because you become stronger.
5. Be patient. True legitimate success takes time. The things you’re dreaming about now will not arrive for the next 5-10 years. But if you’re intentional about continuous growth, build your skills, and work diligently and patiently, you will be successful.
Remember, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success. The people you’re admiring now hustled longer and harder than you can imagine.
6. Master money. Learn how to save from Day One. Save 20% of EVERY SINGLE payment you get, without compromise. Learn how to live on the 80% left over and gradually increase the percentages you save.
Master this one discipline.
This is a deep personal regret for me. But let’s just say realizing how broke you are at 30 slaps different.
Save. Save. Save. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in 10 years.
7. Understand Time. It’s said that most people overestimate what we can do in 1 year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.
Pace yourself, look at the big picture, break down your goals into 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, annual, and monthly (manageable) goals and you’ll be unstoppable.
8. Focus on you. Stop comparing yourself to Celebrity X or Influencer Y. While you’re wishful thinking, they’re grinding. Some of these celebrities work harder in 1 day than you’ll wish to work in 1 month.
Focus on you, grow into yourself, let Future You become your hero.
9. Compound Interest. Learn it, understand it, master it, leverage it and you’ll discover a (slow) but extremely effective roadmap to wealth in your later years.
Also, compound interest comes with Patience (point 5) and Money Mastery (point 6). These three are inseparable.
10. There’s no quick money. Don’t chase instant wealth dreams. You know the ones I’m talking about: “There’s a ka deal here.” “If you buy X and convince five friends to buy X and they also…”
Those roads only lead to heartbreak, lost money, broken families and destroyed friendships.
Be patient, be consistent, and be intentional.
11. For the love of Batman, please learn to write well, spell well and have proper grammar.
Communicating well and professionally is a skill we take for granted, but one that impacts us more than we realize. Your writing is almost always the first interaction people will have with you, and you know what they say about first impressions.
12. Hang on to what’s important.
In all of this, don’t forget to make time for friends and family.
The older you get, the more friendships die or fade away and making new friends becomes harder each year.
Spend time with family, you will start losing them – it is inevitable – and regret is a bitch.
13. Enjoy life.
It’s not all about money or wealth. Find your purpose, be kind to others, practice empathy and above all, take the time to stop and be thankful.