I have had my share of red marks on my course cards during college. That’s because I hated going by the book and being constrained by the system. I wanted to think “out-of-the-box’”and this resulted in the unsatisfactory responses from my colleagues and professors. On the other hand, people at school knw me as someone who wasn’t afraid to take responsibility. I was active in group projects and explored different solutions. I loved to read a variety of books from the fiction to business oriented ones. Because of my love for learning, I absorbed other knowledge aside from my field of study.
Just before graduation, I was contacted by a headhunter from a multinational semi-conductor company for an interview for an engineering position. The interviewers asked practical questions regarding everyday situations such as “What would you do if…” and my creativity in answering the questions satisfied and impressed the panel. The next day, they offered me the job even though I was still a month from finishing my last term in school. I accepted and found the work challenging and the pay good, even though it was an entry-level position.
I’m aware that there are still companies that give weight to academic performance in selecting candidates for a position. But there are companies that give value to attitude, not aptitude, which levels the playing field for graduates who do not have excellent academic credentials. I want to encourage students and graduates who are overshadowed by dean’s listers, cum laudes, and honorable mentions, to enhance their creativity and passion for work. Failing grades need not be a handicap in jobhunting. My experience shows that creative thinking can get you the job.
I am sure that the story of this reader will inspire graduates who are at a loss on how to get a good start in the work world. But hey, this should not serve as an excuse for students not to study hard while at school.
This reader’s experience also shows the disparity between what is learned in school and what is required in the workplace. I have hired many new graduates and honestly, without downgrading their capabilities, it really takes at least six months before they learn the corporate ropes and get fully integrated into the workplace. The managers and supervisors have to exercise a lot of patience to train the new hires in the ways of the work world. If the new hire has a good attitude, then this makes the task so much easier. If not, trying to get them to unlearn bad habits and attitudes can make the training period quite a difficult time for both the boss and the new hire. In this situation, the creativity and resourcefulness of the new employee make a difference in his/her career success. I think early on, educational institutions should encourage students—and teachers—to continuously think out of the box. It is only through innovative ideas that we can all get out of the quagmire of economic woes—on the individual, company and national level—that we are facing today.
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