Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who Moved My Cheese?

In this trying economic times, it is tough for organizatons to justify headcounts and what more to ensure that they hire juniors to ensure future continuation of their human resources. This puts young graduates this year into a very tough situation.  First and foremost, there will be very little job openings for them and more IMPORTANTLY, how do they ensure that when the job market is better, they are preferred over the future fresh graduates.  In other words, how to they make their unemployment time count towards the consideration.


In my personal experience in 2000, during the dot-com boom, where there are quite a number of graduates of 1997/1998 whose resume were no different from those who graduated in 1999/2000.  In this particular situation, they (those who graduated in 1997/1998) will actually be less likely to be hired as somehow employers will not like the fact that they were idle in the last 2 years!  So, back to the title of this posting; basically for fresh graduates, your cheese have been moved, you need to find new cheese while looking of your original cheese.  (Note: Please do read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” to get a better understanding about life! … a very important life book).

There are generally 3 options for fresh graduates who are unable to get a related job; (1) stay unemployed, (2) be an entrepreneur, and (3) take up any jobs that they can get.  This posting is not for (1).  If your intention is to do that, my very best wishes to you.

So, what can you do?  Some of us either do not have the will to be an entrepreneur, too inexperience to be an entrepreneur or sometimes lack of funds.  If we take up any job at all, say as a bank officer, after 2 years, we will be no better, if not worse, than the future graduates.  Furthermore, if we perform well, we may be stuck in the job.  That’s not a bad thing, I had an acquaintance, who started as a McDonalds crew member, and loved it and stayed to be the restaurant manager and now he is the regional manager.

However, if your intention is truly to take up a job in your preferred line of work, you can take up any temporary job (basically food other than the intended cheese) but make sure that you are prepared for your cheese.

In the ICT world, there are tons of opportunities to remain in the right field and prepare yourself, .  Some of the examples are:

(1) iPhone application development.  Not only can you keep your skills up to date and in demand, you can develop several simple and basic applications and use the iPhone store to market your program.  Imagine you go to an interview 2 years later and the interviewer has an iPhone with your application loaded … I am sure you will get the job.

(2) Blogging. Effective blogging requires an in-depth understanding of the Web 2.0 technology and usage.  If you can show your future prospective employer your success in understanding the Web 2.0 world and attract traffic to your blog, you will also show that you are still in the ICT business.

(3) Online product trading.  There are many opportunities for online trading, but you need some initial capital.  Much like trading on eBay, there are other avenues in Malaysia, such as and  These two being the most popular.  You will always find good deals and you can benefit from it.  Furthermore, you can impress your potential employers with knowledge of online scams, online payment, and maybe even set up an online store front.

(4) Gaming.  This may sound ridiculous but understanding gaming technologies, especially MMORPG types, and being able to explain how things work on the network, will definitely be a plus point to prospective employers looking for system and network administrators.

(5) Android application development. Android is a new google operating system for mobile phones and much like iPhone, there’s an online store called the Android marketplace.  Time to check it out.

(6) Open Source Development.  You can always contribute to open source development projects.  This is by far the most impressive way to ensure that employers take note of your technical skills.  You don’t really have to contribute to the programming parts, even by doing the documentation, it will be impressive enough.

There are many more ways to ensure you are ahead of future graduates, you just need to make sure that you can do it in the evenings and weekend while holding on to your day job.  Some are with monetary returns, some without.  Good luck!

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