Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Mindset versus job links

Published:Wednesday | January 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Job search

QUESTION: I am a UWI graduate faced with the dilemma of prolonged unemployment after being laid off. This country promises young people a better life if they work hard and get an education, yet only certain people seem to get the benefits. Coming from a poor background, I don't have links. It's been three and half years and I'm still sending applications with no replies. What am I and others like me to do?

- S.A.

SMITH: Let me congratulate you on successfully completing your university studies. I'm sorry to hear about your being laid off. I imagine it's been quite challenging for you, financially, these last three and a half years. That's a long time. It's no wonder you're feeling helpless at this stage, wondering what next to do.

To answer your question, there are, in fact, several things you can do, all of which this brief article can't address. However, the most important is to correct your mindset. Your email reveals some wrong ideas, erroneous beliefs and faulty thinking, which may be limiting your progress. Now, let me hasten to say, you're not to be blamed.

Almost all of us grew up believing that hard work was the key to success. We also learned from very early that education was our only way out of poverty. We were taught the mantra: Go to school, work hard and get good grades, and a job is out there waiting for you.

Eventually, along the path, we also made another big discovery: if you want to get ahead, you must have links. Every one of those four beliefs are deeply embedded in the psyche of most university students and graduates. They constitute a common mindset.

However, from personal experience, real-world observation and extensive study, all of these ideas are half-truths, at best.

Anyone who believes these half-truths can be likened to a man dying of thirst in the desert. In his desperation, he gulps down a bottle of sea water. Sure, it's true that water quenches thirst, but only insofar as it's fresh water. Drinking salted sea water will actually make matters worse.

Similarly, getting a university degree is important, and in many cases, necessary, but is rarely sufficient to land you a good job. That explains why so many highly qualified persons are unemployed.

Also, it's a fallacy that the government or country owes you a job or better life after graduation. It's up to you to courageously, strategically and resolutely sell yourself in the competitive job market.

And, most crucially, it's dangerous to depend on links to help you get ahead in your career and life.

As adults, we have to know it's up to us to make our way. No one owes us anything. If we require others' help - and we all do - then it's up to us to provide compelling motivation for them to support us. We're not entitled to anyone's help.

I encourage you to revise your thinking in these areas. With an upgraded mindset, you may find you're more effective in finding or creating a job - with or without links.

n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. Email