I remember Citra told me—well basically all English major—to get my shit done, graduate, and not to be worried about getting a job in the future.  You know what, she’s right.

Like millions of English graduates on Earth, we’ve been generally overlooked, undermined, underestimated, and the list goes on and on. Looking back five years ago, I did exactly what Citra suggests us to do in her piece, and it worked.

I, then, somehow managed to reach the stage of learning one or two from this endless bittersweet professional life I’m currently living in.

  1. It’s called “Dream” for a reason

To fail of getting/having/achieving something (or someone, in some cases) is okay. Every person in this world has experienced failure and, surprisingly, that’s normal. Since junior high student I’ve been dreaming on working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. I failed the test miserably. Well, it’s called “Dream” for a reason. But life goes on, right? I left the crumbling world, moved on, and came back stronger by tirelessly, persistently, and patiently looked (created?) for other opportunities in a hopeful manner. I got it, eventually, and you’ll get it too.

  1. Embrace criticism

Actually, crave for it. Embracing criticism from work mates, friends and family has essentially sharpening my listening skills. To me, criticisms also open new horizons, communications, make me even more realize that we’re all perfectly imperfect—but able to get better—and motivate to grow as a person and professional. To quote American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

  1. If it feels right, stick with it

When you help students with their problems, draft an article, cold-calling potential clients, organize an event, meet vendors and government officials, analyze problems, and produce a video or whatever, if that feels right then stick with it. In my case, I feel it’s so right when I learn about politics, media, public affairs, fashion, and communications. When I’m allowed to share my knowledge with others in need that even makes it feel more right to me. I stick with it and aim to be good at it. This process really gives me sense of purpose in life. Find your niche, feel it, stick with it, and be good at it.

  1. Develop the skill of saying “No”

Saying “No” isn’t a skill one can easily master, especially if you’re a “people-pleaser” type of person. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to up for something and say “Yes!” to potential opportunities that come. Sometimes, however, we need the ability to know how and when to say “No”. Mr Steve Jobs said in Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

  1. Do small things, expect big impacts

Oftentimes, I think that my works are just irrelevant minuscule fragments. But, then I take a deeper look and reflect on that thought. I came into a conclusion that those might be small things, but they help build a structure of great things such as report, executive’s knowledge, fact sheet, and or brief note. The impact is, to certain degree, substantially massive to relevant people. In the end of the day, I believe that every tiny positive (and negative) thing we do in a company or environment we’re living in has an impact, and always expect a significant one by doing the job the best I can.

  1. Network with people

Networking both offline and online is paramount. This concept has never been taught to me in my school years. Opportunities that are created through networking have been unbelievably enormous. Meeting people from both same and different professional backgrounds, being open, sincere, enthusiastic in communicating with them can really open many doors, lead to new cooperation, and potential project.

What have you learned so far? Care to share?

Meizar Assiry is a Media Analyst at Indonesian Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Consulting firm, Kiroyan Partners. His personal blog is Meizarology. Contact Meizar via Email, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, and LinkedIn.