3 great things that could jump start your future!
Young people ask me for advice all of the time and I just love helping them. I am Andy Matthews and am 50 years old and have worked in the hemophilia field for about 25 years, and I also live with hemophilia. I would like to share a few things that may help you through three different stages in life: high school, being in college and graduating from college and trying to get that first job.
I graduated from college in 1989 and have worked in the Hemophilia business for years. Yes, that makes me old, and it also means that I have a gained a bit of wisdom about living with hemophilia! I always love learning about new things because it keeps you sharp and ready for any turn life has to throw at you. I hope you find some of these things helpful; some are things I have done and some are things I wish I had done.
High School – If you are still in high school, start planning on going to college or some type of a trade-school that will lead you to a great career. Another thing young people, learn Spanish. I live in Texas and will tell you that has been the biggest mistake I have ever made is not learning Spanish. That in itself will make you so much more marketable the rest of your life. I still like the college route because it usually gives you more options, but either way, don’t listen to people that tell you that you can’t do it. I am living proof that anyone who sets their mind to it, can graduate from college. School was always very hard for me but with a lot of hard work studying, I made it and you can too. I did not get the best grades, but I did graduate and then I went to college and finally got a degree in marketing. I set out to go into sales and have always done well in it and worked in the hemophilia business. I did not really even consider it selling because I sold a service I believed in and I loved helping people. In hind sight, I think I should have majored in nursing and minored in marketing or accounting, but I made it through and got a great job, so that is what matters.
There are so many hemophilia related scholarships available and it is much easier for people today since they did not have that when I was in college back in the 80’s. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Stay determined and go to college right after high school and do not wait. If you wait, chances are you will not go or finish. When you have hemophilia life will be so much easier if you get some type of a degree that will allow you to get a career where you do not have to use your body all of the time. I love working with my hands and do it a lot, with my ankle as a target joint, I could never do it full time today. Also, I think it is good to listen to a lot of people with experience and learn from them. Listen to motivational tapes and that is what really changed my direction when I was young and starting to really believe in myself.
College – While you are in college, treat your studies like a job. That was hard when I started because I had been working so much from age 14 years old to 18, that not having a job was hard. I finally realized that college was my job and as I treated it like that, I did much better. I had to study a lot harder than most people but I made it by the skin of my teeth. I graduated with exactly a C average, but that is all you need! Nobody ever asked my GPA later in life, but only cared that I have a degree.
What you major in is also so important. So many young people major in these obscure majors and then it can be very hard to get a job. Ask people everywhere about the major you are picking and what the market is. If you do pick a very vague major, you better be really committed to that area and be the best in your class. I know two brothers that majored in film (See our last newsletter) and that is sometimes an area that is hard to just make a career out of but they were very committed and today are doing very well.
Remember, most people are lazy and if you just work harder than them, you will be leaps ahead of the pack. Get to know your professors; they always like to see kids with a lot of passion and drive and will help you a lot more than ones that do not have passion. Towards the end, start acting like you are in the work force and use good common sense about the things you do. Do not post things on social media for example that you would not want a potential employer to see, it may come back to haunt you later. Also, if you can, try to get some things published on the web like article or something you have written, that way when someone Googles your name, it might come up. Having something published could always help you as you look for a job.
Post-graduation….I am kind of a weird duck because for some reason ever since I was a kid I was concerned about what I was going to do to make a living. Since I could not play sports, I grew up loving biking and I got a job working at a local bicycle shop at age 14 and worked full time all through the summers and holidays and really started loving working. I learned a lot of valuable life skills just by working. When you are looking for a job, or should I say career, learn your field. If you have a business degree for instance, then immerse yourself in business things or maybe even try to find an internship. I am amazed that so many young people I meet try to get a job in business but don’t listen to any business news channels, read business magazines or even stay up with current events through the news, internet or social media.
When you go to a job interview, if you show that you are very well versed in what is going on in general in the business world, you will be leaps ahead of the pack. Say for example you have a business degree, and you like cars, then learn everything you can about the car industry and get a job selling cars or something in that field. If you devote yourself enough to that area, you will find a job in it. They say that to be an expert in something you only have to read a couple of books on it (or today, do some research on the internet).
Many young people don’t quite know what they want to do when they get out of college and that is OK, but you should try to learn about the business you want to go into or when you go on an interview, it will show. Interviewers can read that. However, if you go on an interview and say, “I don’t have much experience in selling logging equipment (for example), but I really love it and have a huge passion for it, that will help you.
If you don’t have a job yet, stay busy all the time doing any and everything to get a job in your field. Some other tips are:
- Show up and show up on time! Many people have a hard time getting someone to just show up, so if you are reliable, that is a great thing today. Show your boss you care.
- Dress sharp and always look your best.
Have a great attitude and greet people with a firm hand shake and a huge smile on your face. People want to hire happy and friendly people.
- How do you walk? Walk fast and act like you’re going somewhere and even if you don’t know where you are going, you will look important.
- However you want to do it, improve your public speaking skills. Being a great speaker and being able to speak at the drop of the hat will help you so much I promise! People at the top of their field will always be required to do some type of public speaking.
Read & Listen to motivation tapes/podcasts. It is often said that the really successful people read a lot and that is one of the things that sets them apart from the pack. There is so much good stuff just on the internet and you should be filling your mind with info that can help you all the time. I remember when I was in my twenties, I listened to motivation info all the time and when I got old I quit and it really does make a difference to keep your sharp. Now it is pod casts and lots of good ones out there.
I hope just some of these things help you in your future plans. I want the best for you. Remember if you want to be great, you have to start reading about great people and being around great people. Good luck and you can be great if you set your mind to it I promise! Remember that, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determine your altitude in life!” (Zig Ziglar)