Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Take charge of your own life Take charge of your own life

Some said this mantra originated from Steve Jobs, yes the Apple’s. In one of his keynote address to Stanford graduates graduation ceremony in 2005, he reminded the audience about the importance of being ‘hungry and foolish’ as his key success. That was basically it.

What’s more is, I fully subscribed to that mantra and agree unilaterally. Let’s not talk about entrepreneurship although it is a subject that I love to talk and write hence we are not talking about setting up your own business. It is good if you already have a sustaining one or planning to set one. I would like to address the young working class, just like you and me. People that rely on jobs; have bosses, supervisors, customers, colleagues and face daily job challenges.

You know it is very easy to get distracted at work. Sometimes the job that you are currently doing is something you hate the most. That’s why we invented hobbies. Or it may not be the job you thought you wouldn’t do 10 years ago before you join this working class. I have friends who come to me and said, “I don’t know why every time I get a job, it’s always with similar if not the same problems”. Do you feel the same? Let me tell you one thing, even if you are in heaven right now you are likely to complaint. So, it’s normal to be a little bit analytical and critical of own job and its challenges.

Reality of Jobs

Recent surveys in America and Europe about jobs are driving into the same conclusion. The young working class nowadays do not have enough competencies to perform or take over senior people jobs. That’s what the seniors are saying. You can read this post and find out more on this ‘perceptual difference’ between the young executives and seniors. Nonetheless, what I have always believe is that many of today’s jobs are ‘new job’. These jobs are not around 20-30 years ago during the time the seniors climbing their corporate ladder. Therefore the idea of new skills needed to perform today’s job seem foreign to many of them and us. But let’s not discuss too much now, check out some of these facts derived from that survey.

1. A growing number of people are remaining healthy and active well past the traditional retirement age ad want to carry on working, whether for the money or for the fun of it. That create problems for younger workers.

  1. Workers will have to take responsibility for their own future. The pleasure of the having traditional working role were the certainty of a parent-child relationship. You could leave it in the hands of the corporation to make the big decisions about your working life. Now the world is moving towards adult-adult relationship which will require each one of us to take a more thoughtful, determined and energetic approach to exercising the choices available to us.

  2. In some countries, unemployed youth will be given allowances as long as 40 weeks (incentives) for them to cover basic needs which otherwise if not provided can cause social problems such as criminals.

  3. Getting the innovation engine going again is essential to reducing structural rate of unemployment.

  4. The mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and those available in the market is a reflection both of bad choices by students, who have not thought hard enough about what will help them find a good job and of education systems that are too often indifferent of needs of the labour market and too slow to change even if they try.

Yes, I cover a little bit of here and there from more than 10 pages report. What did you get from here?

You Are On You Own

Basically to survive, young executive needs to take charge of his own life. This is not what they use of doing. Having pampered by their nurturing parents, many of them clueless when asked to become agile, resilient, creative, imaginative and working in a team. Although not all of them, but too many of them. It is common today to generalize the young ones to be ‘like that’.

Some of them are very lucky because they have parents who have access to more things thus their outlook are different. Of course not all of them successfully rearing their children, some actually spoiling them because of less time spent at home to look after their boys and girls. Therefore my advise to young executives that they need to start looking for knowledge that they passion about. Something they would want to do for free because it will then become their latent skills.

Say you are in large corporation, you should always raise your hand and push your superiors to give you more jobs and tasks you can develop stronger willpower, depth of skills and be a team player. Because many young executives resist extra jobs, just by doing a little bit more you can become ‘hero’ by your boss. Ask for training and continuous education. Another trick is to learn how to connect yourself with the seniors. These people have strong knowledge and wealth of experiences that take years to accumulate. Tap on this young man!

Get ready to dive into sea of opportunities
Get ready to dive into sea of opportunities

Seek The Experience

I told more people lately, they need to be explorative and be a seeker. You got to chase that experience and make the best out of it. Experience will not come to you, sorry. You need to immerse yourself into it then only you get to see that world. Although many NGOs and associations today are fighting for greater activities, incentives and policies by the government to change education system, introduce entrepreneurs program, provide micro-financing and pass small business laws, you can always do something about it by yourself while waiting.

It is common today to see young executive job hop from one place to the other. Although many of y bosses disagree with this, I think it is not the job hopping causes trouble it’s more the why job hop. If you do it because you want to gain new experience, learn new skills and beef up your network. You are just as hungry for greater things; and joy. Nonetheless, bosses are right too because too many young executives job hop because they don’t like the job, want more pay and benefits and worse unable to perform as expected. They have escapism mentality and run away from responsibilities.

One of the things I tested is to go to another job that will force me to learn critical skills in business. Skills such as project management, sales, strategy formulation and relationship building. What I did was I seek a project manager and consulting job. In 3 years I learn a lot about this trade and accumulated solid experiences in the areas I wanted. But mind you, it is also important for you to identify what are skills needed for you to be where you want to be.

These are the three skills needed for all young executives; selling skill, relationship building skill, and managing skill.


Don’t worry if your boss, parent or colleagues try to talk you out when you want to move to other job.  You must stick to your higher plan and accept the fact these people or employers are your vehicle to get to where you want to be. Even if you make mistake, it has nothing to do with them because they told you so! 🙂

What’s more important is to keep the relationship fresh. I don’t believe in winners take all mentality, and bipolar mindset. Maybe you have experienced working with some narcissistic bosses, be nice to them and just walk out with dignity if you plan to leave the company. Remember to always give your best wherever you are. Give more and share more, you don’t lose anything. You are actually building social capital and goodwill. You are going to need to use it someday.

To drive home the conclusion, it is all about you if you want to be successful or at least survive in working class. Sometimes it pays to keep your jobs long, but in today’s economy the job may not want to keep you that long. Always be alert and able to pick up new skills. Invest in yourself including your intellect. One of my friends say that it is who know, not what you know. I disagree. Knowing what you know make you a leader and always one step ahead; but please don’t be ignorant. It pays to be a little selfish as Charles Handy used in his book, ‘The Hungry Spirit’; proper selfishness.

Stay hungry, stay foolish. 

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