Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Life after college : Story of an unemployed college graduate

A three- month inspiration

At the very moment of graduation, our hearts and souls were filled with pride and joy. The future seemed so bright and wonderful. So many dreams, so many hopes. Then, suddenly the monster arrived.

He has the name, and it’s Unemployment.

Right now, honestly, are you worrying about the future in which the best suited job is going to show up ? Are you expecting a touch by the finger of Fate and you’re lifted to the hill of glory, fame and wealth ?

It’s fine to dream, but better prepare to make that dream come true.

For the last 3 months, I was unemployed and saw all my dreams to be challenged by reality. I saw myself twisted with anger, fear, hope, belief and confidence at the same time. But honestly, that moment was the most miraculous one in my life, which gave me a chance to look deep inside to find out the answer for the most important question : 

What do I need money for ?

( This blog was made at that moment, so you’ll find some relevant details at “ About this blog “ )

The story started 6 months ago.

After a successfully thesis defense, I had nearly 3 months before the graduation ceremony. Well, a chance to go out and get something done, you can say. I love to do some wild trip but at that time, the idea wasn’t so cool ( now it’s cool ).

A startup company focuses on importing and exporting needed an internship , you can say it doesn’t need a chemical engineer, but here I am. After 5 months, I quitted. Why ? Because I was so naively not to ask for the salary. Yes, free for 5 months, at weekend, from 3 PM to 7 PM. No thanks for hard work, no appreciation, nothing.  Even a part time job. And I still have a school loans to pay.

Meanwhile, I got another offer to be an excipient sales assistant. The salary and working condition was good, with fresh graduate. But after one week, something emerged inside my mind, it isn’t the job I love and I couldn’t see the value in it. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do 3, 5, 10 years later, and had no idea how I could get this from this job. My colleages were successful, but something wasn’t right. They were “standing still”, they didn’t have a will to go out and travel and do something different. 

“ Do I have to sit at this table for the rest of my life ? How am I going to spend my youth ? Why do everybody keep choosing this path ? Is working the only answer, the only way for human beings ? What about life ?”. These questions keep wandering in my mind until now.

Working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 40 years , then retire with some money, too tired to go anywhere. This image sent shivers up my spine. It has no meaning.
Another reason is the beer, I frown on drinking, because of some sad memories. One of the rules there was “ grin and bear it”, yes, you can guess.  Drink with a smile. Do something you hate the most with a smile, or being reminded by the supervisor.
At that time, I read this post “10 reasons why you should never get a job” by Steve Palina, which showed the reality. It shocked me . But I’ve got to admit what he said was true, in my case.

So I decided to quit at the end of May and trust that it would be OK. Before that, a plan was carefully made to avoid paying the penalty of violating the contract. However, the money was in their hands, and my action wasn’t easy for them to take. In the end, they eventually taught me a lesson, they found out a “good” reason to cut off 40% of my money ( and I have to work for another 15 days for free ). It really pissed me off.

At that time, I was so scared about the future. What about my family ? What about the student loans ? Am I running away ? Am I a coward, an irresponsible child who just bring burden on my parents’ shouders ? These questions attacked me fiercely, day and night. I found myself crying and shaking in the middle of the night several times.

To make things better ( or worse ) , I got a scholarship for my dream course about game dev. My aim was a full scholarship which requires a lot of preparation and enthusiasm. But Life always have its own choice : a half scholarship, and I should enroll in this course no later than the beginning of September, or forget the scholarship.

Was it fantastic news ? An easy way is : Just looking for a job and get money to pay for the course.
No, I decided to take the course immediately. This decision brought chaos in my mind with thorny questions. The future seemed so gloomy. I was really scared to death. At that very moment, a special thing happened, an inspiring talk by a man who later became my mentor gave me the strength to continue.  

I found the will to face the challenge and pursuit my dream job. I’ve just had an offer to work for a young Internet game company as a game designer. However, the last 3 months changed the way I see jobs, forever.

The miraculous period

The harsh reality turned out to be the most precious chance to train. I was alone to think and observe. What parents and teachers told me, what school taught me years ago became unsufficient. When facing the real world, those ideas faded away like wispy smoke. I want to share with you my best discoveries :

Money is nothing ( but freedom )

In the time of doubt and fear, I saw myself travelling through countless mental states : anxious, fear, confident, believe, regret and brave. All the emotions came from money and the very position of it in my own world. At that time, I was willing to give a slap in the face of any dudes saying “Money is nothing”.Yes, money can’t build family happiness. Money can’t buy friendship. Money can’t bring back time. 

But it can make your wife less worried about the inflation and some thing like that. It can bring romantic dinners at exotic restaurants to strengthen your relationship. Money releases its owner from daily worries to live peacefully at full extend. 

Answer me : When was the last time you had a  true dinner, just sit there with your spouse and enjoy the meal ? When was the last time you had a good night sleep ?

We can’t mince paper money to make salad, we can’t mix coins to make cocktail. But money can bring those at our table. 

Ask yourself this question and answer honestly: What do I prefer, money-lacking or money-filling ? 

 For that moment, I realize that I don’t need money as much as I thought. It’s just the tool to unleash myself ( and my family ) from the chains of scarsity. It brings the freedom, the strength and power.

Remember, all these benefits come from using money as a tool. All tragedies in this world come from greed which turns human from masters of finance to pitiful slaves of money. There’re many books about this topic ( you can find them in the Resources part at the end of this post )

Life is limited

Another fact. There’re 2 timeless principles : 

First , you will die. 
Second, you don’t know when. 

Look at the flower, a beautiful living thing. But it can’t last long. We’re humans, the most noble races dominating this world, also living animals. There’s life, there’s death.
Your parents can’t live forever. I once hated my Dad’s snores ( it’s awful ), but when I realized that I don’t know for sure if it’s the last time I heard his snore, the feelings faded away.

Steve Jobs has the best motivating viewpoint about death. Heard his commencement at Stanford in 2005

The poverty is in your mind

How many ways to make money ? Countless. For the last month, I’ve had the following ideas:
_ Private tutor
_ Web designer
_ Make Powerpoint presentation
_ Freelancer
_ Translator
_ Publish ebooks
_ Sell phone cards
_ Website content management
_ Teach students how to make awesome presentation
_ Interpreter
_ Affiliate
_ Google Adsense

This blog was created to make income using affiliate (e.g  Amazon ) and Google Adsense ( not yet ). Of course, you can't be rich after one night. ( in fact, none of these above ideas really bring me a cent . That's why I had the next discovery ).

Again, the poverty is in your mind, and so is the wealth. It’s the most brilliant idea I’ve ever found out.

Be a chess player

You can read this post here. Be a chess player in every aspect of life means having plan for 3 moves in advance. More specific, to prepare and start early. Because in the rush, you can't have enough time to sit down and write a detail plan. Those ideas above are good, but if I had carried one of it sooner, it would have been better.

Your job is just one source of income

Look at the fact. Do you believe in a secure job in this Information Era ? No, so, having multiple incomes is absolutely better than one. The current job provides a financial support to create another source of income. Two, three, four, five...  The life becomes better and better as incomes keep increasing. No one can force you to do something you don’t like. Or in my case, no pathetic explanation to cut off 40% of my salary. Is it cool ? Yes, absolutely.

But, being in the "1 job is secure" mindset for too long could hinder you from trying to make other incomes. So, I suggest reading books and, if you can, try this 3-month-jobless period for yourself.


Enjoy what you have right now. Every breath, taste, smell, meals, friend, chance, bad luck… is a miracle, a chance to grow bigger and bigger. By appreciating every events in life, you become stronger and better. Each time you pay for something, thank God for being so generous, give yourself a pat on the back for being able to afford these things. it’s hard to do at first, but has really great effect. It’ll trigger the law of attraction to attract more happiness and wealth in your life. Believe me !

What you read is important

I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t read books. Truth be told, in the very moment of despair and pain, those books I read become a reliable source of wisdom. What I read became advices and motivation slowly changing me inside.
I read The 4-Hour Workweek for 2 days in a row because of its meaningful content ( thank you Tim for this masterpiece ).
Rich Dad Poor Dad are best friends, showing me the true characteristic of money.
Steve Jobs : A Biography inspired and gave me strength to keep on fighting.

Everything has the price

TV shows, cartoons, movies, parties with friends once are my favorites. But making money requires concentration and effort, I had to ignore them all. It really hurts.Watching my friends go to parties, enjoy their lives while I had to deny the invitation because of money lacking. I hate myself,but it also nurtures the will to become financial independence as soon as possible. So the day when I’ll be able to join them.

You can have everything, but, remember to clarify the price and pay for it.


It’s the advice from my mentor. The secret of the rich is donation. Helping people with your money is absolutely the coolest feeling in life. Even without money, you can give away experience, thoughts ( like me with this blog ), strength, time… Anything.
Giving away is an attitude

If you want to find a job, pay attention to small company

I got this job from a 30-employee-Internet company. Because it’s small, getting a job becomes more easier than corporation, the salary might be smaller, but again, it’s just a source of income. It’s up to you to create other sources of income.

Resources :

There're valuable book titles which helped me through hard time

1. Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill was a legendary author with this must-read bible for millionares and billionares.

2. The 4-Hour Workweek
This book, which always stay by my side in the time of doubt and fear, was filled with interesting, counter-culture ideas. Tim Ferriss is an really awesome guy, that's all I can tell about him.

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom
Rich Dad's Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in, That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not!
The first three books from Rich Dad Poor Dad Series which consist of 13 titles, give you the most fundamental concepts about money, cashflow...Read, think and observe, gradually a whole new world will open before your eyes. You can apply what you read by playing these games :( Cashflow 101 must be installed prior to play Cashflow 202 )

4. Steve Jobs: A Biography
A remarkable man with remarkable philosophy.

5. Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success
One of the most inpirational book I've ever read. The author lists all 7 lies which are so popular that we all forgot their existences. A great stuff.

You may want to read all of these books using this one :
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