I was watching cable TV just now. The Taiwanese cable TV channels are always entertaining, and most of all, enlightening. The program was on the issue of career challenges, especially in the case of unemployment.

(1) One of the guests on the TV show was a former gas delivery person who lost his home and everything else in a natural disaster. Did he become desolate and simply give up? No! He is now a hardworking local tour guide after going through re-training, and earns a decent salary and gets commission during peak tour seasons working overtime.

(2) Another guest on the show was a mum with a visually challenged son. A bunch of parents with visually challenged kids got together, form a self-help group, and today has a thriving online business selling piano tuning services to schools and other entities. And the mums are the salespersons, empowering themselves with a new career while looking after the interests of their kids.

(3) A guest on the show commented that many young people have unreal pay expectations these days, and said that some young graduates are even asking for NT100,000 per month for their first job (around SG$4,300)! Of course, they remain jobless. The typical pay for a fresh grad is probably around NT30,000 per month (around SG$1,300).

(4) And another guest mentioned that every person, especially those in their 30s and above, have to keep learning, because continuous learning is the ONLY way to justify any pay increase, or to get a job even during economic depression. One example quoted by the guest on the TV show was a person who worked very hard on the job, and on the side, earned 8 vocational certificates. This hardworking person eventually earned a home and went to Japan for further studies.

There is no stopping in life. You keep moving. You pace yourself, so that you don’t burn out. But you do not stop and rest, because it is a marathon that lasts as long as you are alive.

My grandfather, whom I admire a great deal, was a former lieutenant general who later became a professor of economics. He kept working, teaching, writing, and publishing his works, even when he reached his 90s. He is 97 this year. My dad, in his 70s, kept learning as well. He can use the Mac and even do data entry in Chinese, plus a lot of other things he learned, and still keeps learning everyday.

There are some people who complain needlessly and endlessly about the lack of jobs or opportunities.

However, the reality is that life is full of opportunities. It just depends on what you are looking for, where you are looking, how you brace yourself to fit into the myriad number of opportunities, and how you fight your path forward to get those opportunities through determination and hard work. There is no short cut in life, and certainly no short cut to success. You got to earn it.

Copyright(c) 2011 Seamus Phan. All rights reserved.