So one year after my “AIESEC graduation” I’m starting a new exciting journey in a social enterprise which is on its path to become the next Alibaba. A chance to make money by doing good, having real positive impact on unprivileged communities – isn’t that what AIESECers are looking for in life? It seems I’m lucky enough to be in the right place and right time!
Though I didn’t get here in a perfectly straight line! If you think it’s just about putting “MCP” or “whatever-CP” on your CV, and waiting for companies to start inviting you for interviews before you even finish the term… well, it’s not always that way. When I got my first serious job, I had to do lots of different stuff: English teacher, tour guide or even… promo boy in a shopping mall! Patience is a virtue and in the end thought you will find what you are looking for. Over the past year as I went through this process, I’ve realized some key learning points which I want to share with you.
If you’re still in AIESEC, use your time to grow your network!
One of the values of doing a MBA in top schools is the network it gives you to do business on a global level or to recruit people who are ready to take high leadership roles in global companies (or to be recruited). But not everyone can afford to do their MBA. So what about your AIESEC network? This network can be of a similar value, and you can grow it through hard work and being reliable. You can continue developing it by being an active alumni and you can take this with you your whole life. But I wish more AIESECers realized that at the start of their AIESEC experience!
Looking for your next career move? – It’s time to use the network!
What this means to me is to make people know that you are looking for a job. I was amazed how many members, alumni, advisors and partners are willing to support me when they knew I needed it. They may not give you a job, but the more people you meet and talk to, the closer you get to finding what you are looking for. It’s about your curiosity to learn more and determination to keep looking until you find it!
You don’t need to take the first job that comes!
After a long time waiting for a job, running out of cash, not having a place to live (been there, done that…) it gets a little stressful and you feel you should accept anything that comes. In my case, it was worth waiting. I’m really happy because after AIESEC I had the chance to have a meaningful job, and now I’m about to start another one that may have even bigger impact on society. You need to be self-motivated in your job to be at your best, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Find something exciting and don’t be afraid to wait for it.
Do good, be giving and be selfless!
I support this network called UNICEF Next Generation Vietnam. A lot of the time it has meant many hours of work without seeing a clear result. I was not sure whether it was worth it to continue as I was busy enough with my full time role. At the same time, as a co-founder, I felt responsible and was working with other people who believed in its purpose. I felt that there was an impact we can make. One day, about month ago, I got a phone call: “Hi Pawel, I’ve observed you in NextGen over the last two years and I am certain I need you to join my company”. My take on that – you never know when your selfless effort is noticed and appreciated. Keep working hard on whatever you believe in and keep giving your best to others without asking for anything in return. This is something which doesn’t end after AIESEC, but sticks with you for life!
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