Social media portrayals of luxurious lifestyles and enviable selfies are by no means an accurate portrayal of working graduates and non-graduates. For starters, South Africa’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the world, particularly when it comes to the youth.
The country’s unemployment rate stood at 27.1% at the end of 2018, as stated by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Stats SA also showed figures that suggest that, of the 38.1 million people in SA, only 16.5 million are employed. These stats refer to people aged between 15-64 (considered to be the working age).
As such, it’s important to have realistic expectations about first jobs. Here are a few pointers to consider.
Your salary may be modest
For that first job, chances are you don’t have the experience, or the expertise and super specialised qualifications for that role. While your job may have a high ceiling, it may also have immersed earning potential. The reality is that it takes time, particularly in a country with such high unemployment.
Your starting salary may not be as “life-changing” as you think. You may still need to consider a roomie, investigate an entry-level car (or public transport), and hold off on the designer label suits… for now.
All jobs count
As young peeps, it’s tempting to dream of changing the world. Unfortunately, many start as interns or on learnerships. This may seem like a downgrade of your dreams, but the reality is that all jobs are meaningful. Use them as catalysts to climb the corporate ladder from wherever you are.
It’s okay to change your mind
While having a plan is good, being able to adapt that plan according to your current situation is better. You did it! You went for that “look-at-me” sort of sports car. Rented that townhouse with an enviable pool and changed your wardrobe. You’re a scarce skill and found loans to fund your lifestyle. But now your budgeting and money matters are barley adding up. Mature life skills sometimes mean adopting to change management.
It is okay to lower your expenses by moving back home and paying a fraction of the rent amount to your parents. You can change your career path. Take up an unpaid learnership (if feasible) to adjust your sails.
Whatever the case, follow your heart and adjust your expectations. It takes time to build a legacy that will outlive you and your children, and theirs. But it all starts with showing up and taking one step at a time.