What is your drive in life?

The need to upskill ourselves will always be there. The job market is constantly changing; new skills are always going to be sought out for. Technology will always evolve, therefore, if you do not keep up, it will set you back.

When Covid-19 broke out, many aspects of our lives came to a halt. From an academic point of view, teachers and students had to adapt to a new atmosphere of communicating. On top of that, graduating students find themselves in a vulnerable situation since they must soon enter the job market. 

On Saturday May 2nd, Madalina Hodorog, founder of Reimagine Education and professor at University Babes Bolyaia, Romania, Cluj-Napoca, held a zoom meeting with 30 graduating students. The purpose of the meeting was to help students find their drive in life so that when they enter the job market, they will not be lost. 

The session started with her asking the students to list some of their passions. Some of the listed things were dancing, music, reading, communication, philosophy, travelling, sleeping and so on. As the students wrote them in an application where everyone could see each other’s passions, she added hobbies as a second category. For the next step, she asked them if what the students listed as passions might actually be their hobbies. The next thing you know, more than half shifted their list to hobbies or something in between.

“To find your passion, try asking yourself this question: Why do people approach me? This will help you understand what you offer to the world. Now make a timeline of your life and see what traits persist as you grew up,” she said.

A small exercise 

She gave an example of how she realized what her passion was by giving us a timeline of her life. When she was in sixth grade, she had the responsibility for her and her younger sister to reach safely for piano and guitar lessons. In eighth grade, she wanted to study in one of the best high schools in her region. For her to achieve that, she had to learn English in a very short time. Once she was accepted, she spent her time organizing events and she was also in charge of the theatre club at her high school.

In her first year of university, she spent most of her time volunteering and organizing events. In the second year, she started to write European Union projects, whilst also discovering non-formal education. In her third year, she started to organize radio workshops for students. As she entered her master’s degree and did her doctorate, it had been three years since she worked in organizing and two years doing training and practising non-formal education. 

The trait that can clearly be seen as time goes by is the fact that she was always implicated in organizing events. Later on, she realized she liked organizing events that were related to education and helping students through her non-formal education methods. 

When the students were asked to do the same, most of them were able to identify what their passion was. It had to be something that at the end of the day even when you are exhausted you strive to practice and get better at it. For the ones that could not find their red thread, she explained that passion is not something that just appears in front of you, you have to go searching for it. This mostly constitutes in trying everything and anything that comes in your path, so that you can narrow down what you are most inclined to. 

This was one of the many sessions that she held with graduating students. In Romania, unfortunately, the education system is not of such a high standard, therefore, this type of non-formal education can really make a difference.  

Q: what is your opinion on the current education system in Romania?  

Madalina Hodorog: “There is still a lot to be developed – this is my opinion regarding the educational system. We are still focused a lot on the theoretical background in every domain and very little on practice. Moreover, the educational system is not properly correlated with the necessities on the job market with plenty of companies who require skills that are not taught properly within universities.”

“The current generation does not really understand how the job market is working, what they actually like to do. They believe they have the right to experiment a lot, which is in fact true, but the consequences of this, without a proper plan, are major. Most of the students from newer generations such as Millenials of GenZ have problems in finding their passion, understanding what they would like to do and much more. Upskilling and help are mandatory in order for society and the job market to develop.”

Once you have found your passion, what should be your frame of mind towards the job market? 

The change that Covid-19 brought to the world, also affected the unemployment rate. “As the number of unemployed persons increased by 197 thousand to 12.156 million” in the past months, the idea of finding a job can be discouraging. 

In an interview, Mircea Samoila, a shareholder of the recruiting company Corona, shares some of his insights on what a person’s attitude should be when searching for a job. 

The way people perceive the present market situation is very important. According to him, the mentalities for everybody after the pandemic, will have to change to become more adaptable. 

There is such a thing as AQ = Adaptability Coefficient and this will be much more in demand after the pandemic. The focus in thinking and attitude will have to change from solving problems to finding opportunities. However, I think the movement after the pandemic will be in two directions:

A) becoming a lot more innovative in order to survive and grow; adapt to change, find opportunities in everything. At the same time:

B) learn to be satisfied with what one has, discovering that as a human being, we do not actually need much in order to survive and grow.

So I think the tendencies will be towards appreciation and careful management of resources and more innovative and wise growth that takes the existing resources into account sustainably. What I mean by sustainability is using resources in order to bring more into the world than we take, with a view towards the well-being of the whole (world/society/humanity/planet, etc.), above the interests of an individual or a group. I think the generations that you mentioned are in the best position to lead this approach, as you are at the peak of your adventurous years and I think you are not very happy with the status quo. 

With the right mentality it is also important to work on your ability to put forward, Mircea also noted that “wherever you are, in whatever role/position/job/status in life, you need to start activating your gifts and by this show the rest of us how to do it too. There is no room for doubt or hesitation. I feel however that it is important that the generations in question learn how to frame concrete goals and focus on achieving them, by developing tenacity and grit. Figure out your own unique way of contributing to the world, make it SMART and start working on it.”

Finding your passion and trying to make a career out of it can be a challenge. However, put the time and effort into perfecting it and at the same time, if you study the job market and try to find your niche it will go a long way. On top of this aspect having the ability to adapt and keep upskilling yourself can make you job future proof. 

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