Tuesday, 6 November 2012

What Watching Weeds Has Taught Me About Business.

Get Rich, but Do Whatever you Can Not to Die Whilst Trying...

So you've finished your University Degree.  Congratulations.  Maybe you have a job that you like, flipping burgers or bagging groceries.  Maybe you hate it.  You're there a few days a week, you make some spending money and you can usually afford petrol and your phone bill, and that's great.  But now November is no longer part of the summer break- it's just November.

It's time to start thinking about a Career.

If you're me, you do this thinking whilst reading novels and watching whole series' of TV shows you missed out on while you were studying.  Lately that's meant the Showtime classic Weeds which stars Mary-Louise Parker as a suburban housewife turned marijuana dealer, who has been forced into financial despair by the sudden death of her husband.


While I think the real message of the television show is a) damned good entertainment and b) a comprehensive, creative and dramatic look at the human condition (wow, deep), there are a few things that I think this show can teach the graduate job hunter, and I'm going to share those with you today.

1.  Do what it takes.

Be a jack of all trades.  Take odd jobs, take temp jobs, be flexible.  Okay, so you got a degree in writing and you want to work as a publisher or a writer, but you find a job that advertises for someone to write web content.  Don't think "Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted" and click off the advertisement!  It's SO hard to get a graduate job because most places want experience, but there is no experience to be had without first getting a job.  It's going to be tough for the first little while, but if that means taking a job which will OCCASIONALLY give you work in a related field to the one you're qualified in, whilst keeping your retail or hospitality job, then you should consider it.  You never know how good it is to have money until you don't any more.

2.  Have standards.

Nancy may sell pot, but she never sells to kids and she never traffics or sells heroin.  Get it?  Never do anything that would hurt yourself or others, and keep your integrity and dignity in tact.

That being said; photocopying and making coffee is NOT an affront to your dignity.  It's the ground floor.  Get in on it.  Everyone else did.

3. Cultivate a skill set.

Part of Nancy's problem is that prior to her husband's death, she was a housewife.  She didn't have a job, and there's been no mention of a degree.  What could she do to pay the bills and continue supporting a household?  If you are constantly learning new skills, even if it's just Microsoft Power Point then you'll always have something to put on your resume.

4.  Network.

Business can sometimes be about who you know.  I know people who have been offered work at parties, and one of my own jobs is with a friend's mother who knew what kind of thing I was set up to do.  Go to places where you might meet people in your industry, be professional and prepared, and make contacts.  You never know when they may come in handy.  

5. Tough it out.

The number one thing that Weeds has taught me is that the real world can be tricky to get by in.  So long as you can keep your chin up and think clearly- and some love and support from friends and family can help too- then you can find your way out of most problems.

Of course you can choose to never take risks, but I somehow doubt any big, life changing opportunity is going to find you in bed or at a check out.

What tips do you have for Graduate job hunters?

What are your favourite job hunting stories?

What life lessons have you learned from TV?

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