60 Years Old… Ready, Get Set… Retire?

March 1, 2011

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

To retire or not to retire, that is the question

Some business consultants and trainers of Business Coach, Inc. are over 60 years old. Whenever, they are asked if they are ready to retire, they will laugh and say “Of course not. Malakas pa kami sa kalabaw (We’re stronger than carabaos).”

I have met a lot who are in top level or management positions and whenever someone brings up the topic on retirement, they often shudder. Just the mere mention of the word makes their mood shift to ‘down’.

They have acquired many skills and accumulated much knowledge, and are equipped with sufficient work training, yet those nearing their 60 years of age feel more than agitated about the mere thought of retirement. This is because of the belief that being 60 years of age means being “old and tired”. However, this confuses me. How can they be tired of doing what they can do best?

In other countries, they do not discriminate by virtue of age. When my wife and I went to Hong Kong, we were surprised that the hotel concierge staff who welcomed us was a senior citizen. We were even more astonished when we went to a McDonald’s restaurant because the service crew and the cashiers were around 60 years or older. Not only that, my wife has a 67 years old aunt in Canada who works as a banquet staff in a hotel.

Here in the Philippines is a different story. The lolos and the lolas just have to retire, simply because they have to. The law mandates or allows it.

Most anticipate retirement negatively. If only they can postpone it, they would. However, as this is inevitable, the only thing to do is to plan. Retirement will only be pleasant if you are prepared emotionally and financially.

• Prepare early, if possible at least 10 years before retirement. Retirement represents a great change in your life. If you are unprepared, this will weigh you down emotionally, physically, and financially.

• Approach retirement with a positive attitude. Remember, retirement will allow you to be free from your strict routine. You will have plenty of time to read. You may have more time to visit your family and friends. Relax and simply enjoy life.

• Be strict with your finances. You need to save for the future. Track your expenses, and make sure you buy only what you need. It would also help if you pay all your outstanding loans so they will not burden you in the future.

• Keep yourself healthy. You would not want to spend your retirement money paying your hospital bills. Restructure your lifestyle and have regular checkups. You need not enrol in an expensive gym if it will not fit in your budget. Brisk walking, gardening, dancing, and doing household chores can help you lose calories at no cost.

• Get a health plan. Medical treatment is expensive and you must have a plan to cope with its escalating costs. Look around for a reliable and affordable health management company.

• Choose a hobby. However, when pursuing a hobby, make sure that it is not too costly. There are certain hobbies that can even help you earn money. You may learn how to bake a cake, maintain income generating blogs, breed dogs, or grow fruit bearing trees.

• Do volunteer works. You may participate in any neighborhood or church program. Remember, this is the time to give back to the community. Reach out to the less fortunate.

• Seek a part-time job. This will not only help you with your finances, but also help you keep in touch with the industry and keep your skills up-to-date. You may also apply as a consultant or trainer.

• Start your own business. After retirement would be the perfect time to start your own business. Perhaps, your kids have already finished college. You may have just received your retirement pay, and if you feel you are not yet ready to retire, then choose to start a business. Just, remember to invest your money wisely.

• Follow your passion. Now is the best time to pursue what you really would love to do. If you like music it is never too late to start. George Yang, the tycoon who built Mc Donald’s here, discovered his talent for classical singing at a late age. He became so skilled in his craft that he was able to stage several successful concerts.

There are an infinite number of ways to make great use of your golden years. With lesser obligations and more time you now have the freedom and wisdom to seize opportunities previously beyond reach. Instead of withdrawing from the world you can immerse yourself in a wider spectrum of activities.

In our company, I have found out that working with people over 60 years of age has been very fruitful. Their vast experience and knowledge make them excellent mentors and trainers. Indeed, I would agree that “kalabaw lang ang tumatanda (only carabaos age).” They may have retired from their job, but not from their lives.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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Evaluating a Job Offer

February 15, 2011

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

Congratulations to the new graduates! Your parents may be so very proud of you. After so many years of struggling with homework and graded recitations, you have finally made it.

For sure, your next mission is to hunt for a job. After the delight of the graduation march, we welcome you to the struggles of looking for your first job. Being the proactive person that you are, you may be holding this very newspaper because you are actively seeking employment.

You may be dying to get a job, but I advise you to seriously evaluate a job offer before accepting it. I am not saying that you should be picky, but you do want to be assured that the job you are getting is in consonance with your skills and capabilities.

Here are guide questions that would help you evaluate a job offer:

What are the job’s duties and responsibilities?

Before accepting the job, you should have a clear understanding of what you are going to do. You must have knowledge of what you will be doing, so you can see if you will be able to utilize the talents you have acquired in college.

What is the pay structure?

Know the salary you will be getting before signing any contract. Note that it should be at least at par with what the industry is paying for the same position elsewhere. Of course, it helps also if there are extras such as incentives or bonuses. Some companies also provide perks such as unlimited coffee, birthday treats, flexitime, health plans, etc. This may not really cost much, but it shows how much the company values its employees.

Do you feel a sense of pride in belonging with the company?

You may have found out that the company is engaging in illegal activities, or is dishonest in its dealings. Ask yourself if you can stomach this, or if you would rather seek employment elsewhere.

Is the company stable?

Consider if the firm will still be around for at least as long as you plan on working there.

How credible is your job title?

Some positions have over inflated titles to attract applicants. Jobs with titles like “management trainee” should be probed so that you can see if your career path at that company will actually lead to a management position.

What are the working hours?

Find out if the company requires frequent overtime, or if the job necessitates that you work on weekends and holidays. There are also some jobs that require working at night. There is nothing wrong with this, but knowing this will prepare you for skipping family gatherings and weekend getaways in order to work.

Would the job require you to travel a lot?

This may be either good or bad, depending on your personality. If you love to travel, go ahead and grab the opportunity. However, if you dislike travelling, you may consider other job options.

Will there be a written contract?

Note that if you are given merely a verbal agreement, there is a high chance that some promises made to entice you to work at that company may be “forgotten”.

What are the company’s restrictions?

Know the company policies on tardiness and absences. Evaluate the contract. Some contracts prohibit employees who leave a company from working for a competitor for a specified period of time. This is legal and enforceable. However, find out how long this takes effect. It should be for a limited period of time… not forever.

Does the company prepare people for promotion?

You must know if it will be a dead end position. Try to find out if the company offers training, as this will groom you for the next level.

Can you abide with odd company policies?

There are some bosses who will require you to wear costumes during Halloween and Christmas. Before accepting the job, ask yourself if this is fine with you.

Also, there are some companies that are so strict, that they will monitor all your actions through a closed circuit television (CCTV), while some will want you to undergo yearly drug tests.

Does the company follow labor laws and regulations?

Try to find out if the company remits SSS, Philhealth, HDMF, and tax dues. The company must also give overtime pay, night differential, and service incentive leaves as mandated.

It is difficult to find a job, and you may be very tempted to accept the first company that is willing to hire you. It might be better to have a not-so-ideal job rather than being unemployed. Nevertheless, be prepared to analyze the offers in case you have options.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)


You Say it Best, When You Say Nothing at All

February 11, 2011

What You Should “Not” Say During the Job Interview

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

You may be keen to demonstrate your communication prowess during the job interview. You may want to prove how witty and bubbly you are by talking as if there will be no tomorrow. You want to show that you know so many things by talking at a rate of 1,000 words per minute.

If this is your case, then this will not work to your advantage. Remember, a job interview is a two-way communication process. Talking too much may just annoy your interviewer.

During the job interview, answer questions candidly. Be as straightforward as you can, but do all in your might not to say the following:

• I really need to earn money to pay off my credit cards.

This is a warning sign that many recruitment officers are wary about. Having too much debt may mean so many things, but for the interviewer it would spell “CRISIS”. It shows potential mismanagement of assets, or misappropriation of resources.

• What is your business exactly about?

It is the job seeker’s responsibility to do research on the company before going to the job interview. You should visit the company’s website or ask around so you would know their products and services are. It would also help if you know their vision and mission because it would show the interviewer that you really are interested to join their organization.

• To contact me, you may Google my name, then find me at Facebook or Twitter me in my account.

If you say this, you are lucky if the interviewer does not send you out of the room in 30 seconds. When applying, make it easy for the company to contact you. Give an easy and sure way to get in touch. If you give your cell phone number, make sure it is always turned on and beside you. If it is a landline you gave, make sure there is someone to take the call and inform you in case you are out your house.

• I am not bragging, but yesterday, I was offered an executive position by a multinational company.

“Oh sure, you are bragging! If you were offered a high position in a well-known company, there is no reason why you should still be applying here. Go ahead, grab it!” This is what the interviewer is likely to say. You applied at a company and when you were offered the position, you went seeking for another job elsewhere? There is no logic there! When applying for a job, be as humble as you can. Avoid being the arrogant brat. Also, do not fool the interviewer by making up stories to speed up the hiring decision. Yes, they will decide fast; they will decide not to hire you.

• I can work under pressure, as long as I take my medicines.

Medicines for what? Are you hypertensive, probably asthmatic, or else psychotic? It is not a weakness if you have a certain illness, for as long as it is controlled. Yet, if you focused on the issue during the job interview, the hiring officer might think you are not well enough to handle the pressure.

• To be honest, it is really my dream to work abroad.

I am just applying while I am waiting for my visa. You have just made it easier for the hiring officer to decide that you are not the right person for the job. A company is spending its resources to train new recruits. It would be a waste to teach new employees who would resign very soon anyway.

• Can I bring my IPod to work? Music helps me deal with stress.

There is a lot of stress at work. You should know how to deal with it, with or without music. What you should emphasize is how you can easily adapt to stressful situations. Listening to music means shutting out, and not facing the battle.

• I really do not need a job. My father has a large construction company, and my mother owns the mall across your building.

As the hiring officer, I have four words to say: GET-OUT-OF-HERE! The company would think they don’t need you as well. If you are not serious about applying, never waste someone else’s time.

Having good conversational skills is necessary in all business organizations. However, it is also obvious that “talking too much” is a disadvantage. You should not converse to the point of boring or at times frightening the listeners. At the same time, do not “overshare” with the interviewer. You might be saying things that can harm you.

Final thought, always think before you talk. Answer questions in 30 seconds, and if you have to ask questions, ask sensible ones. Remember, sometimes you say it best, when you say nothing at all!

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)


Starting a Business While Still Employed

February 8, 2011

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

As the saying goes, “No man can serve two masters at the same time.” If you are currently employed, starting a business is a difficult thing to do. Starting a business while currently employed poses many legal, ethical, and technical issues. The truth is, it is almost impossible not to be distracted but still, you should not steal time from your present job, just to work on your business.

There is little financial risk if you start a business while still employed. You still have the cash flow of your job to sustain your basic needs if you are unsuccessful in your venture. But aside from the time you spend in your regular job, you have to devote time to your business, meaning, you have to work during your rest periods, sacrificing your holidays and vacations.

Dealing with the legal aspect first is of prime importance. You could be fired or even be sued if you neglect to check this. Some contracts state that you cannot start a competing business while you are still employed with your company. Others disallow you from doing other jobs—and they can threaten to charge you for conflict of interest.

On the personal side here are some tips:

• If possible, be honest with your boss. It will free you from your stress and other worries. Just make a commitment that your business will not negatively affect your present job. You may also market to your current clients and co-workers as long as there is no conflict of interest.
• Have a business start-up plan. Include objectives, product or service testing, funding and resources, market analysis, sales strategies, and break-even point analysis.
• Never take your personal business calls on company time.
• Never use company supplies or equipment for your own business.
• Teach your family members to be frugal. You need money to finance your business. Find means to cut expenses.
• Do not falter in your current job, or you will be terminated in no time. Follow your regular work schedule. Your business must be done only after your work hours.
• Never quit your job until you have proven that your business can sustain itself. This is most tempting in seasonal businesses. I have an acquaintance who started her business during the Christmas season and she resigned when sales boomed. Unfortunately, by January, she was barely breaking even and by March she had to close shop.
• Never forget to mind your health. It is your number one asset.

If you wish to launch a business while still employed, you must do it part-time. Usually such businesses should be easily monitored and should not need your continuous supervision to function. Choose a business that capitalizes on your current skills and talents. Here are some business suggestions you may start effortlessly:

• If you are a teacher, you may offer tutorial services. Soon you can build your own preschool or tutorial center.
• If you are a good writer, you may start blogging as a home business. You may also apply as a freelance writer, public relations officer, or a copywriter. You may also earn big bucks by providing a résumé writing service. Later on, you could possibly go into the publishing business.
• If you have plenty of stuff, you may sell the unused items. Look in your closet for old clothes, or check your bookshelves for items you no longer need. You can earn extra, while removing the clutter in your house. Soon you can have your own “ukay-ukay” store.
• If you have hobbies and can produce nice crafts, you may begin selling them to friends. You may also sell them online through e-bay, sulit.com.ph, or similar websites. Soon you might be supplying to various mall chains.
• If you have talent in photography, you may offer services during weddings and other parties. Eventually you can have your own photography studio.
• If you have talent in cooking, you may accept catering services during weekends and holidays. As a caterer, you may include supplying balloons and other party needs on the side. If successful, you can start your own restaurant or fast food business.
• If you are an excellent singer or dancer, you may be a dance or music instructor. Soon you can build your own music or dance studio.
• If you have a computer and printer at home, coupled with your expertise in layouts and designs, you may be a desktop publisher. Maybe, later, you can have your own printing press.

There are certain not obvious advantages of doing business while still employed. It forces you to learn delegation. You get to know how to institute controls, policies and procedures so that the employees can function effectively on their own. If you are there all the time, the instinct to decide or do everything yourself may be too great.

It is really a challenge to balance both your job and your business. However, you have to persevere if you want to supplement your income, and protect your family during the financial crisis. You must have a safety cushion before you can quit your job and commit to your own business if being an entrepreneur is your long-term plan.

Lastly, try to be in good terms with your current employer. You never know; they may eventually become your client or give you referrals. Often, the best opportunities for you are in the industry you already know and usually people know each other if they are in the same line of business and so it will be best if you don’t burn your bridges.

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. It is not for the lazy or the fearful. There are no safety nets to catch you if you fail. While even big companies fail, the mortality for start-ups is far higher. You will reduce your risks substantially if you can start your business while still receiving a paycheck.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)


Mind Your (Interview) Manners: Part 2

February 1, 2011

How not to botch that critical point of the application process

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

Your job interview will determine your success in your job application. You must be able to sell yourself to the interviewer to convince him / her that your are the right person for the job. Everything that can help must be considered and displaying the right manners may give you the winning edge.

As a job interviewer, I learned to master the art of reading body languages and body signs. Not only do I listen to what the applicant say, but I also assess how the interviewee conduct himself / herself during the process.

I have always stressed the importance of being prepared for a job interview. You need to bring all the necessary documents, but most important of all, never fail to bring a lot of “common sense”.

How to Handle Your Job Interview:

Do not interrupt when the interviewer is talking. I remember there was one applicant who does all the talking that I never got the chance to open my mouth. Then there was another one who always interrupted and finished all my sentences for me. If you think this is one strategy to buy time, it won’t work. The interviewer may just think that you are acting fresh or being too aggressive.

Do not get drawn into an argument. If you don’t agree with what the interviewer is saying, you may state your position then move to the next topic. Don’t be too pushy or act manipulative. The worst I’ve encountered was when I interviewed a candidate who argued with everything I said—even before I had a chance to finish what I was saying!

Smile and be as relaxed and composed as possible. Refrain from looking out the window or glancing at your watch during the interview. When I interview applicants who do not look at me, I presume that they are not listening, or are probably just trying to hurry me up.

Show warmth and genuine interest. If you are a fan of Lady Gaga, I’m sorry but appearing “Poker Face” won’t work. It leaves the interviewer guessing whether you understood what was discussed. Give verbal feedback so the interviewer will know that you are paying close attention to the conversation (say “Yes,” “That’s right,” “I agree,” or “I understand”).

Respect the interviewer’s personal space. Do not stand or sit too close. Moreover, refrain from toying with the interviewer’s personal things. Refrain from touching wall paintings, trophies, plants or anything you find fanciful in the office. I will not forget an applicant who touched and broke my glass paperweight. It is not actually pricey, but it was a gift from my wife!

Ask questions. This will confirm your interest in the position. If something is vague, you may ask for clarification. However, do not ask too many questions. You may pose at least two or three intelligent questions throughout the interview.

Do not stare at the interviewer. You may maintain eye contact, but staring is unethical. The interviewer may get distracted or feel annoyed. I remember I interviewed an applicant who kept staring at me from top to the bottom. She looked as if she was appraising me! I was wondering if I have dirt on my face, a tear in my polo, an open zipper, mud on my shoes, etc.

Let the interviewer tell his / her story. If the interviewer seems excited talking about himself / herself, let him / her be. Listen well, and try to read between the lines. Watch your body language. Show you are listening by leaning a little forward towards the interviewer. Keep your arms uncrossed, and maintain good eye contact. Smile, nod, or laugh with the interviewer.

When there are many qualified applicants, the interviewer may base his / her decision on your manners. This is justified since your interview behaviour is indicative of your personality. If you do not take care to conduct yourself professionally while being scrutinized then it is only to be expected that you will do worse in the future. Small things may mean a lot.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 


Mind Your (Interview) Manners

January 28, 2011

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

Almost all people who work (except for two groups of people) will undergo or have undergone a job interview.

The first group exempted from these are those who start their own businesses (and even then some of them come from jobs), and the second are the “trust fund babies” born to wealthy parents with trust funds that ensure that all their financial needs will be taken care of in their lifetime. They are so secure financially, that some are studying just to pass the time.

So unless you are a trust fund baby, I suggest you read on to learn the tactics on how to survive your job interview.

Presenting yourself for a job interview can really be scary. It is a make-or-break situation; if you commit a blunder, there is, often, no more second chance. You have to stand out to get the job you really want.

I have been impressed by so many application forms sent by jobseekers. However, some of them are total disasters when they present themselves for the job interview.

I remember one time when I was interviewing a job applicant, I asked her the question “What are your hobbies?” I was surprised when she stood up and sang in front of me. Of course, I got that her hobby was singing, but I was scared out of my wits!

Another funny incident was when I was discussing remuneration to an applicant. I declared how much we are offering him for a salary, but he insisted on getting a lower figure. It was quite hilarious! I was convinced that I should hire him, but when he demoted himself in front of me, I thought otherwise.

Then there’s another one who came with one sock missing. He said he was in such a hurry that he forgot to put on the other sock. Another one kept chewing and blowing his bubble gum throughout the entire interview. It was quite disgusting.

One applicant culminated our interview with a firm handshake. Yes, there is nothing wrong with that, except that his hands were really sweaty, so it grossed me out. I guess, the people I mentioned were advised to “be different” to get the job. But obviously this kind of “being different” didn’t work.

Here are some practical job interview tips to help improve your chances of getting hired:

Make sure you have eaten so you won’t faint during the interview. You never know how long it will be before you will be called so better play it safe.

Empty your bladder before proceeding with the interview. This helps a lot in releasing your tension and it will not make a good impression if you have to go to the wash room in the middle of the interview.

Come at least 15 minutes before your interview appointment. If you came late because of whatever reason, apologize immediately. Do not curse yourself in front of the interviewer. Putting yourself down is likely to brand you as a loser as you are confirming it yourself.

If lunch or dinner is part of the interview, mind your manners. Avoid chewing loudly or grabbing at food.

During the interview, if something said is funny, do not laugh loudly; it will reflect poorly on your conduct and disturb any other employees present or nearby who can influence the hiring.

Do not make a fool of yourself in front of the interviewer. Never sing or dance, unless you are applying as a singer or dancer.

Talk audibly. Avoid mumbling or whispering.

Never dominate the interview. Avoid giving lengthy answers to questions. Make your point in 60 seconds if you can.

Relax. Repeat after me. Relax. You may be tense, but go and get it over with. Sit up straight, and do all in your power to resist your desire to run. If you are too nervous, make sure you do not show it. Do not tremble in front of your interviewer. If you believe you are shaking, do not hold a ball pen or paper, so the interviewer doesn’t get distracted by your shaking hands. You may place your hands in between your knees, as this would keep both your hands and knees from shaking.

Be a good listener. If you failed to hear or understand a question, do not say “What?” or “Ha?” You may politely say, “Pardon me, but could you repeat the question?” Pause a few seconds before answering so you could gather your thoughts before answering the question.

Be candid. Always include specific facts, details, and examples, when providing information. There is a good chance that they will be validated and so be truthful.

Liven up the interview. Be humorous if this seems acceptable to the interviewer. However, avoid “green” or dirty jokes. Use your own funny experiences.

Avoid jargon and other words that are difficult to understand. Especially avoid idiomatic expressions.

Always maintain eye contact. However, refrain from staring. Also, keep your mouth closed when you are not talking. This is to keep you from drooling in front of the interviewer.

• A final tip, for now, is to make sure you bring along at least two IDs and various sizes of pictures, and make sure that the picture looks like you.

Your preparation for an interview must be as thorough as possible. It is not enough to be just yourself and rely on your credentials, nor is it sufficient to just do well on the interview. It is about the survival of the fittest for the slots are limited and many are just as qualified.

Take the above advice to heart and find other useful ways to boost your chances. It may turn out that doing your homework will provide you with the winning edge.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)


School discrimination in job application… is it real?

January 26, 2011

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

A few months back, I talked with a recruitment officer who told me that during the hiring process, she prepares three receptacles for the applicants. The first is for the graduates of UP, Ateneo, La Salle, and UST. The second is for the graduates of other exclusive schools. While the third container will hold the applicants coming from “the other schools”.

She elaborated that she scans first the documents coming from the first receptacle, and if nobody qualifies, that is when she would browse on the second container. According to her, no way would she ever dare touch the applications from the third receptacle.

I took the conversation very lightly, and believed that we were just spending the day casually. I have been hiring staff since 1987, and school has not been an issue with me. But then my company was not a giant and few applicants came from the exclusive schools.

Yet, I was surprised when one of our on-the-job trainees narrated her experience when she was looking for a job in a well-known business district. She prepared all her requirements and made sure she dressed up on the day she submitted her application. When she got in the office, there were several other applicants with her.

A receptionist scanned her documents then told her to just leave them with her. She will be called if her qualifications will match their needs. However, she got dismayed, when she found out that all the other applicants coming from exclusive schools were requested to stay. She had to fight the urge of going back to the receptionist to retrieve her application letter, believing she won’t be called anyway!

Apparently, this is D-I-S-C-R-I-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N. I never thought this would be done so blatantly until I have heard it straight from someone I knew. I was even told that some hiring officers ask the following questions during interview: “Do you own a car?” “Do you have outstanding loans?” “Do you own or rent a residence?” How can these questions help in deciphering whether an applicant is qualified or not? I was quite sympathetic for the trainee who narrated this as she is ambitious and hardworking.

This proves a prevalent belief of recruitment officers that graduates of exclusive schools perform better than those coming from the other schools. This is plausibly true, but perhaps certainly not for all cases. A graduate from a less prominent school could just hope that this should not be the basis for denial of employment.

That this manner of selection by school is common is what drives parents to work hard just to send their children to exclusive educational institutions. These schools burgeoned because of their reputations. The mere mention of the name of these schools evokes a distinct sense of pride to their graduates; and while they are often perceived as elitists, we cannot deny the fact that such schools have clout in the community.

But how would this affect employment? As you can see, most of the high paying jobs are usually taken by graduates of exclusive schools. On the other hand, the rank and file positions are reserved for their non-exclusive counterparts.

The best attitude to this problem is similar to my reply to an email who disapproved of my article on age discrimination. It was the sender’s position that those who discriminate on age have good reasons for doing so. At first, I was tempted to try to disprove him but then I realized that I might have given the wrong impression. I certainly do not believe that just ascribing fault will resolve anything.

Blaming your problems on external factors is a fruitless exercise. Attributing your lack of employment to age discrimination is similar to blaming employers for preferring those from the top schools for not getting the higher position, it may assuage your ego but it will bring you nothing.

Despite their handicap of coming from a non-exclusive school, I have seen many people become extremely successful even if their college is quite ordinary. In most cases the advantage of coming from a prominent school declines over time. After a few years in the company the criteria will almost wholly depend on your actual performance on the job.

Over the course of one’s career, success will depend far more on your determination and other factors rather than on just the school you came from. Sooner or later, you will get the position you deserve based on your performance. It is you and not your school that is ultimately responsible for your future.

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)