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Fresh grads: Experience vs. High Salary

Each year, college seniors remove their graduation robes and officially get ready to join the workforce.

Unfortunately, it's a landscape where unemployment increased to 6.6% in the first quarter of 2015 from 6% in the fourth quarter of 2014, as reported by the Philippines' National Statistics Office.

In a playing field where each spot is precious, you have to ask yourself what's your immediate priority - gaining money or gaining experience. Finding a job you like can be different from finding a job that can support you and though at times you may have the time to wait for the perfect combination of both - this won't always be the case.

Being a wise dreamer means keeping yourself grounded by knowing that not everything will fall right into place immediately. Sometimes the job that will give you money isn't the one that will give you the experience you need. It explains why most people, according to experienced professionals, will move around in their first four jobs. The fifth one will most likely make you stay. So if you don't get the right job right away, it's normal. For sure, the first few jobs will be all about figuring out what it is you need right now, while you look at your long-term career. Depending on your life situation, you may even have to choose between one or the other for an indefinite period of time.

Take it from Maan and Edgar who have taken on different paths.

The case for experience

Journalism graduate Maan Tejade had trouble getting her first job. But when she found it, she clung to it. She worked as an editorial assistant for a publishing company, doing grunt work before getting assigned a beat and allowed to cover events. She likes her job but laments the low salary.

"It's been my dream to work as a journalist ever since I can remember," Maan says.

Lately, she has been feeling the sting of working as a beat reporter: long hours and low salary. But Maan has decided to persevere in her career, knowing that she will reap the benefits in 5 years' time when she becomes a seasoned pro.

"Maybe not every 15th or 30th of the month," Maan says, laughing.

The case for good pay

Things are different for Edgar Caballes. For a decade, he has worked his way up to a desk editor position for a big local newspaper. He has since then been accepted as an e-mail support for a start-up business process outsourcing (BPO) company.

"The salary is significantly larger and the work is easy," Edgar says. "It's not my dream job but it pays my bills."

When asked why he left his former job, he said that it was a combination of many factors. Ultimately, it was a practical decision.

"I'm a newlywed. Me and my wife are having our first child," he adds.

Edgar also adds that he wants to move up the BPO career ladder and is in line to become a team lead.

For Maan and Edgar, their motivations are what moves them. Maan wants to endure the first couple of years and pay her dues. Edgar, while not a fresh grad, took take the more practical route and is earning big bucks.

Why not both?

Like we've said before, the reality is not everyone will be lucky enough to be in their dream industry or dream job right away. Ask your senior colleagues and many of them will tell you stories of how they started in different career paths with different job descriptions. There will really come times when you can't have the cake and eat it too.

If you want to earn big right now, maybe accept that high-paying job that's unrelated to your degree. But whatever you're doing, don't lose sight of what that long-term goal is.

We ask our readers: What do you advice for fresh grads, experience or high salary?