For the big dreamers who aspire to hold a significant role in the future, you can distinct yourself by building a decent portofolio. This portofolio development is a long run that requires consistency to continously add value to yourself. Salim, our contributor, believe in the importance of adding value to the journey we endure as a way to establish a good portofolio for greater future roles. Let’s check his article!
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When I visited Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, the southernmost state of Australia, I managed to allocate time to see the factory of Cadbury in Claremont. In the factory’s visitor center, I had an opportunity to follow the guide’s explanation on the company’s history and also joined a tour around the factory to see on my own the chocolate production process. I did the same thing when I backpacked around New Zealand and set foot in Dunedin, a city located in Otago, South Island. I visited Cadbury’s factory located in the heart of the city and was shown the manufacturing process of their confectionary products.
Upon my visit to the two Cadbury’s factories, I got one thing to contemplate. Cadbury is one of the portfolio companies owned by Mondelēz International, one of the largest chocolate producers.
If you read a list of top chocolate producers in the world, you would find familiar names of business groups headquartered in the United States, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland. It is just fascinating that those countries are not the major sources of cocoa beans, yet they appear to be the largest chocolate producers.
What I would like to point out here is about value added. Countries like the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium do not grow cocoa, but they have demonstrated firm creativity and innovation in processing cocoa beans into delicious chocolate products, which lead them to become highly-ranked chocolate producers. They continuously advance their chocolate-producing technology, enhance their competitiveness in the world’s huge chocolate market, and create employment for their workforce.
Such a phenomenon then comes into my self-reflection. I then ended up in a conclusion that, for the advantages of mine as well as those surrounding me, I need to add value to the journey I endure. Either in the academic and professional circumstances or in my daily life.
Adding Value to Your University Experience
I felt so fortunate that I already had the awareness to add value to my academic experience since my very first days at college. I wanted something different and advantageous that could enrich my experiences during my five years there; not just attending lectures, doing assignments, spending time at my accommodation, and hanging out with friends.
During my orientation at college, I was inspired by my seniors who were actively engaged in student organizations. They joined extracurricular activities not only for their advantages but also for the benefit of others. I then followed in their footsteps. My experiences in various organizations had contributed to helping me grow and mature and sharpening my leadership skills, which were proved to be beneficial when I stepped into life after college.
In addition to organizational experiences, I was also motivated to join interest clubs in the areas I was keen on. I joined a theatrical club, a writer club, foreign language classes, and Islamic finance classes. I did not even know whether those activities would bring about advantages later in life. All I knew was I would like to develop my hobbies and to enhance my knowledge and understanding in the fields I was interested in.
Years later, I had valuable opportunities to meet a lot of people from many different backgrounds, including my students, younger staff members at workplace, and participants and speakers at various seminars. Listening to their stories, I knew that many of them had already put in efforts to add value to their academic or professional journeys.
For example, I once had a student who enthusiastically participated in various writing competitions and then won. I was happy to assist her when she emailed me to seek feedback. Another student of mine was motivated to grow his own business and develop a charity entity. In other occasions, I met scholarship recipients who made the most of their college time by participating in English debating competitions or student exchange programs. At a seminar, I met a humble young man, several years my junior, who founded a well-respected fundraising platform in Indonesia. I believe they have set good examples to their generation.
Adding Value to Your Professional Path
Adding value becomes an important agenda once you have stepped into the professional world. Amidst the increasingly stiff competition, it is crucial for us to stand out firmly and continuously add value to advance our career and professional path.
Two years after graduating from The University of Queensland, I joined a newly-established public sector institution. Starting a brand new unit with very few colleagues, I was faced with limited resources and demanding assignments. I frequently had to leave office quite late at night. Given such a condition, I tried not to complain. I believed there would be something good even in such an under-pressure situation.
Indeed, in such an environment, I definitely had opportunities to propose ideas and initiatives to accomplish our tasks. I witnessed and experienced myself how my unit grows and becomes increasingly well-established. Golden opportunities to contribute more significantly to the organization became even wider after I got a promotion a few years later.
I also had the opportunity to witness how my colleagues, friends, and acquaintances got their career advanced. They were trusted by their supervisors and assigned to accomplish various important tasks. They become persons to be relied on by their colleagues. They do not easily complain when facing greater responsibilities and challenges. They put in serious efforts in order to win opportunities and enhance their competitiveness in the job market.
Definitely, I am a great supporter of the so-called ‘work-life balance’. I know that being committed to your work can sometimes mean staying at office until quite late at night. And I believe people would have different ways to strike the balance between the two aspects.
Adding Value for Even Greater Roles in the Future
I sometimes find opportunities to become a speaker at seminars attended by college students and young people, where I could boost their motivation and make them aware of the challenges they would be facing. Doing so does not mean I want to preach them. Instead, it becomes my way of reminding myself.
I love motivating them to continuously strengthen their competitive advantages to better position themselves amidst intense competition their generation would face. During college, they need to seriously add value to their university experience. And when they enter the professional world, they need to make the most of their time to reap benefits and create a good portfolio.
At one occasion, I said to the young people, “Yes, we need to add value to the journey we endure, either in the academic or professional lives. When we have an enhanced competitive advantage, please understand that it is not about money, power, or otherworldly motives. Rather, our competitive advantages would become great portfolio if we would like to play greater roles and bear higher responsibilities in the future.”
I directed those words to myself as I was and am still on my way to achieve such a goal.
Enhancing competitive advantages, creating a great portfolio, or adding value to the journey one endures often mean hard work, serious efforts, and perseverance. But when it is well planned and wholeheartedly performed, I believe it would be worth it.
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