The Yuppie Decalogue — 10 Pointers on How To Survive in the Real World

Granting an invite, I visited Bicol University to do something very important: to tell the young ones how it is like in the real world. I was afraid I could scare them, so I just told them they should start preparing for it. Now.

Here are 10 simple and practical tips on how to survive the challenges of the real world. I learned these from personal experiences, from business school, and from the stories I hear. Wherever you are in your professional life, may you somehow find that one or two (or ten!) tips will be of help. Welcome aboard!

Slide9It is a great thing to have an exact image of what we want to become in the future, but as Mama told me: Not everything you want you can get in the exact way and in the exact time that you imagined it to be. Along the way, we have to compromise and sacrifice certain things. When we give ourselves strict expectations, we are bound to be disappointed. My tip: Open your eyes to other exciting paths around your dream job. The most fulfilling career is the one that can surprise you.


Identity Capital is the value of our selves, taking into consideration our abilities, potentials, experiences, and expertise. The job market is literally a marketplace, a barter system between our identity capital and the opportunities from employers. Wherever you are now, you should start building your identity capital by doing things that add value to who you are, like a foreign language class, an internship, a student council stint, a collection of photographs, or a blog. As long as it helps you become the person you want to be, do it.


We should first acknowledge and emphasize that studying is the first and top priority why we go through college. But this fact should not discourage you to experience other equally valuable things. College is meant to be experienced: the campus, the students, the company of your mentors, and the insights you could acquire outside the classroom. Maximize your learning by joining quiz bowls, competing athletically, debating, being a student leader, among other worthy endeavors. After all, being just a college student isn’t gonna build your identity capital.


The practice of any profession–be it science, business, engineering, or communication–always, always involves people. Social Intelligence is the ability to get along well with others, and to get them to cooperate with you. This theory suggests five components, each briefly described:

Situational Awareness: ability to observe and understand the context of a situation
Presence: bearing, and the impression you send to others about yourself
Authenticity: honesty, and the alignment of your behavior to your values
Clarity: ability to convey a message clearly through communication
Empathy: ability to ‘share a feeling’ with another person

There is little or no discussion of this concept inside the classroom, you can only practice this when you’re with people. In the real world, it matters how you treat others.