Every year, around May or June, I am sure to be asked by a school leaver the plaintive question,"What am I going to do now??" I will normally retort,"What do you want to do?"
After years of dealing with that, I finally decided to list down options so I need only tag them. You see, nobody can answer this question except for the school leaver himself. But of course he needs to know the options first, right?
Option One : Continue your studies; matriculation, A-levels or Form 6. And whatever else is at the same level. If part of your problem is money, then you'd have to do some part time work, such as giving tuition, typing assignments for other people (NOT doing them!) or working in fast food restaurants.
Option Two : Continue your studies with the help of a scholarship or loan. Be diligent about filling in forms, knocking on doors and making phone calls.
Option Three : Work first, save the money and continue your studies later. The danger of this is once you have felt the 'joy' of receiving a salary and spending the money, you may not want to go back to study. Unless you feel unhappy at the salary difference between an SPM school leaver and a degree holder. Let me tell you that there IS a substantial difference.
Option Four : Work first, save the money (both in your bank account and in your EPF) and then use the EPF money to pay for part time studies with universities such as OUM and UNITAR. Distance learning programmes are offered by most universities, anyway.
Option Five : Join one of the apprenticeships offered, where you are given the chance to work and study at the same time. I need to do some research on this first. But believe me, there ARE such programmes around.
Option Six : Take a skills course, such as those offered by JPSM (Jab Pembangunan Sumber Manusia or KPD). Usually you can pick up skills in culinary arts, electrical wiring, hairstyling, tailoring etc. After that, you can open your own business.
Option Seven : Forget about studying and go to work. In places like banks, you can slowly move up into management from among the rank & file. They give you exams to take and if you pass, you get promoted. HOWEVER, the kicker comes when the bosses transfer you any place they like. If you resign, you won't be able to get another job with the same salary elsewhere because you don't have paper qualifications.
Option Eight : Go to work. The 'best' work to do with minimum qualifications is SALES. It is also work with unlimited potential when it comes to commissions. When you do sales, your income is limited only by yourself. But you need to develop a thick skin and learn to be very creative & resourceful.
Option Nine : Repeat your exam if the results aren't what you want them to be. When you have 'made it', nobody ever asks how long it took you.
And while you're reading this, keep telling yourself... 'Life Never Promised To Be Fair' and 'A Quitter Never Wins & A Winner Never Quits.'
Hmmm, I wonder if I missed any other possible VIABLE option.