Gearing up for the real world

Art by Analyn Camantigue

It’s graduation season once again. For those about to cross over that tassel, let me tell you that this will be the biggest sigh of relief you’ve ever released. But that won’t last for long. For those of us who’ve moved on to the afterlife (a.k.a. the working “real” world), this time usually brings about wistful memories and a yearning for the past when we didn’t have to go through adulting yet.

Graduation gifts are a different story, however. The usual present ideas range from watches to cars, or something that represents moving on to adulthood. But expensive gifts aren’t always the most meaningful — or useful, for that matter. So if your parents ask you what you want for your graduation, or if you want to be prepared once you enter the workforce, here are a few items to consider. Trust me, these will come in handy.

Proper business and formal attire

“Clothes make the man,” Mark Twain once said. Unless you’re exactly the same size, don’t make the mistake of borrowing your dad’s suit or your mom’s heels to your first job interview. And freelancers, don’t think you’re off the hook — you’re gonna need a more formal set of clothes for client presentations and for that time when you have to treat your parents to a fancy dinner on your first paycheck.

Dress socks

You probably have that one pair of black socks that you wear on special occasions when dress shoes are required. But trust me, you’ll need a lot more than that. Nothing looks more unprofessional than seeing white sports socks in the office. What are you, in high school?

A handy car manual

If your parents are generous enough to buy you a car or let you use theirs, knowing how to troubleshoot a vehicle is vital knowledge, especially if you’re a new driver. And for goodness’ sake, know the rules of the road. Your first paycheck won’t be able to cover all those traffic enforcer bribes (not that you should be bribing police officers in the first place).

A bank account

Nothing beats spending your own hard-earned money, but that probably won’t happen if you don’t keep track of your finances. You also definitely don’t want to spend every single peso you earn, so putting your extra cash somewhere is one of the first things you gotta do when that paycheck lands in your hands.

An accountant’s number

If your parents have an accountant, the first thing you should ask them is to include you when they file their taxes. You can try and figure out the tax system all by yourself just to prove that you’re a capable adult, but trust me, ain’t nobody got time for that. TIN number? Tax returns? Deductions? Yeah, save yourself the trouble.

Proper work/dress shoes

This probably goes without saying, but you’ll need a good pair of dress shoes if you want to become a proper adult. And these aren’t just for work. Even if the industry you plan to work in is laid-back, there will come a time when you’ll have to attend something fancy, and you definitely won’t want to wear your beat-up school shoes for those.

A thief-proof bag

Even if you have a car, commuting is a necessary and handy skill to have. But, remember: the city is an unforgiving beast. You can’t always be sure whose hands get on your bag when it’s rush hour on the train, or when the streets get flooded with fellow commuters, so it’s best to invest in something like a PacSafe to lug around your stuff.


Share this: