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Monday, May 23, 2011

Stop hustling for a minute and take a step back

I remember the parents of a friend of mine fretting 12 years ago that the major bank their son worked for wasn't offering him a permanent & pensionable job i.e. in spite of the swelling sea of unemployment in Kenya his job with a reputable bank still wasn't good enough for them because it wasn’t permanent & pensionable. Well 12 years and significant bonuses/gratuities later he is still on 1 year contracts and doing really well by any standards. The main problem is that our parents and sadly many of us, still judge our career success by the ancient standards. Many of our parents graduated from college/high school etc. over 40 years ago and in those days employers would literally line up and compete to offer them jobs, a far cry from today’s reality. These days not even the village choir bothers to show up at the new graduates homecoming party because chances are the young chap will be living on their hand outs for the next few years. Besides the villagers’ soon realized that their ululations are better used at gatherings organized by the local MP’s than wasted on poor fellows with limited chance of getting permanent & pensionable jobs for their kids.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stop wasting money!!

I’d like you to picture for a minute all the people you know who cleared university 1-2 years ago and are yet to find a job. Without exception I can guarantee you that all of them have taken or are planning to take a short course in one thing or another. Millions of shillings are spent on these courses that we are led to believe will increase our employability, while the truth is that, in the shape and form that they are today, most of these short courses are a big waste of money. The tragedy is that this cycle will continue for as long as they are tarmacking and stop as soon as they get a job. If the course you spent 4 years studying in Uni isn’t enough to get you a job I doubt a 3 week business writing course will make any difference. Now, IF the course was to exploit the graduates’ prodigious writing talent, with a view to launching a freelance writing career, then I am all for it. I hope you see where I am going with this. Accumulating piles of certificates will no more increase your chances of getting a job than it will improve your sex life although some college professors may disagree. Having said that, I take my hat off to the entrepreneurs who developed a very lucrative market by convincing us that joining their college will enhance our chances of getting a job. 

So before you start stuffing all that hard earned money in the college bursars pocket, take time to REALLY think about what it is that you are good at and whether or not the course will enhance how you can maximise that gift.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why a 9-to-5 job is the wrong place to seek job satisfaction & financial independence...

There are a number of reasons for this, but in a nutshell it boils down to the fact that very few corporates have actually figured out how to identify and nurture the real performers. Often what happens is that the guys who get all the breaks are usually the ones who have raised their profile in the organization by talking a lot, sending the most emails, lobbied more effectively etc, while somewhere in the dungeons is a guy who actually does the work. Indeed, hundreds of books have been written about how to climb the corporate ladder and the bulk of the advice is about managing your personal brand, image and other people’s perception of you. In other words your destiny depends NOT on how good your work is, but rather on if someone else THINKS you are working. I know a guy who spent close to 2 out of 5 days a week, playing office politics to the extent of taking clandestine trips out of the country to meet with his boss’s superiors. Today this individual has reached the top of the food chain in his organization without ever having to actually do anything apart from undermining every boss who was unlucky enough to cross his path on the way to corporate nirvana.

Corporate Parasite!

You all work with at least one person like that and I am sure it frustrates the daylights out of you. Take a good look at them and start sucking up because the reality is that