Growing up in a typical Kenyan family, every adult remotely related to you sells you the same dream. Study hard in school, get good grades, pursue a prestigious course and you are guaranteed of success in life. Come graduation, your entire family attends the ceremony.
Once the celebrations are over reality rears its ugly head. The entire vibe about education being the key to success turns out to be a big fat lie. The world doesn’t care how great your grades are. Titles accrued from your fancy papers mean nothing. You have to fight for limited opportunities with thousands of other graduates with similar qualifications; some even have master’s degrees and additional certifications when you have none.
Weeks turn into months. You send out tens of job applications. The organizations don’t have the decency to acknowledge receipt of your application or send a regret email. You begin to wonder why you wasted years and resources to get that over-glorified piece of paper when your agemates who never went to college seemed to be doing well in life. You check Betin Kenya Promo code 2018 in an effort to change your fortunes. While on campus you swore never to accept a monthly salary of less than 50k, now you wouldn’t mind working for a stipend that only covers rent, food, and transport.
You are not alone. Thousands of other graduates are experiencing exactly what you are just that they are putting on a brave face. Following the #PerceptionVsReality campaign, I have compiled a list of 10 rules every graduate should live by
#1 Embrace uncertainty
Most graduates find it twice harder to handle uncertainty. In academics when you study hard, revise past papers and follow laid down instructions, excelling is almost guaranteed. Life, on the other hand, is different. You can do your best, work twice harder or sacrifice everything but still fail because there are many other factors that come into play. This fear of the unknown, rejection and failing is what drives most graduates to choose formal employment over entrepreneurship.
With huge corporations like Nokia & Yahoo going under, no firm in our generation is immune to change. This means you have to find a balance in the uncertainty, embrace rejection and failing as part of your journey to greatness
#2 No Job is Beneath You.
Someone must have lied to graduates that having academic papers means you can only be the boss. Lots of graduates turn down gigs they feel are beneath someone of their stature. Others carry this mentality into the workplace, publicly ridiculing older colleagues especially those with less academic qualifications. This sad state of affairs has hindered many of us from progressing in our respective careers.
A degree of any kind only proves you have the capacity to think critically and learn. Stop acting like you are the smartest person in the room. Do away with that misplaced ego. Seek to learn from those who have been doing it longer by tapping into their wealth of experience. This will enable you to become a better professional and prove to them that you are ready to be entrusted with bigger roles in the organization.
In addition, go for internships and volunteer in as many organizations as you can. As an intern, you have unparalleled access to people in the organization you wouldn’t if you were an employee. Use that opportunity to network, make valuable professional contacts and learn everything about your career.
#3 Pursue at least two different fields.
Being an expert in one field is no longer a wise move. Tech gurus are working overdrive to devise — cost-effective & more efficient— ways of doing business. Imagine spending your entire lifetime building a single career path then one day you are declared redundant thanks to some new technology.
Social media has replaced broadcast media as a major source of news, cut into their profits, forcing major media houses to undertake massive layoffs. Mobile banking is equally revolutionizing the financial services sector.
In 2017, Artificial Intelligence bots Lisa and Billy were designed to provide the public with access to legal services hence cut down the cost of hiring lawyers for some tasks. No profession is unscathed by technological disruption.
Combining at least two different fields allows you to reap the benefits of being multidisciplinary and offers a lifeline should one career path go tits up
#4 Build a Personal Brand
Think of yourself as an item on a supermarket shelf full of similar products. What would make a potential customer pick you over other products? The answer is your branding.
Most professionals especially those in technical fields detest marketing themselves. They believe their work should speak for itself. That’s an old school of thought. There are millions of other people who can do what you do. The Best way for you to beat them is to aggressively market yourself while still offering excellent services.
Thanks to internet penetration in this country it is much easier to create a personal brand. All you need to do is figure out the kind of professional you want the world to perceive you and endeavor to showcase that on all your social media pages. Running a blog where you regularly publish about issues in your area of expertise catapults you into a thought leader.
#5 Apply the Compounding Effect
I am an impatient man. I bet you too are. See this is a problem that afflicts we millennials. We want to get things done right now. You want to clear campus, buy a dream car, land and build a beach villa, all in just two years yet your own parents worked for decades before acquiring half of that.
When this doesn’t happen we get depressed and seek solace in alcohol or accumulate unnecessary debt in a bid to outdo our comrades.
You and I might not like it, however, natural laws dictate that good things take time. The little things you do, smart choices you make and little milestones you achieve now may not seem much but over time they pile up, turning into major wins. It is called the Compounding Effect.
#6 Start Now
If I plucked a strand of my hair each time someone told me they are waiting for the perfect moment to embark on actualizing their business idea, talent or life goal, I would be completely bald by now.
I attribute this to popular TV shows on entrepreneurship which have corrupted our minds to think there are perfect moments in life. You prepare a 1-minute sales pitch, attend countless networking events hoping that one day you will bump into an angel investor rattle off your pitch and boom you sign a multimillion shillings deal. This works for a very tiny fraction in real life because lady luck smiles upon those who are prepared.
If you have a business idea, hope to further your education or have an unexploited talent the best time to start pursuing it is now. Waiting for the stars to align perfectly may never come to pass. To make it worse, responsibilities balloon with each passing day. If not careful you will soon be part of those who spend their days wallowing in regret. I wish I did it when I had a chance.
#7 Socialize outside your circle.
We often hang out exclusively with our contemporaries. Communities of those who share similar interests or life philosophy. Interacting with older people and those out of our social circle is frowned upon. There are a few benefits to this arrangement, nonetheless, it limits your growth and perspective towards life.
You get to compete with your pals in achieving things you collectively find appealing instead of pursuing what’s really important.
I was a victim of this until I began spending more time with men in their late forties & fifties. Where else my friends and I were blowing our cash on luxuries, designer clothes, gadgets, cars accessories & never-ending parties, the older fellas invested their money in tangible assets.
It is through my interactions with people outside of this circle that I learned invaluable information on how to acquire land, managing property, invest, run a business and secure a future for my yet-to-be-born kids.
#8 Always stay loyal to you.
This one night I was in the studio preparing for my evening radio show when a guest I had never seen before walked in. Without invitation, she harshly criticized everything I was doing. Naturally, I was angry at her intrusion, however, I choose to listen because even the village madman sometimes says wise things.
“Mark, in this world you should only be loyal to one person and that’s you. I was in your position before and they discarded me like a soiled tissue after they were done with me, luckily I had built a name for myself and so should you.”
Her words stuck with me. I understood what brought up the bitterness in her voice. See, I have witnessed sacking of employees in the companies I worked for. Men and women who had dedicated their lives to their work laid off without an iota of mercy when the economy nosedived regardless of how dedicated they were to the company or the years put in.
Unless you have a major stake in an organization always put your interests above everyone else albeit subtly.
#9 Develop financial discipline.
Financial discipline is one thing that eludes many of us regardless of education levels, age, profession, gender or intellectual capabilities. The society is hell-bent on molding us into important members of the society, professionals but ignores the most important life lesson, which is on how to handle money.
I know a 35-year-old man staying in a house whose rent is higher than his salary, apparently because he is a well-known figure, then constantly borrows cash from his friends to stay afloat. I have also seen colleagues who were earning thrice what the amount I was kicked out of their houses and cars repossessed because salaries delayed for a month.
Making money is the easier part, keeping the wealth you generate is requires a higher degree of financial discipline otherwise you could end up falling from grace to abject poverty should your business go under or you are fired for whatever reason.
Since this knowledge isn’t inborn, enlist the help of a financial consultant or friend who is good with money to help you come up with a budget and strategy on how to best save, invest and spend your money.
#10 Enjoy all life seasons.
The last couple of months have inscribed this lesson on my forehead. See, for a long period of time, my life was smooth. Everything I touched turned into gold. Midas touch. I was winning in every sphere of life. It felt like I was superhuman. There are times I would flirt with the idea that I’m probably an alien, untouchable by issues that afflict feeble human beings, then life happened.
Suddenly, my winning streak was no more. Nothing I tried to do would turn out successful. One loss after another. No matter how hard I worked things just didn’t go as expected. I spent weeks trying to get my mojo back until someone pointed out to me what I was going through is simply life.
There are seasons in life. There are times you will be in deep pain others full of joy. There are times success will be your middle name others failure will pitch a tent in your living room. The trick is never to let the seasons get into your head.
Appreciate each season and pick lessons from each. The most important lesson from this fact of life is that nothing is permanent so don’t stress over it or mistreat people thinking you will never need their help. Through it, all find a way to stay happy, hopeful and enthusiastic.
Written by Mark Maish