I usually give time to young people to discuss their career progress and aspirations. Now with virtual interactions, I have more time to do this.
With hindsight, I know several mistakes one must avoid to progress. Here are some of my standard advice:
1.If you do not have something to do, find anything to do. Just be busy. Wake up early. Work 365 days a year and do your best. Create problems so that you have something to keep your minds busy. You don’t want to be comfortable through and through. I usually ask young people to ask for something to do from their parents daily. Ask your mother or father every morning you get a chance to meet them “Daddy, anything you would like me to do for you today? How would you evaluate work well done?” Such questions keep the doors open. Show responsibility. And challenge someone to think about you throughout the day. You must create opportunities.
For folks without parents or friends that may provide some work, find a community where you can serve. Churches and Mosques have been opened. Start by going to Church and trying to be helpful. Take the readings, participate in Church activities like Choirs and similar events. Be handy to the Church leadership. You want to be noticed. You need to get references. Make sure Parishioners see you. And try to tell them what you can do and the challenges and causes you are passionate about. Whatever you do, seek for challenges. Do not ask for free money.
2. Yesterday, a young man told me that he has been working with a certain company. But he thinks they are cheating him. The owner seems to be earning a lot and for him not. He was considering leaving. I asked him why he thought he was being cheated? “I have been at the company now for 4 years, and all I have is a house.” I would expect to be owning a car and a big chunk of land in the village. But the money is coming is slow.
Some people cannot settle until they see someone is unhappy.
Many ‘friends’ may advise you to become a rebel even when they see you are doing far better than them. Some people can be that bad. They may make you feel a failure when you are doing far better than them. That way you become unhappy, which is their objective.
For that reason, avoid asking for advice from folks that are not doing better than you. First, assess context. Are these people your OBs or peers? Do you come from the same village? Are they age-mates? Did they get jobs in the government or private sector? Is their wealth real or corrupt driven? Are they doing better than you because they earn a decent salary and benefits or because they inherited wealth?
Always ask why are the people advising you not doing better than you? Why are they not more happy and successful if they want to say you took a wrong path in life?
Career and life’s work can be interesting. Don’t just act on any advice you get. Most of the time, people are just jealous of your progress and what to take your steps backwards.
Be careful with whom you listen to. They could be setting you up for bad times.
Many times few people know the challenges the business owners or CEO go through daily. In many small businesses, despite the CEO/ Owner being the first to report to work, they rarely draw a salary. Yet the staff get theirs. Seek to understand how the business makes money and try as much as possible to reach out to your direct supervisor to update them of your priority projects and anything they would want you to add or help. That way, you establish yourself as a reliable professional.
No one with ongoing communication with the decision-makers can fail to climb the corporate ladder. Do it often.
To be continued…
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.