Employment is not everything

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In a world that is so focused on titles, I am here to demolish the myth that one has to be employed to make it in life. Our parents look forward to the day they will introduce us by our titles. “You know my daughter, Martha? She is a doctor.” The society has made titles so important that we have started viewing it as the baseline of determining one’s success. It is not uncommon to come across an old friend in town and the first thing they ask is, “where are you nowadays?” My dear friend, that right there is not a question meant to find out where you live or how your life has been since campus. That is a question whose answer is supposed to start with “I work with the IEBC now. I am their new IT guy.”

I have never understood why people chase after titles at the expense of their own happiness. Yes, you went to campus and did a degree in economics. But do you really want to be an economist? Yes, you went to campus and graduated with honors in electrical engineering, but are you ready to be stuck in a career that you do not love for the rest of your life?

Most of us get out of high school with the notion that we know what we want to do with our lives. We often jump at the mention of ‘heavy’ courses such as medicine, actuarial science, urban planning, and law. Most of the time, however, we fail to realize that we are chasing the wrong dreams. You may get into college and be the valedictorian in your class, yet your heart is not in the course that you toiled for. Heck, you might even be poached before your graduation by a rapidly rising company to share your intelligence with them and be reimbursed generously for your efforts. At the end of the day, you will have a degree, a colorful picture in your graduation gown, a good-paying job, and a safety net but you are not happy.

You don’t have to be employed. Having a job that will pay your bills, afford you a nice car, and allow you to slay through all Nairobi and out-of-town hotspots with your friends every weekend is not worth selling your soul to the devil. My people, all you need is a career. Not a job. A career is something you are passionate about. Being a photographer. Being an actor. Emceeing during events. Being the guy behind the decks that gets people dancing at parties. Travelling. Making great food and barbeque for your friends and family.

Just find something that you are passionate about and work on it. You do not need to quit your job to do it. You can do it as a side hustle, grow it, and become it. You can do it as a part-time gig during weekends, off days, public holidays, or even after work. You can even start a project and find volunteers or pay someone to keep it running when you are not available. Just find something that you love and work on it. It may not pay you as much as your job when you start, but will give you a level of gratification that you cannot receive from anything else. Do your thing and become a CEO at 19, 22, or 26. People are making it in this life, so why should you limit yourself?

By Martha Mugo

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