1. Don’t pursue a ‘lesser’ degree over a ‘superior’ diploma: If a child is passionate about a career but misses the score in high school to go to the university but is offered a course that they are not very interested in, it is better to ‘downgrade’ and pursue a diploma of what they like. It is important that anyone starting out a career to have the drive and passion that will be identifiable by likely employers. Same thing for students who are able to score high scores in high school but their passion lies in the courses that society perceives as ‘less’; settle for where you will thrive.
- Don’t ‘harakisha’ degree/diploma: We encounter many students who want to do a 4-year degree or a 3-year diploma in like half of the time. That’s not beneficial in most cases. Employers today are not very interested in papers, but will try and tap into your experiences and what you picked out of the time you were studying/working to get the papers. Experience is a journey and not a destination. Use your summer breaks to volunteer or do internships at workplaces you feel you give most value. Those are the experiences that your employer will tap into during your interview.
- Travel: A famous Latin proverb goes ‘If you never travel, you will think your mother is the best cook’. Travelling opens up the mind and trains one to be more accommodative of people with different cultures, creeds and ways of thinking. Sample different foods, take all types of public transport, watch a soccer game in a social hall, participate in a cultural ceremony etc. When you get there don’t ‘evangelize’ your beliefs first. Listen to their first then you can share yours and have a mature discussion. In our organization, we are in a series of, as an office, touring all the staffs’ shagz from Bondo to Mpeketoni to Tetu to Meru to Oloitoktok to Marsabit to Kinoo. Its magical. We will share a video soon where one of our directors was made a ‘warrior’ in a community far from his ancestral home for his support of their community. Tour your country and beyond your borders because the more we advance into the future, the more we become a global village.
- Master the Art and Science of Communication: Articulating yourself properly will take you further than intelligence or creativity that cannot be expressed clearly. In the workplace, good communication skills are critical to survival, and vital in conducting business if you decide to be an entrepreneur. Join debate club, toast masters etc. and any other forum that will make you think on your feet, that the words from your mouth work to empower you.
- Believe: Whether it is through religion, spirituality, mysticism, whatever; Positive energy, positive thoughts of knowing it is possible are an ingredient to succeeding.
- Read continuously: Read broadly on topics that you may or may not have firm belief in. Reading increases your knowledge and makes you think differently. Read history, current affairs, science, religion, spirituality, philosophy. Don’t get pissed off or irritated by others views if you find them in your view to be ridiculous, unreasonable, heretical, incoherent etc. Get a broad understanding of the universe and this makes you engage in more intellectual conversation, an element that employers and other business people like and like to associate with.
- Be open minded and tolerant: The future will bring more and more diversity. To be successful in the future, tolerance to different cultural beliefs, religious or non-religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race etc. will be a key ingredient of success. We don’t have to compromise our morals but looking down upon others with differing outlooks on life will be an impediment to one’s progress.
- Give boys and girls equal opportunity: Gender roles are mostly constructs/creations of society and religion. A career choice should be based on a child’s strengths and passions. There is nothing wrong with male nursery school teachers or female mechanics. Kazi ni kazi.
- Parents, let your child be: Many parents consciously or subconsciously have pre-conceived dreams for their children. That’s why you will find a parent forcing their child to ‘repeat’ a class so that they get higher marks, or force them to do a ‘prestigious’ degree yet the child wants to be a musician, a gym instructor, a photographer or a plumber since that is their passion. By the way, the average starting salary of a plumber and many other looked down upon professions is higher than the average starting salary of bankers, lawyers, accountants etc. and you don’t have to go to work in a suit ‘yenye haijavunjwa’ and you have more flexible working hours. Let’s free ourselves from this whatever color of collar mentality. Kazi ni kazi.
- Work Hard: There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success. Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. We hear talk of ‘working smart’ which is good, but most millennials take as ‘smart working’ is just euphemism for laziness, sloppiness and wanting to get the most out of doing the least and that does not work for the majority. Since the dawn of mankind, hard work beats talent/intelligence any time. Hard work is what will take you to where good luck will find you and luck is what happens when serious preparation meets opportunity. This you can take to the bank.
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