Choosing a career
The world in which we live demands that every able bodied person is gainfully employed. Whereas some readily seek employment, others don’t consider being employed as a priority in their lives. On the other side of the coin, there are persons who will tend to pick and choose the kind of employment that they will accept. This attitude is often a reflection of one’s individual pride which is associated with social status, academic background and shortsightedness.
It is understandable that most individuals are optimistic that the goals they set for themselves will be achieved. It would appear that some individuals are not minded that all goals can not and will not be achieved. In a time when jobs are scarce, it is mind boggling that an individual would refuse gainful employment, as they consider some forms of employment demeaning. For example an individual who has spent many years in law or medical school, or who has read for a master’s or doctorate degree, may find working in an office as a clerical officer unacceptable.
Should this type of thinking pervade, it certainly cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor to the high level of unemployment that exists throughout the world. With many young persons now availing themselves of a tertiary education, there is the expectation that on graduating from college or university, high paying jobs await them. This thinking is more or less driven by the qualification attained, be it a master’s Degree or doctorate, and further, the decoration attached of ‘First Class Honours, Distinction, or being named on the Honour Roll.’ The subsequent disappointment that sets in seems to serve as the catalyst for the demotivation of these individuals.
It is virtually a given that many young persons having completed a course of study, come into the workplace loaded with knowledge, ideas, skills and talents. As is often the case, they sadly lack work experience. The challenge which confronts many of these individuals is that of having to start at the bottom and work their way up to the top. When the unexpected high salary does not materialise, there is likely to be the venting of frustration. There is the customary cry that the pay is not commensurate with the time, effort, and financial outlay invested in years of study.
Next is the problem of a saturated job market, which in itself may be a source of worry for many job seekers. There has been the tendency for many persons pursuing studies to follow programmes that are popular. For example, the trend suggest that based on perceived market demands, many are pursuing studies in the fields of management studies and information technology. The overwhelming number of graduates in these fields means that many will not immediately find employment. With the high numbers of qualified persons in the market seeking job opportunities, there is the looming possibility that the fierce competition could serve to depress the rate of salaries paid in varying sectors.
Undoubtedly, the prospects of not finding the preferred choice of employment can be daunting, but it needs not to be a devastating blow to the realising of one’s hopes, dreams and aspirations. Sometimes the circumstances may warrant modifying the intended career path, although it is advisable that careful thought is exercised before such a decision is taken. For some it may be difficult to make alternate employment choices, but in the circumstances where the availability opportunities are limited, the next best option might be that of taking what is available at the time until the fortunes change. This might be a challenge to some who may find great difficultly excepting what may be considered as employment that falls beneath their expectations.
First time job seekers ought not to be oblivious to the fact for the most part, they bring very little to the table, with the exception of paper qualifications they have acquired. They ought to erase from their minds the notion that a paper qualification is what matters most. It has repeatedly been said that nothing beats experience. In a competitive work environment, the lack of experience presents itself as the biggest challenge for first time job seekers.
The fact that young job seekers have had no job attachment experience, accounts for the gap in their preparation for entry into the world of work. This is a failing that the relevant authorities ought to recognize and address. In remedying this situation, it is unlikely to reduce the level of competition, but it would obviously place first time and prospective employees in a better position to secure employment. The fact that one’s curriculum vitae could highlight that the applicant has some work experience can possibly make all the difference between success and failure to a job application.
*Dennis De Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant for Regional Management Services Inc.
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