Aku is a very recent undergraduate from a prestigious university who graduated with first class (Hons.), she met some very successful entrepreneurs in her industry who were taken with her mannerisms and excellent interpersonal skills and thus offered her employment anytime she felt she was ready. Before her national service placement came, she had already decided on one of the companies whose offer she received and now she’s working with a pay slightly higher than what her colleagues are receiving. The money is good, but she’s always confused because she’s not so sure she would like to stay on in the industry.
Felix, on the other hand, graduated with a second class and got posted to an institution where it’s more or less like he’s not needed. But he needs the monthly GHS 350.00 allowance offered him, so he drags himself to work each day and spends the whole day texting and social mediaing(if that’s even a word) all day. He doesn’t see the need to redeem his time and use the free internet access to do something useful.
Kaysi, also a fresh graduate with second class lower has been fortunate enough to be posted to a company that makes use of his degree, even though they stretch his personal skills and abilities. In his mind, everything is sorted now, so he comes to work late, leaves early and yet gets his work done well and mostly on time. After all, his expertise is required and he’s assured of a place in the company after completing his one-year mandatory service.
I’m pretty sure you can relate with the stories of these young people personally or probably know a son, daughter, nephew, niece, friend etc who finds themselves in such circumstances.
As a friend of mine will always say, “however you start out, largely affects how things turn out later“, which is akin to saying a good beginning should lead to a great end. One most important detail of life that young people need to understand is that no one is gonna make your career decisions for you. Yea, sometimes parents do that, but for the most part, each individual is supposed to decide their path and determine to see it through to the very end. So even if your parents choose a path for you that you don’t like, you can still make something good come out of it, for your own good.
After discovering and determining which career path you’re gonna travel. it’s time now to get your hands dirty.
5 WAYS TO KICKSTART YOUR CAREER
I. HAVE A PLAN: I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Failing to plan is planning to fail. True that having a plan doesn’t ensure success but at least with a plan, most preferably a written one, you can always trace your progress and make the necessary changes when it’s called for. With a plan of what to achieve and how to achieve it, your time is rarely wasted even if you don’t live strictly by the plan. Give yourself timelines and milestones and reward yourself for the successes clocked, but don’t let one success be the only success you clock, keep at it and make sure you explore all the potential within you. Someone with a career path and plan, will not count national service as a no-brainer and thus work anyhow he wants to. Because he knows where he’s going he would make good use of his time, build networks and establish important relationships that will push him further in achieving the full force of his dream. So that anytime he’s tempted to behave like nothing is at stake, his plans and the size of his dreams remind him of the journey ahead. You might argue that there’s no rush but the earlier you build a consistent and focused work lifestyle, the better. Habits don’t need years to form, they can be formed in as little as 21 days and yet can take a lifetime to change. So if you know you want to make a difference, and build yourself as the best, start now. Get a plan!!!!!
II. ESTABLISH A BRAND: The most important aspect of people that speaks for them even without them opening their mouths, is their brand. The brand is evident in a person’s choice of words, actions, dressing and relationship with the people they come into contact with. Fortunately or unfortunately, as I always say, people form perceptions about you without your permission, so why not give them the perception you want them to form. With the knowledge of who you see yourself to be in the next 5-10 years, build that person with your everyday attitude and relationships. What do you want to be known for in the workplace? Are you the one who roots for peace in a hostile environment? Are you known for being honest and frank no matter who has you cornered? How will you stand out from all the other people: permanent staff or otherwise? Would your employer(s) at the moment be willing to pay you more because you’re adding value to yourself and the company? Your brand simply makes you stand out from the others. Branding is very important in becoming successful. For the Christians who would think I’m talking something that isn’t feasible for a Christian, study carefully Christ’s life and ministry. Everywhere he went, he was known as a solution provider and an honest man, regardless of who he hang out with. Paul was known to be an intensive person, he went to all and any lengths to share his faith. So you have no excuse for being lazy and disorganized. Be a professional Christian!!! Put in every work and effort needed to build that person you see in your dreams, always keeping in mind that little drops of water make a mighty ocean.It doesn’t matter if your employer doesn’t keep you, someday, he’ll give a good recommendation about you. One important brand you should portray no matter who you are or where you work is integrity. It’s something money can’t buy. Unless you’re probably a con man, then you don’t need this, but everyone needs this quality.
III. KEEP UP THE FIGHT: Cool, now you have a plan, you’ve established a brand, but things aren’t working out as you envisioned. You quickly lose interest in the job and can’t seem to find a reason to continue. This situation is one that is very common in the workplace unless you’re a very highly self-motivated individual, frustrations of the workplace can easily put you down and cause you to forget the plans and dreams you have within a second. It’s needful to be aware of this possible blockade and prepare to handle it head on when it arrives. Don’t despair when hard times hit you, embrace the challenge and find ways of moving past those hurdles that threaten your dream and career overall. Keep your goals before you always and ensure that you’re always making progress towards those goals even when things don’t look like they are shaping up well.
IV. BUILD AND VALUE RELATIONSHIPS: For some people, they are benefitting from the friendships and relationships their parents have built over the years. Others are also struggling to build their own relationships from scratch. However, irrespective of whichever group you find yourself in, there’s still need to get in touch with people and network. Get to know people who add value to you, as well as those to whom you can add value. Maintain balance in the relationships and networks, don’t just be sucking people dry of virtue, also share with others who are upcoming what you have learned and established. You’re more valued amongst your networks when they realize that you add value and don’t always take from them. As an old Ghanaian adage says ” hand go, hand come” –literally.
V. LEAVE ROOM FOR GROWTH: Growth isn’t about numbers, but about value. That is to say that, growing in your career doesn’t come with age or the number of people you know or who know you, so to say. Growth here is about the value you add to yourself and others on the whole. Attend entrepreneurship clinics, awards events, lectures, and exhibitions etc. Spend money on books and tapes, videos etc. that will help add value to you as an individual and your business/career. Don’t be stingy with what you know either, share with others: young and old, rich and poor. The more you share, the better your understanding. Sometimes the people you even share with become factors that hold you accountable for your words and goals. They serve as a check on you when you become too lazy or demoralized to follow through with your own dreams and goals. That is how you grow as an individual and grow your career as well.
In the words of a wise man, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
In conclusion, if you have started out to work without a solid plan, you’re not too late, the only person late is the one who never recognizes the importance of having a plan and a focus. Whilst you’re still in whichever working environment you find yourself, determine to find out what career you would love to pursue, and what it is that you will enjoy doing for as long as your career lasts. Read books, take personality tests, speak to the HR manager in your organization, speak to people you know in the various industries you think you may have interest in, just put in your all to get your career path and plans sorted out. It is only then that you can move with purpose and precision and make decisions that impact your end positively.
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