Before you fight me for making such an undiscerning remark, let’s set some ground rules. No biting. No poking eyes or pulling hair. The rule for not hitting below the belt cannot be overemphasized. So what am I saying? The elephant or the giant in the room after finishing university is a three letter word. JOB. But the words elephant and giant are just prefixed ants. Eleph-ANT and Gi-ANT. I just love this language from England. How you see them depends on your ATTITUDE towards life. And attitude adds up to one hundred. However, today I am not here to analyze words.
What happens when you get a job immediately after campus? You have to be very lucky for it is the best thing that can happen at that stage. It is a chance to put what you have studied thoroughly into practice, to get the much-needed experience for subsequent better opportunities and it provides impetus for a fruitful career. It is a chance to make a name for yourself. You also start your journey towards financial independence. It is always a good thing to put food on the table and make important life decisions like to get married and have children. We have agreed that jobs and salaries are a good thing.
Personally, I have a vacillating relationship with jobs and salaries and this cycle will explain why.
In one way or another most employed people can relate to this cycle. As each month goes we get a JOB (Just Over Broke).
Okay we are not all good at analyzing raw information so I will explain the chart above. As students in campus, we would live life with less than a dollar per day. After getting a job, our socio-economic status changes. We cannot wear stone-washed jeans, cheap hoodies and canvas shoes all week. We are opposed to eating at the kibanda or walking home from work. We move from Mlango Kubwa to a one bed-roomed house in South B. We start patronizing Space Club and her sisters. The trips to Naivasha and Mombasa intensify. Men will attract more ladies. Ladies will spruce up their wardrobes. Everybody changes their phone. I am not talking about people who love the fast life only. The Christian brothers and sisters are also affected. They sign up in different church ministries as guided. They join every wedding committee going on in church. Then there is the Christian Celebrity lifestyle. By now I know you understand what I am saying; a job increases our spending by many folds. Honestly, how much does an undergraduate employee earn as salary. Ikizidi fifty you are very lucky. Toa PAYEE, NHIF, NSSF, HELB na zile ndogondogo. Unapata kwa account ni kitu twedi fae zinaingia. Twenty Five thousand Kenyan Shillings per month if stringently budgeted can reach end month but with the assumed lifestyle, it leaves us hanging precariously on a thread.
I have been watching vodcasts by Jay Shetty. The one titled Why Your Well Paid Job Could Be Ruining Your Life inspired me as I wrote this last episode of Life after Campus Series. If you haven’t watched it, do so now. It will reveal so much that you didn’t know or emphasize on the much you know.
Now let’s have a candid talk about why you should not apply for that job. Subconsciously, we all think a well-paid job will solve every humanly problem there is. Frankly, a well-paid job is an added problem to the ones you already have. Here’s why; your boss pays you well to take care of the shit he or she cannot imagine doing. One of my mentors works as a HR Manager at a top firm. Quite a kickass title, a corner office and lots of other goodies. He also has to live with firing people, telling people that they are not good enough to work at the firm, go through employee reports and advice the team of who to take down. He says it is stressful. A well paid employee should not complain about long hours, fulfilling tasks extremely out of the job description and being kicked about. It is a leverage. Another fact is a well-paid job quickly becomes a blind fold. You never get a clear picture of life or live a purpose driven life. In college you heard stuff about global citizenship and collective responsibilities. A fact is that money changes people. Here’s is an example to take this point down. Yai na Smokie lazima iambatane na kachumbari na kafirifiri. Imagine you work in a top firm with offices in Westlands Nairobi, you have a house in Kileleshwa, and you drive a classy Range Rover. You also fly to conferences in big cities around the world at least twice a month. Basically, your life for the last ten years and next few decades will revolve around big things. If you are not careful, you will lose scope of real life. Life in informal settlements, people dying of hunger and issues like flooding are more likely leave your mind. The job robs you of another kind of fulfillment and happiness. It robs you of a social responsibility.
The last reason why you do not have to apply for a job is simple. Why do you want to work for someone while you can work for yourself? Yesterday I was having a chat with a friend. She thought out that if you earned your employer a million dollars, you were just doing your job. You become a good employee. The kindest employer will give you a raise, a holiday and maybe a new office with increased responsibilities and stressors. He wants you to bring in two million next time. What if you used the same energy but on your own venture and brought in a million dollars? You become a millionaire and not the cash cow. Don’t get carried away yet. Self-employment is hard and requires more than good grades. It needs character and unfathomed strength. It has voluminous risks but no safety net. It is feeds on a dream, survives on an idea and works by determination. In January, we will be focusing on Start-ups Strategies and this will become clearer. For now, the Christmas bells are ringing louder. Enjoy your holidays and see you next year.