Has it ever occurred to you that being “too educated” could be a problem? Well in a world where education seems so prestigious most people go through their entire life acquiring one qualification after another in the hopes of “getting ahead” or increasing their worth. However, is a qualification the only way one can attach value to their worth? Let’s face it; we are in Africa where the unemployment rate ranges around 30% so it makes sense to hedge unemployment by pilling up qualifications.
However, I surely cannot be the only person that finds this systematic way of life problematic. We move from day care, to primary school, to high school, university, internship, then a permanent job, from this company to the next, from this position to another, overseas and back, senior management and finally mentoring the next generation on how to follow the same script, then retirement. That’s life for most people, so predictable and safe. But why does it have to be this way, are we trained to abide by organizational rules from childhood to adulthood till death? Were we created to be institutionalized, where we follow other people’s rules in order to safely navigate through life?
What puzzles me is, when does one break free from this societal norm? Can one ever “grow up” and create their own rules in their own organization? The truth is life is not kind to the outliers who dare to be different, I’ve experienced it firsthand. You have to be brave, persistent and an independent thinker to truly create your own playground. Hence most people just stick to the systematic way of living to avoid uncertainty.
So to those who find climbing the corporate ladder appeasing, never make the mistake of accumulating too many qualifications and expecting to be remunerated for it. If you, for example, complete your MBA but still make the same decisions as you did before the qualification, then you wasted your time and in fact don’t expect your incentive to sky rocket, because employers incentivize those who add value. Getting ahead depends on making a valuable contribution that saves or makes your employer more money.
Therefore, it’s vital to discern why you are obtaining an additional qualification, how it fits into where you see yourself in future, how will it help you contribute or add value to the organization you are currently at or plan to join, and most importantly how will it improve your decision making process. Most of us do not have labour intensive professions so feeding the mind is so instrumental to our individual success, and that’s what I see is lacking in young professionals. There seems to be too little time spent on investing in one’s self, and the truth is, your value is based on how well you think and execute.
Recently I’ve learned to be more realistic, open minded and less judgmental, because people are different and we are not exposed to the same things, neither do our brains process information in the same way. However, it pains me to see brilliant people not earning to their full potential because they haven’t mastered how to survive in the real world. Life is about survival and those who succeed have found the formula to surviving well. If anything, please strive to add value, be an asset and ensure your existence positively impacts others. It’s no secret that I’m one of those economists who advocate for entrepreneurship, however I’ve become so sensitive to the fact that it’s not for everyone, especially since one has to be extremely crazy to think that they can reshape the future and most people aren’t that crazy.