Upon introducing yourself to someone, the question which often follows is “What do you do”? Our careers have become a vital part of our identity and thus it is important that when deciding what you wish to do with the rest of your life, it is something that aligns with your core beliefs, dreams and talents. Read below as Shamiso Kumbirai speaks to us about the importance of choosing a career path that resonates with you…
We all have hopes and dreams of achieving something we deem to be memorable in this life. For many of us there is a sense of motivation, a belief , that there is a purpose that we are destined to achieve. For some young hopefuls who are on the brink of graduation or have already graduated, their chosen field of study may not directly resonate with where they believe their passion lies. The story of people moving away from there career path has become quite commonplace in this day and age. There are exciting opportunities for career women in Africa, regardless of whether a taught or technical skill is required. So we find engineers in investment banking and lawyers in logistics. The increased ability to pursue what career path resonates with us and spark our passion is brilliant – but what is not commonly said to us is that even passion and purpose need a plan, persistence and patience. Through experience, both personal and preached by others, I’ve come to realize how critical these three things are when choosing your career path.
The benefit of a conventional career path is that it is often almost planned out for you. For instance, upon graduating an engineer would serve a few years as an engineer in training, obtain their professional registration and then be fully qualified and competent to practice independently in that field. The path is less clear to navigate for the few pioneers who venture away from their taught profession. Either way, the world is getting increasingly competitive you need to have an idea of how to stay relevant. So whether you need to further develop a skill or learn a new trade; be sure to have a plan of what the major things you need to achieve are and a realistic timeframe of when you plan to achieve them.
Sticking to the plan is the second lesson. I’m not saying you need to plan every detail of your life out, and if for whatever reason things don’t go exactly as planned you might as well quit while you are ahead. Of course there needs to be some flexibility, life is not static after all. Distractions are inevitable, but don’t allow that shiny object to deter you completely from what you want. A strong commitment to your vision amidst these changes can often help you persist through any unscheduled pit-stops and have you remembering the greater scheme of things. Life unfortunately doesn’t allow us to fully write our own stories – but it does afford us the opportunity to choose our reactions to them.
Finally and probably the lesson I find most challenging – patience. The sense of motivation is often followed by a sense of urgency and instant gratification. I’m an instant noodles, instant soup, instant everything kind of girl. Once I know clearly what I want – I want to get it done now. I’m sure many people share the same sentiment; but bear in mind that the definition of a career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of time in a person’s life and with opportunities for progress. So when that itch of impatience begins to surface, be sure to remember that “if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time” (Steve Jobs)
Article By: Shamiso Kumbirai
Civil Engineering Master’s Candidate – University of Cape Town
Image taken by Bianca Forlee