An opinion piece by Perina Chitubura – Cape Town, South Africa
Nothing beats the excitement of bagging a degree or diploma, leaving home and heading out to find employment.
One is filled with hope and anticipation, at this point, it feels like you can conquer the world. I had the same feeling a few years back when I held my certificate in my hand, I felt that I was close to winning a Pulitzer already!
I told my mom that I was leaving home and felt it in my gut that the world was my oyster and I'd be employed in no time. A few months down the line I experienced something totally different to what I had in mind.
I was under-qualified, couldn't afford to work as an unpaid intern and soon had to make other plans so that I could eat, pay rent and afford travel fare if I was to continue chasing my dream.
I started looking at any job that would sustain me, soon I found myself in a call centre marketing life insurance. I surprised myself when I accepted this job. I got lots of sales coming in and felt more and more confident each day. I made a decent living but deep down I still had this hunger to pursue my dream as a media practitioner.
Months later I resumed my search and again nothing arose.
The reality of surviving everyday life was fighting against my passion, my dream, my career.
I decided to become a freelance writer and I took both paid and unpaid gigs, I didn't mind as long as I pursued my passion.
Now, this has probably happened to a lot of people especially in the diaspora with different qualifications. You don't have to remain stuck, you can find another way to juggle your dream job and the reality you find yourself in.
The employment landscape is a lot more flexible than it was years back. Our generation has a lot more to work with. People can work from home, or part-time so no one has to get stuck at work looking for a way to pay the bills and lose out on their career.
It's just a matter of making a Plan B, which will generate income while you gain experience doing freelance work or internships.
Others have gone on to excel in the jobs that they chose as Plan B, they have become experts and ended up unwilling to leave these particular fields of work. I know a number of people who hung up their diplomas and certificates but never actually used them because they have done so well in industries they never thought they would work in.
So whoever you are, whatever your dreams are, keep pushing even if it doesn't make sense at the moment, there's always away.🙂