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CITY GIRL: Home truths every fresh graduate must learn

November 24th, 2018 3 min read

The graduation season is here. Today I am taking one for the team to break down the reality for the newly-minted graduates who, come January, will be hitting the tarmac looking for the elusive six-figure-salary jobs.

Dear graduands,

Your degree means nothing.

I hate to break this to you, but in the real world, your papers are just that — papers. When you get into the workforce, your degree becomes obsolete because you will be judged by the quality of your work and the frequency with which you use your brain.

It is not about what papers you have, it is about what you can do with the knowledge you gathered in those years.

In a country where we are obsessed with academic credentialism — that over-emphasis on degrees and papers — you will find that some of the sharpest people in your industry will not have those papers.

What am I trying to say?

It is good that you have a degree, but do not look down on those who do not have one because out here, your skills will matter more than your papers.

Manage your expectations

In a world where millennialss — my age group — have demonised the idea of free labour and frowned on the idea of paid with “exposure”, working for free seems like an alien concept. But I will tell you one secret.

When a job comes, no matter how small, take it. Do not look at the modest salary and throw a fit suggesting you are too clever or too educated for that salary.

Take it from a City Girl who worked for free her entire first year because it not only gives you great experience, but it also builds your mettle.
Mettle is your capacity to withstand difficult situations, I am getting into that shortly.

Manage your expectations because unless you have a very powerful godfather your chances of getting that Sh100,000-a-month job are very slim.

Short-cuts actually work…

…But only for a short while. I will be a little boring and tell you to take the high road. There are some values that can be compromised only for so long, but in the end, they remain top. One of those values is hard work and diligence.

The other is integrity. In fact, your integrity is the only thing you will ever truly own, so do not let anyone take it away from you.

This means not doing stupid things like stealing from your employer, giving or taking bribes or being involved in some silly career-ending antics.

The long and short of this is, avoid shortcuts, put in the hours and you will grow.

The hand of God

One of the most difficult lessons I took a very long time to learn is that God does not need the permission or the approval of other people to bless you.

What I am trying to say is that other people’s opinions of you really do not matter and do not play any role in your personal success.

People might try to delay, prevent, sabotage, destroy, obstruct, intercept or block your opportunities, but you must learn one very important life skill.

And that is resilience. You must learn to take a beating and spring back.

It won’t matter who is on your side or who is not because if you work for it, it is yours. So do away with the desire to be loved and liked by everyone.

It will never happen. Just work and let the hand of God do its work!

Your destiny is largely in your own hands

The workforce is like a marathon; we all have kilometers to run. Getting to the finish line and how long it will take you is entirely a personal decision.

Some might choose to sprint through the race, others might choose to run at a slower pace and get there later. Still, others might decide this is not for them and drop out in between.

What I mean is, when you get in, it is entirely up to you to decide how far you want to go in your career, and that decision must be taken early.

You want a few years of experience before you can set out on your own? Decide early.

Life may not be fair, but we are all given equal opportunities to make life what we want it to be.