Taking pride in your vocation 1

Having the right attitude to work can be a determining factor in the success or failure of an individual or business. Often people find themselves in a job that is not their initial choice, or something they may not like to do. Let’s consider for example the case of Ade, who successfully completed a degree in Business Administration, with the expectation of getting a job managing a department in an international business. Having job-hunted for one year without success, he is forced to take up the only job on offer with a local business that sells flowers and birthday cakes. Ade hopes that he would only have to do this for a few months before he gets a more attractive offer. This is the real life experience of so many young people today. They have worked hard to study and pay for a university education only to graduate and have to face unemployment or under-employment with their pressure and pain.

In a situation like this, the tendency is to take any frustration out on the people around you. Many people in Ade’s shoes would consider their fill-in job as substandard and would give it ‘substandard’ commitment. Their attitude would be ‘When I get a job that suits my qualifications, I would give it my best effort and commitment.’ However, they often lose out in the end as they may not get the dream job sooner enough and they also lose out on the opportunities that may open with the present job.

My point is this article ‘there is dignity in labour.’ Whichever vocation you may find yourself, whether it is temporary or for the long term, it is imperative that the best attitude and effort is applied. Far too many people lose out on further opportunities and promotion because they consider some jobs as beneath them. To succeed there need to be a change of attitude to recognise that there is dignity in labour, and to appreciate whatever vocation you are in and what others do as well.

The reality of our country and the experience of many people is that there are not enough white collar jobs to go round all the people who will graduate from university each year. To compound this matter, there is also stiff competition from people who have graduated from foreign universities and are coming back home to seek employment. Therefore, many job seekers may need to follow in the footsteps of successful entrepreneurs of our time by starting businesses and becoming employers of labour.

There are a few examples of people in our society who have gone from nothing to owning successful businesses and becoming millionaires in vocations that many may consider odd. The common thread amongst these people is the hardwork they put into business and the excellent spirit and passion with which they pursue their choice of work. The most recent example I heard is of a woman who was a house-help who has now moved on to become an wardrobe-arranger because she has a skill in this area and has given it her attention. She has become known in this vocation and there is a demand for her services. Demand for your service means the privilege to name your price and to choose what you want to do, how you want to do it and when it is convenient. This is a good place to be in business but no one gets there by chance, it is only through dedication.

There is also the story of the man who is the king of small chops (finger food); he is at every notable party as he serves his small chops hot. They are cooked at the venue to ensure top quality service; his dedication has paid off after many years of consistent effort and he is now a very successful gentleman.

There are makeup artists who have excelled to the point that they are unable to cope with demand. There are caterers, florists, cake decorators and hairdressers who have become millionaires. The common thread is that they did not consider any of these vocations as too low. They often started small and gave their very best.

I will like readers to ponder on the following:

  • Whatever your hands find to do; do it well.
  • Do not regard any vocation or job as beneath you, there are untapped opportunities in our economy.
  • Work is better than handouts; don’t denigrate anyone trying to eke out a living whatever they may be doing provided it is legal and moral.
  • If you start small, and are devoted to excellence, you will strike it big one day.
  • Any vocation can be turned to success; don’t forget the small chops man, the wardrobe arranging woman, or the make-up artists, all of whom have made it big.
  • Don’t copy other people, identify a need and go for it.

We all benefit when we do things right!