Build a career that’s about more than money

Many are losing or have lost themselves in the name of striking an almost impossible life-work balance. As a result, they find themselves completely caught up in the rat race.

In the last few decades, the focus has been on getting more than one degree, which has created a pool of over-educated and under-experienced graduates in the market who do not have basic skills.

And despite the huge investments such people have made in university fees and loans, the only people appearing to benefit from these are employers, who are having a field day, given that supply is much higher than demand. It may sound crass, but it is true.

We seem to have forgotten that we are not dealing with cattle or perishable products here; it is human life. The value of human beings in the workplace seems to be diminishing.

So who is to blame for this cart-before-the-horse game plan? Both the employee and employer. The person looking for a job is as responsible as the organisation recruiting.

The investment a person makes in their education and knowledge acquisition is beyond refundable.

Take the number of years it takes to attain an acceptable education, most of which will not be used when you get into the real world of work. Add the fact that the amount of money spent to achieve a certificate that can get you an interview has burnt a huge hole in yours or your parents’ pockets.

Fulfilling dreams

And even after all this, there are no guarantees that you will ever find the ‘right’ position or earn enough to recover your losses — unless you choose to compromise yourself and become who you are not.

This is where the money comes in. Most people are in their jobs for the money. How many actually work for the pleasure of doing what they love and fulfilling the dreams they had bubbling inside them as far back as they can remember.

Even some of those courageous enough to disregard their parents’ choices for them and pursue their own aspirations somehow end up taking positions for the money and perks.

What happened to living a life filled with joy for the vocation you have chosen? What made you compromise yourself? If you allow the market to dictate your life, then you cannot claim to have any autonomy over your choices.

What is the point of an extravagant education if it steals your choices? What is the point of employer criteria for job selection if at the end they are buying your life at the cost of your freedom? How can you change this unending cycle and stop selling yourself short just to make money?

You can, you have the right and this is the time to take responsibility for your future and to break out of the cycle of material corporate control. This is only possible when you choose to dictate your criteria. Your freedom to do so is all yours, so choose more than just money. Choose your own unique direction.

The writer is a trainer, writer and poet. Email: [email protected]