Use your education for enterprise

Allan Bukusi, the author of ‘How to Prosper in Employment’, never ceases to amaze me.

He shares his experience at a famous factory where he worked soon after graduating from college. In this factory, he met an elderly man who had been on the same job at the plant for 17 years.

He quickly dismissed the man until he was rudely shocked at how the man had prospered. The man lived in his own house 50 miles away, owned three 40-seater buses and had a piece of land on which he and his wife kept some dairy cows.

Bukusi, on his part had a new car paid for by a loan from the company, lived in a rented house in an upper class estate, owned a hi-tech TV that he got with the help of a bank overdraft, kept food in a hired fridge.

On the contrary, the gross pay of the man he was dismissing was equal to what he paid in tax yet he had done so much. He decided to confront the man with this question: ‘What are you doing here? Judging from what you have already, you do not need this job?

The answer this man gave was simply classic: “Young man, all those things out there house, buses, farms and all were born out of this job. And, as we speak right now, I have not milked all the opportunities this job provides me. If the management asks me to go, I will leave gracefully.”

The words of the old man cut through his heart like a hot razor blade. At the rate Bukusi was piling up debt, he would never own anything at all.

He was more qualified than the elderly man who had worked for 17 years but lacked experience. Experience is more than the time spent at work or in the office. It is the total value of the knowledge, exposure and expertise you develop on the job. It is more than confidence. Do you know that some people just repeat one year’s experience 10 years in row?

The elderly man had experience. On the other had Bukusi just had qualification. He did not know how to use his education as an enterprise to help him cope with the realities of life. As he was busy piling up debts as a newly employed young man, the not-so-well qualified elderly man was using his education for enterprise.

Instead of Bukusi milking the opportunity, he was busy drinking the milk. This is the same situation many young employees find themselves in. They use their education to live a lavish lifestyle when they should be using it for enterprise.