Employees should use their education for enterprise

Not too long ago, I read Allan Bukusi's book 'How to Prosper in Employment', in which he shares his experience at a factory where he worked soon after graduating from college. He met an elderly man, who despite holding a low-cadre job for 17 years, had managed to prosper.

The man lived in his own home and kept dairy cows. He also owned three 40-seater buses. Bukusi, on the other hand, had a new car paid for by a company loan, lived in a rented house in an upmarket estate and owned home appliances acquired through hire purchase.

One day, Bukusi approached the man and asked him: "What are you doing here? Judging from what you have, you do not need this job."

The old man's answer was simple. "Young man, all those things 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 man's words cut through Bukusi's heart like a hot razor blade - deep and ruthless. At the rate he was piling up debt, he would never own anything.

He realised that he was more qualified than the elderly man but what he lacked was experience. Experience is more than the time spent at work or in the office. It is more than confidence.

It is the total value of the knowledge, exposure and expertise one develops on the job. Bukusi did not know how to use his education as an enterprise to help him cope with the realities of life.

This is the same situation many new employees find themselves in.

People use their education to fund a lavish lifestyle when they should be using it for enterprise. Thus they end up becoming salary takers as opposed to salary makers. 

Letter to the Editor from Ashford Gikunda