Career development in the 21st century involves continuous learning and identity changes in due course. Many factors influence the process of choosing a career, improving your skills and advancing along a career path.

What have I picked along my journey thus far?

I joined Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) as an Intern at a time when I had not discovered my full potential, the career path I desired or various paths I could explore. During orientation to the University, we had a meeting with the University’s CEO and Vice Chancellor Prof. Ndirangu Kioni and there is one statement he said that impacted me and has stayed with me since then: “Do not limit yourself to working in one environment/department, if you have gained ample skills, try changing your environment and learn new skills. Grow yourself gradually but steadily”. This statement changed my perspective towards developing my career. No one wakes up one day and finds themselves the C.E.O of a thriving company or organization. Everyone and everything must start somewhere. As Jim Rohn Said, “you cannot change your destination overnight but you can change your direction overnight.”

Here is my perspective.

Try to think of your career path as someone climbing a ladder. You have to apply skill and practice the art of patience as you go up the ladder. For starters, it is essential to grow your skill without paying much attention to financial factors after which, when you get to a level where you feel satisfied with your acquired experience/ competent enough then you can negotiate financially while you continue building your skills because good can always be made better. Although this does not work in all fields, I have come to appreciate it as a good approach when developing one’s career.

Further, it is very important to have a ‘teachable’ spirit. This is a very important factor because there is no head of a department or organization who wants someone who is not open to learning and is self-driven. You are the one in need of growth so, motivate yourself enough to work even odd hours and beyond limits to prove to yourself how far you can go. Your boss basically wants you to do a task they assigned you and avail it before the deadline, do not allow yourself to be followed around.

How you manage your time also matters a great deal; strive to spend a lot of time learning new skills and perfecting them. The good thing is, after months or years of experience, you spend less time applying the same skill you took much time to learn and this translates to less time on tasks and more effectiveness and efficiency. It is a competitive world so this works to your advantage.

As Henry Ford said, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” The job market seeks employees who can do things out of the norm. The reason as to why you hear of ‘beating the world record’ is because someone pushed themselves to become better than someone before. Do not be mediocre.

What if things do not work in the environment that you are in?

Sometimes change is important when it comes to career development. This can be changing the environment, changing behavior, changing your mentality & attitude and sometimes, even changing your physical appearance (in terms of, for instance, grooming). Sometimes you might be forcing your skill in an environment that is not appreciative or one with stiff competition. Knowing that the same skill set might be of demand in a different environment and being flexible and open – minded enough to explore that might be the key to finding your career path and growing in it.

Human beings were created with abilities that are beyond our imagination. It takes self-drive and will to push ourselves to limits we never would have thought possible. Get out of that shell, face your fears, be the queen in a game of chess protecting your king (Career) and growing your potential beyond the limit that eyes can see. As Abraham Lincoln said, the best way to predict your future is to create it. Go forth and create yours.

by Neko Omeri
Micro – Teaching Lab Technologist, DeKUT Education Technology Department.