13 October 2012

Zambia: Talent, Passion and Career Development


The current reportedly poor work culture in our country speaks volumes about career choice, career development and its contribution to national economic development of our country.

One cannot fly above the crowd in one's job unless that person is working in a job where one has a talent, passion and potential to excel.

One cannot work hard and contribute to organisational and national development without having passion and potential in that job.

Do you have what it takes, passion and potential for that job?

With high levels of unemployment for more than two decades now, some people have found themselves misplaced in some jobs that have nothing to do with their talent, interests, passion and potential.

Such a situation has led to many employees develop poor work culture and in the process fail to fly above the crowd in their career development processes.

But before we share this topic, we would like to thank our esteemed readers for their untiring efforts to send complementary messages to this author on how much they appreciate the contents of this column.

Among such keen readers of this column are Gilbert Samulozanga Jr of Holy Cross, Ndola and Sammy Siame, 29, of Kitwe.

Sammy says he was moved by the article 'Turn On Your Career Success Light Now' that appeared under this column.

And Gilbert says the stated article made him to believe in himself; and that failure was no longer part of his life.

Gilbert says from that time he read the article on 'Turn On Your Success Light Now' he believes in himself as a winner; and not a failure in his life.

We thank you all our readers for your keen interest in reading these articles; and for your encouraging feedback.

It was in the late 1970s when the former Eastern Province University of Zambia resident lecturer, Mr (now Dr) Henry Mtonga came to Chadiza Secondary School where this author did his secondary school education.

Dr Mtonga gave a talk to more than 1, 000 pupils on a topic: 'Do I Know Myself?'

Since then, this author has never forgotten about this topic which Dr Mtonga presented to us.

This author slowly, realised that it is difficult for one to be successful in life without really knowing oneself; especially in identifying one's talent.

Dr George Kathoilil in his book 'Know Your Real Self' said a person is known in three ways.

The first one is what that person knows one is; secondly, what other people knows that person is; and thirdly, what God knows what that person is.

God put in each person a talent. A talent is what one is good at that can make that person excel and lead a full and decent life on this Earth (John 10:10).

Thomas Edison once remarked: 'If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.' Some people have excelled in life because they identified their talents early.

In short, people who have excelled in their career do what they are capable of doing. Cartoonist Charles Schulz said: 'Life is a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.'

Do you know the gears God put in you? If yes, do you use such gears for your career success? If not, ask God to reveal to you which gears He put in you for your career success.

Most people haven't excelled in life because they have failed to identify their talents.

Such people have failed to know what they are good at. They haven't asked their friends and relatives what they are good at.

Such people haven't prayed and asked God to reveal to them what they talent is.

As a result, such people have ended up being in fields where they cannot do well and impress their supervisors and others to support their success in career development processes.

Because some people are in wrong careers, what they do is merely trying; and not actually doing what they are supposed to do in that job.

In such a situation, supervisors and many other people can clearly see that one isn't doing the best as expected in that job.

Consequently, one cannot be promoted or recommended to take up other senior positions within or outside that organisation.

When one is in a wrong field, one's limitations in that job become so clear that anyone can easily see that one is not effective and efficient in that job.

Such a situation negatively affects one's career development.

It is from such a background that one is supposed to understand oneself before going into any career choice or else one might frustrate oneself for the rest of one's life without achieving tangible results in one's career life.

This is why Dr Mtonga came to open our minds as early as when we were still at a secondary school in order to help us make the right career choices.

Today, it is not surprising to see someone who wasn't supposed to be teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a police officer, a preacher or a politicians being one just because that was the only job that one could get or because that is where one felt he or she could get a good income or that is where someone gave him or her a job.

Look at how some people are succeeding in their careers while others are failing. Consider how some people are succeeding in politics while others are failing in the same field.

Those who are succeeding have a talent in it while those who are not haven't. Consider also how some people are struggling to be good teachers.

Some want to be good preachers; but they aren't appealing to the emotions of the church members.

They are not good at it. See how some nurses conduct themselves while they are on duty. They have no passion for it.

Some people want to be bricklayers or tailors; but their craftsmanship is too poor to meet market needs.

It is important to know your strengths and limitations before you go into a certain career choice.

Go into a career choice where you have talent, interest and potential to excel to greater heights.

Ask your friends and relatives about what you are good at. Ask your current or future spouse about what career you can do better in.

Those who found themselves into wrong careers seem to be stuck; and slowly start developing negative attitude towards work and in the process they develop poor work culture in that job.

Ben Carson said if you can recognise your talents, use them appropriately and choose a field that uses those talents; and you will rise to the top of that field.

Look at how Shaka: The Zulu acts in that film. Consider how Rabecca Malope sings in her videos.

Look at how those Botswana traditional dancers dance with pride. Locally, look at how that Sergeant Police officer acts in horse riding competition during the Zambia national agricultural and commercial shows.

Consider how the Sakala Brothers sing and dance with pride. These people and many others act in their chosen field with talent, passion, pride and commitment.

So start identifying your talents now. It is not too late to change your job. Be strategic in your life.

Start studying something where you have a talent or you enjoy most doing it. Do things that you enjoy doing.

You can be a good singer if you don't enjoy singing. One can currently be a teacher; but one can have high potential to be a good lawyer.

If most people tell you that you can be a good lawyer; and you have passion for representing people in legal related issues, why not study law and excel in your life?

This is why some people are studying fields different from what they are doing now or are doing a lot of part-time jobs in fields they feel they have talent and interests in.

Some teachers work on part-time basis as administrators in some non-government organisations.

Some preachers work as accounts personnel in some churches. Some administrators are lecturers in some colleges or universities.

All such are ways of changing your current career to something where you have talent and potential to excel.

In fact, in today's dynamic labour market, it is better to be multi-disciplinary. Avoid being too specialised to respond to dynamic labour market needs.

If you are in the right career, go on doing the best you can with your talent in that career to reach greater heights.

If you feel you are in a wrong career, regardless of your age or position in your current job, ask your close friends and relatives about what you are good at.

Ask God to reveal to you what your real talent is. Go into the right career.

If you cannot go into the right career now, get anything your hands can lay on; but later strategically and steadily, start moving towards what you are good at in your career development process.

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