Times are tough for a lot of people; everyone can see that. The formal employment sector is in the pits, we all know that, however, dear fellow graduates, getting any kind of job is not necessarily a good thing. Hold on and let me explain, here’s a sample conversation I’ve heard before:
*“Sha I need a job….”
“What kind of job do you want?” I ask.
*“Chero! It doesn’t matter, I just need a job. Anything, as long as I’m getting paid.”
I almost always hear that answer, and I’m torn between telling this person what I know or keeping my trap shut. Firstly, you don’t want just any job! Trust me, that is a road to psychological damage…yes, doing that sort of thing takes away from you even as you earn a few pennies. See, every time I tell someone that doing *“chero basa” (any kind of job) will take you down a dark path, I always hear, “It’s because you have a job, you don’t understand.”
It’s called underemployment, and it sucks
But I do understand. I wasn’t necessarily picky once too, and I managed to land a job whilst waiting to decide whether I wanted to go back to school immediately or not. I hated it. It required barely any intellectual effort on my part, neither did I do anything particularly stimulating.
So there I was, with my Honours degree in Psychology, working behind a counter punching in codes all day long. I didn’t hate it because I thought I’m too good for that (although I was overqualified for it), I hated it because I could feel my mind dying a slow, desperate death from lack of use. And that also meant I’d wasted five years in school, A’level plus university. You can’t begin to imagine what this did to me.
Which is precisely what will happen to you, if you’re not more selective about the kind of job you apply for and the working conditions. Now I understand a lot of us are in survival mode, reacting to a turbulent economy, but there are opportunities to generate income, as long as you’re willing to think, work, and make risky choices. Screw looking for conventional employment if it’s proving elusive, seek to generate income instead.
If you prefer the “security” of someone else finding ways to make money, then give you a small cut for your time, then continue the “rese rese” job search. Almost every organisation needs employees (don’t listen to people who bash 9-5 jobs), but pick employment that enriches you. Beware that there is a price taking a job that several pegs below your capacity. It erodes your self-confidence and sometimes your sense of self-worth too. The way you think of yourself will change, and that affects everything you do, especially the small decisions with hidden, larger consequences.
Protect your mental well-being
Alternatively, wait patiently until what you want comes along. Something that falls fairly within the parameters of your interests and skill level. Hustle for income in the meantime, but don’t settle for under employment. I remember crying tears of frustration over in an omnibus on my way home several times. It’s a dangerous route to take. Protect your mental well-being fiercely whenever you can.
Consider that maybe you don’t need just any job, you just need any source of income.
*Sha – short (slang) for shamwari meaning friend
*Chero – any
*chero basa – any kind of job
*rese rese – in this context it means whatever job you can get, any