As the wise man Solomon wrote many years ago, there is time for everything. You must know when to invest in your career and when to monetize your skills. Getting an extra degree is not a distraction. Getting a certification is not a distraction. Learning something new should never be a distraction. Always make sure you have a strategy with resilience to decouple your future from the decision of any man/woman.
Fresh graduates, planning for the deep future may make you look stupid before peers who may not see beyond tomorrow. That first job is not for buying cars and expensive jewelry. It is to re-invest and INSURE your career with skills.
Accumulation of capabilities is a continuum and catalytic in modern career planning. The nature of labour is changing (I discussed that extensively in the European Commission two weeks ago); you must adjust. If you have not noticed it, know that more than 80% of non-public workers in Nigeria see dwindling wages after 15 years. The banking sector, oil & gas and increasingly telecoms are brutal on this: they cut workers and those workers never recover to earn as much as their old wages.
Ask yourself: what would happen if after 15 years, this bank does not want me? If you pay attention, if 600 people join our banking sector in a set, via entry level, less than 30 would remain from that cohort after 15 years. The other 570 people are out in a pyramid-like topology with 40% gone within 5 years, another 30% within 10 years, etc.
Fresh graduates, there is time for everything – PLAN that Career. And accumulate capabilities right now to insure those careers. Nigeria’s economy is relatively small with minimal space for labour mobility. You need to be strategic to manage the situation, and it begins today. Have options – there is always something if you plan it well.
I have come to see that what matters, in career advancement, is pursuit of excellence in what you do. Sure, there are areas that make finding opportunities easier, in our modern global economy. But the fact remains that anybody can be anything. Your life tenacity matters more than what degree you have in the bag. It is dangerous to have self-pity because of your degree or the school you attended. Looking into the future and finding energy to advance your life is what will drive you into abundance in your career.
There is abundance in Africa, across our cities with their hidden acres of diamonds. You will not notice if you are always looking up. Sometimes, careers advance when you look a little bit downward. Good luck.
Never make your career management a game of chess especially in Nigeria!