Your Job Must Not Be Your Hobby, To Thrive

Your Job Must Not Be Your Hobby, To Thrive

This is a Short Note.

Through my non-profit, we come in contact with people across our continent. I have visited many universities in Africa. Through this work, I always get people asking for career advice. Largely, no career advice is bullet-proof. You, the recipient, have to make your career work. Even the person giving you advice needs one. I want to move up the ladder, so I talk to people about career, not for job, but business opportunities.

You cannot be running a startup and also be wiring CVs for jobs daily. I understand the concept of hedging. But when you are out there as a startup founder, and at the same time you are looking for a job, you will likely not be at optimum execution. You want money from investors, and yet you’re polishing your CV. That overlap will even make it harder to have traction to raise that money.

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The reality is this: if the startup is not a job you think you deserve to have, simply stop it and focus on looking for a job. It is very unlikely you will do well in the startup if that is a second choice. Besides, startup is not something you enter just because you lost a job or have no job, without making up your mind that it is the best job as you transition. That moment of truth must come that the business is the best I can have.

Confidence comes from dignity of labour. You must commit to what you do to thrive in it. Even if you do not like it, you must commit to it. Your job does not necessarily need to be your hobby, in Africa, because jobs are scarce. Like it or not, excellence in it is the only path to the next level.

NB: Startup in this content means going to create something of value with transformational impacts in the market. It is different from small business which could be barbing salon, selling corn along the roads, etc that rarely scales. You do not build such firms without focus.

“A company five years old can still be a startup,” writes Y Combinator accelerator head Paul Graham via email. “Ten [years old] would start to be a stretch.”…

One thing we can all agree on: the key attribute of a startup is its ability to grow. As Graham explains, a startup is a company designed to scale very quickly. It is this focus on growth unconstrained by geography which differentiates startups from small businesses. A restaurant in one town is not a startup, nor is a franchise a startup.


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