Not long ago this column shared topics which focused on career, or professional and or academics. The articles were presented as a guide to the would-be professionals as they make choices.
I remember in my secondary school days there used to be a teaching staff specialised to offer career guidance to pupils. This idea worked well because pupils received the counsel to make right career choices.
The past articles in this column were shared to give information and educate readers who responded with questions to the author if Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field and other related fields can be of a good choice to those seeking to make career choices or at entry level.
Experts, coaches, mentors, recruiter, career consultants and other human resources practitioners have written a lot of literature and research on the similar subject.
However, the key to identifying opportunities has mainly been discussed on the business side. When I say business I mean the entrepreneurial side. Identifying opportunities can also be applied to those seeking employment as well.
Young people and as well as older people have made career choices which they have some happily lived with and some regretted. Some have changed from one career or profession to the other but they do not find satisfaction.
Here I am not saying changing a career is a bad idea. Some make such changes for a various good reason which we are not here to debate about.
The four key strategic keys to identifying career opportunities can be applied in many different fields but for the sake of keeping the objectives, I will be more inclined to ICT. I must make it clear that you can interpret the keys in any business or any other endorses of life.
Many people do not have clear career goals whenever they are choosing one. Having clear goals is very important because you will know where you are going and which company or business you will join.
There are few people who have been correctly taught how to set career goals or identify opportunities for their parents, teachers or friends. And of all the time we have in life, identifying career opportunities only get the once-over. What a share to think that the most important life skills get to little playing time.
Many people in employment are just working to make a living, few people are working to create a fortune, few people are working fulfilling their dream job.
We will borrow the business concepts which is shared by Reverend Walter Mwanbazi in his seminars and the in our session we will bring it in ICT. The keys he preaches such as timing, pay plan, right team and position are key to identifying the opportunities in the IT field and us well as a success and fulfilling a career.
Time is a precious commodity given to us. Some use it well and some do not. We all have 24hrs. It is said in the Holy Book “teach us to number our days, so that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”. Many people have spent their time without knowing what they want.
You need to realize that the time you spend in planning to achieve sometimes must always be rewarding. Use the time to study which industry or business you can join. You need to study the sectors which are performing well. There are sectors to avoid sectors which are not performing well.
There are some sectors you can join and within the short period, you will be at the top. There are some sectors which will waste your time. It is said that what you do at work will earn you a living and what you do outside work will earn you a fortune. Many of us spend 8-12 hours working for our employers. We have nothing for ourselves and for the family.
There will be a time when your employer will no longer need your services. It will be hard for you to transform that period of time you gave to your employers for the past years of your life. You will never recover it.
I was brought up in the mining township of Chingola where majority spend most of their lives working in the mines but when they are retired they have nowhere to go.
As you seek for career opportunities, have it in mind to find a career that will give you time for yourself too. In your time, each day finds something that will create value before and after you serve your employer because that is what will keep sustain you after employer decided to get rid of your employment.
If you can be wise enough to make another critical step in your career, you can allocate how much time you would want to be an employee then start your own business. Manage your time well while you can.
2. Pay Plan
There is no argument that most people go for a good pay plan. Before you join the business Find out about their pay plan, the condition of services and other incentives. There are many factors whichmotivate a workforce. We can argue and chose to follow Maslow approach.
But the reality is a good pay is very important. I worked for one of the largest copper and gold mining companies in the world with a very good pay plan and good condition of services but I had to make tradeoffs, to make another decision.
If you have good negotiation skills and you are given a good pay, you can also use it wisely so that it can pay you an event that you are out of employment. I have learned that sometimes people with a good pay also “waste” their income on other things because they know that they are in employment. Some conditions are bad and some are good. When you retire or out of employment will you have enough? It begins by planning your future while you have a good pay plan now.
3. Right Team
As you make a choice to be a professional or an entrepreneur, you need to make a right calculation about the industry you want to join. Believe me, some industries in nature a very stable and always perform very well.
If you are very ambitious and you do not guide you step to join companies or business without thorough assessment you will be disappointed.
There are some industries where you can work for a quite number of years without promotion and not even a salary increment. So it would be wise to join the right team. I know of some companies which treasure in training its own staff. You can be sent around the world to learn more about new technologies. If you follow the wrong team you will get wrong results. Workers will never rise above the standards of their employer. Join the team whose mission is not only limited to such as Hard work, dedication, focus, passion but will not offer you an opportunity for growth.
Young people find themselves joining some positions and later realize that its mismatches their qualifications and passion. Sometimes it is not always that you will begin straight from the top. Some business requires that you start from the bottom then rise.
This will make you learn what is involved. I know some companies which promote their staff based on longevity approach. The longer you stay with the company the more you will be promoted.
On the contrary, there are institutions who consider the position matching with qualifications. It is important to have in mind what position you want to reach in your career.
When we talk about the position, we can also talk about the position of the company in the industry. Sometimes you may join a business or a company which is not doing fine. This is debatable as some claim that a company which is not doing fine generally it means the management is the one to blame.
They can also play the game to adapt the changing environment.
I recently worked for a company which was closed because it was not performing well. I was working with people who just moved from one industry with was paying low but was stable. I have seen people getting lost along the way because of such eventualities. You need to know whether the company depends on contracts or it will sustain its operations.
Finally, you need to understand that business or rather industries differ in terms of many factors, time to grow, pay plan, competition, condition services and many other factors. Considering timing, pay plan, right team and position, these will play an important role in your decision to taken up any job or business you want. It is very important to be motivated by your own goals and be ready for a change.
The environment is changing so you need to be alert to make right choices. Be driven by desire, passion, interest, stay focused, sharpen your skills, have an open mind, be cooperative, create happiness in who you are, use your time wisely and a list is on and on.
Live with a definiteness of purpose and you will have a successful career or any endeavours that you desire. In this presentation, I did not say that to be a career opportunistic you need to be prostituting from one business or employer to the other.
The emphasis was to guide you use your timing to make right career choices while you are young. When you start well there are also chances that you can fairly well to the end. Be driven by a purpose. It is sad to end your career without fulfilling your life’s purpose or calling.
The Author is an ICT Consultant, GDip SE. BSc IT. Dip IT. Adv Dip.PM. ITIL. CFIP. For comments, suggestion, questions email email@example.com, WhatsApp +260977689574, +260955689574, Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ictmatterswithkingstonalimwila