Unemployment Things

Uganda is one of those blessed countries where the population never keeps quiet when they feel like they are being oppressed or pushed against the wall. A lot of noise will be made, complaints hurled about, condemnation shared, political parties and associations formed and there will be quite substantial outcry when people feel marginalized in any way. Whether or not the concerned parties actually listen is a different story but it can be said with certainty that Ugandans are not shy when it comes to voicing their grievances. Very recently I was reading an extremely passionate and deeply emotional complaint that was lodged by a recent University graduate. He was complaining about the same thing that several other thousands of his colleagues have complained about over the years – unemployment. I am not at liberty to give details of where and when the complaint featured because for starters, I despise the publication in which it appeared. Secondly, this blog post is to talk about what is on my mind, not what is on an unemployed graduate’s mind.

That said, I feel like sometimes we get so lost in the blame game so much that we forget to actually carry our own crosses. And so even in the case of unemployement there is a lot of finger pointing but there has got to be a few questions asked of the person doing the finger pointing too.

Anyway, the complaint was mostly attacking corporate companies for not hiring fresh graduates. From what I gathered, it seemed like these companies are more intent on hiring older and more experienced people as opposed to fresh graduates who are untested. As much as some of the complainant’s points were valid, I thought I would weigh in a little on the subject and try to understand why exactly the big companies do not hire fresh graduates as much as they used to. I therefore set out on a mission to do a bit of research and below are the conclusions that my research uncovered about why many corporate companies ignore the begging and pleading of fresh graduates for employment.

It is 2014 and not 1984

Thirty years ago, there were as many graduates as there were job openings. This meant that as you approached the final semester of whatever course you were doing, you would almost certainly be assured of a job. Even as you attended your graduation party, you would probably have 2 or 3 job letter offers lying around somewhere in the pile of paperwork from your last semester exams. All you had to do was enjoy your graduation party, sober up, freshen up and walk straight to your new job. Everything seemed quite set for you. Today, the situation is a little …scratch that … extremely different. Apart from the fact that there are more graduates than the job market can manage, most of these graduates are actually half baked. And by half baked I don’t mean they did not get their fair share of skin tans while at the University. What I mean is that they are probably more interested in how much the job will pay as opposed to whether they can actually execute it. So the result is a long list of people lining up for a certain job not because they can do the work but because the pay is attractive. I have personally walked away from certain jobs that would otherwise pay top dollar not because I am filthy rich; heck I am a church mouse masquerading as a human being. The thing is, unless I am certain that I can do a certain task 100%, I would rather not take on it. That way I do not have to suffer any embarrassment or guilt arising from failure to do something that you said you would do.

Help Your Cause, Don’t Fight Against it

More often than not, the young people of today are busy lowering their chances of getting employment by the lifestyles they lead and the things they do. When you meet a young person today, you are likely to be shocked into a state of numbness owing to the way they carry themselves around. Aside from the fact that they act totally maturely incompetent, there is the issue that they are usually caught up in far-from-worthwhile way of life. If they are not stuck in discussions about Iggy Azalea and the One Directioners, then it is probably about how many followers one has on Instagram or Twitter. Not that there is any problem with that but it would be wise to engage oneself in a few discussions about the GDP, Political atmosphere and a few social causes just so you can get your mind engaged in intellectual conversation.

Avail Yourself to the Employers

I have mentioned this on a Blog Post elsewhere and I will mention it again; while employers are on the hunt for employees who are worthwhile, the potential employees should also avail themselves and be on cue for whenever there is an opening. The problem with a good number of young people today is that we are so busy waiting for good things to come to us so much that we have gotten stuck in unemployment and somehow we are getting comfortable with it. And then we are turning around and making so much noise about how the Government is not offering us jobs. It might come as a shock to some but the Government is actually not supposed to offer jobs per se. The Government is basically meant to create the right atmosphere for the job market to thrive. Now while there are several short comings on the side of the Government, we do not help our cause as young people. We are stuck with the blame game and we are not bothered to actually put in the work and create these jobs. You are not unemployed because the Government is not offering jobs.

Make your contribution count

A great man once called on human beings not to expect much from their Governments but rather prepare to do quite a lot for their Governments. Before I can say for sure that our Government even deserves half our contribution, I would like to encourage young people to create some kind of well thought out plan about how they hope to benefit not just themselves but even those around them. This way, one will work towards their goals inspite of and despite everything that surrounds them.

I am no prophet or seer but I am sure that if the young people do not become more involved and they do not improve their methods and strategies for existence they will be stuck in the blame game which as we all know never yields anything other than frustration

“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.”  ― Lena Horne

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

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Employment Crack Code

Nearly every adult Ugandan has voiced their concern about the unemployment levels in this otherwise blessed country. Political parties have been set up, associations formed and tantrums thrown all in the name of the high levels of unemployment. I was recently chatting with a Human Resource Manger of a major telecom company (NO, I do not have her phone number so please do not ask me for details). Our discussion centered on the employment market and how crowded and pathetic it is. True, we did veer off topic once or twice; it was hard to concentrate with her Dollydagger Dita black red polka dress screaming for attention right there, in front of me. Also, she had a dragon tattoo that kept peeping from the back of her neck – as if asking me to say something. That said, most of our discussion was about the employment market and it’s perks. Red

The dress that almost stole away my attention

You see, gone are the days when one would hold a graduation party while they have 2 or 3 job offer letters lying around somewhere in their house. Today, several years after you have graduated, you may still be seen languishing in cafes, coffee shops and parks looking to bump into old friends who can offer you jobs. The hunt for jobs has dangerously been elevated. You may come across a bunch of employment opportunities advertised in the local press but it will be quite a while before any of them actually works out for you.

JobSearchNewspaperTough luck!

In light of this, one would wonder how the heck we are going to survive. Why do Universities still churn out graduates anyway? It is not like new jobs for fresh graduates will suddenly be manufactured from a factory somewhere in Kyankwanzi. In addition, it has become apparent that older folks have more active taste buds and more insatiable appetites than the younger folks. How else would one explain a grey haired dude occupying four or five  jobs which could easily be filled by five different young and energetic people? Overall, it is safe to say that the situation may not improve any time soon.

Many vital questions can be asked in 2014. Is Pharrel Williams a vampire who never ages? What really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Does Beyonce’s fart smell nasty? Is Tamale Mirundi a descendant of the Mayans? Will Nigeria colonize Uganda one day? Who is more beautiful between Lupita Nyong’o and Jenniffer Hudson? Very many unanswered questions still haunt us. However, the biggest question right now would be: How shall we deal with unemployment in Uganda?

My humble suggestion lies in two very simple solutions. If I may;

1. Stop waiting and make the call

Many unemployed Ugandans are guilty of sitting back and waiting for nature to call them to the dinner table. Unfortunately for them, nature has way too many problems to deal with that she will need a lot more time to attend to each and every one of them. Instead of waiting for lady luck to smile your way, how about getting off your lazy bottom and going out there to do hunt down this fat lipped lady luck? Instead of sitting back and reading the dailies in search of job opportunities, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to think of doing something on your own. Something that will not require you to send in an application letter or appear before the firing squad at an interview committee that will leave you all drenched in sweat. Go out there and do something that you are passionate about, something that may not bring in as much money at the start but is bound to do so with time and dedication. Many unemployed people today blame the Government for the apathy that they suffer. Blaming the Government is something we must all do – it is our civic duty to blame the Government for bad roads, ugly girls, poor service delivery, lousy weather, slow internet, anything and everything… not to mention unemployment. However, after the blame game has been played, one needs to wake up to the realization that while you are busy blaming the Government, your neighbor (who strangely is also under the same government) wakes up at 6:00 am every morning to set up his Rolex stall where he will then proceed to make some really good money without waiting for the Government to come and light his sigiri or buy him baking flour. About time you got off that lazy ass and stopped waiting for the Government to find you a job – the Government is busy dealing with more important issues like the 36 Billion shilling MPs parking lot that flooded and drafting a bill to curb the smoking of shisha.

Rolex

The Government did not set his alarm for him to rise early

2. Embrace your passion and package yourself already! 

Very many unemployed people are quite talented at certain things and they are not even aware of it. Just because you graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Chemistry does not mean you cannot become a fine writer, movie star or Human Resource Manager. In Uganda, many of the courses we do at the University have to do with how we performed at ‘A’ Level. Sadly, this may not exactly be one’s passion in life. I know someone who passed ‘A’ level literature with flying colours but can barely write a 50 word story without making thirteen grammatical errors. Their passion is in another field – beer. Not drinking it, but marketing it. So he now works for a top Beer company where his skills are better suited. The onus is upon everyone to know what they are good at and go out there to embrace exactly that. The days when elders were worried about you wasting your Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies by becoming a Nursery School Teacher are long gone. If your passion is in teaching little kids, direct your dreams, aspirations and focus towards exactly that. Not only will it help you garner the mojo to go out and hunt for an opportunity that best suits you, it will also help you grow your strengths and thus increase your chances of performing well when the time for the job arrives.

chicken

You’ll be shocked how much money you can get from Poultry!

Why so serious?

A traditional reader of this blog will probably be wondering why I decided to tackle a ‘big-people’ subject like unemployment when there are several lighter and more humorous subjects. The thing is, after talking to the dragon tattoo lady, I realized that the power to change the state of affairs lies in people who have a mouthpiece or platform. If I can say a word or two about something, I may as well do my part and help one or two people. Also, it will give me a chance to appear wise and insightful no matter how contrary the evidence may suggest.

So then, for your weekly dose of inspiration –

“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Bernard

a.k.a Beewol

The Talkative Rocker

Follow @beewol on Twitter

After the Graduation

This week will see Makerere University hold its 64th Graduation ceremony, an event that will run from 28th all the way to 31st of January. A good number of students will be recognized and awarded for their brilliance, endurance, perseverance and determination. True, some might have opened their legs and wallets to secure that they are on the list but for now, that does not matter – the end may as well justify the means. There will be the traditional flaunting of gowns left right and center, the customary photo shoots and the almost mandatory graduation parties. This will be the culmination of life at the University.

As one who graduated from the same institution many years ago, I can say that I am somewhat familiar with the excitement, euphoria and anxiety that the graduands are feeling. However, right after you have had your graduation party and the dust has settled down, there are some harsh realities that you will be faced with. And this is where I come in. I am offering a few pointers for the graduands so that when you are finally given the title of graduate, you have some armor to help you as you walk out of the gates of Makerere University hopefully for the last time. I therefore present to you life after the graduation.

The Job Hunt Begins

This is probably not news to anyone but the job hunt in Uganda today is as confusing and frustrating as can possibly be. In the distant past, having a University Degree would guarantee you not just a job but a really good job. Today, having a University Degree will only secure you a chance to take a peek at some odd jobs that probably even have nothing to do with the course you did. As a fresh graduate, you will probably need to get serious about looking in the ‘Jobs’ sections of your dailies. You may also want to think about shedding off your snobbish ways because some opportunities might show up but because of your graduate status, you may feel like they are beneath you. Take a leap of faith and try out as many jobs as you possibly can. It is probably high time you considered roasting maize, polishing shoes or being a pump attendant at some fuel station. Nothing should be beneath you. At the end of the day what you are trying to avoid is being an unemployed graduate. Also, this way, you will have the balls to tell your ‘rags to riches’ story with more effect in future.

job-huntLet the hunting begin

Avoid Relationships

Unless you already have a steady job, you should think about being single for a while. Naturally as a fresh graduate, you are very positive about life and you are extremely optimistic – that is a good thing. Also, your libido is probably about to hit an all time high. However, you need to calm down and reduce the avenues for disappointment in your life. You should focus all your energies towards finding worthwhile employment and try to stay away from starting a fully fledged relationship. Now someone might argue that this is probably the right time for you to think about dating because, you have the time and you need a sexual partner; you have come of age. However, research has shown that a relationship weighs on the mind and heart almost as much as a job does. You have to fund, finance and furbish the relationship with time and money. You may have the time but the money is not at your disposal so it is safer for you to lay off the relationship train. As a matter of fact, swear an oath of celibacy for at least one year so that you can focus on getting yourself off the ground before eventually finding someone to help you eat the little money you have. Also, it is a good way to avoid pregnancy, AIDS and the mother of them all – heartbreaks.

no-datingNuff Sed! 

Independence is over rated

Try as much as possible to stay with your parents. If you do not have a stable job and are not earning anything yet, it is safer for you to eat your parents food, enjoy their electricity and basically live under their roof. Usually when people graduate, the first thing they think about is leaving home -whether or not they have jobs. In this harsh world of today, the moment you leave your parents’ home, you my friend are exposing yourself to all sorts of risks that independent people encounter. Rent, feeding, transport and all those other expenses are going to pull really hard at you and even if you get a small job, you will be too busy paying bills to even save anything for yourself. Swallow your pride and stay in your father’s house, for now. This is your time to be a good boy/girl or else you might risk being thrown out of your parents house for being bid headed. If you have never respected and cherished your parents, this is a time for you to begin – you need them.

helicopter-parents-photo-by-michael-elins-newsweek-may-22-2006-240x300Your parents will always be thrilled to have you live with them.

Relax, you aren’t the first or last

While you may be the first person in your village sub-county to graduate, be reminded that there are thousands of other people like you across the country. This means that you should desist from shoving your degree in people’s faces. Many people out there have degrees, PHDs, Masters, Doctorates but they get to live simple, quiet and unassuming lives – pick a leaf. True, you may be one of the few to have graduated with Honors. True, your graduation may have been against all odds. True you may have had a graduation party that cost half the country’s GDP. However, you need to take a chill pill and not make it seem like the world rotates around your Bachelors Degree. Many graduates are roaming the streets carrying out acts of robbery and sports betting and they are languishing in cells all over the country – you are no different from them. Until you have been asked about your degree, there is no need to swing it around and announce to everyone that you are a graduate. Half the people don’t care; the other half have better and more papers than you do. So, relax.

Makerere-UniversityWell done my friends. Well done indeed.

Finally, as you head out into the big world, be sure that you will always come across someone who has better papers, more connections or more experience than you do. So your task is simple – work hard enough to also be looked as the person who has better papers, more connections and more experience than others.

Do have yourselves a wonderful graduation and once again, congratulations – you made it thus far!

“It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete.”  – Norman Cousins

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter