Losing a career path
I have had a writer’s block for a couple of weeks now, not sure why I would go through it at such early stage of this newfound hobby. Being generally an emotional person even the writing motivation comes from that point. Since I am trying to grow in writing I must find other means of motivating myself.
Working from home during COVID-19 was a time to reflect for many people including myself. A lot grew professionally as they had time for online courses, take on new tasks outside working structures, develop new skills. I am not sure if reflection includes more questions than answers but mine did have more questions on my career path than answers.
Let me take you through my journey. For most people the road to fulfilling their dreams reflect in studies they undertake in school. They know what they want to become from a young age. I am not sure I had a specific answer. During my O-levels, I was placed in a science class because I aced my interview exams despite wanting to do arts. In the end of my A-Levels I had no proper guidance on university courses to take and which careers path they’ll lead me to. I don’t blame my parents as most African parents do is check on your reports and make sure you passed. They had no interest on careers or college choices maybe because they were too focused in providing. I had to decide everything on my own or seek guidance from my elder relatives. Selecting a course in university was just more out of my personal interests, courses ranging from Business Administration, Marketing, Mass Comm to Political Science. Just shambles.
Fast forward I ended up taking a general Business Administration course which had no major. Because the degree had no major I thought after University I might start a career in something I would’ve majored in if I had gone somewhere else. I enjoyed my marketing class so a career relating to it was the plan. I failed to get into one marketing graduate programme which still gives me the “what if” feels. As a fresh graduate I did a couple of interviews in marketing with no luck apart from a six months stint in sales which I had to quit because I didn’t see any growth with the family owned company.
After a couple of months, I ended up taking a position as a reception/ admin with a new Oil & Gas company starting to set up in the country. As a fresh graduate, to be honest I was at the right time, the right place with a personality. I shared my interests before taking the role and as a new company as per human resources the message was definitely “they will be lots of opportunities in the future when we expand”. I worked hard to elevate from the role, I was promoted but still in the business support role. I ended up working for five years in administration & facility. The great part about the role was the company’s platform and the way it was structured do a lot more apart from the regular admin. As an international company the role gave me a lot of opportunities to develop other skills that built me up a competitive appeal in the corporate world. I learnt and developed a lot of skills in the role but still didn’t develop a single career path. A lot of corporate companies have career growth plans and policies in paper and hardly in practical. It takes a lot of individual effort to be able to move, which perhaps I didn’t have enough.
The thought of not developing a single career path disturbed me for a while. I vented to my close people but in a society where there is a high rate of employment venting while working for a global oil & gas company makes you ungrateful. So, I stopped but I still felt lost every now and then. In an attempt to develop a new career path, I started a Master’s degree in Project Management which unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish. (well, I have a whole article on this unsuccessful journey). I was somehow able to strategically use it to get a year contract project admin role.
After the contract ended, I got a job as finance and admin in another global oil& gas company. Every skilled and experience I had led me to land the job. I was at the right time, right industry, with the right skills and network. I needed a new job so I self-motivated to think this was new challenge to develop an extra skill in accounting.
Right after I took the role, I started feeling lost again in my career path. I am not sure I want to focus in accounting in a long run. I am good at it, but it doesn’t excite me. I question myself a lot about what am I going to do about it now? I know a little bit of everything but I haven’t mastered anything to call myself a professional in it. Does it matter? In times where skills become obsolete in every few years, do I need to master something specific? Sometimes I feel I must, sometimes I don’t. I have read articles and testimonies of people starting new careers in their 30s but I don’t think I have the will to do so. Even if I want to, I am so lost in what exactly I want to do. I haven’t found my purpose. Does everyone need to have a purpose? If I had one maybe I would have used it to make a living out of it. From the journey I had, I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of career guidance and mentorship from a young age.
Despite it all I am looking forward to going back to the office next week. I work in an exciting project that will have a major impact to the country and the region, that by itself should be motivation to dive in it and find answers.
Until next time. Be great.