By Chuks Ogbekile
Education in the past, far more than obtains now, has had to create a class of jobs believed to be for the uneducated, to the extent that those who have formal education would never associate with such jobs. Any attempt to suggest it to them sounds like an insult to them. It created a class-conscious group of educated elites who would rather go searching for white-collar jobs or even remain in the labor market all their life than accept such “menial” jobs. Even when some of them are quite aware that such jobs, being money-spinners, can give them their desired wealth and freedom they couldn’t have gotten elsewhere, to the point that those engaged in it are either their Landlords or their financial supporters whenever they have strong needs for urgent money,they still refuse to follow their mind or heed advice to pursue such enterprises. To go and do such jobs, some would say, as we say today, “over my dead body? Some have lived a lifetime of unemployment or underemployment for their disdain for such jobs due to their ego. How on earth would you advise them to be commercial bus drivers, Teachers, Farmers, Traders, House Painters, NewsPaper Distributors, Restaurants, Distribution Channels Owners, Gardeners, Plumbers, Masons, Tilers, Photographers, Video Cameramen, Cabinet Builders, Clergy Men, Shoe Cobblers, Waste Managers or other so-called “menial job”? To many, it looked demeaning and contradict their understanding of the self-acclaimed worth. It was seen as stepping too low. Hmmmnnn! This reminds me of the Book by Zainab Alkali: She Stoops to Conquer. Graduates of today need to stoop if they must conquer. Don’t let your certificate be your undoing.
This “cage” that misapplication of understanding of self-worth caused us, has brought unnecessary untold hardships to so many homes, and unfortunately, still brings to some homes today. It brought many into acceptance of jobs and payments not commensurate with the training and investment of some job applicants, provided they are allowed to dress in ties on. Some who could not sustain the new perceived social status found solace in Salary advance with some so commercialized with high-interest today that it is almost becoming corporate slavery. What would have been a side hustle, are looked down on. They are left hoping it will be better someday. Their ego, the false application of self-worth especially, robbed them of their what would have taken them to their City of Eldorado. Hence, their ego becomes their undoing.
Some would have by now changed their thinking but for what people would say. They seem to be enslaved by what the Social Psychologists would call “Social Approval”. You hear them say things like:” a whole me?…what will people say?”. Whereas, when these categories of people leave the shores of this country, they pick up jobs that are termed menial here. We have all at one point or the other been victims of this concept. We relent to follow our minds because of what people would say.
However, the story has changed today. There are hardly so-called “menial jobs” that graduates are not doing nowadays. While all may not have been taken as paid jobs, quite a lot are taken up as Entrepreneurial adventures. However, those who take it up as jobs still end up living their Entrepreneurial dreams as they understudy such jobs and set up a business with these jobs as their core business objective. Many who took this humble (or humiliating?) routes built great businesses out of these acts of ‘stooping to conquer. Our landscape is littered with people who have built great businesses doing these hitherto neglected menial or odd jobs as businesses. In the words of Otunba Gaddafi: Shit may be irritating, but money made from it doesn’t have a similar odor. Many are going into it in droves, and as expected, in packaged forms anyway. They add values, refine or rename the usual offering to make it look attractive and professional. Some have even gone further too, in line with their academic background, channel some unwanted outputs, initially considered by the earlier practitioners as waste, to raw materials as inputs for further production or services. Another interesting dimension now is that some undergraduates prepare themselves right from school to have some side skills they can leverage on as the unemployment rate is not smiling. Some of them after graduation, and have tasted the fruits of these skills, cant place where their CVs are again. They are now celebrating their independence from their ego and are doing well in Blue-Colar jobs. Instead of going around the streets looking for jobs, they are now employers of labor. Some have even gone further to be advocates of Self-Employment and Life Coaches.
As the “menial jobs” mentality is dying to give rise to Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial LifeCoaches and Career Guidance & Counselors must arise and aid our teeming unemployed but lettered and capable population to take pride in leveraging on this Economic trend spiced up by Information Technology unusual resources provision to create their desired world. All we all share as major needs in life if freedom & wealth. These can be attained by banishing our egos to engaging in any economically viable pursuit, irrespective of the stigma hitherto attached to them. Your freedom for self-actualization comes when you defeat this enemy called Ego.
*Ogbekile is an Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial Life Coach & Public Speaker.