The Coincidential Career

When we are children, we have a pretty clear picture of what we’d like to be when we grow up and that’s normally dictated by our environment – what we see our parents doing etcetera. As we grow, our desires are shaped by the reality of our parent’s wishes for us, our particular strengths and weaknesses, finances etc.

In class 4, I wanted to be a nurse. I’d scored an award that year for being the “most helpful” student in my class. I figured that by being a nurse I could really help people. I announced this fact at my next visit to the dentist’s office when the dentist inquired what I’d like to be when I grow up. My mum thwarted that thought out of my mind as if swatting a mosquito “why be a nurse when you can be a doctor?”

She, like any other parent, wanted me to aim high. So high that my quest for a medical career began to fall short 8 Years later when my KCSE results didn’t match up to the dream. So back to the nurse idea – only that I established that I’m flat footed and couldn’t stand for long hours as nurses do. So my parents started speaking to the neighbours about other options.

By an act of serendipity, one of my neighbours taught at a private university and I was soon enrolled in a Communications Degree which I thanked God everyday for. I honestly believe I got the best foundational course in the world! My PR major helped me gain confidence as a public speaker, writer and as me.

I fast-tracked my studies and in 3 short years I was excitedly out in the job-market. Searching and searching. For a job in public relations that never materialized. I interned at 3 places and sent out numerous CVs. Meanwhile, I would hear of former classmates working in top PR companies and wonder how they got in… I was probably not going to find a job in PR so I needed to change my game plan.

It wasn’t a fruitless 2 years though as I got to understand the communications market better – At the time (mid 00’s), the public relations and advertising industries were fledglings, just starting to grown wings. It was still a relatively undeveloped area and not many companies had discovered the value of having a PR department let alone a PR agency.

In the 2 years, I also got to understand myself – As much as I liked the creativity in PR, I didn’t like the extremely competitive and often unfriendly environment PR agencies presented – everyone was busy trying to “look” like somebody, doing their darn-dest to win the bosses approval, the media’s favor so that their client’s articles could be featured in the newspapers for some free and unfettered press.

So, I decided to go back for an MBA. My hustling streak and joblessness attracted me to the Entrepreneurship option. But as fate would have it, I landed my first “permanent” job with a bank just as I was to report for the MBA.

And so the conversation with myself started:
I: “Who’s gonna give you a promotion on an entrepreneurship degree?”
Me: “Zilch. No one. They will think I want to leave as soon as possible to start on my own thing.”
Myself: “Correct.”

Long story short, I loved the entrepreneurship programme and hang on to the end. But, I still had to take a more “reasonable” degree so I majored in human resources as well which was a more “natural” path into management. I haven’t regretted this as both are great passions of mine.
What’s your story? Did you end up where you wanted to be?

Credit: Nikki Njogu

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