I get very jealous of kids in some foreign movies.
They make me wonder who I would have been if someone had given me the kind of career and life counselling those kids are exposed to.
This is despite the fact that I am luckier than most. I attended a secondary school where we were lectured for a full week on the different career paths we could follow and the importance of picking the right one.
But I am not referring to the question of whether to go to Art class or Science class. I’m referring to the type of career branding that starts from childhood and opens the doors of possibility all through a person’s life.
Seemingly minute decisions, made at a rather young age, all come together to become the keys that eventually open doors later in life.
The choice of learning to play an instrument, science camp in elementary school, joining the debate club in junior high, running for student council leadership. All of these are random decisions for the unexposed. They mean very little. But for some others, they are the building blocks on which future career success will eventually stand.
An American child will begin to aim for a college scholarship right from elementary school. The race to amass the necessary skills to make that happen-starts remarkably early in the child’s life.This is particularly important because often, academic success is not enough.
I did not find out how important social service and leadership experience were until I tried to apply for an international scholarship. Some did not realize how important their extracurricular activities were until they applied for jobs and employers wanted to know ‘what else’ they could do.
Does this mean it is too late for those who have passed these early stages?
What it does mean is that you must begin to pay a bit more attention to those seemingly ‘random decisions’. It also means that you begin to do what ought to have been done since childhood, which is to design a brand for yourself that will position you for the opportunities you hope to take advantage of later in life.
Start a blog to hone your writing skills and develop an audience. You might not need it today, you may tomorrow. Take a chance on that leadership position you are running from, it might be the experience you need to ace a future interview.
Learn a new language.
Take a public speaking class.
You may not see the immediate need for any of these skills, but put them all together, and they become the difference between your resume and the other man’s CV.
Children in Singapore are being taught programming from Kindergarten. Future Olympians in America and Europe start training almost as soon as they can walk, sometimes before. Gifted children in developed countries are discovered early and given the training they need to excel in their chosen field.
We haven’t quite gotten there here in Nigeria.
But that is no excuse. Our journey to self-development may begin a little later in this little slice of the world, but still the journey must be made.
So think about it, what tools do you need to navigate the future and what are going to do to get them?
Fellow Nigerian millennial.