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Drive your career with Mpho Mashita : Passion versus Opportunity

Career-related conversations


What beneficial career-related conversations should young people be having? asks Mpho Mashita. 

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ This is a question that you get asked as early as your crèche years, and throughout your life this question may change into: ‘Which subject stream will you focus on? Sciences or Accounting?’, ‘Which degree are you taking up?’ and even ‘what will your majors be?’

It has become clear from our interactions with young people in Limpopo that these are mostly the only career related conversations that they are likely to have. If they are in environments that allow them to have other career- related conversations, those may include daydreaming about earning a hefty salary and having the financial muscle to tick a number of goals on their to-do list. So, what beneficial career-related conversations should young people be having?

Many educational assessments can assist learners determine careers which would most likely suit them in relation to their academic abilities, their personalities as well as their interests. The truth is, even if the firmest foundation is laid, many factors determine which careers young people may ultimately land in. It is at this point where young people should be engaged to determine whether they would be committed to their careers if they got jobs which they were not passionate about.

There are many other career-related conversations that young people should be having long before they join the workplace. We will be bringing you a series of career-related conversations that young people should have before they launch out into the world of work. Isn’t that what being work- ready is about?

Part 1 of these conversations is a chat that we had with Phumla Mabasa, Director of Peculiar Generation Coaching, where we questioned the foundation of making career choices, and she highlighted that fulfilment is attached to passion and that if a person is doing something that they are passionate about, it will fuel them. We are in an era where one is extremely lucky to land a job in a field which they studied for and which they are passionate about. Should young people take any job that comes their way or should they hold out for jobs that they are passionate about?



Mabasa feels strongly about people following their passion, and quickly points out that she has seen people abandon their passion and go for higher paying jobs. “Due to financial implications caused by the demands of life, some people tend to choose a career based on the financial rewards it offers, but they are likely to leave that career at some point in life as they attempt to pursue their passion”, said Mabasa.



The conversation didn’t get any easier as we asked her questions that you as a young person should be asking yourself. Would you stop chasing your passion and opt for a practical solution in the form of a job that is not even aligned to what you studied for? Mabasa is vehemently against abandoning one’s passion in exchange for a practical solution, even though she acknowledges that the current economic climate makes it hard for anyone to turn down a job that is ‘not aligned to their passion’.

“It is never a good idea to stop chasing your passion but there is a need for a healthy financial state”, explained Mabasa. “It is rather advisable for someone to first prepare themselves before taking a step towards chasing their passion, especially if you only discovered your passion after choosing a career path”.
Mabasa believes in fighting to be in a career that you are passionate about, yet she recognizes that other professionals choose to stay in careers they are not passionate about because they are content with the financial rewards and the growth opportunities that those careers offer.


It can only be heart-breaking to wait until you are employed to have this back and forth conversation about pursuing your passion or the opportunity that is before you (even if you may not be passionate about it). You also don’t have to wait until you graduate before you start to relentlessly pursue and build your dream career. That is why as Africa Career Chat we are determined to expose young people in rural settings to information, workplaces and business environments that will not only positively contribute to their progression but will also contribute to their community’s progression.

These conversations that we have with different professionals are meant to expand your worldview and arouse your appetite for what is possible. They are meant to align you to your passion in line with the future of work. So, follow these conversations closely and get yourself ready for the workplace!

In part 2 of the Passion vs. Opportunity conversation, we will focus on young people who took a job that they are not passionate about with the hope of one day transitioning.



Mpho Mashita is a Radio Presenter on Capricorn FM’s Immaculate Breakfast.  She also runs Africa Career Chat, an online platform that uses conversations to support individuals in their career path.

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