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Drive your career with Mpho Mashita: Passion versus Opportunity 2.

Mpho Mashita on quality career conversations


Here is a quick question for young people: Is there someone in your life who is having quality career related conversations with you? At this point, you may or may not be sure what those quality conversations should look like. We will rephrase the question by breaking it down in a couple of questions to get you thinking:
Do you have a clear idea of what happens in the field of study that you are interested in?

Are you aware of other careers that your qualification can lead you to apart from the obvious? i.e. BCom Accounting = Accountant, BA Journalism = Journalist, BSc IT = Programmer, B.Ed = Teacher etc.
Are there other subjects that you are ignoring that could be very key to set you apart in certain industries?
Have you talked with anyone who works in the field that you aspire to grow in professionally?
Do you have an idea of the average salary of people at different levels in the industry that you are interested in?
Do you have an idea of the daily routine of professionals in the industry that you are interested in?
Do you have the personality for the industry that you are interested in and if not do you know which personality traits you will have to work on in order for you to thrive in that industry?

These questions will force you to really think about your career choices but the truth is that all they are doing is scratching the surface of the kind of quality career related conversations you should be having.
That is why we are bringing you a series of career-related conversations that young people ought to have before they launch out into the world of work.

In the first instalment of this two-part conversation, we had a chat with Phumla Mabasa, Director of Peculiar Generation Coaching, where we questioned the foundation of making career choices. If you would like to catch up on that article, check it out here:

You can’t wait until you graduate from tertiary before you start to think deeply and intentionally about your career and how you can position yourself to build it. Conversations around career exploration, employability and career planning have to start earlier on and often times you may find yourself in an environment that doesn’t allow for well informed, unbiased, and relevant career information.

The employment stats are scary and getting a job is challenging in our economy and in many other economies and yet, it’s important that we understand how we can approach the idea of building our career no matter what life throws our way.

We are in the final leg of this conversation about whether you should build your career around your passion or around opportunities that come along. We have established from part 1 of this conversation that the Director of Peculiar Generation Coaching, Phumla Mabasa, seemed to be unapologetically biased to people following their passion but in the very same breath, she acknowledged that the current economic climate makes it hard for anyone to turn down a job that is ‘not aligned to their passion.’

As we interrogated the issue of passion vs. opportunity even further, we looked at a situation where one is passionate about an industry and also adequately skilled to work in that particular industry but the problem is that opportunities are scarce. How should one handle that kind of a scenario?

Mabasa feels that we attach the fulfilment of purpose to financial gain and that that doesn’t have to be the case.

“The good thing about opportunities is that if they don’t come, you can create them,” she explained.

“When we talk about opportunities, we only consider those that come with hefty financial rewards, whereas sometimes the simplest and easiest thing we can do whilst we wait, is to do what waiters do: serve,” said Mabasa.

In getting her to explicitly pick a side between building a career around passion or opportunities, Mabasa refused to pick a side and decided to go with both passion and opportunities.
“Passion or fulfilment of purpose is the most important aspect for me. However considering opportunities is also important to me as I am a progress-oriented person. I always prepare myself for opportunities. It is said that it is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to not be prepared for an opportunity when it shows up in your life,” stated Mabasa.

Picture: Director of Peculiar Generation Coaching, Phumla Mabasa.

It is quite clear that this article is not prescriptive at all. As you build your career, it will really come down to what you choose to follow and what opportunities lie before you. We wish for you to be prepared for the working world but not only that, we wish for you to have as much relevant information as possible so that you may make informed decisions concerning your future careers. 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!

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 paths.


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