By Abdulwasii Ilyas
“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” Henry Ford (Founder Ford Motor Corp.)
I listened to working class people and they all appear to share a similar conviction; as deep as it is, that a job in the civil service trumps other forms of paid employment in how it consistently and unflinchingly offered what they called ‘security’ to those who hold such jobs. What perturbs me is how passionately they cling to this mindset and how vehemently they argue along its line.
Many readers here will toe that line of reasoning and I am not about to discredit or sling mud at it. My intent here is to examine the gains accruing from such job security against the core requirements that constitute a living standard that approximates sanity particularly when such examinations are exercised against the backdrop of the fervor and excitement displayed by advocates of this thought.
Here comes the bold statement. Security does not exist in any job, employment, or craft. Security is in the specific attitudes and beliefs an individual holds about work and life. Excessive quest for paid employment is the bane of many young people. Some of them lack the skills and expertise required to add value to an employer’s business and they make no attempt to acquire such skills. They simply resort to vain analyses of certain government agencies and parastastals where substantial paychecks are guaranteed.
This is an offshoot of the entitlement mentality; Where people focus on what they can get to the exclusion of the impact they could and should make.
When we are indisposed to working hard and long at something that adds immense value to the system, we miss great opportunities at attaining success and security. This apathy is what drives most quest for paid employment in the public sector and therein lies the reason behind so many unfulfilled lives and dreams in that sector.
There are huge rewards and benefits (both financial and emotional) that accrue from possessing knowledge and expertise that solves real-life problems. You wouldn’t trade such rewards for peanuts and blab about a security that is at best a mirage and at worst a drawback.
Our responsibility instead is to ward off the ennui and complacency that accompany a mere university degree and a job where there is little or no room for growth, and to acquire new skills and consistently upgrade our expertise to meet the ever-evolving challenges of our world. Beyond just learning; acquiring degrees or certificates; and reading books, practice and experience occupy a lofty position in the development of talent.
There is security in the nurturing and reawakening of our entrepreneurial drive regardless of the positions and the sectors we work in. A core element of this drive is responsibility and it is an antidote of that entitlement mentality. People need to understand that they are responsible for securing their future and make the right decisions to that effect. Ditching the wait for government or a job to provide them with a safety net.
Succeeding far into the stretch of your life span requires a deep devotion to a life-long learning. A learning that lies at the meeting point between human needs, your talent and passion.