By Ernest L. Molua
Cameroon’s civil service currently employs about 300,000 persons. All the state-owned corporations put together employ not more than 200,000 Cameroonians. With a population of about 17 million, and a supposedly working age population of about 5 million, it is hard to see how a saturated public service and an un-expanding rather contracting corporate sector will generate enough employment to absorb thousands of graduates. At no stage in Cameroon’s economic history have 1 million persons been employed by the state and its parastatals.
With incessant economic austerity measures compounded by need to balance state budget, and a paranoia for big-push developmental strategies in Cameroon and Africa by European and American financiers and shot-pullers, the light at the end of tunnel for white-collar jobs may be blwoing in the wind, and gone into the woods.
The bitter truth is that we would have to create our own jobs or risk dehydrating in the sahara or drowning in the high seas in an assumed long-walk to economic freedom, and perhaps finding ourselves at the bottom rung of white societies where we would migrate, cleaning their shoes, their toilets, their hair, their clothes, their yard and selling them sex to survive our bodies. Overcoming the scourge of this curse beckons for long hard thinking. It is time to create our own opportunities, here in Cameroon.
There is no better time than now, with increasing global opportunities on our palms, the internet and its speedy contacts and networking can unlock the door to create your own job in the land of your birth. Whether it is collecting Cameroonian Art and selling them online or doing an e-commerce replicating the e-bay and Google experience in Cameroon, job creation and self-employment now has its strongest catalyst.
Most of us are brought up to feel that our futures are controlled by other people. No one tells us this, but there is a subtle conditioning that starts with our families- our wonderful, well-meaning parents who want to keep us from harm- and so they hold us tightly by the hand, surround us with rules and controls intended to keep us safe; they’re in charge. And then the circle of control grows wider; our teachers, the leaders of our sports teams and youth groups. Little wonder that we are well conditioned by the time we enter the working world and our boss, the recruiter, or the corporate office naturally becomes the control icon in our lives.
Reality can be, and indeed is, different. If you haven’t instinctively grasped the thinking process of the movers and shakers in this real world of entrepreneurship, it can be learned – step-by-step. It starts by identifying:
(i) who you are as a person should have more to do with your work decisions than what jobs are available out there; (ii) everyone is loaded with talents – the task is to access them; (iii) staying close to your true interests invites success; (iv) knowledge about who you are and what the truth is about the part of the world of work which interests you is your most important career tool; (v) Jobs are responses to needs, which are perceived by those who can pay for them.
In creating Jobs you are likely to succeed if you do your homework and stick with the things you love to do. You can start by asking yourself the following questions: (i) How long do I want to stay in my career? (ii) What are the principal skills required in my current work? (iii) How naturally do I practice these skills? (iv) Am I having any fun at work? (v) What do I most look forward to doing when I am not working? (vi) What did I used to dream about doing when I was young? (vii) How valuable do I personally consider my present work? (vii) Am I substituting sound finances for pleasure at work? (viii) How much do I feel my contribution is valued at work? (ix) What would I most like to learn to do at this point in my life?
Write down your responses and then study them. You will see the patterns there that will indicate a direction you might investigate in order to create your own, new job. It might be in your current organization or in a new one. Or it may mean you start something on your own. Whatever you choose to consider, the process is exactly the same: (i) pay attention to your own dreams and skills and (ii) learn what those who could pay you to follow your dreams want and need. m By Ernest L. Molua