Random Thoughts: Transition

by | Mar 17, 2015 | Random | 2 comments

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel at GIBS on Career Transitions. It was little daunting because my fellow panellists were people who have been working in the career coaching, executive recruitment and organisational development spaces for some years. But, it was an insightful experience to participate in because, in a way, it allowed me to get clarity on some of the lessons I have learnt about building career and transitioning between industries by simply doing (and reading).

In a weird way, having spent extended periods of my life writing, I have had to both experience and observe life simultaneously in an attempt to document thoughts, feelings, etc. In that journey, I have learnt that one needs to be engaged with your life, not allowing everything to chance.

We box ourselves. We often view our career trajectory and what we can do as being absolutely determined by what we studied, what job title we have, what industry we work in, etc. Having had a schizophrenic working life, I have, fortunately or unfortunately, had to approach it differently. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that it is about the skills you have and how you use them. And it is about consistently adding to those skills through engaging with the knowledge available.

The English philosopher John Locke once said, “reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” We are surrounded by an abundance of knowledge that is easily accessible. In determining the paths you want to traverse, it is about absorbing, processing and applying that knowledge and expanding our skills base to enable us to pursue the careers we dream of.

A random thought.

2 Comments

  1. Wanjiru

    Very succinctly expressed. Growing up in high school and college we were trained to pick specific subjects that would lead us to specific career paths.

    I always had a problem with that kind of feeling boxed into one limited space in a vast world so full of opportunities and endless possibilities. I strongly rebelled against labeling and boxing because I did not feel that limited.

    Thank goodness when I got to graduate school, the world opened up as I thought it should have all along. There were no right or wrong answers in graduate school. You picked a position and with research, defended it fully. Any position.

    Translated into career transitions, the same principle applies. We are human beings full of skills and knowledge that are applicable in a variety of fields. We limit out vastness, greatness and potential by boxing ourselves into certain career paths only.

    This is a vast world with limitless possibilities. Open yourselves up and apply your best knowledge and skill-sets, and ability to learn.

    Lose the boxes.

  2. Preston Wheatley

    I mentioned to an acquaintance the other day, that I didn’t have any degree that supports the current role I fill. I fully agree with you on learning and also on unboxing the set paradigms. I hope to do something new now, that will stretch and grow me. I have just discovered writing and it is very therapeutic for introspection and learning while you write.

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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