A woman with a placard requesting for a job in my home County government’s offices.
We have probably heard the term “half baked graduates” thrown around by people in reference to graduates who are coming out of University recently.I may be one of those who are colloquially referred to as half baked.To be a little sincere,it kind of feels like an insult when one spends four years of his lifetime studying for a degree then some entitled person somewhere refers to them as such.It is not only disheartening but also discourages young ones coming from high school,girls and boys budding with intelligence from joining these tertiary Institutions. We have to be very careful with how we apportion this blames else all our young ones will shun formal education.
Don’t get me wrong though,I am not here to express my feelings like a heartbroken teenager or something.Actually,I may be among the few enlightened people who believe that even in this major unemployment crisis,we could stop blaming it all on whether we are half-baked,full baked,or quarter baked and start formulating tangible strategies that will get our young ones out of this hard situation they find themselves in.I speak with a lot of conviction on this issue because I recently resigned from a job amidst an environment where young people like me are looking for the same opportunity.
But don’t trust me just yet.Why the hell did I resign?Didnt I really need all that cash?Well,the answers to these questions forms the fundamentals to the solutions of the unemployment crisis in the world today.I came to the realization that the problem is not with the graduates or there skills,or there teachers,or the education system as we are mostly inclined to believe.Fact of the matter is,most of the employed people in the job market today,are themselves products of inferior education systems,inferior institutions and teachers unlike us,the dot com generation;no one is better than the internet generation.But I must say they are doing so well in their jobs today.Why?You may ask.Its because I believe experience and not professors is the best teacher.
The job market in itself is what is the problem and not the graduates.I will cite a quick example,there exists a super financial manager in my country Kenya who seems to be the bad-ass CEO.Judging by his lucrative career,it feels like he may be among the few chosen financial managers who can read balance sheets better than most. You might have heard of a man by the name Julius Kipngetich,the immediate former CEO of the state-owned retailer,Uchumi supermarkets.If you carefully follow through his career,you will understand the underlying problem of the Unemployment crisis.
I have nothing against the good Dr.Kipngetich,in any case I truly appreciate intelligence because it in itself is a rare commodity.Mr.Julius is one of those intelligent ones,but so was my freshman roommate Jeremy who also happened to have studied economics.But the tale of these two intelligent individuals is one that showcases great inequities when it comes to opportunity in the Job market.For those familiar with Kenya’s cooperate landscape,you will recall that Dr.Kipngetich has moved successively from one cooperate organization to another.He served as the CEO of Kenya wildlife Service before moving to Equity group Limited.He then moved to the ill-fated Uchumi Supermarket chains where he resigned sighting pursuance of personal interests.
The grim reality though is our good Dr.Kipngetich might not really have made lasting positive impact in some of these cooperations he has been at the helm,just to sight but a few,how well did he deal with poaching crisis while at KWS? Or rather what was his contribution to getting the debt ridden Uchumi out of its callous financial reality.The Job market therefore is more keen on recycling the same old managers from one cooperation to another even though they may not be contributing significantly to their growth.
But what if instead of recycling managers,we could actually be giving some of these opportunities to our young intelligent minds? Instead of moving Dr.Kipngetich from KWS to Uchumi we could have employed a young manager like my intelligent freshman roommate Jeremy.So that instead of one person keeping three jobs that he is decimally perfoming in,we could empower two young people in those positions.Sounds like a good idea right?
If you said it’s a good idea,you are both right and wrong.You are right because it seems to be the logical path to follow but you are also wrong because we don’t live in that kind of world.I mean let’s face it,we live in a capitalistic economy where greed is at the center of all appointments and opportunities.When integrity is at the altar of sacrifice,what more do you expect other than injustice.Due process will be put under the table and job positions will only be given to those who may in return gives us some favors when they land those positions.
In Kenya for instance, the great capitalists are the land and real estate owners. If you do not fit into this categorization you are doomed to a serious period of struggle. If you go into business, licensing fees from the government and hefty taxes from the Kenya revenue authority may bring your business down to its knees. If you are a creative, your movies, your music, your writing, your paintings, your digital designs or dramas maybe banned by the government for reasons well known to them. I am sure you know Mr. Ezekiel Mutua, the self proclaimed moral police who has singlehandedly banned without apologies several creative works including the famous and celebrated music group Sauti Sol’s music. Patenting and copyrighting is a big joke in the country, yet this is the only avenues where young people can begin to build a life of their own.
As though that isn’t enough, the governments we elect seems to have made it their primary business to maintain the status-quo. No wonder most of the folks holding political office are busy locating parcels of land around the country to misappropriate. Which further confirms my allegations that the landlords run our economy.They give sensitive parastatal positions to their political cronies, who in turn employ their uneducated relatives and family. To add hot coal on the wound, these very uneducated people who only landed positions because they share a DNA with a highly placed government official are the same ones that will be calling university graduates “half baked”. Which is better? Half baked or the kind that is not baked at all,I will let you be the judge.
To my young people,you may be unemployed today but I am here to remind you that you still matter.They may call you names but you got to stick to your grind.Use your knowledge to innovate and develop things that are of value to our communities.It is not a fault of your own that you find yourself in this crisis.It is not the fault of your teachers,lecturers or the education system.Its the overly aggrandized greedy forces of society that are willingly locking you out of opportunities that you genuinely deserve.That is why they call you half baked.Is it fair for someone with three university degrees from abroad calling you half baked? Nooooo..So write books about your experiences, code softwares, develop community initiatives, build businesses, create fashion lines, blogs, websites. We may emerge successful in the long run.