I call it the pretentious air of arrogance others call it unemployment.

So I have to do a piece on employment or the lack of it – unemployment. Being Kenyan my first thought on this was to pass blame. Pass it to everyone else but me. The thing is I fall in an age bracket that has been branded “the youth”. Collectively we are both the hope and downfall of our economy. You might not see where this is going but bare with me for a minute.

Truth of the matter is we have been looking at unemployment the wrong way. The media and the government have thrown the term around so much that it has become a technical term for not having a job. Here’s something funny – you could have a job but still be unemployed. Yes, apparently if resources are not fully utilized then that is a case of unemployment. But that’s a whole lot of economic jargon I don’t feel like delving into today so let me keep it brief.

I am living in an age where self discovery is a big deal. But with our rigid education system it has become quite impossible. Sixteen years are spent in pursuit of excellence. From the start we have the promise of a better life. I grew up knowing a degree would be my ticket to the good life. Fast forward a few years later and reality hits – hard! Degree or not, A or E we all grovel for the meager opportunities that present themselves. But as promised let me not pass blame. Today, I am going to take it.

The problem is me, us. It’s not rare to find one of us disregarding employment opportunity on the mere fact that it isn’t paying enough. While I am a firm believer in recognizing ones value we have to realize that value is only applicable if it goes both ways. It doesn’t matter how much value I place on a stone I picked up along the road, if people do not see its value they will disregard it.

The first step is having others recognize your value. The only way we can do this is by taking up those opportunities that we disregard. Our problem is we have the ‘get rich no struggle’ mentality. Do you hear the phone ring? Well, here’s a wake up call – there is no such thing. If it was that easy wouldn’t we all be successfully employed? I have the mind to chew your ears off or is it eyes? Never mind. With some quotes from the wise including one about journeys’, a thousand miles and a step. But I won’t.

It’s simple to see that we have become our own undoing. We are that generation that is relying on handouts. We are quick to point out how everybody else isn’t doing enough while us ourselves are busy doing nothing. As a matter of fact I will go ahead and call ourselves lazy. Lazy because while we spend so much time looking for that corner office job with a fair skinned, mini skirt wearing, sir saying, accent laden, assistant we overlook the fact that those that are there didn’t look for it. No, those positions came looking for them.

Every now and then we read a story in the dailies of a young guy with a captivating rags to riches story. The only thing that is common in those stories is the zeal and unrelenting hard work. I personally remember one where a certain gentleman saved Kes 200 a day for ten years from shoe shining and selling maize. He now owns a mini bus and you can guess his income. Now if we were to look past our pretentious air of arrogance and got down to business, we wouldn’t be talking about unemployment.

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