May 4, 2007

The key to transition

A transition from the classroom to the work place is difficult. Most people often think of this transition in terms of getting a job. During his presentation on the ways to achieve prosperity in life, Professor Lovemore Mbigi argued that this is a flawed conception of change. “Don’t look for a job, look for a problem to solve, the bigger your problem, the bigger is the reward. The companies have already an answer to you as a job-searcher-No!” For many of us, this was unnerving. We all look forward to being employed so as to gain experience, to learn how things are done beyond the classroom, and to improve our wellbeing. However, we had not viewed the job-search process in the perspective that Mbigi has suggested. I think there is some validity in what he is saying. Mbigi suggests that there are very few companies that are willing to employ people who have not defined what they will solve. Thus, if in any case one is invited to an interview, the whole issue is an attempt, by whoever has invited you, to find reasons not to hire you! It is your obligation to prove that you are worth the very job for which you have applied during that interview. This is a powerful revelation, I think.

Going back to Mbigi’s concept of identifying a problem to solve, you need to make a compelling sales proposition around your solution. The next step is to develop this solution into a product or production. Otherwise, Mbigi suggests, it is not enough to have a solution. The question is how you create a problem for which you will have a solution or solutions? And how you communicate your solution to the problem of your own creation! This sounds tricky.

You will realise that this world is replete with problems-economic, social and political problems. So the issue is not for you to create more of these but to identify them and suggest ways of dealing with them. One of the problems faced by South Africa is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have suggested in one of my blog-posts that there is need to deal with stigma as one of the national interventions against the disease. This is one of my “solutions” to this problem. I am proposing this through my profile in my blogspot. In this blogspot, I have turned myself into a product because it is where I have expressed my selling points, that is, my ability to think out of the box, my ability to lead and work in a team, my research and writing skills, and my ability to formulate policies towards employment creation and poverty reduction in South Africa.


Thomas Blaser said...

Mbigi was very inspiring in his best moments. I was encouraged by his exhortion to focus on the positive and what you can offer and resolve. How are you then to combat the stigma related to HIV/AIDS?

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

I agree with Thomas about Prof. lovemore's emphasis on focusing on the positive, our areas of brilliance. I however think, that life is about constant change and it is rare that one immediately knows what direction to take. As Fiona MacDonald said yesterday, the average employee will undergo several career changes. Sometimes your area of brilliance is not discovered until it has been tried and tested!!

Susan Mwangi said...

Mbuso, I can see that you have identified the problem you want to solve(in Roy-speak,you are in ready mode). Please engage in the second step and fire away any and every creative idea that you think may be applied in finding the solution.

Please open the blog-floor and let's brainstorm...

Valentin said...

Mbuso, I can see that you have picked up very well one main issue that Mbigi raised during his presentation-the issue of problem-solving as a key component in the job application process.
As you have already mentioned: the first stage is the stage of problem-solving and the second stage is the stage of developing the problem into a product or production. In fact, that's true.
Could you possibly give an example of how you could develop these two stages and apply them to any given job (in development studies)? Have you ever thought of doing something like that?