It pays to start from the scratch

Graduates 12 File photo

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 Source: Godwill Arthur-Mensah

Most graduates in Ghana these days want to secure gainful employment just after their national service.

Some of them think that just dispatching their CVs to corporate institutions is enough and expect phone calls the next day for job interviews in the reputable companies of their choice.

Research has revealed that there are averagely 300,000 graduates who come out from tertiary institutions every year, competing for limited job opportunities in the system.

But one would ask, how many graduates in Ghana would take up a job as a cleaner? Most of them harbour the ambition of securing jobs in a well-furnished and air-conditioned offices so that they would wake up in the morning and wear their suits and put up their ties, and probably drive their posh vehicles gently to their offices.

Well, it’s not bad to have such ambitious dreams because on normal circumstances that’s how it should be.

I believe that as a country, if we had planned properly in the past and managed our resources well devoid of corruption and selfish interests such dreams wouldn’t be farfetched.

In fact, the inspirational story of Mr Lenuel Nsiah-Kusi, a former graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology really inspired me to write this piece.

Nsiah-Kusi, after completing the KNUST was jobless as many graduates today and after trying unsuccessfully to secure a job after writing numerous job applications, decided to accept employment as a cleaner in a real estate company.

He went through hell and psychological trauma because as our Ghanaian society is noted for, most people don’t respect people performing the task.

But surprisingly, most Ghanaians with high academic qualifications travel abroad to work as cleaners and do other menial jobs and repatriate huge sums of money home to their families. But the beneficiaries of such remittances never complain that the money is coming from someone who has been cleaning. Interesting, isn’t it?

But Nsiah-Kusi encouraged himself with the believe that even Jesus Christ who considered himself a God left his glory in heaven and took human form to suffer humiliation on earth so that he could save mankind. Therefore, by dint of hard work, Nsiah-Kusi secured a job in a reputable company as a supervisor with better wages and working conditions.

There are many graduates like Nsiah-Kusi, who are currently jobless but they are sitting at home and watching television every day and increasing the electricity bills of their parents or guardians.

They are expecting Manna to fall from heaven, but as former President John Evans Atta-Mills would say, you must take a step and start doing something meaningful before your parents or guardians start castigating you and throw you out on the street.

After all a journey of thousand miles begins with a step therefore one must be innovative and do something.

Steve Jobs is one of the business executives who had left a lasting legacy for his generation and generations yet unborn because of his “Can Do Spirit” in spite of many failures he suffered in his career.

Jobs died in 2011 at age 56, but before he succeeded in building a legacy as a successful business executive, he suffered many failures including being a college dropout, fired tech executive and unsuccessful businessman.

Jobs will always be best known for his incredible success in guiding Apple Incorporated and transforming the entire consumer computer and phone industry. But he’ll also be remembered fondly as the poster child for how making mistakes — and even failing — can sometimes end up being the best thing that ever happens to you.

By the time Jobs turned the reins of the company over to his second in command, Tim Cook, he had become one of the business world’s greatest comeback kids.

He was fired from the company he founded. Under Jobs’ intensely detail-oriented leadership, Apple created a number of iconic products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad, which have changed the face of consumer technology forever.

Apple also is now one of the most valuable companies in America by market capitalisation.

Jobs was one of the richest men in the world before his demise.

Like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Jobs never graduated from college.

In fact, he only made it through about six months at Reed College, a highly selective liberal arts school in Oregon, before dropping out because he thought it was too expensive for his middle-class parents.

In a speech he delivered at the Stanford University in 2005, Jobs recalled sleeping on friends’ floors and walking across town to the Hare Krishna temple for free meals.

He also recalled how dropping out left him with time to take a calligraphy class, which later would inform the typography aesthetic of the first Mac.

Jobs once said: “If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.”

Career coaches and leadership gurus often say that getting fired can be the best thing that ever happened to you, but that can be hard to believe if you’re the one being shown the door.

That’s especially true when you consider the case of Jobs. He wasn’t just fired. He was dumped by Apple, his baby, the company he had co-founded in his garage with pal Steve Wozniak.

The firing came after a power struggle in which the board of directors sided with John Sculley, a former Pepsi executive who had been brought in to run the company.

In that Stanford speech, Jobs recalled the devastating public humiliation of being ousted, and conceded that he even considered running away from Silicon Valley. Only later did he see how the blow helped him.

“I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” Jobs said in the Stanford commencement speech.

Instead of running away, during his time away from Apple, Jobs bought the animation studio Pixar and started the computer company NeXT.

Pixar revolutionised animated moviemaking with releases such as “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Cars.” It later was sold to The Walt Disney Co.

So you see, people had worn the shoes you are currently wearing and they were able to pull the chest nut from the blazing fire, so why can’t you do it?

Columnist: Godwill Arthur-Mensah