Should I Focus Solely on My Career or Mix it with a Job?

Jerry and Eric at a project management event in Lagos.
Jerry and Eric at a project management event in Lagos in 2013.

I was chatting with one of my very good friends yesterday. He was my course mate in the university and recently got a nice job in an IT firm as a Business Development Executive. I was so happy for him because the job market here in Nigeria is like a war zone. Congratulations, brother!

During the course of our discussions he asked me a question that prompted me to writing this article. He said it in Nigerian pidgin, “E be like u no de find work, abi?” (Translation in English: It seems you are not looking for a job, right?). Then he went on to say, in pidgin too, “Baba self-dependent. I de feel you oo.” (Translation in English: You are really depending on yourself. I like your style very much).

We had this discussion on a Saturday morning and later in the evening of that same day, that is, before I slept off, I thought about the discussions again and decided that I would write something about it today, being Sunday, and post it under my new “Jerry’s Musings” category.

I had searched for a job at one time or the other after I graduated. I have created accounts on some of the local online job sites and uploaded my CV (though I haven’t updated them for some time now and that’s what I hate about traditional resumes) on their database. I have contacted or communicated with some persons in the past to let them know that I am looking for a job. And yes, I have also received some job offers too based on my personal branding efforts on the internet. So, why am I not still working for someone?

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. – Parker Palmer, Author

Well, something serious happened to me last year, in March 2015 to be precise, which I would share in one of my subsequent articles. That period offered me some time to think about myself and learn who I am. I came out of it more focused and determined about my career than I was before it happened.

There is no perfect career. There is no perfect job. Just perfect your ways to SUCCESS. – Jerry Ihejirika

You see, there’s no one career or job path to success. There are several career and job paths to success. Go and interview or speak with some of the top, most successful and most wealthiest men who are in the same profession and in the same city. In as much as they are in the same profession, in the same city and even competing against each other, you would notice that their career paths to success were different.

And back to my friends question if whether I’m looking for a job. I love the experience of working in someone else’s dream and helping the dream come true. As iron sharpens iron so do dream ‘sharpens’ dream. Instead of putting all your eggs in one passion-career basket, spend some quality time learning from someone else’s dream. And for the “Baba self-dependent” talk, no one survives that way in this world. Whether you are solely pursuing your dream career or working for someone else, you would need some persons in your life and business to succeed. There are some persons behind the scene who are contributing to my growth, development and success. I ask them for advice whenever I get stucked or confused. Maybe one day, I would write an article containing some the best advices that have help shaped my career so far.

However, I’m not new to the world of working. I worked in my dad’s registered company (Ginax International Enterprise, RC-861709), in both full-time and part-time for 10 years (2003-2013) as a Sales and Marketing Representative. The company was into importing, exporting and general merchandising. It first started importing mainly from Thailand in 1992 and then shifted to China in 1999 (We were one of the first companies in Oko-Awo, Idumota, to import from China). When my dad moved the head office from Idumota to the Tradefair Complex (both in Lagos) in 2005, I became in charge of the Idumota branch and employed my own Secretary. The Idumota branch continuously recorded the highest sales, not only because of the size and popularity of the market, but also because of my marketing efforts. I resigned in 2013 (although I’m still indirectly involved as it is a family-owned company) to pursue my project management career.

Fashion belts, fashion eye glasses, padlocks and chains are part of GIE's merchandise
Fashion belts, fashion eye glasses, padlocks and chains are part of GIE’s merchandise

Some of my course mates and friends in the university then would remember me missing some classes (I even missed some impromptu assignments because of my absence) whenever I travelled to Lagos to attend to the business. When I’m not in Lagos, I communicate daily with my Secretary and my dad. It wasn’t easy for me then combining schooling (in Imo State) with doing business (in Lagos State). It was challenging and fun but it helped me develop my sales, marketing, and business communications skills.

You can either work for (as an employee) or work with someone (as a partner) to help them accomplish their dreams. 

I have already started pursuing my project management career. I also have interests in Career Coaching and I’m working towards that, too. In addition, I would still work in someone else’s dream and help that dream come true. If you call it a job, then so be it.

My dear friend, I hope this post clears your thought about me and I wish you a Happy and Blessed Sunday.

P.S. In my FREE 8-Day Email Course on “How to Attract Good Job Offers Without Submitting Your CV to any Company,” I teach students and job seekers how to build a good job search strategy. Click here to enrol!

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