Monday, 13 March 2017

A seat at the table

I recently shared a meal with a few young people to discuss self-fulfilling prophecies and their impact. Interestingly I found that none of them deemed themselves as professionals nor did they view themselves as having careers. (These were individuals in the contact center industry.)

“This is a means to an end,” said Mbali a call center agent.
She joined the contact center industry with the intention of raising capital to fund her university studies. Her tone in trivializing the contact center industry made me lose interest in what her original career aspiration was. Her reality came when she, unfortunately, lost her mother and inadvertently became the bread winner. She's been a call center agent for the past 14 months and wants to “break free from it.” The hindrance to that move is that she has no qualifications for any other field nor is she experienced in anything else either than customer care.

dictionary.com describes a profession as something someone does to earn a living. A job is a paid position for regular employment. A career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress.

To Mbali and the rest of the table: 
You don't seem to understand that your intentions determine whether you have a job or career. Opportunities to progress are in abundance in the service industry. You just to need to approach them with a clear plan. 

BusinessTech in 2014 reported that more than 2,000 call centers across South Africa employ over 225,000 people – 175,000 of which deal directly with customers.
The call center industry in the country was expected to grow at 15%, annually. In Africa, it was anticipated that 5,000 more call centers would pop up in the next five years.

It's been three years since that article was published. How much do you think the industry has contributed to South Africa's GDP?

The age groups you find in contact centers, the industry helps to create employment for school leavers who have little to no work experience and who may not be able to afford a Berkeley education. Case in point Mbali.

Does this mean they have no chance of increasing their earnings potential? Transforming their lives and pursuing their dreams? Not! In the words of Olivia Pope and Cyrus Beene stop being “little b$#ch babies.” 

The truth is everyone has a sad story. You're not that special. "If you hang around a barbershop long enough you are bound to get a haircut."

You are here, now what?

On your journey to securing a seat at the table understand that no one cares what you're going through. What matters is what you're doing while you're there because the tail of hardship is only inspirational and celebrated when it's supported by triumph.

5 comments:

  1. Comparing ourselves with others is resultant to Mbali demeening her current status and profession. An Axe advert constanlty reminds me not to compare myself with others rather to myself. Where i was yesterday, today and what i want to become in the future. I must say lack of appreciation of what you have now may hinder opportunities in the future. I do empathise with her if she has to cold call but the contact centre industry needs a person of strong character and not take things personal. I do appreciate this article, what i am taking out of it is to take my profession with pride regardless how society views it. Your point of view has an effect and changes our perspective

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sadly the view she holds is not hers but one she would have picked up, developed because of the views of society, there is that cliche again. We play down a lot in our lives to allow the naysayers to not class us and in sometimes in doing so we play ourselves and our own hard work down. We fail to celebrate our efforts. You wake up everyday to go to that means to an end.
    You get up in the early hours, bath in a small dish, walk to the taxis, bus, train, stand in a long queue, get to work spend 8 hours of your day, then take the same commute back home. All this would take out a good 6 hours out of your day. All together 19 hours of you 24 hour day is spent serving that means to an end. That means to an end looks like your life right now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sadly the view she holds is not hers but one she would have picked up, developed because of the views of society, there is that cliche again. We play down a lot in our lives to allow the naysayers to not class us and in sometimes in doing so we play ourselves and our own hard work down. We fail to celebrate our efforts. You wake up everyday to go to that means to an end.
    You get up in the early hours, bath in a small dish, walk to the taxis, bus, train, stand in a long queue, get to work spend 8 hours of your day, then take the same commute back home. All this would take out a good 6 hours out of your day. All together 19 hours of you 24 hour day is spent serving that means to an end. That means to an end looks like your life right now.

    ReplyDelete