Monday, November 20, 2006
CBE Graduates: Compete or Die
We all have expectations from something or somewhere. As a matter of fact, most contractual agreements are based on expectations. That is, party A does certain things and in return, part B is supposed to meet certain obligations. I think they have this nice word called “breach of contract” for parties who fail to meet someone’s expectations.
One of the very few soft skills that had to learn after joining corporate America is “expectations management”. You know what? Formal education is very good, but in some instances it is overrated. There are certain skills you will never learn in school, unless you actually join the hustle of the “real world”.
I had no clue about the expectations management concept until one of my managers brought it up – as a matter of mentoring and professional nurturing of me. It must have been naturally in me, but hearing someone articulate it really hammered the concept down. This is how it goes…as an example.
Your manager gives you an assignment, for instance, and asks you provide the completion timeline. Based on your experience, you must know how long a project of that magnitude will be completed. If you know that it would take you two weeks, for instance, tell your manager that you will be done in two and half to three weeks. Why? That will provide you with a “cushion” time, in case something does not work out the way you expected. In essence, you have managed your manager’s expectations. It is better to present your project two days earlier than two days late.
I hope that helped someone who is planning to climb a corporate ladder or just grow professionally. It did help me.
I just bumped into this article by Tanzania Daima, in which graduates from the College of Business Education booed minister Mramba, when he told them that they shouldn’t expect employment from the government, but rather be self-starters upon graduation . I don’t know about you, but I was amazed at this reaction.
See, smart folks modify their expectations given changes in the environment. The reality in Tanzania is that the government has pulled out of many ventures that used to be the main source of employment for Tanzanian graduates. Given that fact, it is almost laughable for the CBE students to expect the government to provide employment. The last time I checked, Tanzania is riding on the free market craze. That, my CBE friends, include the competition in the labor market. That also includes self-employment.
It appears though, the CBE students are not even aware of the vast opportunities that are available for them through such programs as the Tanzanian government's Private Sector Participation program .
I am not saying that the government shouldn’t draft policies and strategies that ensure and promote economic growth and employment. They should. They are obligated to. Nonetheless, that is where the line ends. We all know that the involvement of the Tanzanian government in running business ventures led to inefficiencies that ultimately led to low pay and eventual lay-offs. So why would an informed business student in 2006 look for government employment? Aren’t they studying the tide?
I am not against government employment either. There are social services and other areas that it is only practical and logical for the government to deliver. Nonetheless, if we have to narrow it down to CBE students with a marketing diploma, for instance, where can they fit in the government’s employment? Kama wanataka kuwa maafisa kilimo wanaoajiriwa na Serikali, si wangeenda Sokoine basi? This just gives the impression that either our graduates are not taught to critically think, or are not well taught how to face the realities around them. I can only make one bold statement: at this rate, our graduates we will be swallowed alive by the Kenyan and Ugandan counterparts in the job market. We can’t be this cowardly and expect to compete. A graduate who gets out of school and cries for employment from the government is just like a mama’s boy who can’t do anything on their own.
Go out and compete in the labor market. Don’t be a whiny little wimp. We don’t want to build a nation of crybabies. The government can only do so much for you. I know the CBE students boos were more political, but I have this news highlight for my CBE friends: South Africans, Kenyans, and Ugandans etc are in Tanzania competing in the job market. So keep on crying and let us see if that is going to help.
Honestly, I feel like whacking CBE graduates on the head.