For many 2010 was a disastrous year! The graduating class of 2010 from the nation’s and indeed the world’s colleges and universities saw dreams of early employment in career fields evaporate whilst those currently employed were happy, just to maintain there status. For those mildly interested in economics and politics, it is difficult to comprehend that the statistics on the country’s economic health illustrate that the average Jamaican household is poorer today than it was in 2006!
Yet notwithstanding the trials and tribulations of 2010, for a few it (2010) was a successful year if not financially, experientially (to the extent such a word exists)! These are the persons who have turned adversity into opportunity and problems into solutions.
Now every recession throws up its fair share of gurus peddling the Keys To Success or Tips for Better Living. In many regards the following 5 tips fall in that category, but they are offered freely:
1. If you are under 35 have a million dollars to spend and the choice is between purchasing a new car and paying down on a house, purchase the car:
This tip is actually found in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and stems from the fact that both cars and houses are not assets but really impressive long term liabilities. However, the reason we propose you buy the car instead of the house at that age is that income is strongly correlated to mobility and also that rent in the short term is cheaper than mortgage.
Now do the maths let us assume you are the average single young professional working in the Kingston Metro area (Portmore and Spanish Town included). Kingston does not have affordable starter homes for that look not even to Portmore and Spanish Town but to Old Harbour. In addition in spite of the valiant attempts by the JUTC, the Metro area has a relatively ramshackle and tiresome transportation service. Thus you will always need a motor vehicle or some transportation to get you to your job.
Now let us further assume a new job opportunity in your desired career field opens up in Negril. The relocation costs include having to find a tenant for your home plus rental accommodations in Negril. Furthermore, real estate dealers will advise that rent is usually less than mortgage. So taking all into consideration it would have been easier to purchase a GOOD car, pay rent and pack your bags and move to your new employ.
2. Recognize that you live here not there!
Many of us engage in the practice and art of Jamaicaphobia always beating up on the country and its institutions and never having anything constructive to say. The worst are those who say ” if Jamaica was a civilized coutry” or ” if this was America or Canada.” Ironically the implication of the uncivilized country argument is that those that live here are barbarians and louts, which includes the residents making the statements.
The truth is the developed countries of North America, Europe and increasingly those in Latin America and Eastern Asia offer a vast array of opportunities just not present in Jamaica. However, you are here not there and remember Dorothy’s Ruby slippers took her home not away.
So either Shut Up and leave or stay and grab something and start helping with the development of the country and your community. If you do decide to leave just send your remittances and don’t remind us of how hard things may be in Jamaica. For those who decide to stay and are better off it is time to start supporting the Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASfL) and the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) and the other NGOs.
We can stary with something small like giving a gift to a child living with or made orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This Christmas let’s place Project Smiles on our Gift Giving List this year.
3. Don’t define yourself by your job or degree.
A friend of mine would always tease medical doctors that we were introduced to by asking are you a real real doctor or just a doctor doctor? The solid implication being that medical doctors as a class were inferior to those doctors who have acquired their titles through research. Of course this friend would turn to attorneys and point out that they just have a first degree with one little postgraduate diploma!
However, the real issue for my friend was that too many of us announce our degrees as if they define us, when it is the quality of our work and values that ought to. Worse many believe that a Kingston 8 or 6 address or skin colour marks them as being UPT, when they are possibly closer to being dregs (in any event dregs always float to the bottom no matter the amount of mixing). The key issue here is that the people who matter will know your class and value by how you handle situations and a clear consistent demonstration of competency. So the next time don’t announce your profession, announce yourself.
4. Recognise that this too shall pass
Yes the highs should be enjoyed and the lows despised but the attainment of the highs stem from the work you did at the lows. Furthermore the lows we are at often times have to do with the mistakes we made when we were at our highs.
Ten years ago my biggest challenge was having to deal with the fact having gotten into my first choice university in Canada due to financial constraints I had to go to UWI where I was completely funded. Today as I watch my friends struggle with hefty first world student loan debt and having to relocate due to a recession, I am glad I don’t have to deal with those challenges. My new challenge is having to deal with my ageing parent and the loss of the other. Tomorrow my challenge may be my bulging waistline, Cancer or some other malady or even unemployment. Irrespective of the challenge, there is no option but to deal with each new challenge.
5. Don’t be afraid to do something
Recently the Pink Report got an opportunity to be invited to and attend a Visualisation In Participatory Programmes workshop in Ocho Rios. The focus of the workshop was to introduce participants to a concept of participatory learning approaches that can be incorporated in existing strategies irrespective of the field but with a focus on HIV/AIDS service organizations.
What was indeed interesting was that at this workshop persons in attendance included programme managers and officers from some of the leading Non-governmental Organizations in the field and Pink was there! Last year this time, the entity wasn’t even a thought and to be invited to sit at a table as an equal proves that much can be accomplished in under a year with little to no resources.
The story of Pink is that the reward for doing something is a sense of accomplishment where as the reward for inactivity is the if I did moments!
In looking at the range of organizations seated at the workshop and the trials that they have overcome to remain in existence; one of the lessons/reinforcements learnt is that there will always be “naysayers and badmind” people, misery loves company! However, that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goal it is just an opportunity to develop a better marketing strategy regarding yourself, your product or your entity!