As we fast approach the elections on the 8th of August, 2017, the high unemployment problem facing the millennials or the youth in Kenya is top of many aspirants’ manifestos. Important to note, the high unemployment rate in Kenya has been so for the last 20 years. Many observers say it looms as a crisis for the nation given the rise in population of over 1 million births each year.
It is certain that the Government we elect into power come August 8th will shape the labour market, and thus can either speed up closing this gap or worsen the situation. However, research shows that despite previous Government promises and numerous policy interventions, the Kenyan economy is still not expanding fast enough to absorb all the young millennials entering the job market. What that means is that unemployment, to some degree, will persist for the foreseeable future.
For many of us born in the 80’s, we grew up seeing the Government blamed for every undoing in the society. If a man battered his wife, the Government would be blamed for the stressed man unemployment situation. The Government is often criticised all around and hardly do we hear people commend a Government for progress or opportunities created. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there is a lot that the Government can do to improve the job market in Kenya. However, I also believe that the change can only begin from within. The power to transform our situation will begin from the decision to take responsibility for the outcome of our lives.
Take another example of the poor drainage in the cities which often block when there is rain. Truth is, the county Government has its part to play enforcing the law against individuals that litter, however, the responsibility lies with individuals who make a decision to either litter or use the proper channels of disposal.
Understand that even with the greatest President nothing much will change in your life if you do not do put in progressive change within your small circle. What I mean is President X will not knock on your door and give you a job offer, he will not call you randomly for an employment opportunity in company X. That is your job! As for him, he applied for a job as the President of Kenya, and he got the job. He is doing the best he can with the knowledge and wisdom he has, to lead the country the best way he knows how to, and on top of that, he is providing for his family and that is where it ends.
For argument's sake, what if he actually knocked on your door, and gave you a job offer, will your developed skills be a good fit for the job? Will your people skills outshine the other candidates? Will your preparedness for the job market make you the most suitable candidate? And why do you believe you are the best?
Here is the lesson, Governments come and go and so does time. Shift focus from without (politicians, parents, friends, rich uncles/aunts) to within. Focus on unleashing the potential within you by deliberate massive action. Work out your success by thinking through on the following:-
- Where am I? (Current state of your life)
- How did I get here? (what habits, decisions have led me here)
- What is my plan to turn around the situation (Take up study, seek mentors, adopt a disciplined lifestyle)
- How will I stay the Course? (Write down my own manifesto, get like-minded friends, remain positive in thought and speech)
During the different Government eras in Kenya, we all know that one person who had it worse and they came out shining, we also know that one person who had it all together but lost it all. The heights in your life that you want to achieve are possible, look within and decide to be more.
As J.F. Kennedy challenged his country’s people, I too throw the same challenge to you today: ‘‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’’