As I drew closer to the end of my four-year stay in the University, I got more curious about the world of work. Following MM Focus Magazine’s campaign against ‘getting stuck in the wrong job’, the image from their campaign has been permanently embedded in my mind. As a result, it became an undying concern that I do not get stuck in the wrong job.
I made it a habit to find out for myself just how many people within the corporate world were square pegs in round holes. In a bid to steer clear of similar situations, I asked workers generic questions about their jobs and to my surprise, the responses ranged massively from nonchalance to compulsion. On the bright side, about one out of five respondents got excited and delved into unending conversation about their jobs requirements, some experiences that come with it, and why they love it. That was the kind of attitude I desired to have towards my job.
As a National Service Personnel, I expect to love my job. Whether or not it is an internship that lasts 4 months or a service that lasts one year, if it is worth my time, it is worth doing well. The secret to doing something well is to enjoy it. It is a very sad predicament if you journey from home to an office five (or six) days a week to fulfill tasks that are assigned to you and receive compensation in the form of salary without relishing each moment.
I anticipate being productive. Going to work is one thing, but it is a whole other thing to get results when you get to work. I have been able to build a result-oriented mindset, and I expect to be assigned enough tasks that keep me busy till the week ends. I hope I do not have the time to recite the mantra, “Is it Friday yet?”. My friends have shared a lot of national service and internship experiences with me, where they ran personal errands for their supervisors and did nothing related to the jobs they were employed for.
In the grand scheme of things, the National Service system is designed to be an act of service and love to your country. In essence, there is no obligation to pay personnel salary or allowance in my opinion. J. F. Kennedy said it best when he said, “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country…” I see National Service as such an opportunity to do a lot for my country and as such, I expect to produce more value than I am paid for.
Inasmuch as the National Service system confuses me, I am sure that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. I wonder how many personnel are posted based on their strengths, skills or interests. Some university graduates are oblivious to the kind of work that they will enjoy, whereas others enjoy doing (and are good at) multiple kinds of work. Either way, it would be better for all parties involved if someone who is naturally crafted to be an accountant is not posted to teach at a school but instead, is posted to do work along the lines of accounting. As I anticipate starting my National Service, I hope to learn about myself. In these formative years, every personnel should take advantage of the National Service working environment and assess their strengths and discover what they were born to do, or at least, get a general idea of their area of interest.
Early on in the year, the National Service Secretariat granted the 2015-2016 National Service Personnel an opportunity to extend their service for six (6) extra months because of their exceptional output and positive contribution to their respective postings. Bravo to them and all the best to the next batch!
Very few people are wired to fit into every working environment, and others may just take what they can get. I hope that over this year, the National Service Personnel across the country discover the fulfillment in enjoying the work they do instead of writing it off as a wasted year that neither builds capacity and skills nor serves the nation profitably.
By: Ewurabena Hagan