This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Re-conceptualising the career box

We’ve all been faced with the terrifying prospect of our very first job interview. When the day for mine drew nearer, I grew more and more nervous, until just talking about it would make my hands shake. All this confounded my Dad, who didn’t seem to be able to understand my pain. Until I got fed up with his lack of empathy and asked him, “Come on Dad, don’t you remember how you felt at your first job interview?” He replied that he’d never had one. He wrote a letter while at university to the company where he’d done some vacation work and they were happy to give him a job.

The days of this exceptional ease in finding a first job is long gone. (To give my Dad credit, though, he did take the initiative to find, and hold down, a vacation job). As Andrew Hofmeyr joked, no one’s going to be forming a queue at our door to take advantage of a Latin/ arts/ languages/ politics degree. Re-conceptualising our skills requires some revolutionary thinking on our part. But our opportunities are endless.

Jerry, a family friend, plays computer games all day. By doing this, he makes a fortune. He has paid for their beautiful house in Kommetjie, an exclusive area in Cape Town, in cash. He could afford to spend a year travelling around the world while he worked. Essentially, he sells objects that he has acquired in the game in a shop on e-bay. He can work anywhere were he has a decent computer and an ADSL line. By training, he’s an ichthyologist- a fish scientist.
The Sunday Times carried an article this week about a place where we can all have a second life ( Second Life is a virtual computer world with no sickness, old age or death, and everyone is beautiful. 4.5 million people belong to this community, purchasing virtual commodities for real world money. Everyday, up to $1.5 million exchanges hands. Corporates have caught on to this phenomenon and rented space in the game. A singer has launched her album in this world. Businesses can hold conferences in a virtual conference room.

In our world, our scope for career options is as broad as our capacity for innovation. How much more exciting this is than the world of my Dad, where he never saw a job interview room, was expected to be a lawyer, doctor, or businessman, and was never interviewed for his first job.

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