Ghana is a country vibrant in creativity. From the Kente weaving in the Ashanti Region, Shea nuts used to make shea butter in the north. The food, the dancing and the music, the country is rich in resources which can be used to start your own business.
However, if I was to tell my parents that I wanted to go back and start a Kente weaving business for example, they would look at me like I was going through some sort of mid-life crisis. Never mind the fact that they spend hundreds, if not thousands over the years on a trunk full of Kente cloth, for them, they didn’t come to this country and sweat blood and tears for that.
For my parents, uncles and aunts, especially here in the diaspora, your path is to go to school, get a university degree and find some office based job until retirement. Some of these parents will go one step further and “encourage” their wards to go into either medicine or law.
Medicine was never a career for me. I cringe at the sight of blood and even the sight of vomit makes me want to hurl, plus the shift work throws me. I did the night shift at the Royal Mail during the Christmas break while and I think I am still feeling the effects more than 20 years later. So no, I was never going to be a doctor.
Then there is law. I remember when I was younger I said I wanted to be a journalist. Smother although didn’t call it a “mickey mouse career”, was a lot happier when I changed course from Media Studies to Maths (my brain works better with numbers than words). She was even happier when I went on to study law but equally disappointed when I didn’t take it any further.
After I finished the law degree, I was going through stuff which made me have to stop and analyse why I went into it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it and have no regrets, but I felt that I was doing it because of my external environment rather than it be a passion that I really wanted to pursue. My mind wanders and given the chance to procrastinate I will, so it is better for me that I just get stuck in and do, which is why I like Supply Chain (or Supply and Demanding as Smother so eloquently puts it). Today, my parents, well they are just happy that I have found a job and even though they don’t know what the hell I do, I’ve been doing it for a while now and will keep me occupied until I retire.
I would really like to own my own business at some point, something that involves manufacturing and/or keep up this passion for writing, not sure what the long term plans are but I am enjoying what I do, not necessarily working for the same company for the next 20-30 years but at least I know the direction I want to go in.
So back to the whole law thing, my aunt and uncle came over and I was telling them my current situation (I should have just said I was on vacation). In this instance I would have been grateful for the standard “aww, sorry to hear that, you’ll find something soon”, but what I got was “have you heard of an unemployed lawyer”. It was then followed by “I told you to continue with the law, now is the time you should go back and finish it”. Now while I know his heart was in the right place, even if I wasn’t made redundant I don’t think I could have stayed in the company for the next 30 years. I am not sure in this day and age, people want to stay in the same place, every company I have been to has a unique quality that has made me more rounded today and while job security is great for me I love learning and growing. Besides, I don’t think I have the patience now to be reading up on case studies and statutes and working around the clock. So yeah I am good. Furthermore, the company I worked for started with one person’s vision, she turned it into a multi-million brand and sold it on for more millions, why not encourage that.
All is not lost however, I am seeing Ghanaians of my generation using their talent to do many things, I see Ghanaian names attached to sports, media, fashion, jewellery, our names are out there. For me, if you are fortunate enough to know your God given talent whatever your age, make the most of it and I encourage anyone whole heartedly to do so.