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The search: considering your options


Common sense they say is not in common supply and even if it is, it is never commonly demonstrated.

The “mint” post NYSC graduate puts together a detailed, world-class resume. He applies for that very available but elusive job and waits for the ping on his phone that would alert of the much desired interview invitation.

But then the alert takes too long in coming so he goes back online and fires the same CV to every firm advertising a vacancy. And then sits back again to wait for the electronic ping that would set him up for his first corporate interaction. Who knows how long he’ll have to wait this time.

The truth is he has an ignorance that schooling had not touched. Education would have eroded that ignorance but this fresh young graduate just got schooled in a discipline. One of the rules of success in any venture is that you understand the presence and level of sophistication of your competition.

A complete awareness of your competition (who they are, what they know, how they operate, etc) and their depth would inform your strategic plan.

In the end, you will be able to deduce your best chances of survival in such environment. And if your chances are slim, wisdom demands that you go where you have greater chances of surviving or even thriving.

So here is the fact: there are millions of Nigerians armed with the same (or even better) certificates that this young fresh graduate possesses. His apparent competition is estimated to be in millions. When he applies for that job, depending on his location, he would have to compete with a couple of thousands – or let’s say hundreds – for a single slot. The total mass of his competition is overwhelming. He might have chances but they are slim.

What options has he got? There is a market where he has less competition and consequently a better chance of survival if he can pay the price. As a matter of fact, it is the same market he is trying to access with a CV – only he’s accessing it from the bottom. The market of Entrepreneurs – every business is the off-shoot of an initial entrepreneurial drive.

That’s the market he wants to get into. Lofty as his ideals may be, he does not understand that the crowd at the tail will definitely narrow his chances of gaining access to the market. But then there is better access – the head of the market.

As at 2011 there were 184 companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. That’s a list of the major players who have learnt to access Other People’s Money (OPM) – the highest level in the money game. That forms the competition he stands to face when he gets to the very top of the top. But the there are hundreds of thousands of random, unorganised entrepreneurial ventures scattered across the country –most of which operate in the un-organised sector of the economy. If he is wise, he will not want to play in that sector.

But the organised sector of the economy is such that there are relatively few people playing in it – some just have registered names with “no business”; the CAC has about 39,000 of such. Very few people have the guts to break out and birth a brand. Very few will respond to the instinct to branch out and form a new pride over which they will rule as king.

His chance of success lies in his taking advantage of this rarity. Taking a journey on this “road less travelled” might be his best route to success and distinction. By accessing the market from the top he enters a different race – not the rat race at the bottom. He enters the race for mastery. Sure, mastery would demand more from him than the conformity of joining the market from the bottom would.

He would have to work harder, risk more and commit more but he can do this with the assurance that he is building something that would last long enough to assure his both fulfilment and fiscal fitness. The stakes are higher but if he tries, the odds are in his favour. If he can persist, the competition is less at the top than at the bottom.

Why frustrate yourself competing with millions when you can better compete with hundreds?

Why stay at the bottom of the ladder struggling in perpetuity when you can come from the top of the ladder and struggle – same struggle – for relevance and progress.

Granted, it will take more time and resources, but with knowledge, grit and collaboration, he might just find himself reading some people’s resumes in the nearest future.

It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. And those who create the future charge a token from those they accommodate in it. If he can survive the treadmill, then he could most likely be charging people their time in the future – their time for a token you call salary. They give them his time – and their life – and he gives them a pay cheque in return. They build his empire for currency!

So what would you rather do? Come from the bottom or parachute in from the top.

The future is up for grabs! But this is only for those who can already create it now.

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The search
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