What next after graduation?

Now that the dust has settled over the week long graduation, it is time to lay strategies. The Bible says something about those who do not work not being able to eat, so dear graduate, what are you going to do with your life now that there is no blanket cover of ‘lecture notes to be read and coursework to be done’ over your head?

I am of the view that our education, in its current form, places us at a disadvantage when it comes to eking out a living. For instance, just because you studied Business Management, it is unthinkable for you to rent a space at the door of a shop in Kikuubo to vend some wares. Instead, you would rather tell people of how you spent five years walking the streets of Kampala looking for a job, writing application letters that are never answered back. It is okay to write application letters to a million organisations, but as you are waiting on them to answer, what are you doing?

Did you know that renting one part at the door of a shop in Kikuubo is Shs250,000 a month? On that door, you can sell an assortment of things, such as buveera, matchboxes, brooms, toothpaste, boxes of soap, clothes, shoes or even books. The catch that many people do not know is that more than two million people go through Kikuubo Lane in a week and most of them are traders from upcountry. So, unless someone placed a curse on your head, it is very possible that every three days you will be replenishing your stock.

Alternatively, there is a lot of money to be made from vending children’s clothes, especially in this weather. Do not be tempted to think that those women who move around your neighbourhood selling clothes are really disadvantaged. Every day, women are giving birth all over Kampala, and those babies need to wear clothes. The advantage in children’s clothes is that children keep on growing physically every few months. You will never lack the customers.

Many times, the kind of experience a prospective employer is looking for is the fact that instead of sitting at home, you have faced the world down. If you are applying to work as a human resource trainee or official, how can you appreciate the different behaviours of people when you have been closeted on the sofa, watching TV for the last seven months? The same reasoning applies to an accountant’s job. Coming off the sofa, you will be hungry for any money that comes your way, including the company funds, to facilitate your new wardrobe. However, if you have been doing petty jobs, you will have at least some savings which you can dip in to facilitate your transport in the first month after you nail a professional job.

And please do not burden your parents with requests for money. They love you too much to tell you bluntly that they have done their part for you.

 

GILLIAN NANTUME

gnantume@ug.nationmedia.com