CHOOSING my own career path was probably one of the hardest things I have had to muster.
In my final year of high school, my parents sat me down and told me that they'd support me in whatever decision I made.
As awesome as this supportive act sounded back then, it terrified me. Factors such as financial security and wellbeing dominated my thoughts.
Worst of all, I'd have no one to blame if things didn't work out. Such liberty was imprisoning! In his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, comedian Steve Harvey highlights three things that define a man, and, these are: who he is, what he does and how much he makes.
I have often found myself puzzled by the need to justify ourselves in our career paths. When asking a girl I met on campus about her studies, she told me she was studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree. Before I could continue our conversation, she told me how she'd obtained distinctions in both mathematics and science.
Then there's the student who was born to be on stage. You see it in his charisma and his actions when he thinks that no one's watching.
In all honesty, the job market in our country is a tough one to crack. Bombarded with recessions and retrenchments, young people not only compete with other qualified individuals, but also with the mindset of capability versus availability.
Let's say you are right-handed and are given a task to write your name on two sheets of paper, using your left and right hand on each paper respectively.
This task is attainable and both papers will be fairly legible, but logic would have it that the right-handed paper will be of ease to produce and aesthetic. In my female fellow student's case, she clearly has capabilities and has chosen to study what she enjoys; the arts.
The problem with this ambidextrous lady, though, is that she seeks recognition in what's not in her current field and has a defensive mode of fighting the stigma of being a "non-academic".
In the workplace, this can be deemed problematic, as she's bound to look back on how she could have pursued greener pastures, in tough times.
My male colleague, on the other hand, is right-handed, using his left hand. The poor soul will not be as adequate as his fellow tailor-suited competitor and will therefore be in a predicament.
Think about it, using your strong hand is effortless, time-saving and produces results as opposed to using your weak hand.
Being an ambidextrous will have you lukewarm and therefore unstable in the long run. What more could an employer want in a loyal and dedicated employee?
As cute as the high-paying salary jobs may sound, if you don't have the correct hand for the job, you'll stay in one place without any advancement.
Looking back, I am thankful for my parents' support in whatever decision I made. Parents can only guide us to a certain extent, but as young adults, we need to make our own responsible choices.
After all, we are the ones that have to wake up every morning and go to work for the next 40 years.
Time has a tendency to fly, when you're doing what you want and seem stagnant when you're doing what you "thought" you wanted.
With initial parental support, the ultimate decision is yours, and when you make that crucial move, the future truly is in your hands; if you choose to use the correct hand!
l The author is from North West. He is a former winner of the long-running youth development project, the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Award. He is currently pursuing his tertiarystudies.