Monday, July 27, 2009


I want to start by acknowledging those who have requested I write more and wondered why the hiatus. I had a two weeks’ vacation to attend my sister's wedding and took a road trip across mid western and eastern America.

A career is not a job. To me a career is a lifestyle; a career is doing what you are best in and earning a living out of it. In the western world we start with hourly paychecks and sort of defined a career when we start earning a salary plus benefits. Why am I blogging about this? I don't knowhow but it is just something that crosses my mind every time I get into conversations with friends. A career starts with a goal, an ambition to accomplish. A career comes from within, only you can determined your strengths and weaknesses no matter how much others may conclude or prejudiced.

I think our aspirations change from time to time as we encounter different circumstances in life but ambitions set on a solid initial principle will always prevail. I come from a society of very determined people, Africans or other foreign nationals that come to the United States; I do not believe becoming a nurse was their priority growing up but due to circumstances faced, they have been forced to set this career path as their goals. They say "do not talk about things you do not know about", am not going to do that.

I think ambition is something that you build on and most of my foreign peers, maybe due to culture shock, financial stress, and family and peer pressure have neglected their original values and ambitions and taken up these careers. See I'm of the opinion that if you choose a career which is not your passion, you will eventually get tired of it and live the rest of your life in regret always trying to change fields in the latter stages of your life, when it is too late. You might not see it now because the paychecks are coming enabling you to purchase that first car and pay your mortgage but let’s do this; take a look within your local community or within people you know well, those that always have a melancholic look in life in their 50s and 60s are your examples, those that even with comparable success feel very empty and unfulfilled are your examples. We might have different examples but these are the people that are influencing this blog post for me.

Orientation is the key. I think that even when you cannot determined what it is you want to do as a career, look back to your childhood or teenage years there must have been something that kept grabbing your attention, something you became a master of without really trying, a place that you get an overwhelming sense of contentment when you are there; these are all indicators of what you can become and eventually make a career out of. Look I'm not saying caving to become a nurse due certain circumstances it's a bad thing but like I said orientation is the key. The problem is when we get to the US or when we get our visas to get here, somebody will pitched this nursing idea to you or some other career choice to you with the greatest zest they have. That is your orientation right there. Soon you then convince yourself so much about this idea that even when it becomes obvious that it is not your preferred career choice you look for comfort phrases to cop out or console yourself!

If this is a land of opportunity why limit yourself? A friend of mine told me a story of his uncle who was a janitor when he got into the US back in the early 90s. He worked with other minorities and cleaned houses and colleges. Today he owns a sanitary company in Ohio with county contracts to clean schools and apartment complexes with a six figure income a year! See that is what I call a career! we may have similar stories but the fundamental truth is when I look within my foreign peers everyone of them studying to become a nurse it makes me conclude that our orientation is limited, inspiration is not there and although we are in a land of opportunity we have funnel all our abilities through a very narrow sphere. Look within you people! We had so much to think about when we were in less fortunate situations (Africa) why come here and caved. Certain careers are a trend within a certain ethnic groups I can understand that too. 

I think we need to open up! I'm talking about inspiration, and let me just say inspiration is very tricky, I can finished this paragraph with something very inspirational or a Barack Obama-like story that will inspire you but if it is not within you, you need to put in some extra work! Let me explain this. It’s sort of like "talk the talk but not walk the walk". I do not know how you all remain inspired but am going to share some of my secrets that help me always stay inspired and focus. first and foremost I surround myself with friends and things that I can get inspiration from, I like to surround myself with dreamers people who dream big and make the efforts to achieve these dreams (Zizou waddup boi!!). Secondly I pivot around my family, keep your family close they will always tell you the truth and advice from them can be very vital. I also read a lot of books; Hey black people, the secret of white people success is all in literature" LOL read! read! read! and am not talking about novels, read books that will inspire you, books about billionaires, Christian figures and people who failed in their lives, these will inspire you or maintain your focus. I also use the Internet to meet people in the field I want to be a part of (Networking), I have joined engineering associations and organizations to remain updated and knowledgeable about my future my career, the list go on...the point is don't just say Obama is the first African president, act on it!

There is this saying that and I paraphrase if your job is something you have a great deal of passion for then it is no longer a job it is a lifestyle of fulfillment.

Thanks for reading people please let me read your comments it really helps.



Dubya said...

You couldn't be more true. We need to search our souls to find out what we really want in and out of life. Cameroon is on the Highway of becoming a Nursing Nations.

With all due respect, how do we expect to be future leaders on our GREAT nation when we're all Nurses.
Keep up the exceptional work Aben.

Ngupe said...

About 90% of Cameroonains living Cameroon have an I-20 to study something the really like(Career).But, 90% of them are Nurse or Going to school to become Nurses. How Pathethic.

assidine said...

well well well!Good job! I am always impressed with your writings. As I read your article on "career" and others comments, It seems like are fustrated or uptset about some choices made by your peers or family members. I believe that's the reason why you decided to write about "Career". In the beginning, You started with point of view or opinion on career but you went down to a more narrow topic which is the most common job of your peoples(Nurse). You well developped your idea about "career". And I completly agree with everything you said about carrer. I just wanna add something. Beside being a profession, A Career is a progress or a general course of action through life or through a phase of life. It is a path that ones follow since early age.In fact, it is chosen pursuit...
Going back to the nurse topic's, I understand your fustration. You just want the best for your people. Some people come in this country in order to make money as fast as they can. And the Heath industry is sector in expansion. This industry is in need of workers. The average salary of a nurse is around $45,500-$50,000. Some nurses make as much as $90,000 per year. Some people have a family to feed, bills to pay and more; they don't have any choice. They have to find a good job that pay as fast as possible. And being a nurse is one of them. They cannot afford to spend more than 4 years at school. Others people unfortunate. They already had a diploma or a career back in their countries. With the American system, it is hard for them to have or pursuit the same career they had back home.

Ngupe said...

Dear Assidine,
I was deeply impressed by your well thought out reply. You couldn't be more correct. Nursing pays and it's in expansion mode. But, what about other industries. The nurses that make $90,000 are those that work overtime and shamefully don't have/can't have a work life balance.
Yes, there are other expanding industries and even though they might not pay well, the return on a 4yr degree always is better than a nursing training which in the long will lead you to the highway of your grave due to your stress.
That said, there are other careers that are more lucrative, less stressful and and more rewarding. Here are some examples, engineers,restaurant waiters, working for the airlines, telemarketing, laboratory researchers just to name a few.
Above all people have to think about what/where they want to be 10-15yrs from now. we are quick to criticize Nigerians for their 419 but, it's worth noting that they are spread out in almost all works of life from insurance agents to venture capitalist, medical doctors, barbers and even MBA players. They most shameful part of all this is the fact that having a nursing degree within our community seems like you have achieved the highest level attainable.

The aggressive and hardworking ones should keep listening to their hearts.

Best of luck

Tonge said...

Career, career, career.... wow, you have said it all. we may not remember the things we use to do without stress when we were little.... your career does not only becomes part of your lifestyle, its your lifestyle. It all about doing something fascinating, enjoyable and pleasant. It about doing it over and over and over again without having the feeling of redundancy in that area of your life. This most of the time leads to boredom and the endpoint is, your input diminishes.

What takes us to places is our dreams, ambitions.. we all have figures in our lifes that we try to emmulate. For me i have lost of them. My reason is simple, one person does not have not all, so i take my idol figures and try to get one or two of those things that i need to help curve what i want. Our inspirations is vital but one thing i have learnt is that without God all this futile ( i don't mean to come against those who are non-believer) but that has also worked for me. I really on that abundant grace of God.

Extensively reading is a great aspect of awareness especially in that field where you feel comfortable. Hanging around friends that have something concrete in mine is also very important. Family to me i think i the integral part of my being. They will always look out for your good and your progress in life whether academically, socially and otherwise...Oh how i cherish them so much.

Its important to do what puts a smile on your face rather having the miserable altitude when it comee to you job or career. I know we have come to a point in time when money is needed to get us evrything material that we can acquire...i have come to realise that it doesnot bring happiness and that internal satisfaction, that serenity of mind. So my advice is that don't go around looking for what gives more money, that does not mean more happiness or more peace of mind. A renowned actress Angelina Jolie once said " I have attained the status of fame, have lovely kids and a sweey boyfriend, i have all what money can buy but i don't fill fullfilled" Do not get me wrong here people, am not coting that in saying that she does not happy with her job, far from it....Just to come back to us, we follow all those career with big buck to make more money...that is my point.

Let us take out time to reallt examine what we want in life, as difficult as the task maybe. we have the creator to give us guidance in making those decisions and choice.

Remember people, the bad choices we make will live with us.

Jean patrick said...

Creative thinking, although I doubt if you wrote this

Marge said...

Aben, this is very very inspiring!!! and i duff my hat to you for caming up with this...There could never be any right time for me to have stumbled on this. Authors of the other comments, kuddos to you as well.

Career, passions, goals,ambitions are all so inter-related, if you blend all of these in any way then my friends, i can bet you are good to go!!Drawing from your comments and Abens write-up, the vital issue is, knowing your passions, dream of where you want to be or how far you want to go and then follow it all with ACTION. There is nothing as good as doing what you are passionate about, everything falls in place; self satisfaction, satisfying the community/audience you are serving, good family life, feel and stay healthy/happy, excellent spiritual life and values, enough finances at the end of the month - you name it. Infact you run your life properly and die a happy person, inspite of any challenges you may face. Search your soul deeply, think of what you want to be, you may also want to seek for guidance to confirm your choice. "Your future is created by what you do today not tomorrow" - Robert Kyosaki.

I may not have much to say about the foreign community in America cos i am still very new - However, Aben's use of Nursing, i believe is the most practical and realistic example. A small anecdote; lately, when i aquired a student visa to pursue Graduate studies in the US, i called a relative to update him and the first thing he said was "Good for you- when you get into the US just go on to Nursing, start making the money and change your status" - without even listening to what i was going to do. What made me feel HORRIBLE was, this was caming from a young Finance Professional based in Cameroon, who earns good moeny and is living well. It is true people/peers could make you think and believe less in yourself, if you heed to them, - however as the saying goes 'we are afraid of our strengths and how far we can go', We are scared to leave our 'common and comfort zones'. It is best to think out of the box and act big!, following our passions and dreams while learning more on what has worked and is working as we forge on.

I will round up with my favourite saying "Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit"

Will stay in touch. See you all at the Top!!

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