What's your dream job?

by Maya Mutesi | Jun 8, 2017

Today, more than ever I am searching for that perfect job, one that will make me feel useful and helpful, one that will challenge me, one that will teach me and most importantly one that takes me places, literally.

I still remember my dad sitting me down to have an important chat about my plans for college. The “conversation” went something like this: “So what do you want to study? Engineering or medicine?’ When I said no to both, he tried again “Computer science maybe? Or were you thinking architecture instead…” Point is, my dad was already convinced I would take a science-related major when I got to college, so you can imagine his shock when I got all rebellious on him and told him I would not do any type of science major nor did I know what I wanted to do in college or in life for a matter of fact. He was devastated.

See, unlike almost everybody else in this world, I had no idea what I wanted to do at the age of 5, I did not have a dream job! Apart from the generic idea of a perfect job: one that pays loads of money and would allow me to travel the world without paying a dime. Those were my dreams while all of my friends had great ambitions of becoming doctors and engineers. Growing up I was interested in everything I came across, so I wanted to do it all but people always wanted me to choose just one, so instead I chose nothing.

Why did I have to choose a singular occupation for the rest of my life? I was young and unexperienced, which I still am, but my feelings towards a future career were not set. I felt like I would be lying to myself by choosing a “job” at that age… I even had a theory that grown ups just asked kids “What’s your dream job” to entertain themselves more than to converse. I wanted to know what my options were before I rushed into anything and limited myself. Secondly I was not about to give my parents false hope of their daughter becoming the next Marie Curie! I’ve never had crazy ambitions. I honestly just wanted the easy way out. But I came to learn that nothing earned is usually easy.

Our parents only want the very best for us, I know this is the most cliché thing but probably the only that is 100% true. They want us to go to the schools they were not able to get into, they want us to learn what they could never learn, they want to make it possible for us to have options which some of our parents did not have when they were our age. We are basically their hope for improvement. Naturally, they talk us into choosing a major that will set our future lives on the right track; these are usually doctor, architect, entrepreneur, engineer and so on.

Unfortunately for me and my peeps who have zero passion for sciences and whatnot, we worry our dear African parents to the max. My dad was so nervous about my future he suggested I take a gap year to “think” about what I wanted to do in college. I left as fast as he voiced that thought(LOL). Before I left for college I told my dad I would choose a major based on what I liked, I needed to want to study what I was studying instead of going to class just because I have to. Going to college and getting a good education is a privilege but the biggest privilege is being able to go to school and choose your own major, something you are intrigued by and something that stimulates you. One of my friends who had a full scholarship kept saying how she wished she could have chosen her own major but the full ride only came with certain science majors. Choosing a major I liked made my college experience fun, interesting, important and worth it. Up to now I go to class with a smile on my face. I learnt that college is not meant to be easy, and if it is easy for you, you are either a genius or you aren’t doing the most! By doing the most I mean you aren’t expanding your horizons as much as you could or should be.

With a generally small entertainment and media industry in Rwanda and most of Africa’s many jobs in that field aren’t sought out nor taught at higher education levels like in College. Some of the weak industries in Africa have been completely disregarded by many. Which is why it is hard for our parents to understand that one can make a legitimate living by being a musician or fashion designer. We tend to focus solely on the necessary jobs in Rwanda, that we forget the need for variety, diversity and especially innovation in a community. What’s crucial is that our elders remember that people have different strengths and talents, and that one needs to harness their talent rather than be forced into a particular career path. Some people are lucky and can do it all, one of my greatest friends is a Computer engineering major but she has YouTube channel as well! She is talented enough to self teach all the necessary skills to run a YouTube channel yet she still has a heart for math. However, she doesn’t love her major, her parents had the upper hand in the decision. Some people are able to remain diverse and keep doing what they love, others get burnt out from doing something they dislike, others drop out when they don’t like their majors and realize the major was not for them.

As a developing country and continent, our work ethic is one that focuses on the basic needs of the population such as: health, infrastructure, farming and so on. However, I think it has reached a point where we can grow in different fields as well, it’s time we have a well rounded entertainment industry, a communications field that is not solely politically oriented. Also, we can’t all have business degrees and end up with a million shops selling the same thing but differently. We cannot keep building houses if there is no one to live in them in the end. I personally thought it was alright for me to be “undecided” with life because honestly this thing (life) isn’t a pop quiz and I don’t need to have an answer for everything, nor the right answer. Today, more than ever I am searching for that perfect job one that will make me feel useful and helpful, one that will challenge me, one that will teach me and most importantly one that takes me places, literally.