Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40


Today I want to thank my parents for forcing me to go to school. I particularly thank them for pushing me to enrol at university after high school. At the time education was just this boring and long punishment that parents dished out to their children. And now I am that parent. I hope my baby sharks see it differently now from how I did back then. I loved being a kid apart from the school part. I was an average student and my report card had one constant remark always in red. The teacher’s comments section for years read, “Lucas has potential. He can do better”. I often wondered what is this potential being spoken about at every end of term that’s preventing Lucas from doing better. It didn’t make sense then. I’ve been working to get my potential out of the way ever since in an attempt to do well. I hope it’s working hehe.

Truly a fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Recently my son brought a test paper home. It was an average performance but what caught my eye was a remark ( again in red) from his math teacher. It was written, ‘Get Serious’. I could see why because he missed some obvious instructions that could have led to a better result. But It was such a Deja Vu moment. ‘Get serious’ and ‘he can do better’ communicate the same thing. I laughed at how similar we are and then continued to tutor him. Luckily my baby sharks have their mum’s brains so I see the red comments getting more positive sooner.

Back to the degree story. It is now quite apparent how important having a degree is for one to apply for some jobs. It’s a standard requirement in most jobs but in politics, it has become quite the thorn in the flesh for some. I like that the law now requires public officers to have a university degree from a recognized university. That requirement should trickle down to the members of county assembly (MCAs) too. I feel being to campus refines us kidogo and hopefully imparts some social and intellectual skills that will make us more useful to others. Albert Einstein says, “ education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”. Some of us are living that part now because we forgot what we learned in school hehe. A leader with no education is a dangerous leader. Because “education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope and hope breeds peace” said Confucius

At the same time, too much education can be counter-productive. We know of folks who have many degrees but the sum total of their lives does not reflect the amount of education they have. A balance is required. Or more relevant and timely education is what is needed to succeed. In this ever-changing world, the education we are getting has to keep up for it to be any good. Oh and it all doesn’t have to be acquired in a classroom.

The world economic forum says the number of obsolete jobs will rise by the end of this year. This is both scary and exciting depending on where one sits. Those of us stuck in our ways and refusing to adapt will become extinct just like those camera film strips and darkrooms used for photography years ago. I still have my analogue camera with me as a reminder of where my journey began. One day it might fetch me a tidy sum at an antique auction then I can upgrade to the latest canon.

Some of the jobs that will be obsolete by the end of this year according to the report are data entry clerks, administrative and executive secretaries, accountants and auditors, general and operations managers, stock keeping clerks, accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks, customer service workers and postal service clerks. That last one is for sure, going by my last trip to the post office at city square. My box was empty. Not a single mail yet just a few years ago I’d open the box and it would be overflowing with mail. Even gava is now communicating through email and text messages. Who would ever have thought wangefika hapo?

Transitions are upon us not just in our personal lives but in our occupations and careers as well. We can either choose to fly or fight. Flying away would mean we are denying our reality and resisting change. The sooner we accept that the cheese has moved the higher our chances of finding new cheese hence ensuring our survival.

Degree or no degree we have to fight. It’s the better option hehe. Fighting means reskilling so that we jump from the list of obsolete jobs to the jobs of the future. We will feel the fear but we have to jump either way. That’s the definition of courage.

So what job are you currently doing folks? will it be irrelevant by the end of the year or shortly? Watching the trends in your area of work can help answer that question. A meeting with yourself can also answer that question. I prefer to start from the inside out. If you are feeling that smouldering discontent then your job may soon be obsolete not. It could be you who’s getting obsolete in your current station of life. That’s how I felt when exiting my business. Yes, the events industry had changed a lot but I had run out of steam to continue keeping up with the industry. But I also felt like my business didn’t want me. The market was changing but it was also asking me to leave. Sounds harsh but I’m glad I obliged.

Hanging on after your sell-by date is the beginning of the end. The best life is one where we have something the world needs, we are aware of it and love doing it and we get paid for it. I think the Japanese define that as ikigai. May we all settle for nothing less folks.

Oh and this is not Christmas come early but please excuse me for next Friday. I will be attempting to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro. Maybe my ikigai is up there hehe. wish me luck. See you the week after.

Friday, June 24, 2022 | Fatherhood, Leadership, Reflections |

6 thoughts on “Degree.”

  1. Wanjikū says:

    All the best with your Kili climb. Remember pole pole.

  2. Mike Eldon says:

    The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.’ George Bernard Shaw.

    For me it was my university education that opened and developed my mind.

  3. Sam says:

    ….”learn as if you were to live forever” Mahatma Gandhi, is the best mantra about learning that I’ve seen and live by. All the best as you conquer the mountain and learn something new as you climb.

  4. David Kimani says:

    Growing up we heard that education is the key(ufunguo) of life(maisha). Back then going to school was equal to education. Now we know better. If education (and that degree for that matter doesn’t help my life and those of others to be better), then perhaps it’s useless. Thank you Lucas for all the wisdom you share here-and with great humor. You are joining the league of all those sages that you quote here. Have an awesome climb and stay safe.

  5. Bonny Ngabirano says:

    Safe climb Lucas….share some knowledge / insights when you return! Good luck

  6. Angie says:

    All the best with your climb Lucas!

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