CAREER STEREOTYPES IN NIGERIA
by Isaac Tobechukwu
A career stereotype is a fixed idea usually by society about the career paths that one can choose because of certain importance given to these professions or because of successful individuals in these paths. This is the major reason that a carpenter or bricklayer is not as respected as a lawyer or a medical doctor or an engineer in today’s society. As a result, the ‘respected’ fields are becoming overcrowded, and the number of available companies remains static. This results in increased unemployment as there are no established businesses employing individuals crowding ‘respected’ disciplines and even the menial workers.
A career should be chosen based on one’s interests and the demand of time (Mirza, Zahra & Ahmed, 2014). A career stereotype is a fixed idea usually by society about the career paths that one can choose because of certain importance given to these professions or because of successful individuals in these paths.
This is a major problem that needs to be given adequate attention and resolved. It increases unemployment, and this constantly slows the economic growth of a nation with vibrant youth like Nigeria. Career stereotype is the reason why young people shy away from professions like carpentry or skincare therapy resulting in increased imports of furniture, makeup and skincare products amongst others.
This issue poses a serious threat to society, a threat bigger than what we may think it is. As it would build a generation of unfulfilled youth in society. People will begin to grow into serving the purpose of others rather than the purpose that God initiated for humanity’s benefit. While some people may be able to return to their career interests later in life, others may not be able to do so before death comes knocking, and they die having lived a life void of career fulfilment.
However, this problem can be stopped. Like most things in life, it requires a gradual process as it cannot all change in a day, but with conscious efforts from members of any society, career stereotypes can be changed. Parents would play a major role by continually encouraging their children/wards to follow their passions.
Also, academic institutions have a role to play as well. Academic institutions should incorporate a larger range of courses that will include some of these downgraded courses, a lot more dreams will come true. The government would also play its own significant part by making provisions for frequent changes in curriculum, supplying required resources, materials and academic infrastructure to accommodate a wider range of courses.
Furthermore, every one of us has a role to play by giving the same respect we give to lawyers and governors to painters as well as vulcanizers. To encourage everyone, we see in the battle of career paths to follow their dream, to follow their calling. A few years ago, modelling was considered a very wrong job, it was majorly unaccepted by Nigerians, but today, you hear about models making a yearly income in millions of dollars because they followed their dream. The same applies to musicians. They make money in billions while doing what they love.
We only get one life; let us all try to live it to the fullest by choosing and following our desired career paths; study, build capacity, create business and change the world through your desired career. All professions are required for complete human sustenance in the 21st-century world. There is space for everyone at the top, whether you are an accountant, a farmer, public relations personnel or a Writer. Let us all build a better Nigerian full of fulfilled citizens.