The Path I never took
Growing up , I wanted to become a lawyer and all but my mother always confessed what a great lawyer I would be. So when people asked me as a young lad what I wanted to become, I would swiftly respond with “I want to become a Lawyer”. Fast forward to high school, I decided that this is the path I would take and when Form three came around, I quickly dropped Physics because why would a Lawyer want to study Physics? What value would Ohms law have to someone who will be defending Mike Sonko in court? None! So after term 1 of 2003 , I returned home with my shinny grades on humanities and the two sciences that I was taking – Chemistry and Biology. When I showed my mother the report form, she was in disbelief –
“You need to go back and enroll for Physics. I do not know which one you will drop, but what I know is, you will take physics”.
My mother, is a trained Engineer (she had this bias) and she has raised 5 boys so she is not exactly someone you can simply push over, I swiftly tried to defend myself but realizing that this was simply going to make my life miserable, I dropped that course of action.
When second term came up, I quickly went back and enrolled in the Physics class, I didn’t want to disappoint my mother. And since I didn’t drop physics for any particular reason other than I loved History and according to street knowledge you needed History to qualify for law, I took it up again. Two weeks into the second term, my father came to school and delivered “PHYSICS” by Arthur F. Abbott. Those who know this book know that this was the “Malkiat Singh ” (8-4-4 kids you know this one hahahaha) of Physics or simply put, the Bible of Ordinary Level physics. I went on to do fairly well in my high school exam and joined my alma mater Jomo Kenyatta University (also known as Juja boys to show the disproportionate number of boys/men in the university compared to ladies).
Behind the resumé
These are some of the stories we never get to tell on our CVs, they give the other version of who we are and how we ended up down the path that we are currently taking.
We all have happy and challenging stories. Some of us have gone through so much pain to get where they are while others have been lucky enough not to have so much painful experiences, no matter the journey we have each taken, these experiences and stories especially those that have impacted our professional lives most often do not find their way into our resume`. They most often do not look like they have shaped who we are or the path we eventually chose to take, but the fact is that they did shape it.
Hiring Managers/Interviewers: Appreciate and learn to ask for the story behind the resume`. Rethink of the answer to “tell us about yourself”, allow the candidates to bring out whom they truly are. Give them a chance to share with you the Path they never took and use it to asses various aspects of their personality and who they are.
Create an atmosphere where the candidates do not share revised/crammed answers, but are able to share with you freely what their dreams and ambitions are, their fears , their strengths and their weaknesses, their childhood dreams et.al. This will give you a better chance at not only on boarding the right team members, but also playing them in the right positions and knowing if they are a cultural fit to the organization.
Candidates/Interviewees: Share with the hiring manager the story behind the CV, share with them who you truly are and how your experiences have brought you to this point in time. Share the authentic self, the lessons you have learned, dare to be true to the self that you truly desire to be. Probe from the interviewers how the organization will be great for you – Socially, professionally and Culturally.
Finding that great fit can be the difference between bringing out the best in you and being mediocre in your performance. Remember, even great players need great coaches who can see whom they can become not who they currently are. As you are being interviewed , remember also to interview those in the panel and by extension the organization.
As Robert Frost noted in his famous Poem here.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
What was your road? Let me know in the comments 🙂