Several weeks ago, when I was approached by Mr. Kibedi Fred on behalf of ICPAU to the effect that I come over and talk to this congregation on the topic “progressing one’s career”, I was horrified to say the least for three simple reasons:
- Why me of all people?
- How competent am I to do so?
- Shall clearance be easy to obtain?
Well, I did agree in principle on condition that the institute takes the initiative to seek clearance with my authorities which was meticulously done and by the 2nd week of Feb, I got the clearance to speak to you; otherwise, I would not be here this morning. That is how the military works!
The above back drop compelled me to kind of digress a little from the theme of to- day’s talk for the reason and fact that I am not a professional teacher or educationist, in as much as I may easily pass for an instructor, tutor, mentor, coach, counsellor or leader. And I do believe your extension of invitation to me to this 10th graduation ceremony, hinged on the premise that I am an administrator of sorts – which aspect draws me to hasten to promise you that I shall endeavour to do you justice within the limitations and constraints at my disposal, for it is argued across all human nature, that one’s fate has a lot to do with one’s success or failure in life. Indeed, pessimists even go an extra mile and attribute success and achievements of great men and women to fate, rather than rational efforts towards making choices – however much they may be right or wrong.
However, looking at the wider spectrum, one would see most successful people having employed deliberate, conscious, systematic and rational efforts towards achieving what they are, hence improving their status and well-being, which for purposes of fitting in what is pertaining as present, amounts to socio- economic transformation and development. And believe you me, it all rises from commitment, dedication, and sacrifice, heavy investments in education, learning and advancement in learning, with a view to acquiring relevant skills for professional competence. This fact is audibly echoed by a onetime President of America, Abraham Lincoln when he was asked how he managed to become president from a very humble family, and he answered “I prepared and waited for the right time”. You may ask how prepared had he? Well, other factors remaining constant, invested in education, either by the hand of his parents, or by himself. This indeed shows that “Chance, fortune, or luck falls on the prepared ones”, just as the legendary Nelson Mandela once intimated, to the disbelief of all and sundry.
On a rather personal note, when I was steadily growing up , and was being introduced to the study of CRE (43 Yrs ago) , under the study of “ order and freedom in society”, I learnt that making wrong choices and decisions can prevent people from becoming what they would and could have been. This is true life philosophy and phenomenon evidenced at our local scene where by we ardently believe and “preach” that “Do your best, to the best of your abilities and satisfaction, and God will take care of the rest”.
Therefore, it follows that the choice to success or failure rests in your inner heart, mind and hands; you can choose to be hardworking and enterprising or remain lazy, be disciplined or undisciplined, focused or a mere joker, sober or drunkard, take your job seriously with a view to improving your lot or not, marry a spouse according to nature’s law, or do so as the gays, lesbians and alike do it; jealously protect your job – however less paying it may be, or quit no-sooner than you will have acquired it. The list is long, but the over- riding denominator is that the choice is yours. Just think of this; we were all created in Gods image, each one of us with potential to soar or fly like an eagle.
What you need to know, and appreciate dear brothers and sisters, is that potential for success is rooted deep in our blood line as descendants of a successful and enterprising God – irrespective of which denomination or sect one subscribes to! What do the scriptures tell us?
- Prov 10: 4 says “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring forth wealth”.
- Deut 28: 1-6 Says “I will bless the works of your hands. If only you will obey the Lord God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock; both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed, shall you be when you go in and go out”!!!
However, and please do take heed; the above teachings with-standing, you need to promote yourself at your place of work. And the first step you would take in this endeavor, is to promote your name by having a positive attitude towards your work and workmates – by adding value to the piece of work you are doing, so that you may become indispensable to the firm, company or organization. We call this packaging one’s self.
The second step would be to support your boss with all the energy in you, because he/she is the one who gives you the platform to improve your career. In the military, we call it loyalty and obedience. You must always be available for tasks your boss has no time to attend to or do. By so – doing, you will be helping him/her succeed and thus you will win his or her favour.
The third and last step is that you should not limit yourself to office connections only. You must build bridges with other people outside your organization – through studying their success trends and borrowing a leaf which you should use in advancing the organization’s goals and aspirations. This is what is called “going an extra mile,” though the naive ones call it over zealousness.
Now, if I may re-align myself to to-day’s theme, progressing one’s career calls for attributes which many of us take for granted and overlook, whereas these have a bearing on one’s integrity along lines of:
However, experience has shown that majority of us do fail in our duty to adhere to the above ethical principles and instead decide to involve ourselves in things which may be developmental in the short term only, but not in the mid or long one. Who is to blame? Who would have taken the decision in the first place and made the wrong choice? You may permit me to remind you that “God only helps those who help themselves”! The onus is upon us to make rational choices if we are to lead a progressive career and successful life. Where-as I remain mindful that success is relative, at- least the benchmarks are known and are in abundancy. One renowned Pastor Benny Hinny calls it “No debt, no luck”. Each one of us should learn to set our targets or goals and devise ways and means of achieving them. In the Military profession which I have diligently and loyally too, served for 38 years now, the bed –rock for whatever we do is discipline, discipline and discipline; which is really a wide concept that leads to one’s success if followed to the letter.
No matter how hard the situation may appear to be, never give up and easily so! Just keep pushing on and forward, because it may be saddening to know much later than sooner, how closer to success had you gotten, when you unceremoniously gave up! Always remember what Martin Luther King Jnr once said; “If you cannot run, then walk; if you cannot walk, then crawl. But, whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. Even one Albert Camus once said that “Life is the total sum of all our choices” And we also seem to agree that where there is a will there is always a way! Or not so? Ladies and gentlemen, this talk of mine would remain incomplete if I failed in my noble duty to snatch the occasion and remind you of the need to live in peace and harmony with one another. At my humble level and status, I need to re- affirm that a person, family, clan, society or community, nation, region continent or even race, that does not know and appreciate where they have come from, where they are, and where they should be heading, do so at their own peril and are bound to be doomed! I need not dwell into specifics, but it remains my obligation to sensitize you (mind you, not educate you), and persuade you to distance yourselves from all sorts of ill- doings- whether during the day or in darkness. My assumption is that each one of you has some- thing that you have invested in as individuals or groups, so, you cannot afford to be party to your own destruction (ref to Prov 6: 16-19) “There are 6 things, indeed 7 that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate:
- A proud look/haughty eyes ,
- A lying tongue,
- Hands that kill innocent people,
- A mind that thinks up wicked plans,
- Feet that hurry off to do evil,
- A witness who tells one lie after another,
- A man who steers up trouble among friends.”
Finally, brothers and sisters please do take heed in that if you must progress in your career, always wear a pleasant personality – whether in times of calm or turmoil, for the ancient Chinese say “ A man or woman without a smiling face, must never, ever open a shop”! Reason? Nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give I hope none of you falls in that category?
I do most sincerely thank you all for your kind attention, and may all God’s love, mercy, grace and blessings be poured onto you- in the present, near future and beyond, as you strive to progress in your professional career of accounting!
Just in case I have not met your expectations, please do blame me, but without stoning me; but in the likely event that I have measured up to the task or calling, the pat should deservedly be planted onto the shoulders of Mr. Oola Simon and Mr. Kibedi Fred who invited me on behalf of the Institute of Certified Public Accounts of Uganda.
Ahsanteni Sana, For God and my Country!!
This speech was delivered at the occasion of the 10th ICPAU Graduation Ceremony, held on Friday, 9 March 2018, at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala.
Brig. George Igumba
Chief of Personnel and Administration,
Ministry of Defense,