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I took a risk on my career, and it worked - Evans Oriwo

At some point in one’s career, one needs to take a bold risk and seek what their heart desires.

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At some point in one’s career, one needs to take a bold risk and seek what their heart desires.

The only way one can advance their career is by constantly acquiring knowledge through reading and taking calculated risks. Evans Oriwo knows this best.

The ardent reader of Fuzu blog articles shared with us the story of his career journey and why he thinks playing it safe with your career is the new risky.

What value would you say reading adds to you as an individual and a professional being one of Fuzu users who frequently read and comment on our articles?

Reading usually expands one’s knowledge base and makes him/her be abreast with the latest academic thoughts in the world. As a professional, one cannot avoid continuous knowledge acquisition because in the professional field, there are always changes happening and most of these are communicated in research findings, articles, blogs and such other forms of knowledge dissemination in the 21st century.

Specifically, for my interaction with FUZU blogs, I have gained mental stimulation because of the challenge the blogs give me. Knowledge acquisition especially of new vocabulary in my field of expertise, stronger analytical and thinking skills as well as improvement on writing skills.

Finally, reading makes me relax and increase my focus especially if the subject is interesting or has been presented professionally by the writer.  It is a mental engagement, an affection that engulfs my brain and removes me from the normal world to the world of critical thinking and judgments. Reading engages and is healthy!

The tangent of your career has been steadily rising. How have you been able to achieve this?

Well, I attribute this to God. I am a very religious person, therefore, I am reminded by my religious persuasion to give all the glory to God. Secondly, for me, it has been an issue of hard work and dedication in my duties. Wherever I have an opportunity to work, I do my very best and my Supervisors have no choice but to recognize that. Thirdly, I used my early years of employment especially immediately after University to do Volunteer work. Therefore, managed to build my CV at an early stage and may have been ahead of many of my peers with whom we were in the same course.

Another reason for the steady rise is the fact that at some point in my career, I realized I was getting too comfortable. I had a very good salary and many privileges including a fully serviced and maintained high-end company car. I had to change my thinking after a long-serving colleague was summarily dismissed from duty for a reason I considered did not warrant a dismissal. I resolved to leave when I hit my fifth year with that employer and surely I did. I left this permanent and pensionable job to another which had a lifespan of one year!

The point here is, at some point in one’s career, one needs to take a bold risk and seek what their heart desires. I had wanted all along to work for the UN or any UN partner. So when the opportunity came, I left and grabbed it knowing very well that it was a temporary job! So take the risk and stand by it!

What are some of the ways you have employed towards realizing your goal of becoming a Project Manager?

For me, it has been performance and more performance. I put my best efforts in every assignment I am given and is keen to deliver on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Once I do that, I proceed to do something extra (an innovation) so that I deliver much more than what the Management asked for.

Finally, it is good to remember that the path to the top is usually steep and sometimes slippery. However, to navigate it, I have constantly maintained a reading culture that enables me keep abreast what is new in the industry. This then has afforded me the opportunity to sustain logical academic and current arguments.

You have an impressive Fuzu profile, how was the process? Did the new CV upload feature help?

Yes, and thanks for the compliment. Anyone can have an impressive CV in the FUZU platform. This is because the templates are well thought, populating it is very easy and uploading whatever documents is quite easy. Then the new “Upload CV” feature FUZU has included on their site is very user-friendly. With rudimentary computer skills, anyone can use it to much success. Thank you for that!

Your career test results describe you as an individual who is into creative arts, drama, crafts, dance, music and creative writing. How often do you indulge in these?

I love creativity. I am also very versatile with language, especially the English language. So I usually blend these with my everyday work in the office as well as in the field. For example, whenever I am undergoing some stressful moment, whether at work or in family circles, my method of alleviating that is through writing a poem about it. Once I finish, the stress is relieved. For the other performing arts (Dance, Music, Drama etc), I have an opportunity to do them with the youth in church or the children I work with in the Projects.

You are currently the Regional Programme Coordinator, Children Help Foundation – South Sudan. Would you say you are at the peak of your career?

I have moved on well. I love where I currently am but No! Not yet. I wish to work for CHF South Sudan for a maximum of three years then for one more time work for the UN or any other UN body as a Regional Programme (anything) in charge of East and Central Africa.

You have over 20 years of work experience, there’s a lot that you have learned that can benefit young professionals. Please share.

  1. As a professional, be consistent in your work. Deliver on time and then do that “one more positive thing!” that the Management didn’t expect you to.
  2. Be a risk taker even within the programme. Innovate and make the innovation work. The Board or your Director may not buy into your idea, the staff you supervise may not buy it too, but run with it and let them see it succeed.
  3. Never ever leave a bad name anywhere you have worked before. There is an African proverb that says “It’s only a fool who burns a bridge after crossing the river”. This has particularly worked for me perfectly. I am a buddy to all the Directors who have supervised me.
  4. Treat everyone you interact with as professionally as is humanly possible. Treat those who report to you very well, your success and continued glitter at the top depends on their support at the base.
  5. Have a Coach, a Mentor you look up to and with whom you can share professional challenges as well as discuss professional progression paths in your career.
  6. Do not sit easy, avoid the comfort zone. Always know that nobody in the company is indispensable including the guy who interviewed you and signed your appointment letter.
  7. Every day, look at possibilities of getting to another level. Look for that job! Get to the FUZU website subscribe and be active.
  8. Financial prudence. If you are a budget holder, account to the cent!

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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