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What Career Track Are You On?

I have this theory about career.

There are basically three identifiable career tracks, and everyone loosely falls into one of the three.

1. General Track

This where most people generally fall into: Get a job, any available one in a reasonably okay organization, work hard, try to climb up the ladder to the best of your abilty, and hope for the best.

This one is usually limited by the organization(s). In some places depending on your job and allied factors, there might be a limit to how high you can climb, or if you can at all. In fact, this track doesn't really pay again these days, and most people look down on it, even though that is where most guys end up anyhow.

The long and short of this one is that it leads a lot of people into corruption eventually.

2. Fast Track

The fast track is the assisted track, where the golden boy/girl is appointed by some big boys/girls, and he/she flies to the top position in record time, irrespective of what he or she is able to actually do. In fact, if you're on this track, whatever you say is the way is the way. Nothing else matters. You just can't go wrong.

The issue with this one is that people get burned by politics of the environment. Once your mentor is taken out, it must surely cascade to you. But they usually bounce back, because the Fast Trackers usually have a lot of solid backing.

3. Personal Track

This is the proverbial 'track of the brave'. These are the people who take their career literally into their own hands. They set their own career goals, and what they want to achieve in any organization. They are not scared to move on when they feel that the environment has given them what it has to offer.

The downside is, they usually suffer a lot in their personal life, due to some tough choices they have to make in order to pursue their personal ambition. It is also not a path for the faint-hearted.

Where would you say your career track is right now?

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36 answers

@ Ajanlekoko

Uhmmmm

Very interesting thread. I like the way you grouped the categories

\this should make for a good doctoral research topic

make I read all the comments before I start my own comment

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Anyway, am also stubbornly on the personal track but need some professional career counselling before I burn all my fingers.

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Great thread as usual. I just love this section.

I believe that the skills acquired in schools as much as are suppose to make one develop some career plans and fit into the personal track also prepares one for usefulness in some 'generic job' as a preferred career option. My point is in as much as one would like to be in the personal track the opportunities for such may be hard to come by hence fitting into the generic class with the personal mind set is not bad....I think. And then the 'fast track' seems more like underserved and some product of nepotism or biased favourtism.

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Not everybody on the General Track succumbs to corruption. However, the modern world is materialistic and financially demanding.

Many people on the General Track will find it easy to convince themselves that they have the right to be corrupt, since the organization isn't 'looking out for them'. People still hold the same views and expectations about jobs and career, despite the world having changed, manufacturing having moved to Asia. And therein lies the problem.

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80% general track 20 % personal track

but the corruption aspect of the general track doesnt hold most times

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Aj,

If the above is the story of the very tall huge Ibo man that was a top shot in a telecom firm then it is very true and correct. I think his charisma helped, I worked under him before

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@ Ajanlekoko,

ur poser is very true and very touching. Most human beings irrespective of where in the world are in the general track. I have read in the Bible and several books that the personal track is where we should be at.

I had been in the general track for close to 8 years and some bad happenings in my workplace had given me the impetus to consciously pursue the personal track .But you know, the challenges are so so tough,only the bravest survive.

Survive I will!!

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@Wallie,

I would still term your 'fast track' as the general track. In some organizations, the General Track works to some extent; i.e. you do get recognition and merit promotions based solely on performance.

Fast track, by my definition, is from Zero to Hero in the shortest possible time, defying all rational logic.

Story is told of a chap in Unilever Nigeria who joined the company as a management trainee. Two years later, he was made a Group Manager, a head of department. Another two years, he became a director in a Unilever Operation in Eastern Europe, and two years later, he became a member of the board of Unilever in Nigeria. Later went on to become a CEO of Unilever in East Africa somewhere. Now, is that rational?

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In my first career, my career track spanned the definitions of the general-fast-personal track. I got on the fast track purely out of recognition of my capabilities and not through some “unjust” means. I believe I was on the fast track because I got very good assignments, which are usually harder; however, that allowed me to showcase my abilities.

But promotion at my company was merit based in comparison with everybody else within the division. At the beginning of the year, each person had to set out their objectives for the year; based on the complexity of the objectives and whether the goals were met, merits were determined. The question then becomes, “what happens if you were only given sh*tty assignments like pushing paper?” Hence, my believe that I was on the fast track.

Notwithstanding the promotions and relative security, the fast track wasn’t fast enough for me and I switched careers.

In my second career, I think I’m on the general-personal track. I believe I’m on the personal track because I’ve always been in control of my career and I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I also don’t believe in resting on one’s laurels because even when you think you’re seating comfortably, there’s someone else seating higher than you (and I’m not necessarily talking about money).

My personal track drive has never really been about money but more about measuring up against people better* than me as of today; money is just a by-product of being good at what you do.

Definition

Better – if given the same opportunity as the person on top, can I achieve what they’ve achieved? Think about people like Page, Zuckerburg, Jobs, Dangote, Otedola, Ibrahim, YarAdua, Jonathan, Bankole, Akunyili etc.

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I always believe I am on the general track but with a bit of bias towards personal track. Before I started out some years back, I made up my mind that I was never going to work with any other firm except one of the Big 4 and this I set out to do without any one's assistance (if at all it was available). If there is one thing I hate most, it's office politics as I dont believe in being a servant to any "oga" because you want to climb the career ladder in a record time. I resigned from my first job in Nigeria mainly because I wanted people to see me as the best because of my ability and not because someone is pushing me up the ladder. I detest saying "yes sir" every minute to someone because of their fear that the person is capable of shaping your future/life.

Anytime I take stock of what I have done with my life since I left the university, I always give God the glory for making me a brave person. The fact that I created my own path without the assistance of anybody is always giving me the urge to push on. Though, presently I am still an employee but the desire to succeed on my own and make a name for myself is getting stronger everyday, which is why I stated earlier that I have an inclination towards the personal track. Mind you, I am not suggesting that people should not take the fast track if the opportunity comes their way but it is not everyone that is cut out to do that.

Rgds

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General/Personal track. . .i get bored easily and i like to do things my way. Always have though, so when i get bored or irritated lol i can just zap out.

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In fact, until recently, I didn't realise how much of a 'General Track-er' I was.

I have to commit to reduce my 60% General Track to at most 30% in 2010.

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Yes, I am on the personal track. The track of the brave. I can decide leaving an organization to another at any point in time.

I'm a seasoned software developer. I can decide working from the corner of my room.

It's good to be personal,

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I am currently on the general track gradually working my way to the personal track cos i want to take control of my career and mould it around my desired goals and objectives.

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Track of the Brave, 100% Personal !

Strongly Opinionated about my career track; took a job with a major service provider that pays almost 60% lower than a Telecom Trainer job I was offered somewhere else. (desperately wanted real-world, brain-racking, finger-numbing experience). I work 9am - 6pm, including two Saturdays a week & Public Holidays. Spent three months out on the field climbing peoples roofs and overhead tanks, was later recommended to be moved to the NOC. Time flies once I get to the office. Basically, I'm loving what I do & doing what I love.

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I am definitely on the path where even the eagles have not seen - It is an adventurous path.

On this path, everyone around you can sense that you are a man/woman of purpose and direction, and, surprise, most people will wish you well, and many will go out their way to help you. That's what I've found.

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Another attempt to bring back this thread, guys, in light of the various upheavals due to the economic meltdown, jobs getting fried left right and center.

I'll ask the house again: What Career Track Are You On?

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Agreed. Corruption can occur irrespective of which track you're on. In fact, the very basis of the Fast Track is usually sometimes corruption, and nepotism.

However, I don't really agree that corruption is a 100% individual decision. Sometimes it is, but most times, people resort to it out of frustration, especially if others are doing it and getting away with it, and they seem to be suffering in the process.

The General Track is more likely to breed frustration. Most of you guys who have responded, and I think most of us in this generation, are in General Track, but we operate with the Personal Track mindset, unlike the previous generations who expected a company to deliver their dreams, and ended up frustrated. I think to succeed in the General Track, you need some level of Personal Track drive to push yourself, else you may miss the plot altogether.

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I will say I'm currently on General path. I'm just moving up and down, formerly a budding investment banker,now an Accountant, simply because those were the jobs that came but has strong plan to go back to Personal path( dream career:Economist)

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Just wanted to bring back this thread:

What Career Track Are You Guys On? Tell Us!

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hey tollu and tkb,

Well, they aren't mutually exclusive. Only very few people can say they fall 100% in one track.

I would say I am 50% general track, and 50% personal track. Reason is I am on the general track (work in an establishment), but all along in my career, I've made my choices and stuck to them. That sounds like what tkb is saying.

To make it simple, here is further classification:

-100% general track means you don't have any personal ambitions, dreams or aspirations per se. You just wanna work in a company. You hardly find anyone like that.

-100% fast track is possible. You may have been anointed like Dimeji Bankole, 40, who is no whiz kid or known for anything, but is strangely the number 3 (or is it 4) citizen of Nigeria.

-100% personal track is someone like Seun, who is 100% against the grain, didn't do what any of us did to get to where we are, and is not even defined by our own standards of success, but I guess is happy doing what he's doing, and making some good living as well.

Peace.

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LOL TKB

Follow the laid down classifications. Except Ajanlekoko comes on here to say they aren't mutually exclusive.

For now, General track  and in the near futrue, personal track. I believe the personal track it's the way to go.

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All quiet on the career front. Q'uest Q'uil c'est passe?

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Sure thing, debosky!

However, I will take you up on one last thing.

You classified yourself in general track with some influence of the fast track.

Most of us are in general track, so no issues with that.

My definition of fast track is 'assistance from above'. Does that by implication mean that you were 'assisted' to some extent 'from above'?

Fast track largely by your own efforts on the job is what I classify as 'personal track', by the way.

Would like to know if that's what you mean.

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If I understand you correctly, then it is imperfections in the Nigerian system that leads to corruption, not the fact that one is pursuing a general track.

Disenchantment is a nebulous term. Even if this applies to the 'general workforce', does that explain the egregious corruption in high places with people stealing 100 times over what can be spent in their lifetime?

I insist that it is the mindset that is the key. If the policemen are not stealing police uniforms or police revenue, how are they revenging against the 'system'? It is a flawed reasoning process.

The part of not seeing themselves going anywhere may be credible, but it is a weak minded decision to decide to steal in order to remedy that, when you can leave and do something else as you alluded to in the 'personal' and 'fast track' options.

In any case, I appreciate the point you are trying to make, let's suspend this discussion for now and let others contribute to the thread.

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Not sure you see my point@debosky.

I'm linking the frustrations associated with the general track with some of the corruption we see in the public and private sector in Nigeria.

A lot of the general workforce in the private sector, where I work, and I'm also aware of the public sector, are generally disenchanted with their jobs and careers, and do not see themselves as going anywhere. That's my postulation. A lot of these people now make up their minds to take their revenge, as it were.

Just look at the general corruption in the Nigerian police. On one side you hear of their various atrocities, and on the other the massive ill-treatment meted out to the rank and file by the leaders in the police. We know about Tafa Balogun et al abi? A policeman who's at a general check point reads about how Tafa Balogun has been able to steal billions, and decides to take it out on the general populace (read 20 naira bribes, accidental discharges, etc).

On the beer parlour comment, what I'm saying is this: unlike other parts of the world, the Nigerian way of life, especially in the urban areas, is a bit Hobbes-ish (nasty and brutish). Except you have some well-developed value system, or a strong sense of inner adjustment, people do get tapped at the pressure points, and may eventually plunge into some kind of revenge fetish, as a means of getting some back. Hence the police analogy. Of course lots of people go to beer parlours and have a good time, and it doesn't necessary mean they're schizophrenic wrecks. But not withstanding, you have to admit that, like Fela said, 'suffer don dabaru the sense' of a large number of us.

Cheers.

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I still disagree with you. It is all in the mind. What you think is what determines the way you behave. I am in no sense saying people don't have very difficult challenges in their day to day lives, but a decision to steal to 'get satisfaction' is a clear indication of distorted thought processes.

You can go to church/mosque, beer parlours and what not without resorting to stealing to gain satisfaction, regardless of your income.

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LOL@debosky,

I'm sure you don't live in Nigeria.

The general track leads to a lot of frustration in Nigeria, and ultimately corruption, in order to get some kind of satisfaction against a perceived injustice by the system, in my view.

In the West, people can live more peaceful and contented lives, cos in general you guys have power, water, security, and good clean cheap fun.

Nigerians kill stress of power, money, roads, and lack of security, by heading to church or the nearest beer parlour to gulp down cold beers and tear into various sides of chicken or beef, flavoured with pepper soup.

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I think the aspect of corruption is linked more aptly to living or wanting to live above your means. There's no reason why you cannot be satisfied and make a decent living on a 'general path'. The desire to 'be like others' generally leads to corruption in my view.

I would say I'm sort of on the general track, though with some influence of the fast track as well. I am by personality not very oriented towards the personal track, but I will take decisions occasionally that will have a similar effect in furthering my personal aspirations.

I tend to hold a more holistic view of life - career being only an aspect of it. In that regard, ultimate success for me would not involve maximizing personal ambition but doing as much as I can in that area while achieving a similar level of success in family and other spheres as well.

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True talk, Seun. The Personal Track is entrepreneural in bias, regardless of whether they're working in an organization or not.

Surprisingly, I find that it's mostly the guys on the General Track that are corrupt in companies, as opposed to the Personal Track.

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I'm on the personal track. A successful Nigerian website admin who is going international soon.

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