Don’t be too impatient, you need to earn your stripes

 

… Gladys Ogallo is the founder, Virtual Human Resource services ltd.

My first job, after graduating with a bachelor of education degree from Kenyatta University, was teaching Business, English and Office management at Kianda Secretarial College. I was earning Sh20,000.

After the college was taken over by Strathmore College, now Strathmore University, my scope of teaching expanded and I did my MBA.

I went on to hold a leadership position at Africa Online, where I was head of training in charge of nine countries. I held another top management position at UUNET before moving on to start my own company.

My ultimate dream is to mentor as many women as I can, to grow board membership of competent and strong women.

  1. What were you doing at 21?

I was a happy-go-lucky University student.

  1. Which two qualities of Gladys would you attribute your success to?

The first is that I pay attention to detail. This helped me get ahead of the pack especially early in my career. My other valuable quality is my ability and willingness to compromise. I interpret it to mean “two heads are better than one.”

  1. From your experience in HR, what is the one career mistake that young people are making today?

Being too impatient with career progress. They need to earn their stripes. Most young people want instant gratification. They want promotion now. They don’t realise that their seniors have laboured patiently to be where they are.

  1. If you could go on your career journey all over again, what would you do differently?

I would spend less years heading HR departments and move on to consultancy four years earlier than I did. I feel those four years didn’t grow me much and could have been done by someone else.

  1. What advice can you give the young person reading this?

Be the CEO of your career. Make the right choices, and when you make a career mistake, don’t panic. Just get back to the drawing board. Also, be creative and innovative with your career. When you are young, you can afford to make mistakes and get back on board.

One of my favourite media personalities, Laban Califf Onsero, was my mentee, as a HR professional. He found his career joy elsewhere, in media. He left HR. He was ready to be creative and innovative and make the jump from a career that he felt wasn’t his.

MY SUCCESS SECRETS

  1. I am widely read. I strive to know more today than I knew yesterday.
  2. I believe that image matters. I take care of my physical image as well as my reputation.
  3. I am a woman of my word.
  4. I pay attention to detail. No one likes sloppy work.
  5. I laugh freely and feel deeply.

The last book I read and enjoyed is The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger. It is a must read for everyone.

In Summary

  • Most young people want instant gratification. They want promotion now. They don’t realise that their seniors have laboured patiently to be where they are. 
  • After the college was taken over by Strathmore College, now Strathmore University, my scope of teaching expanded and I did my MBA.
  • I went on to hold a leadership position at Africa Online, where I was head of training in charge of nine countries. I held another top management position at UUNET before moving on to start my own company.