Q. My name is Kevin. I have worked in the youth department of a non-governmental organisation in Northern Kenya for two years now. This was after graduating from university in 2014, where I was a student leader. I have initiated a number of youth-oriented developmental initiatives in the constituency I come from. As a result, those who know me have been putting pressure on me to seek elective office. Should I give up my career for politics? Please guide me.
Your effort and focus to improve and bring meaningful change in your community is commendable. That said, after all the consultations and advice you will receive, remember that only you can make the final decision. Consider your career and ask yourself some honest questions: what do you love to do? Why did you choose the course you studied in college? How does it compliment the options you are considering? What are your life’s goals and how does your current job or going into politics play in fulfilling these goals?
Your job seems important at this point. You have initiated a number of youth-oriented development initiatives within a short time, and perhaps this points towards where your passion is - bringing meaningful change in your area. It would be good to see your projects take shape, mature and become a way of life for your community. Over time, you will grow in your career and have an opportunity to impact more people outside your area, region or country. Perhaps these considerations may motivate you to stay.
My feeling though is that you are too young to join the band-wagon of a typical politician’s excuse of “my people asked me to.” You should have a passion and commitment beyond what people ask of you. Yes you were a student leader at university, but this does not mean you have to be a politician. But you can be a leader. Be clear about your motivation and remember that there are many people who have made tremendous contributions in their countries and indeed globally without being politicians. This brings us back to being clear about your personal goals, purpose and passion. Your answer lies there.