Monday, April 03, 2006


Changing perceptions

The presenter this morning, Andrew Hofmeyer, observantly stated that we are “nice people with wonderful intentions and unlikely to get a job.” While he wasn’t trying to be negative, his first impression of us is probably what most employers think.

Leslie Emmanuel stated that in the world of work perceptions = reality. She stressed this point in her business writing skills session because she wanted us to understand that the simplest of writing material (emails, cover letters, CVs) create perceptions about how professional and conscientious we are as potential employees.

After last week’s presentations we need to consider something important: there are perceptions about us (Arts and Humanities graduates) that our heads are stuck in the clouds because we are:
· too theoretical;
· we do not have the practical skills needed for the world of work;
· and, worst of all, we are idealistic.

This equation “perceptions = reality” does not only apply to writing professionally, I want us to consider that in the world of work this equation is one of the reasons why we as “theoretical idealists” cannot get work. The perceptions which I stated above unfortunately work against us. Apparently, we are people that cannot make the transition from student to worker.

How can we change these perceptions? Indicated by our team blog and being in this programme with you the last three weeks, we are people that are passionate about the progression and development of Africa and we have innovative thinking about how this process should happen. We need to update the narrow perceptions about students coming from humanities. We need to sell the fact that development in this country and in the rest of the continent will not be successful without critical thinking and visionary minds like ours.

My favourite session so far was on Thursday with Ghadija Vallie, such a visionary. Looking at your faces during her discussion I could see that she really gave us inspiration and confidence in our abilities to be a force in our world. She gave us some powerful instructions: be innovative, be a visionary, be self-motivated, be passionate and be humble.

Andrew Hofmeyer wanted us to see that we can create our own opportunities by being conscious of ourselves (i.e. our skills) and what we can contribute to the world of work.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” ~ Margaret Mead

Hi Chelly,

I totally agree with you. It's not about adapting to what the current mainstream thinks you need to be, it's about being yourself as a critical thinker and visionary mind, and showing that that's exactly what's needed in the world. Courage to you. Take a look at and - you may be interested.

Mille (Pioneers of Change)
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