Robert Githire is a young law student inspiring the youth to pursue careers they not only love, but also those they have the ability for. He tells EDNA GICOVI what inspired him to study law and also write a book on career guidance.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
These great words of advice are taken from the commencement address by the late iconic Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, to graduating class of 2005 at Havard University.
Steve Jobs has inspired many people including one young Kenyan, Robert Githire, who is trying to mould a career that will land him work he will love doing. Though not one of the graduating students at this ceremony, young Robert is following Steve Jobs’ advice and is seeking to find success doing the right thing and is on the right trail. At only 21 and still in university, Robert hopes to walk the journey of finding success, not alone, but with other young people he hopes to mentor into finding the right careers through his book. He walks us through his life’s endeavours.
Inspired by parents’ disability…
Brought up in Limuru, Robert is the second born in a family of three. His older brother, Paul, is an electrical engineer, while his younger sister Rosemary, is in high school. He comes from a unique family as both his parents were struck by polio at childhood. Polio is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis. His mother walks with a limp while his father uses crutches. He is quick to point out that his parents’ disabilities did not affect their upbringing.
However, as a child, he wondered why his parents did not look like other ‘normal’ parents. He also felt his family was under public scrutiny because of his parents’ disabilities. As he grew up, he was inspired by his parents’ condition to pursue a career in law to have a voice that could help people with disabilities. “The main reason I chose to study law was to work in an area where I could effectively create awareness for people with disabilities and also fight for their rights,” say Robert.
He adds his wish is to become a lawyer and educate those with disabilities, like his parents, about their rights and how they can lead better lives. “Seeing my parents struggle with their disabilities to take care of me and my siblings, not only motivated me to be more charitable and open to people, but also made me a better person,” he says.
Robert is in his third year of law at Kenyatta University, where he also mentors students to find the right careers instead of doing a course because that was what was offered to them. He was inspired to help young people looking for fulfilling career choices after one his friends at law school confided in him, during their first year, that he felt misplaced in the law department and did not feel it was the career he wished to pursue.
“During my first year at university, I realised many young people did not have enough information about careers they intended to pursue and others took courses for the wrong reasons such as prestige that comes with a career like medicine; going by parental wishes; or simply because of financial reasons,” says Robert. A number of students from his law programme dropped out after the first year because they found the course too demanding, while others did not want to pursue a career in law. Robert felt if these students had an idea of what to expect before joining the programme, they would have made different choices and not wasted one year of college. This is what ignited an idea in him to write a book that offers career guidance to the youth.
Robert’s book, My Dream Career, is the culmination of thorough research on different careers and consultation with experts in those fields. It took him nine months to do research and compile his findings, and with help of fellow students came up with a first draft. He printed a few copies and sent them to schools and career experts for review and the feedback, which came with lots of suggestions on how to improve the book, was quite encouraging. After a year of improving on the manuscript he felt he had a book that could be useful to young people. He passed the draft to Kenyatta University’s career adviser, Njoroge Kiambuthi, to help in editing and also write the foreword.
My Dream Career compiles information on more than 200 career choices, explaining in great detail what each requires and the courses one needs to study at high school. The book includes popular professions like medicine, law, and engineering, as well as little known ones like cartography, oceanography and demography.
Robert explains that one needs to consider several factors before deciding to pursue a particular career. “Some occupations require academic excellence while others, such as cartooning, require in-born talent and interest,” he says. “My Dream Career is intended to guide students as they decide on what career to pursue. Primary and secondary school students as well as those who would like a career change will find the book useful,” he adds.
“The book is not exhaustive of all careers available,” says Robert. He nonetheless hopes it will continue to be of great help to students and anyone else seeking career information to enable them make informed choices. “My Dream Career will go a long way in filling the ‘career information gap’ and expose students and learners to other possibilities in many careers,” he says.
The book is available as an e-book on a CD. Publishing an e-book arose out of financial constrains and he hopes he can one day publish it into a hard cover. However, he has a few hard copies available and is able to print copies on order.
Commenting about his experience writing the book, Robert says it took a lot of his time, as it needed focus and concentration and he sacrificed most of his free time to accomplish his mission. “Sometimes I lost motivation and wondered if the book would ever be of any help to anyone or take me anywhere but I soldiered on,” he says.
Robert is not new to writing and says it’s a talent he honed from an early age. He is a contributor to The Standard and Nation newspapers where he writes articles on careers choices for the youth. He also contributes to some university publications including the vice-chancellor’s newsletter and the Kenyatta University School of Law (KUSOL) newsletter, which he also edits. He has written two other books yet to be published, a storybook, Emily’s Heavy Burden and a novel, Endangered Species. Both books address issues concerning the youth. My Dream Career is available at Wells Bookshop in Nakumatt Lifestyle in Nairobi’s city centre and on order.
Despite his soft-spoken, seemingly timid nature, Robert complements his career guidance with motivational speaking, which he started when a woman from his neighbourhood who knew of his oratory skills from approached him to speak to class seven and eight students at her school. The response he got from both the teachers and students encouraged him to speak to other students and give guidance on careers.
So far he has spoken in more than 50 institutions, mostly high schools and a few universities. His talks mainly focus on goal setting to achieve one’s dream career. He also offers personal career guidance. Most of his clients are recent high school graduates.
“Important as it is, career guidance is something that has not been fully exploited,” he says. He believes everybody requires career guidance from an early age, as it is vital in influencing the quality of one’s future life.
Robert is inspired by the need to make a positive change wherever he is. In future, he hopes to inspire youth all over the world and use his talents to benefit the society. “Consider your potential, do what you love and give it your best,” Robert advises the youth.
Phone: +254 721 585 333, +254 732 843 055.
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