Many of those that have remained home are comfortably ensconced in offices that have come with huge salaries and perks such as luxury vehicles and state-of-the-art houses.
But according to a survey conducted by Lasof, an African leadership development institute in Harare, the majority of these professionals — despite their qualifications, skills and expertise in their jobs — found their occupations tasteless.
Out of the 2 000 professionals interviewed during the survey, 96% admitted they would rather have pursued different career paths in life.
The idea of discovering and pursuing one’s purpose, for many people, is too exotic to warrant even scant attention.
According to leadership development consultant, who is also the founder and chief executive officer at Lasof, Dr Charles Mugaviri, the huge investments made in education would go to waste if students’ career choices are not aligned with their gifts.
Mugaviri, also a minister of the gospel, said a lot of people have literally wasted their entire lives doing things at cross-purposes with their calling.
“I have spoken to grey-haired people who have confessed to me that they have spent their whole lives in the wrong place and asked me where I had been all those years,” he said.
In his debut book, Know Your Purpose, the father of three prods the passive to get up and start living the life God has called them to.
Mugaviri told NewsDay that the dictum “catch them young” needed to be taken seriously in terms of helping young people choose career paths aligned to their gifts and skills if they are to find fulfillment.
“Many people are lifeless. They are not enjoying life. You find people doing things because they are skilled and qualified in those areas, but they don’t have a passion for it,” he said. “It’s sad that 99% of teenagers are coming from schools without career guidance. So most of the decisions they make in terms of career choice are not informed by their purpose.”
Lasof conducted another survey of 300 high school students from the country’s 10 provinces and established that 99% of them came from schools that did not offer career guidance.
According to Mugaviri, people were easily misplaced and that had far-reaching implications given its negative impact on production.
“How can you expect the best from a person who is misplaced?” Mugaviri queried. “Many people have qualifications they are not using after so much investment in terms of time, financial resources and effort.”
It was tragic, he noted, as it was like the person had not lived their life.
Mugaviri cited international music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi as one man who discovered his purpose, having established a successful life around the world of music, an engagement that for long has been frowned upon as no more than just a pastime.
With a music career spanning over three decades, Tuku — as the master of song is affectionately known among his fanatics — has established a state-of-the-art Pakare Paye Arts Centre to groom young talent and is now eyeing a radio station.
He said parents needed to appreciate that while it was their responsibility to guide their children into their destiny, they did not have to try and live their dreams through children.
“A lot of times parents want their children to do what they have done,” he observed. “But we must release our children into what God wants them to do.”
He expressed concern that many pupils who would have excelled at Ordinary Level were sometimes forced to sciences at “A” Level, even if they had a passion for Arts subjects.
“What comes out from the workshop we have with students is that this happens in almost every secondary school,” he said.
“One of our challenges is that we don’t have career guidance material and in the few instances we have them, they are imported.”
He said his organisation has been training leaders for nine years and they have done “exceptionally well” in the area of personal leadership.
“We have trained over 6 000 leaders in different areas in the past nine years,” he said. “But for over 25 years I have worked with young people who want to change the world, but they have a lack of self-understanding and awareness.”
Mugaviri, is married to Shingie and has earned three diplomas and four degrees from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and Birmingham University, UK. He is a minister in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
He has also been presiding bishop designate for the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, national co-ordinator for Youth Work and Children Ministry, senior ecumenical chaplain and acting dean of students at the UZ as well as Adjunct Theology lecturer at the institution and principal of His Presence Ministries International School of Ministry.