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Re-Invent Yourself

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Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Career decisions are often made when we are too young to understand the total implications of our choices. A few of these include:

  • Parents want to be the mother of people in the ‘elite professions’ – Law, Engineering, Pharmacy, Medicine. Would Fela have been a great physician like he was a great musician?
  • Trendiness – Some generations would latch on to a profession because a study or decision was done somewhere that was favorable. At some point, Awolowo declared free healthcare. It was a great opportunity to supply drugs so people rushed into Pharmacy.
  • Peer pressure – A group of friends might decide to study Medicine as is the case in Christ’s School Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, where a single class produced, thirty physicians.

There are uncountable reasons why people pick what they do. For want of space we would go on to the perfect match. This child wanted it, the parents were glad, the teachers were proud and heaven approved it! This happens as well. In spite of different scenarios, there comes a time that you want to re-invent yourself. You are now much older than you started, you are burnt out in your dream career, your musculo-skeletal system is crying out for help due to occupational pain and you need to choose new muscles required for another kind of activities. You have reached the “been there done that” stage; you need a career change. You are not alone.

I was nurtured into adulthood in an enabling environment. I wanted to be an Architect, my father wanted me to be a Physician. In a nutshell, I obediently disobeyed by making Pharmacy my first choice and Medicine second. My calculation was that Pharmacy would have given me an admission letter should I meet the admission point for Medicine and that would quietly squelch my father’s choice. I practiced the Pharmacy profession for thirty years and I am still fully licensed to practice. Occupational pains from long hours of standing became unbearable from twenty five years into my profession. I went to bed with electrical heating pads and carried on during the day using disposable heating pads. I knew I had to make a change, but income replacement was a major problem, change in social status was another. I stayed in the place that no longer gave me joy stuck on what people would feel. What do you feel? If I am not happy how can I make you happy? It would be asking me to give what I do not have. This means you must define what is in it for you first.

The more of ourselves we gave, the more the employer wanted. It got to a breaking point when my District Manager counselled that we  should take  flu shots to churches. We worked every other Sunday and they still wanted to compete with God for the remaining Sundays. I could open my own drug store, but I decided that a gradual disengagement from the  Pharmacy profession would be better for me.

How do you go about this?

Ask yourself what you enjoy doing, what comes to you naturally, what gives you fulfillment?

Re-inventing yourself does not have to be totally new, it just must include new things. If it is completely new like mine, see it like a complete makeover of a house and you have to build from scratch.  Be ready to pay the price .The price may involve money, studying, travelling, hard-work and an ability to recognize that a new field is equivalent to being an infant and you will not be able to skip the non-negotiables.

In my case, I moved from being a Pharmacist to positioning myself as a go to person in Hospitality. I am a student at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts studying to be a Chef. I have just graduated from the culinary program and I have returned for my baking and pastry training. Resident in the USA with a foreign degree meant I had to go hoarse asking for my transcript from schools in Nigeria, spending money to evaluate, taking TOEFL as many times as you dare to educate yourself. This was too slow for my liking and all I needed to qualify for admission was a High School Diploma or its equivalent. I decided to take GED (General Education Diploma); a path created for high school dropouts to empower them to re-enter the educational main stream. I enrolled in a Junior College for classroom instructions and ability to access relevant books and passes. After 3 weeks of studying, I attempted the tests taking two at a time. I passed and was able to start my program in good time.

You need to be disciplined and focused. I had to attend 7am classes, wear a uniform, be in the class with seventeen year old children, and be willing to learn from all. At weekends I attended Halls Floral Design School. I take a lot of online courses, attended Wedding and Event Design School where I learnt to drape. I only shared my vision with positive receptors. Talking to the wrong people may make you waiver, drift, loose drive and confidence. Whatever you metamorphose to must bring you joy. In sharing your passion, excellence draws money and honor accrues. You must volunteer in the new field, take any employment in this area and do it joyfully.

We are from a culture that looks askance at vocations, do not let that deter you. You are increasing your knowledge base, your self-worth increases, your brain is active which delays lapsing into mental degeneration that comes with advancement in age, you are boosting your energy level, health status and a new ability to earn and create wealth. Never listen to any snide remarks; they are just jealous or ignorant. Re-inventing yourself does not mean you have to go for a Ph.D., it may be in skills that are perceived lower. Trust me a genius in a field is a fool in another. Never look down on any field.

In the culinary world, there are very accomplished professionals that you may sneer at until you hear their credentials. The Alumni of my school include a pilot who is tired of flying Delta Airline’s Boeing 777, the owner of a newspaper company, a retired Director at AT&T, Physicians, Pharmacists, several military men, and so on. One of my classmates is a millionaire who used to transport racehorses for competitions all over the world. Please like me on Facebook at or


Wuraola Ajayi Ajibade is a Pharmacist, Event Planner, Chef, and Decorator. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.


Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.


2 Responses

  1. You are a brave, courageous woman andI have great admiration and respect for what you have achieved in your reinvention of yourself. There are so many truths in your words, i don’t know which one to mention. Suffice to say there is so much I identify with. The one thing that i can say that sticks out the most for me is what you said about following a dream or having a passion about something and not letting go. It is unusual to find someone who will forgo their ego and humble themselves as you did by going back to take GED when your academic level was so far above that, simply because you knew where you wanted to get to and nothing was going to get in your way.

    I feel you sister…Kudos!!

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