International Business Machine, a strong name in computer and digital technology, has on the doors in their offices this striking line: “THINK. THINK. THINK.” Just a glance at it will reveal that we’ve one word – “Think” – repeated three times, and with a full stop marking off each and every one of them. You can trust that those words are not just there for the mere sake of having something on the door. No. It is their corporate philosophy, and inscribing it on doors is their way of selling the message to employees and customers alike. It is important to immediately state that every one of the three ‘thinks’ brings something new to the table. The apparent repetition carries the dual meanings of “emphasis” and “intensity.” By asking us to think thrice, they say that thinking is everything on the one hand, and they request us to think harder when we think again and rethink our thinking on the other hand. And so, IBM says it all: “Think. Think. Think.”
There is no gainsaying that it is rationality, which is our ability to reason/think, that makes us different from all other animals. French philosopher René Descartes even has it that thinking is the basis of the individual human existence: “I think, therefore I exist.” Yes, thinking has been, and remains, humanity’s best ally. We “thought” our way out of the Stone Age, and through the various ages of human civilization to this Information and Technology Age. In fact, thinking is, and remains, at the heart of science, arts, and the humanities. When we’re threatened by a situation, as an individual or a group, we think our way through and out of it. Leprosy, HIV/AIDS and Ebola know what I’m talking about.
I dare to announce that the multifacets of life can be meaningfully, effectively and efficiently related with through thinking. And employment status is not an exception. Now that unemployment rears its ugly head on our teeming youths in general, and graduates in particular, thinking is capable of rescuing the precarious situation. For want of thinking, that sort of IBM’s thinking, quality thinking I mean, many have cowardly embraced their fate, and are wallowing in poverty for that. Some others, for want of thinking, too, have taken to the blame game, blaming the government, economy, employees, parents, school system, and all blamables. But we know for a fact that the blame game is only good at shifting responsibility, such that the blamer ends up feeling good about him/herself after having transferred liability.
For want of thinking, others begin to pile up tonnes of excuses, dishing out, as it were, a thousand and one reasons why they’ve done little or nothing. A number of the award-winning excuses include: lack of startup capital, unfavorable government policies, hostile business climate, bad transport and power sector, big businesses wielding unfair advantage over startups, field of study been saturated, issue of unemployment, etc. Of course, the problem with excuses is that a million and one of them are capable of changing nothing.
However, a decision to take the IBM’s thinking route, to think again and to give the dominant thought a rethink, will deal a below-the-belt-blow to unemployment. What if we decide that we and we alone own our lives, and as such bear 100% responsibility for our lot? What if we choose to think about the fact that we come from the same country and share similar collective fate with the richest black man on the planet – Aliko Dangote? What if we think that almost next to everything has got economic value and can metamorphose into a viable and thriving business – sand, water, food, sticks, fruits, etc.? Does it even matter if the job is white collar, blue collar or pink collar, provided it can put food on our table? Have we thought of what practical relevance our courses of study can be of, what social problem it can solve or what need it can meet?
This is the point: Let’s think our way out of each and every situation we find ourselves. And try to use the IBM-model of thinking. Plus, we owe ourselves a job if we’re still unemployed.