From Engineer to Entrepreneur

How I discovered I was unemployable…


Trisha govender

3 years ago | 4 min read

How I discovered I was unemployable…

Like all stories let’s start at the beginning. I’m a chemical engineer by qualification and eventually landed my dream job in a typical engineering environment.

But I felt I wasn’t being challenged enough and when I expanded my mind and was determined to drive the organization forward into the 4th industrial revolution…Well it didn’t go too well. So I decided I would transition from a chemical engineer to a data scientist.

This is where my mindset began to shift. I eventually left my job, and focused on a new company I started while simultaneously looking for opportunities in data science.

When I initially started my company it was just a way of earning an income whilst I landed a job in data science but I never thought it would change me or the way I think.

But in the process, I began to read books different from my usual “Harry Potter” vibe. I read books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad (truly if you will only read one book in your life, let it be this); Why “A” Students work for “C” students and “B” students work for the government;

The Richest man in Babylon etc. These books made me view school and workplaces very differently. I realized in school our ultimate goal is to “find a job” it taught us nothing about how to make money without a job. Basically, school teaches us to be an employee not an entrepreneur.

Schools (College, Universities etc.,) for most people puts us in debt whether it’s our parents money or student loans yet this investment product (education) does not guarantee a return on investment (ROI) because it is solely dependent on you finding a job.

We would not invest in a business without looking at the ROI first, yet we readily do it with school, considering the risk high — the risk being unemployment rates.

When people are looking for a raise at work or a new job what do they do? Add a new diploma or some new piece of paper to see if there is a possibility of earning extra money from their current company or hopes of finding better employment at another.

The effort (time and money) put into getting this new piece of paper may not even be worth the extra pay or new job. For some reason we associate education with money. We think the more education we have the more money we will make BUT through a job…

For me, I always took on jobs that would teach me something new, when the learning would add value, the pay didn’t matter. This is characteristic of an entrepreneurial mindset. I didn’t know it at the time, probably because most graduates would work for free just for the experience but for me it was different.

Eventually when I found another job with a “decent, stable” income, I felt uncomfortable, totally uncomfortable, I didn’t want to feel satisfied with the bare minimum, I knew I was capable of doing better — experience wise and money wise. I didn’t know that the satisfaction I was looking for wouldn’t come from having another/different job.

Entrepreneurs don’t want to be in comfort zones, nothing new or good comes from there. They like the feeling of being thrown into the deep end, it challenges them and brings out the best in them. Eventually I opted to work for a new company, the work was challenging, the pay was decent but there were a lot that wasn’t desirable such as long working hours, no work-life balance, not an open environment to speak your mind or provide your input.

This was when I realized that my mindset had fully shifted from employee mindset to entrepreneurial mindset and I was now unemployable. It didn’t happen overnight, it was a process. I have summarized my learning experiences between the two mindsets’ in the table below:

After reading those books and my job experiences, I could see the workplace for what it was. It was a place where we work extra hard at the expense of our personal/family time to make someone else’s dreams come true while being satisfied with the bare minimum.

I could never be satisfied working for someone else again. I have too much drive and ambition to be satisfied with a salary earned on someone else’s terms. I was never drawn to raises/increases or the illusion of job stability.

I enjoyed being challenged but also enjoyed having a work life balance. I then went on to start two other businesses under my first company which focuses on digital marketing, web and software development. Unlike most consultants, we don’t charge per hour but for the value of the work produced.

Having your own company isn’t all fun and games though but the incentives to work harder is definitely there.

At a job you can work 1000 times hard and still see the same salary at the end of the month (majority of which will go to tax, the more you earn the more tax you pay) whereas in your own company you will see 1000x the pay(or atleast 100x the pay)!

I hope this article challenges everyone whether you are in the high income or low income bracket to consider your current mindset.

Remember you don’t have to quit your job to enjoy the benefits of having an entrepreneurial mindset, use it to develop a side-hustle to increase your income, eventually your side-hustle may start bringing you an income either greater than or equal to your salary but with less effort!


Created by

Trisha govender







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