AS we do in today’s dynamic employment environment, I recently updated my professional profile or curriculum vitae (CV).
Having gone through this exercise, I realised that I’d omitted a major part of my life.
Like with most people, my CV emphasised the educational institutions I’d attended, the positions I’d held, my career successes and influential people I’d crossed paths with.
It focused on the learning, skills and qualifications an employer might be interested in. It captured what I can do and how I do it.
But it was void on the matters of who I am and why I do the things I do.
The parts I had left out were the experiences that formed the basis for who I am.
They were from the stage in my life that I walked rough tracks to fetch water for the family, shepherded pigs, chopped pandanus nuts 30 feet up with one hand (and no safety harness), climbed rocky peaks with the skill of a mountain goat, and hunted and trapped cuscus.
I walked through tropical rain forest in pitch darkness relying on the moon and stars and identified each bird by sound, not sight.
When the elders wanted to speak, we youngsters gave up our seats, kept quiet and did not engage in argument even if they were wrong.
These experiences have little value to a prospective employer in today’s economy. Even if I explained them, the listener would not understand their relevance.
I am at a stage in life where I am reasonably comfortable placing value on these latter qualities.
Like many Papua New Guineans, my life has been a journey from a mountain home across a social divide of religion, race, culture, and hierarchy.
My childhood experiences are embedded in me and I feel comfortable sitting with friends cross-legged around a fireplace in my village or inside a modern work environment in a country far away.
Even if others don’t share my experiences, I embrace them. They represent a unique, enjoyable, once in a lifetime opportunity which can never be replicated.
I am comfortable with what I do based on the strength I draw from my Melanesian values.
I am at peace with myself. It takes time and a measure of self-acceptance to reach such point.