After being seated and avidly reading for a long while the whole afternoon one of the days last week, my mood swung from the I-can-not-wait-to-go-out scenario to that of deciding whether or not I should come out or not, and then slowly releasing a deep breath wondering whether that lackluster reaction was necessary in the first place.

The latest news I had that day on Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence that let internet users gather information through typed conversations was lingering in my thoughts. ChatGPT of OpenAI, reportedly by the end of this January, only two months after its launch was used by more than 100 million people, resulting as the fastest-growing consumer application in history. Its knowledge synthesis muscle poised to make search engines history left wistful strikes in my mind about how I fit into these changes.

A few hours later, what started as mixed feelings, tapping the index finger against my lip as well as looking downward ended up with refreshed thoughts, garnished with a pensive smile and I went out for a walk.

The cause of all the mood swings was a hurried dip into a letter written to me ages ago. An explicit message- a thank you note for taking the time to apply for a position with a company;a rejection letter. The general manager mentioned that he enjoyed learning about my past achievements as well as the skills I possessed along with the qualifications, and how he regretted informing me that I failed to pass the final phase of their selection process, in view of the applications they received from other experienced and qualified applicants. In the end, he listed what he thought was adrift from me.

Yearning that the change that I believed to come was likely out of reach, tinged with the bewildered, frustrated, defeated, and powerless mood I received feedback about the vacant position, I applied from soup to nuts, going through requirements, conducting an interview with own self. sadly, it was not enough.

It was Jumping from the frying pan to the fire, amidst the days we used to complain with my colleagues about why the authorities we used to work for did not have internal vacancies to cater for our ambitions, amidst brimming research enticing rife problems. We used to wonder why the books of accounts were six or more years behind, the materials management handwriting was sloppy, why the higher-ups in the institution were solely busy signing documents, as the list went on, while the latest computer system in town and the institution had was only busy with payroll preparation.

Nonetheless, thanks to the rejection letter, very unusual for those prior to e-mail days, it was time for reflection to work on the internal vacancy in myself. I had to work on the areas where the letter listed lacked. It was not just like returning to school but also continuously being attached to it.

Honoured, Exalted and Elevated are a few words that sum up how I felt when I showed the letter to my colleagues when I was accepted by a company I coveted to join after a year or so with such a far-off look.

What mattered most then was the change in attitude such as being more ambitious with technology to be more competitive and further, the desire to imitate one of my colleagues. We used to call him Meeraf, meaning a chapter in Amharic.

Postgraduate study opportunities were not easy to come by during those times and if not hard on their own the research used to be associated as a feature set aside to be picked after a post-graduate qualification.

It was not so with our indefatigable colleague. He used to win research grants from the then-Ethiopian Science & Technology Commission for exceptionally tackling his well thought proposals on practical problems he had encountered during his daily routine and responsibilities.

Andragogy assumes that adults are highly motivated, and self-directed, and have become used to learning by solving problems, and so far the struggle has been getting adults into the classroom and keeping them there.

The era demands adults that earn from efforts in the real world. This can be realized by making internal or external vacancies as demanding as schools with voids for opportunities to be filled with clear and up-to-date visions for organisations or individuals.

Google and Yahoo as startup companies were candidates for Microsoft’s vacancy whose future was unheeded through in-house incompetence or unfilled vacancy.

Gasping out a sigh that was a mixture of hope and fear I returned home amidst the cooling effect of the lovely breeze, pondering whether vacancies continue as virtues of an opportunity to change vulnerabilities into strengths heeded by the intense competition that is a hallmark of jobs that are never secure.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 25,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1191]

Tadesse Tsegaye (, a polyglot with experience in multicultural-cum-institutional settings in resources management.

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