Mar 14 • Shelley Walters

Work as a Human Right: Elevating Dignity and Empowerment

On the 21st of March, as South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day, we pause to reflect on the fundamental rights that shape our society. Among these rights, one often overlooked gem stands tall: the dignity of work. While not explicitly listed as a human right, it should be, and here’s why:
Why Work Deserves Its Place Among Human Rights
  1. Dignity in Labor: Work isn’t merely a means to an end; it’s a cornerstone of human dignity. When we contribute, create, and collaborate, we affirm our inherent worth. Imagine a world where everyone has the opportunity to engage in meaningful work—where no one is left behind.
  2. Economic Empowerment: A job isn’t just about sustenance; it’s a ladder to economic independence. It fuels dreams, educates children, and builds communities. When work becomes a right, economic disparities shrink, and hope blossoms.
  3. Social Inclusion: Work connects us. It bridges gaps—racial, gender, and social. When everyone has access to employment, we weave a tapestry of inclusion, where diverse voices shape our collective destiny.

The Harsh Reality: Unemployment in South Africa
South Africa faces a paradox: abundant potential juxtaposed with staggering unemployment. As of 2021, the unemployment rate stood at nearly 34 percent. Behind this statistic lie countless stories of dashed dreams, unfulfilled aspirations, and families grappling with uncertainty.

Sales: A Pathway to Empowerment
Now, let’s pivot to sales—the heartbeat of economic recovery. Here’s why sales can be a beacon of hope:

  1. Accessibility: Sales doesn’t demand fancy degrees or elaborate qualifications. It thrives on passion, communication, and resilience. Whether you’re in a bustling city or a quiet village, sales opportunities abound.
  2. Skills Transformation: Sales hones skills—negotiation, empathy, persuasion—that transcend industries. It’s a classroom where the previously disadvantaged can learn, adapt, and thrive.
  3. Entrepreneurship: Sales isn’t just about selling products; it’s about selling ideas, solutions, and visions. It’s the launchpad for entrepreneurs who dare to dream. Imagine a South Africa where every township brims with small businesses, powered by sales acumen.

Sales as a Driver for Economic Recovery

Sales isn’t a solitary endeavor; it’s a ripple effect:

  1. Individuals: Sales jobs empower individuals. They provide income, purpose, and a sense of agency. When someone sells, they contribute to their family’s well-being and their community’s resilience.
  2. Companies: Sales drive revenue. Robust sales teams fuel growth, innovation, and sustainability. Companies thrive when their sales force thrives.
  3. Communities: Vibrant sales ecosystems create local economies. Think of the corner store, the neighbourhood café, the startup incubator—all fuelled by sales transactions.
  4. Nation: Economic recovery hinges on sales. When businesses flourish, tax revenues rise, infrastructure improves, and social programs strengthen. Sales isn’t just about closing deals; it’s about building a nation.

Our Call to Action

  1. Upskilling: Let’s invest in sales training. Let’s equip the previously disadvantaged with the tools to excel. Imagine a generation of sales professionals who transform their lives and their communities.
  2. Mentorship: Let’s bridge the gap. Experienced salespeople, reach out to those starting their journey. Share insights, open doors, and ignite hope.
  3. Inclusive Policies: Let’s advocate for policies that promote equal access to sales opportunities. Let’s dismantle barriers and create pathways.

As we celebrate Human Rights Day, let’s remember that work isn’t a privilege; it’s a right. Sales isn’t just about closing deals; it’s about opening doors. Let’s weave a South Africa where every handshake is a promise of possibility—a promise that work, in all its forms, belongs to us all.

Remember, when we sell, we don’t just move products; we move lives.