CRUCIFIED FOR A NOBLE CAUSE

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Globalization and technology have spurred the birth and growth of so many brilliant new professions in Nigeria, a couple of old ones have become “Hot cakes” over the years and some others have gradually become obsolete.

In the midst of all these evolution, one profession gives me great concern. One of the noblest and oldest professions in the world, TEACHING still carries some kind of stigma in Nigeria. Graduates will rather remain unemployed than take up a teaching job, children dream to be doctors, lawyers, engineers and lots more, but never TEACHERS. Parents won’t consent to their children marrying a COMMON TEACHER, and even the TEACHERS try to polish their job titles for fear of being relegated.

Hmmm…. It is quite disheartening that those who should receive the most honour for making world leaders are stigmatised in our great country. Think about this for a minute, what would the world have been now without teachers???? There would be no developed nations without teachers who transferred the knowledge to students who grew up to be top innovators. I know the society and government contribute largely to the relegation of these wonderful professionals called TEACHERS, which kills their self-esteem and morale, but they have a role to play in all these as well. How?

Students’ comments: WHY I DISLIKE TEACHERS

  • My arts teacher always smells like fish. I mean, Always!
  • I have never admired the dressing of any teacher all my life.
  • My English teacher can’t even speak good English.
  • Teachers are poor.
  • My teacher eats my lunch, especially when I bring fried plantain & eggs.

These are some of the “nicest” comments we got from children we interviewed. They might be funny, but you’ll find some truth between the lines.

CONCLUSION

  • Always appreciate, honour and encourage teachers people…..
  • Government and private schools, please HIRE qualified teachers and always TRAIN them; teachers can’t give what they don’t have.
  • If you want to be a teacher, be a good one.
  • Stop dressing like a “teacher”, shabby is not modesty.
  • Get a degree, it increases your knowledge and value as a teacher.
  • Schools and government, please pay teachers salaries reasonable enough to sustain themselves; they have families too.

Teacher, in this profession, PACKAGING is key, but the CONTENT of the package is most important.

 

 

By Adaobi Okudoh Olasunmade

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MY CART, MY RESPONSIBILITY

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“I am sick of this organization, it takes no responsibility for our development as staff” Josh said, when I asked why he was so dissatisfied with his employer. I felt his pain because I understand that employees are happier in organizations where they are adequately trained and empowered.

So I said to Josh, “I know it’s the responsibility of any well-meaning organization to invest in its staff, but what have you contributed to your personal development this year? I could hear a needle drop with the silence that fell on the room at that moment. He missed it. Just like many of us, Josh had failed to take responsibility for his own development while depending on someone else to do so. We see it as someone’s responsibility to invest in us when we hardly ever do so for ourselves. In the bigger picture, we acquire degrees and professional qualifications, but Personal Development is in that book you read every day, in the not-so good articles you try to put together as a writer, in the tiny imperfect strokes you make every day as an artist, in that language you try to learn from a neighbour, in that deal you tried to negotiate but failed to close, in those resource you study on your own. Every value added is an addition to your own cart.

Personal Development is taking responsibility/ownership of your life, It’s not a means to an end, it’s the core of our very existence, it is habitual and must be a part of our daily living.

*NOBODY SHOULD INVEST MORE IN YOU THAN YOU DO IN YOURSELF, ADD TO YOUR CART EVERYDAY*

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“JOB PACKAGING” the ambiguity of job titles in this age.

Isn’t it amazing how nice job titles sound and look these days? It seems like HR departments are becoming more creative at coming up with them. Is it individuals who create the nicest looking names for their business cards, profiles and CVs? Or are we all in this?

Well…..there is absolutely nothing wrong with having nice looking job titles. They actually make the jobs look/sound more attractive, and are more interesting than the traditional job titles. I’ll rather be called a director of first impressions than a receptionist you know, it makes the job sound more interesting even though my receptionist duties remain the same. But when your neighbour says her husband is an environmental maintenance officer and you know he empties bins, you can’t help but wonder if he got a new job. I must admit the inflated titles are creative, but they can become a problem when:

  • The titles are so ambiguous that they say little or nothing about the roles e.g. decision support analyst. This title sounds very nice but ambiguous, one might as well support the business card with a resume to know what it is all about.
  • The titles do not match the roles e.g. a HR assistant who only carries out administrative or secretarial duties, is actually not a HR assistant in reality and might find it difficult to get another job as a HR assistant because he/she has no experience in HR.
  • The title is wrongly “packaged”e.g a tailor calls himself a fashion consultant or a hair dresser says she is a hair consultant. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a tailor or a hairdresser, but what they do are completely different. A tailor can sew and sometimes design clothes but a fashion consultant majorly determines what styles are most suitable for his clients. The word “consultant” is trending in deed…..
  • An employer advertises a job opportunity for a business development researcher, but the employee ends up being a marketer/salesman. This happens a lot these days as employers realize nobody wants to be a marketer. However, this is deception.

NOTE: These are just a few of the numerous examples which exist, but we must be careful not to shoot ourselves in the foot in a bid to be creative or attract people with nice looking job titles.

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Professional Certifications (The new currency in the job streets)

Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century, and professional certifications are greatly valued as a proof of high level of skill or expertise in various fields. Highly masculine societies like Nigeria are achievement driven, hence the high importance/value placed on certifications. Certifications serve as an indicator of professionalism and aptitude, and obtaining a certification can have many benefits for workers and jobseekers.

Higher income: Professional certifications have the potential for increased earnings. Most organizations will offer a higher pay to one with professional qualifications over one who has only a Bachelor’s degree. For example, an ACCA certified accountant will surely be paid more than a BSc Accounting degree holder even though they are both qualified accountants. Research also shows that a large percentage of employees get a pay rise after getting certifications.

Value proposition: Certifications serve as a value proposition for working professionals. Becoming certified increases one’s credibility and influence as an expert in a certain professional field. The requirements for earning a professional certification vary, but where it involves passing a certification exam relevant to the area of skill to be certified, it is of more value. It is so valuable to organizations that some even enroll and sponsor their employees for professional courses home and abroad.

Skills building: Professional certifications help build skills and knowledge, hence the enormous value placed on them. Since most certifications require passing an examination, one is forced to study, thereby gaining more knowledge, building and reinforcing one’s skills. However, not all certifications translate to practical skills and knowledge in the work place.

Employability: Certifications enhance employability. Research shows that, sixty-three percent of hiring managers believe certified individuals are more productive than their non-certified counterparts. A professional certification listed on a resume/CV may distinguish an individual from other candidates for new positions, and companies may be more likely to hire someone with a professional certification over someone without one.

Networking: Some certifications give professionals certain privileges and access to professional networks. For example, Microsoft Certified Professionals belong to a community that only they can access. Such avenues give individuals the opportunity to network with other professionals with like interests and may even give rise to new employment, career and business opportunities.

NOTE

Haven identified a few of the benefits of professional certifications, it is important to note that:

  • The number of professional certifications one acquires don’t necessarily count if they are not related to one’s area of expertise or interest. Why do you need 5 certifications in different fields or spend months/years being Oracle 10g and 11i certified if you want to be a HR professional and you have no interest in IT? Identify your career path before going on a certification spree.
  • Certifications don’t make you a professional. A certification means nothing if one can’t demonstrate proficiency in the specified area. Paper certifications don’t necessarily translate to practical skills in the work place even though this is the expectation.
  • There are thousands of professional certifications which are not recognized. Endeavour to do a thorough research before taking up a certification.
  • As the name implies, certifications require a valid and physical proof. I mean, you surely need a physical certificate as proof of certification, so get your certificate handy.

Up skill yourself, upgrade yourself………

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5 basic skills you need to get your dream job (what employers want).

Getting a job in this age, takes much more than outstanding degrees and lots of work experience. Employers are looking more at the ability to demonstrate valuable soft skills when making hiring decisions even though these skills are not taught in schools. So what are these skills and why are they so important to employers?

  1. Problem solving & decision making

Problems are the center of what businesses do every day. Most business services are solutions to problems, and so organizations are looking for problem solvers to work with. They will be very interested in your ability to identify a problem, generate possible solutions, determine the best solution, and create a clear recommendation. They value an employee who has the ability to make key and informed decisions.

  1. Effective communication

Employers are interested in your ability to effectively communicate your ideas and thoughts verbally or in writing with people within and outside the organization. Inability to effectively communicate in a clear, timely and unambiguous manner can cause a lot of misunderstanding in and losses to the organization.

  1. Team work & leadership

Employers want to know that you are able to work effectively as part of a team, as a team member and a team leader. The ability to understand and work harmoniously with various kinds of people, and the ability to effectively manage a team are two elements critical to the success of any organization. A dysfunctional team member or team leader can be a huge liability to an organization.

  1. Planning & Organizing

Inability to get things done at the right time could cause an employer huge losses. On the other hand, proper planning and organizing will save valuable time and enhance productivity. This is why employers want those who are able to manage their time effectively, prioritizing and engaging with tasks which demand attention at the right time.

5. Proficiency with computer software programs

A large percentage of jobs in this age, require some basic computer knowledge. Proficiency in the use of Microsoft applications is basic, but more technical roles will require some knowledge in the use of specific software programmes relating to the job.

Typical job interviews and tests will require you to answer questions that test your ability to demonstrate some of these skills. It is however important to note that there are other skills employers might look out for depending on the nature of the job.

Remember, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and sharpen your skills because Preparation + Opportunity = Success.

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Nail your job interview in 30 seconds. (Tips to help you look the part)

Trust me, an interviewer’s first impression of you is formed within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. This is because your appearance is the first thing they notice about you at your job interview. Your appearance affects employers hiring decisions and plays a major role in judging your suitability for the position.

Yemi called-in to get some interview tips from PeopleWare, brooding over the fact that he never went past the interview stage of his last 12 job applications. We booked him in for a session, and soon as he walked in I could see the reason the interviewers often gave him cold shoulders. They just never saw passed his rumpled double breasted lemon green shirt, purple stripped tie, blue jeans and brown loafers. His appearance always gave an impression about him before he could even speak, and even though he was smart, he never got to the opportunity to prove it.

So how should you look?

Hair must be neatly cut for men, it is safer not to keep an Afro hairstyle because some organizations frown at it. So a low haircut and a clean shave will do. For the ladies, nothing bogus, avoid adding colours such as red, blue, purple, etc. to your hair for an interview because they are not professional.one more thing, avoid caps and hair coverings unless on religious grounds.

Shoes have to be professional, avoid colours other than black, brown and navy blue because other bright colours may make you appear overdressed. Organizations prefer these 3 colours. And ladies, please keep the heels low. Lest I forget, avoid trainers and other sporty shoes.

Jewellery has to be moderate ladies, you can do without the dropping earrings, huge finger rings, piercings and huge neck pieces on this one. And men, please avoid piercings and earrings at least for the interview.

Clothes must be neat and well ironed, moderate and cool colours will do. Avoid bright colours such as red, orange, lemon green and yellow. Don’t get me wrong, colours are nice, but you don’t want to look too flashy. Jeans, short skimpy outfits, shorts, floral prints, leather and fur are a big NO for an interview. Clothing must be corporate and Colours must be properly matched.

Makeover must be moderate, cool colours are advisable because too much colours on your face makes you look desperate and unprofessional.

Remember, your appearance makes a statement about you before you even speak…………so keep it nice and simple.

 

 

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A Job is not a Career, don’t get it twisted….

Find out if you have a career or a job.                                                                                            It is often challenging to draw a line between these two terms, but a career guidance session with a certain young man made me realise the in-depth and wide spread misconception in the use of the terms “career” and “job”. Although these terms are often misconstrued to mean the same thing, they are conceptually different. Knowing the difference between these terms will go a long way in helping us know where we are and prepare us for where we want to be. Now let’s establish what they really mean and what makes them different.

How do you know if yours is a job or a career?

A job is any activity done in exchange for money or to meet short term needs.

(Features of a job)

  • It is short term
  • Training & education may not be required
  • Every job is part of your career, weather the jobs are directly related or not
  • It is easier to change jobs within the fields of one’s career.
  • A job can be given to you by an employer
  • A job is applied for
  • It is often fuelled by the desire to meet immediate needs.

A Career is a course of progression towards a lifelong ambition or goal.

(Features of a career)

  • It is long term
  • Requires special training and learning
  • A career is the big picture, your ultimate goal
  • It is often difficult to switch careers, as it may require starting from the bottom
  • A career is made by you, it is self-directed
  • You can’t apply for a career, you build it
  • It is often fuelled by passion and desire even if there is no immediate monetary reward.

Haven said all these, it is important to note that what is a job to someone can be a career to another and vice-versa. The difference is the motive.

Young people take up jobs for various reasons which include buying their first car, having extra spending money, gaining some work experience, paying the bills, or just keeping themselves occupied. Whatever your reason for taking up a job is, never forget that it is temporary and short term.

Always have the future in perspective, always have your career in view. Your future starts now……..

 

 

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