Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Empower yourself

Empower Yourself

One of the challenges that I face as a human resource consultant is when friends look at you as the only one who can help them and truth is that you can only do your best for them. Let me read out some text messages to you.

1. Dear Albert, please find enclosed my cv. I want a job in a telco company or an oil and gas firm. I am really counting on you to make it happen for me.

2. After looking at everything, I came to the conclusion that you are my last bus stop and I want to work in your company. Please help me as God would help you in return.

3. I heard that Etisalat is coming to Ibadan and they are recruiting. My friend told me you help recruit for them. Please help me get a job with them.

4. Good day Albert, I am very sorry for sending my CV in word format a bit late. Hope it is still timely. Still counting on you.

There are many more that I need not bore you with. I decided to write this note today because of recent happenings in our economy. Many companies are retrenching their staffs, heard about a telco company where they are bringing out the list in batches of 300. A friend described it this way that when you see your name on the list, they pay you 3 months’ salary upfront. There is an ambulance outside for those that might pass out. Banks that are nor retrenching are slashing salaries and giving huge targets. I know of corpers serving in banks that have as much as 200 million target.

The question I keep asking myself is what do we do in times like these and a reality is that why it is going bad for some, it is getting better for others. A bank just promoted some of its staffs even in this recession. Some are getting better jobs. What do we do in times like these?

My simple challenge to us is to do all we can to empower ourselves. Let me list out some ways by which we can do that.

1. Get new skills. I could remember doing recruitment for a telco company and the only requirement in the job description is that the person must be able to use Microsoft excel very well. I thought this was very easy but after a week, I could only get 3 people that have this skill. I really felt bad. I thought I was a guru in excel but in an interview when my COO was asking the guy if he can do this and that, I knew I need to go and sharpen my excel skill. There are many certifications you can do now that will increase your market value. Go out and do them. invest your money in increasing your value. There is Project Management Professional (PMP) , Certified Business Analyst Professional(CBAP), ICAN, ICSA, Oracle professional, CCNA, CCNP ETC. Go out there and increase your value. You will need it as leverage one day.

2. Brand yourself. I have conducted quite a lot of interviews and my conclusion from it is that I can see passion in people who know the value they carry. Some come and feel giving them a job is an emotional decision you have to make. Do a quick x-ray of yourself and determine your value. Say it out with all confidence. Let the person interviewing you have this guilt if he is not offering you the job.

3. Where you are now is not your last bus stop. There is still more to you. Have many plans for yourself. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Take a while and think about this. Put your imagination to work. Create the most lovely and realistic dream. It doesn’t have to make sense to you know but let your mind believe it. Dream big, shoot for the stars. You are meant to be the best.

4. Always have money. I am an advocate for this. Cultivate a savings culture irrespective of how much you are earning. I strongly believe that ideas need a good landing pad in us and one thing that can help you take an idea to the next level is when you know you have money somewhere to pursue the idea. How many ideas have we rendered powerless because of the thought of “I don’t have to do this”. Have noticed that people will be willing to help you when you tell them that you need a million naira for a project and you already have 300,000 naira on your own.

5. Have other sources of income. Think very well. What services can you provides that brings in more money for you. Do not be too proud that doing some things would reduce your status. Your status would soon become very useless when you have the resources you need to back it up. I have met many people selling one or two things in different offices and truth is that no matter how small it is, something extra is coming in. I have made quite a lot in doing what I call the middleman business. All I need for this business is just to be resourceful and innovative. People need solutions and a middleman is just the person that can link both the supplier and the buyer together, in that way, he makes a little money for himself.

Let me stop here a while because there is a lot in me to write, my major charge for you is not to let people, circumstances, world economy, your job to dictate who you are, what you can do or how far you can go in life. You are the architect of your life. Empower yourself now so that you can enjoy the fruits of the labour later.


Afolabi Albert

''Believe it, Feel It, See it. You can get there''