The ideology that one can only be a master in one field has been proven wrong, repeatedly. Sandra Ginikachi Stephen is one of those who have broken out of the norm. From being a trained Animal and Environmental Biologist, she veered off to an entirely new field where she currently works as a Visa Processor in a destination company.
Sandra, exploring more options available to her, is also involved in event styling and utilises her paper craft skill for interior and outdoor decoration. She has, through constant practicing, developed and mastered these skills for profitability.
Sandra acknowledges that her experience during work has instilled some indispensable values in her. “Working has impacted me in diverse ways. It has given me a sense of responsibility to my community and nation at large. Now I want to learn more, so I could give more. Working has also taught and is still teaching me patience.”
During the course of working, Sandra has also acquired some level of direction socially. “It’s brought some sort of focus to my social life. Now, I always have a target concerning my circle. How would this person assist in actualizing this? What solution can he/she proffer? How passionate is he/she with giving back to the nation and so on?”
Due to her remarkable career advancement, Sandra could be easily mistaken as one who had a background in her chosen field. However, she is quick to clear this perception. “What I do presently is way different from my course of study, I must say. I studied Animal and Environmental Biology but currently I am doing the job of a hospitality and tourism person. Not related in any way one would say.”
Regardless of the fact that Sandra may have deviated from her course of study, she indicated she still has interest to explore career options in that line and considers her experience so far as an advantage. “Even though I still look forward to taking up a career in my field, I count this a plus.”
In fact, she refers to career switch as a turn that could eventually lead one to their required career destination. “I wouldn’t call it a change in career but with reference to the word ‘career path’, my current job is one of those turns we take.”
Speaking about her work benefits, Sandra highlighted that asides the financial rewards, her job also creates an opportunity to build skills for personal growth. “There’s a whole lot of growth and benefits accompanied with my job. Here, if you are focused, you’d develop skills that would help you successfully start up your own destination management firm with massive financial benefits attached”
Spotting tolerance as one of the major lessons she has learnt at work, Sandra noted that it is a vital quality one needs to survive in any organization. “Tolerance. Working in any organization requires a measure of tolerance and this one is not exempted. Experiences have taught me to be tolerant. Whatever happens at the workplace ends at the workplace.”
Sandra also identified lessons that have contributed to her personal development. These lessons have equipped her with a wide range of skills and ethics that are relevant to her both as an individual and especially as an employee. “In my course of working, I have developed character. I have learnt and still learning the art of professionalism both within and without the work environment. My job is “risk”. The first thing I learnt on resumption was learning to unlearn whatever I thought I knew. Even those occupying managerial positions still learn on the job. I have also learnt team work.”
Financially, Sandra admitted she has had an impressive progression of income. “My work has helped me maintain a consistent financial lifestyle. Coupled with other financial benefits accompanying.”
Despite her regular job, Sandra has her side hustle to back her up. She stated that her side hustle is birthed from her love for paper crafting. “I am a creative person. I love crafting. And taking it as a side hustle has had this way of keeping me active. It makes me ask questions like “how can this/that be done more creatively”. I even apply this to my regular job.”
She added that having a side job has liberated her from any chance of monotonousness that could lead to boredom and at the same time provides another source of income for her. “More so, for someone that gets bored easily, it helps me see the brighter side. I wouldn’t also leave out the juicy feeling of having an extra flow of income.”
In the aspect of work disadvantages, she stated that they were minute compared to the advantages. “More advantages than any disadvantage I can think of. My job bears up so much risk that could cost the company a lot of money. But you’d admit that every other job does too.”
A challenge that Sandra classified as a positive one is the competitive spirit of workers in the organization who have given themselves to self-development in order to retain relevance. “I wouldn’t call it a challenge or should I say it’s a positive challenge. It is an organization where all or most of her staff are fighting to maintain relevance. Everyone working to be better every day in his or her different sections. More like positive energy.”
Sandra advised young people to seek continuous growth and not dwell on past knowledge. She recommended constant improvement for anyone aspiring to advance career wise. “We all are still finding our feet. No one, even those at the top would ever admit that they have reached the apex. Everyone is trying to do more and be more. That is all you need to do – do more everyday. Do not settle. People are watching, opportunities are lurking and looking for the relentless. It will all work out someday. Even better than you ever imagined it.”
Having read Sandra Ginikachi Stephen’s interview, we hope that more people will work towards building themselves and mastering their craft to the highest level.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Beyond working and earning monthly salary, there is a deeper desire for most workers, which is Self-sufficiency. Most people aspire to live above insufficient funds, daily toil, and tirelessly strive to attain a certain level of financial freedom. When the desire for self-sufficiency is not attained, dissatisfaction creeps in and then work becomes a tedious monotonous act.
This week’s guest, Ezeugwa Gerrard, strongly believes that self-sufficiency comes through one means, deliberate and consistent hard work. To drive his point home, Gerrard shared some personal experiences during his interview. Brace yourself as we get to know more about this young driven man.
Ezeugwa Gerrard, is a Software Engineer who specializes in building software, developing websites and deploying them. “I write programs in modern programming languages and I maintain best practice in all that I do,” he emphasized.
Having made critical changes along his career path, Gerrard is not your regular kind of worker. He has courageously explored different career options all in different industries. “I had series of changes in my career. From the Oil and Gas sector to Banking Sector then finally Information Technology, the journey has been breathtaking and eventful.”
Gerrard indicated that he had no initial plan to divert from his course of study to his present profession. “I mean I never set out to be a Software Engineer. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Gas Engineering but today, here I am.”
He went further to express his thoughts concerning academic pursuit, indicating that the school environment served as a platform for self-discovery. “I feel going to college was just a mere certification exercise that laid the foundation for self-discovery. I feel I went to school just to find out who I am, my strengths, weaknesses and what I can do happily even without income.”
From his exposure, Gerrard now views the workplace as a school that facilitates all round personal growth. “Working is a school. It teaches you how to grow and do that very fast. You learn time management, personal development amongst others.”
He explained further giving an instance of an experience that stood out for him with focus on the lessons he has learnt from it, “For example, last year I worked in a Nigerian multinational bank. My most remarkable experience here thought me how to be patient. The most discouraging task involved parsing and rearranging business files that could sometimes take weeks to complete. I took the job just to fund my dream of working as a Software Engineer. I did not give up. I knew it was just a phase.”
Gerrard shared some tremendous ways his job has enriched his personality, “Working has given me the opportunity to understand the individual differences that exist among people and how to manage them. It has made me patient, more bold, outspoken and emotionally intelligent. I now know how to patiently and intelligently work my way to the top while leveraging the various situations I find myself.”
Financial wise, working has made Gerrard fiercer in his pursuit for self-sufficiency. He indicated that he has become more cautious in his choice of activities in order to earn more income. “Work has made me self-sufficient. It has also given me the ability to be of assistance to those who genuinely need assistance. I mean no one wants to be a liability, or stay around a liability.
It made me a purpose driven person. I am now time cautious and every activity I indulge in has to be a money maker else I abandon it.”
He also mentioned some benefits that accompanies his job. “On my current job, I became a full time staff within a short space of time. Free lunch, accommodation on request, and others are my benefits. Since then my growth trajectory has been on the y-axis.”
Gerrard shared some of his challenges with underpayment topping the list. Nevertheless, he proposes that working regardless of poor remuneration was better than being idle. “Remuneration is very poor. Opportunity for employee growth is also very poor, but I am patient because I have a goal. I know where I am going. I cannot say because the job pays a penny, then I sit back at home like a King, waiting for manna from heaven. God will bless the works of our hands, but when he sends his angels down to come and bless us, what does he find us doing? selling groundnuts? working in a construction site? or relaxing like the Sultan of Sokoto at home?”
Despite the disadvantages of his job, Gerrard remains optimistic about the future. “I’m blessed. A better move is on the cards and soon, the whole story will change. The story of poor remuneration and opportunity for growth will become history,” he said.
Gerrard admitted he has several side hustles which gives him some level of sustenance. “I have side hustles. I do quite a lot to keep my pockets friendly all the time. Most times I end up earning triple the amount I earn in my work place.”
Backing his reason for relying on other sources of income, Gerrard said, “As a young person starting out life, I learnt that hard work is the key to self-sufficiency and satisfaction. Hard work truly pays. If I depend solely on my work place earnings, it will not fund most of the courses I take for personal development. I mean, I have to grow, and do that very fast.”
Gerrard sternly admonished young career beginners on the need to scout for or create opportunities for themselves as against the watching and waiting attitude. “Don’t stay at home. Go out there and do something. Learn a trade or volunteer at events. Opportunities don’t come by staying at home but they come when you step out and get involved, meet people and learn new things.”
He advised that they start with the available jobs in their reach while they continue to aspire for the bigger paying jobs. “It is a common trend today where young people hold out for the job with the perfect pay, rejecting potential life changing offers along the way. The perfect job will most likely not come. Time is of the essence to any purpose driven person. Take that job, build yourself from there and move when its time. Do not sit back comfortably like all is alright. It might be too late when you realize your mistake.”
What is your route to self-sufficiency? Would you rather sit and wait for the ideal job or would you be a goal getter like Gerrard and make things happen?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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EMPLOYEE INSIGHT: “THERE IS NO FORMULA OR STRAIGHT FORWARD APPROACH WHEN IT COMES TO RELATING WITH PEOPLE IN THE WORKPLACE”–ANONYMOUS
A paramount skill every employee, irrespective of their positions, should acquire is the ability to work excellently with others in the work place. They must be willing to start the learning process of establishing good work relationships with fellow colleagues. With willingness, any employee can be trained and taught this vital skill.
Our interviewee, a maintenance planner and scheduler in a bottling company, argues the opinion that one human relationship approach can work for everyone in the work environment. He stood on the fact that human beings have different features and each person is unique in their own way. Find out more about his work ideologies…
Giving an insight to his job specification, our interviewee, shared in details, “My role is to ensure machine availability and reliability are achieved through planning and scheduling or coordinating maintenance activities. This means that I try to ensure that all the machines needed for production are available and are in good condition at all times especially when needed. This is to keep all machines in check so they don’t breakdown abruptly when they are in use and that they also perform at their best”
For a clearer understanding, he enlightened us some more about the dynamics of his work. He took us through the different procedures he undergoes to achieve success in his daily job.
Expatiating he said, “Planning involves assessment of the job to be done, assess the resource availability, and ensure the right tools are available and spare parts. If skill set is needed, you try to inform those responsible for the job. I practically provide both intellectual and physical resources and also schedule them as need be; fix a time duration and issue out a work order which is basically a permit to work”
Our interviewee has had a slight career change which most would refer to as a promotion. Having started as a technical engineer for a company that served as a supply chain for his present company, our interviewee was found worthy and was retained when the time came. “I started as a technical operator for a company that supplies for my present company and then was promoted to a maintenance planner”
He specified that his chosen career path, maintenance planning and scheduling, is in line with his course of study, mechanical engineering. This has given him some level of advantage in his field.
“I studied mechanical engineering in school and maintenance is a major aspect of it. Although there are some electrical aspects too, but it is mostly a mechanical work. Mechanical engineering, however, is a broad course with many areas of specialty and that includes what I am currently doing, maintenance.”
Speaking on his work experience so far, our interviewee shared some impactful insights about his work life. He highlighted that he has developed a deep sense of responsibility, an eye for details and diligence.
“I personally think working is an avenue for each person to learn. By learning, I do not just mean learning a profession or career but I mean the discipline work teaches one, that sense of responsibility. There is a whole lot of training working gives to every man. Therefore, for me, working has helped my sense of responsibility, diligence and has taught me how to pay attention to details. It has also helped my thought pattern because I get to work with a team of intellectual people. It has expanded my thinking capacity, broaden my horizon, increased my exposure level and has built my confidence level as regards facing challenges.”
While sharing some lessons he has learnt over the years as an employee, he identified one major factor in any workplace, which is people. Our interviewee believes there is no precise method for handling different people with different backgrounds and orientation.
“One major lesson I have learnt in the course of working is that you have to know how to deal with different people. There is no formula or straightforward approach when it comes to the workplace because you are interacting with several people with different characters, different likes and dislikes and different temperaments. One just has to learn how to relate with different people and maintain a good relationship with everyone. Adaptability is another lesson I have learnt while working.”
Our interviewee regards regular income from the workplace as a benefit that should enhance one’s ability to plan their financial life better.
“Having a regular salary helps me to plan and I believe that is one benefit of working. So I am able to plan my expenses a little bit better and hope to improve even more.”
Like a coin, a job has two sides – advantage and disadvantage – to it. These two are common traits in any work life, which virtually every worker faces. Our respondent enumerated some of the disadvantages that accompanied his job; they ranged from stress, down to the daily demands and problems he has to solve.
“A disadvantage with my job would be the stress. It can also be time consuming, energy draining and really demanding. If something goes wrong, you are trying to think of how to fix it, trying different ways. Even after the close of work, your mind keeps running from one machine that is down to the other in search for a solution.”
Laying more emphasizes on his challenges at work, he added, “Some days I leave work and I am so stressed out. Also, sometimes some people can be very difficult to work with”
With how demanding his work is, our interviewee indicated he could not consider having a side hustle due to the time constraints.
“No I don’t have a side hustle,” he said. “I’m very much involved in church. Therefore, when I am not at work, I am in church. In the end I don’t have time to include any other demanding activity, like side hustles.”
Concluding his interview, our interviewee shared an unusual advice for those planning to travel the career journey. He advised young career beginners to follow the leading of the supernatural being, God, rather than hurryingly follow public opinions.
“Advising on a career path, I wouldn’t come from the area of ‘be diligent, pursue your dreams, know your area of strength etc.’ I believe most people have heard that speech before. What I would say is whoever you are; follow the Lord and the need of God for your life. Do not rush, because we are not competing with anybody. Do not take decisions because every other person is doing it. Wait, take your time, ensure this is what the Lord will have you do, and follow the leading of His spirit. I have found out that that is the best way to live. Simply trust God and everything will fall in place.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Survival is a common instinct among mankind. For this singular reason, man strives daily to fight against all odds, desperately in search for better means of earning some comfort during his lifetime. For most people, getting a job or starting an enterprise, has become a familiar means for making a livelihood.
Our interviewee for the week, Afonya Davies, is one who has taken no chances in ensuring that he utilizes and makes the best out of his earning power, further ensuring his survival. Now after imparting knowledge to his students in the classroom, Afonya rolls up his sleeves to push for the success of his business, Hectofons Ideal Concept, which deals with supplying of granite, sand and leasing equipment.
We were curious to know how Afonya manages to joggle two huge responsibilities – being a teacher and an established businessperson – and still maintain a healthy work life. Here is what we found out.
For over five years, Afonya Davies has been working in the educational sector. Though an alien to this field, since it wasn’t his course of study, Afonya saw it as an opportunity to keep himself busy after school rather than stay idle. “I studied Petroleum Engineering as my first degree but took up the teaching job at that time because I needed to be occupied.”
Regardless of the rigid structure in his profession, in terms of career trajectory, Afonya has remained open minded and has allowed his job influence him positively. “Working has given me experience and training on how to manage people.”
Afonya didn’t also see his job as an escape route from boredom, he has picked up pieces of lessons that are essential to having a better life. “In the course of working, I have learnt patience, integrity, and transparency,” he said.
Nevertheless, he could not help but mention a major disadvantage of his job, “You don’t get incentive from the government like housing close to the school, official car, etc.” He believes these provisions should be made in order to make work easier for teachers.
He highlighted distance as his challenge, stating that he finds it tiring having to drive the long distance and has noticed it affects his efficiency. “I usually get really tired after such a long drive,” he admitted.
Turning around what would have been perceived to be another disadvantage, Afonya didn’t let his spirit get dampened by the size of his salary, he trained himself to spend less and save more in a bid to manage his finances. “In my financial life, working has shaped my saving culture. Since I knew the salary was small I enrolled in a mutual fund to enable me save.”
Speaking of having a side hustle, Afonya admitted he had one, his very own business called, “Hectofons Ideal Concept”. He stated that his reason for setting up this business was to be stable and independent financially knowing he has a family to cater for. “I need to be financially stable to take care of the needs of my family,” he said.
Based on his after-school experience, Afonya advised young people to get a clear direction on their desired choice of career and begin the pursuit before exiting the university in order to overcome unpleasant outcomes afterwards. “They should build a career pathway before leaving school so they are not faced with unemployment,” he advised.
There you go! Handling a day job and personal business simultaneously is Afonya Davies’ means of survival. What’s yours?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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EMPLOYEE INSIGHT: “DEDICATION IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE JOB THAT SPEAKS FOR YOU”- ANONYMOUS EMPLOYEE
Depending on how you perceive the workplace, it can be a learning platform for those willing and patient enough to be trained. One of the many things you learn while working is human relations and as we all know, humans could be quite dynamic and different in their ways. This has since been a major challenge for most persons in the corporate world since they have to constantly interact with colleagues in order to achieve the common goal of the company.
Now this task becomes more arduous when you are directly responsible for others within the workspace. You would realise that some people are easier to connect and work with than others. This week we interviewed a HSE Specialist who works at one of the reputable oil and gas companies in Nigeria and whose job specification entails supervision of workers in a bid to ensure they abide by safety rules, in order to maintain a safe working environment.
Even though this is a huge responsibility, our interviewee continues to learn better human relationship approaches with the aim to make the most out of his job. Let us take a glimpse of his work life…
Our interviewee when describing the impact of his work in his life indicated its enormous influence on him so far, “Working has given me a sense of responsibility. It teaches endurance especially with the fact that I meet different people with background and training different from mine. It increases my knowledge about life especially when I communicate with colleagues and those I supervise. The push to be better is also there,” he said.
Amazingly, he had studied a different course while in school and only developed interest for HSE along the line, “I studied Industrial Chemistry but during my Industrial Attachment in the HSE department, I picked interest in the field and equipped myself by undergoing a safety training during my NYSC,” he stated.
As regards his career trajectory, our respondent pointed out that he has been opportune to start with a higher position unlike his counterparts, “Compared to where most persons start from in building their HSE career, I started with a better position,” he indicated.
Though he seem to have had a smooth ride in his field, his experience came with many lessons to be learnt as regards relating with people in his workplace. He said, “I have learnt patience when building safety culture in people and realised that not everyone you are working with has your best interest at heart. At some point, you will get to understand that real life experiences are usually different from what you study in books. Also, dedication is an integral part of the job that speaks for you.”
Concerning his finances, he attested the positive impact working has made in his financial life thus far. “Really my financial life has improved tremendously. However the bad part is that you have to wait till month end to get that joy that good amount of money is entering your account.”
As we know, everything that has advantages also have a downside to it. Our respondent candidly expressed the disadvantages that accompanied his job, “You don’t get to rest as much as you would like. You are cut-off from what happens out there in the world because most times you are at work. There is also the aspect of someone talking to you as they please because they are above you. Blackmail is another thing that goes on around the worksite because certain persons want favours from their bosses,” he said.
Expressing his daily work struggles further, our interviewee said, “Some days you just want to sleep and not go to work but you have to show up anyway.”
When asked if he had a side hustle, he indicated he did and added it is simply based on the love he has for it and not necessarily for extra cash, “I teach in a foundation because I really love to teach,” he said
For his closing remark, our interviewee said, “Being a HSE Specialist is an interesting career that would teach you how to treat your own workers especially if you have it in mind one day to own your company.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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EMPLOYEE INSIGHT: “THINK LONG, THINK HARD, BE OBJECTIVE AND LOGICAL WITH YOUR CHOICES”- NNEDIMMA IKEME
Teaching, especially when it comes to children, is one of the toughest responsibilities one could handle owing to the fact that much patience and energy is required. Nevertheless, this imperative task cannot be shoved aside and just like the great Whitney Houston sang, “I believe in the children of our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way,” emphasizing the need to properly educate the little ones.
While most parents and guardians don’t have the time and patience to live out these words, there are those who have dedicated their lives to teaching and grooming these children. This set of people whom we often call teachers continuously bear the
Today our spotlight is on Nnedimma Ikeme, a tutor in a lesson centre who uses both formal and informal methods to teach children. She is undoubtedly one of the few special hands chosen to nurture little ones and without exaggeration, one could perceive Nnedimma’s impact distance away.
For one who had no prior knowledge about her current career path, Nnedimma has opened herself up and has developed deep passion for the new world in front of her. Nnedimma stated the tremendous impact working has made in her personal and career life, “working has greatly helped me prioritise my life better and has given me a clearer career path,” she said.
From what started as a casual voluntary work, Nnedimma admitted that she has grown to love her profession even though it was not her course of study in school. However, she has consciously equipped herself by exploring most of the learning opportunities available to her and has acquired necessary skills over the past three years.
“Working as a volunteer at first, helped me realize I loved teaching and with time, I worked intentionally to hone that skill; garnering experience as I worked.”
Nnedimma has experienced significant advancement in her chosen field since she commenced work. Her rapid career growth has proven that an amateur in any field can eventually become a master with diligence and dedication. “There has been growth with regard to promotion; from a volunteer, Assistant Tutor to a full-time Tutor that also doubles as an Interim Administrator when the need arises. The financial benefits have not been as good as I would like them to be, but it’s all ‘work in progress’”.
One way to check our progress most times is through feedback. Nnedimma narrated her most remarkable experience which highlights her initial struggles with a particular child and the results she had afterwards. Her narrative;
“My first one-on-one child, Jose Maria is someone I can never forget. He taught me patience and made me imbibe virtues that I thought alien to my personality, while I explored and stretched myself beyond what was expected from me as a teacher. Working with the older kids and still maintaining a wonderful rapport has also helped shape up my work life for the better. Feedback from parents and children alike, make all the stress worth it.”
Concerning her challenges at work, Nnedimma highlighted two major familiar key points which is usually the case for most people in her profession. “The exhausting long hours and the remuneration are major challenges.”
Due to the nature of her job, its demands and tight schedule, Nnedimma admitted that she barely has time to include other activities that would improve her financial life. “I earn better than I did five years ago, but considering the changing times, it’s not enough. The constrictive nature of my job does not give room for an extra source of income, hence my earnings are not enough for all I need to do within a stipulated time.”
Like most workers, Nnedimma identified low payment as a major disadvantage. She stated, “I work for long hours, but I don’t get enough remuneration. The hours do not give room for anything else,” she said. However as regards having a side hustle, “I would love to have one,” she confessed.
Wrapping up her interview session, Nnedimma had some deep words for young career climbers. “Think long, think hard, be objective, and logical with your choices. Money is a good incentive/motivator, but if you are green, ensure that experience comes first, then higher remuneration befitting one’s experience will surely follow,” she advised.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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