Rethinking Talent: What we should really be doing when people discover themselves

Since we agree most people become clearer about what they want to do after the early stages of their career and in fact encourage most people to find their “purpose”, isn’t it logical to throw open the employment/opportunity gates to people who are switching careers?

 

When it comes to choosing careers, very few people are so lucky to find out early on what they want to do life-long. The reality is that most people stumble into it at different points in their lives; early, mid-life or later in life. We repetitively ask people to find their purpose because ”purpose” is so important. It gives life meaning, it makes you content, fulfilled, it energises and it refreshes. When they do find that purpose, how much of a chance do we give to them exploring it? Should we allow people to continue to work to keep up with bills or really encourage work that makes them thrive?

 

I believe we should do more. I believe we need a talent re-think especially because we know most people discover their real interests later rather than earlier. I believe people should be given the opportunity to explore their interests to the maximum and hiring policies need adjustments to accommodate what is simply reality.

 

What to do when you figure out what makes you tick:

  • Make a transition plan; immediately. Writing things down actualises thoughts and adding timelines gives you a mission. Make a detailed transition plan to include the skills needed where you are going, where to learn them and when to have learned them by.

 

  • Create a plan for networking in this new space and building the necessary connections.

 

  • Learn the skills, within the timelines. Things change rapidly and you most certainly do not want to complete your learning only to find that you are already out-dated. Review constantly and keep up with industry trends.

 

  • Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer: Cut your teeth, make your errors where you can be forgiven. Give volunteering everything like it were a paying job and learn as much as you can.

 

  • Respond to vacancies, sell yourself and confidently advance towards chasing your dreams; you have everything to gain.

 

 

This is for HR Professionals:

You cannot be the human in Human Resources if you are not applying human nature to the way you view and accept talent. Inclusive employment should include people who are changing careers at various levels. It’s a reasonable assumption to believe that an older person who has recently re-trained may be more disciplined and come with a higher level of work readiness than a younger one.

 

We ought to drive policy that really ensures we are equal opportunity employers and provide access to great talent at all levels.

Networking: You’re still getting communication wrong!

Networking for personal and professional advancement is important; indeed it is very important. The way you communicate will make or break you. Your writing, like how you are dressed, determines how your reader profiles you.

 

Is there a way to communicate effectively for this purpose? Yes, there is. This list is not exhaustive but we’ve kept it short and sweet to get you on the right trajectory:

  • Be formal: Unless the person you are communicating with asks you to do otherwise. “Hello, dear” is not formal communication for someone you have never met.

 

  • Cultivate relationships: How early should your asks come? People do business with people they have a relationship with and trust. Work towards both, especially the latter.

 

  • Give and give more: What you should do instead of asking is give, give, give; connect other people, offer help, solve a problem if you can and build your networking reserves.

 

  • Tact, manners, respect: When you comment on posts, please be respectful. We can agree to disagree without belittling the other party or parties.

 

  • Friendly versus familiar: There is a thin line between being friendly and familiar. Learn the difference and improve your writing skills.

 

  • Quality: Read, proof-read and then read again before you send anything out to anyone. Spelling errors, typos, misplaced punctuations are signs of a sloppy writer. You will be judged on the standard of your writing.

 

Networking has a significant impact on your progress and should be approached with deliberateness and consciousness. When in doubt about what form your communication should take, keep it simple, keep it formal. If still in doubt, just google the best approach.

What work should NEVER take away from you

 

If we take a second to look critically at our lives, as workers or business people, we’d begin to see just how much our lives have begun to revolve around work. We tend to get carried away with it – so carried away, sometimes, that the entirety of our days, weeks and years become devoted to it. Now, this is not entirely a bad thing, getting immersed in work. Where the problem lies, is how we tend to forget other areas of our lives, which in the long run, are actually more important than work. Some of the things your job should never take away from you are:

 

  • Family: If you never had to grow up with a parent who was constantly jetting off chasing contract after contract, then you might not fully understand how fortunate you are. Sadly, family is one of the easiest aspects of life to consider; to brush off because “they’d still be there when I get back”. However, constantly chasing work could cause you to miss some important developments. Like how Chris Brown had to find out on Instagram that his daughter had started walking? You don’t want that, do you?

 

  • Friendships: Very similar to family, it’s easy to keep your friends on hold because of work. What we tend to forget, however, is that when all is said and done, these are the people that hold it down for you.

 

 

  • Love: Working 9-5 jobs already make it difficult to socialize. Trying to get a startup on its feet makes it even more impossible. At some point, it’s easy to begin to imagine that one can live without love; but we really can’t, we weren’t designed to and shouldn’t. Make time for love – people, passions and things you love.

 

  • Adventure: Traveling, climbing Mount Everest, taking a swim in the ocean might just seem like a waste of precious time, but adventure is great. Do something new, do something different, take up a challenge, alone or with company. Keep pushing your boundaries. Adventure keeps you young and vibrant. Variety makes it even more exciting. Push your boundaries and have a blast at it.

 

 

  • Healthy Living: This is also one of the easiest but detrimental things to ignore. Exercising becomes a thing of the past when you’re too busy waking up as early as possible to beat traffic, or when you get back really late and all you want to do is sleep. Eating healthy is difficult on the go and you have to get creative with meals. We know being sedentary is extensively damaging to health and need to include as much natural movement as is possible to fit in. Eat better, move more, you know the drill; borrowing from Nike, ‘’just do it’’.

 

Every so often, it is necessary to take a step back, to recalibrate, redefine the things that are truly important in the bigger picture. While work is important, we need to learn to invest ourselves in the things that truly matter!

Hey it’s January Again – What’s the Deal?

 

Hey! It’s January again – What’s the Deal with being broke or expecting to be broke? There is an interesting commercial in the media in which a lady asked her friend who had just bought some shoes – “its January, ain’t you supposed to save”, to which the friend replied – “I am saving already, every time I buy, I save”! It’s an interesting perspective to savings. Advertisers know how these things work on the mind, and that’s why there is an emphasis on the word “save” when pitching prospective customers to buy whatever the offering is. In reality, when you spend on non-essential consumption, you are not saving, you are spending, it doesn’t matter how much discount, real or imagined, that you may be getting.

 

January is a very interesting month, especially in Nigeria. Nothing much happens in the first week as people are just arriving from all the various places they went to cool off for the yuletide. They return mostly broke. Activities increase by the second week as traffic returns back to Lagos, even if the business side of things remains slow.

 

People say it’s the longest month of the year, but certainly not in terms of the number of days, as there are six other 31-day months in the year. What makes January long is the combination of slow business and empty pockets. For most employees, December salaries and Christmas Bonuses have been received before the celebration season in December, and by the time work resumes in January, the money is all gone with the winds of the yuletide! Things get more complicated for a lot of parents as it’s also the beginning of a new term for school children and that means, school fees are due!

 

Here is the truth, January offers a new page for us to plan our finances for the year. There are some things that you won’t be able to figure out, but then there are quite a number of major expenditures that you can identify for the year. You know when the rent will be due, and children school fees, you want to buy a ram for your father during the next Eid Kabir, or you are planning to get married this year? Any planned surgery? It could also be a vacation during your leave or your equity contribution for a mortgage of auto-acquisition. Are you starting a new business this year or expanding what you are currently doing? January is a good time to list out all these major items and begin to plan how you will fund them.

 

Planning helps keep your goals in sight, channel your resources appropriately, and think ahead of solutions to financial challenges that may arise in the course of the year. If you have not put pen to paper to take a shot at charting how you will achieve your major expenditures this year, it’s a good time to do it. You will be amazed at how much it helps to keep your eyes on the ball this year. Happy new year!