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.

The Side Hustle: How to find your hustle

On Wednesday 12th September, 2018, we premiered ‘’The Wednesday Series’’  and last night, Sola Solarin, author of the Startup Entrepreneur discussed the ‘’Side Hustle’’. The side hustle is typically a harbinger of confusion because the employer expects every team member put in 100% and not be distracted by personal business. On the other hand, even Warren Buffet advocates multiple income streams and employees want to self-actualise necessitating a side hustle.


Sola discussed how becoming an entrepreneur differed from what he had learnt in the classroom, experiences that led to writing his book. He talked about the ethical way to side-hustle.


Enjoy the conversation here:


UnocasaHR: Good evening @sola_solarin Thank you for joining us on the Wednesday series #UnocasaWednesday


UnocasaHR: @sola_solarin, can you please give us a brief history into your professional experience. #UnocasaWednesday

Sola Solarin: A pharmacist with a career that started in marketing in a multinational pharma company. Has bought and founded about 5 companies in the last 20 years in pharma, financial services and consulting. I have an MBA from the LBS.


UnocasaHR: @sola_solarin , How relevant is today’s topic, considering the current situation of the day to day work-life in Nigeria. #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday it is very relevant. Competition is stiff, a lot more uncertainties in the economy. Jobs are not stable and and everyone can do with a little extra money.


UnocasaHR: Tell us about your book ‘’The Startup Entrepreneur’’#UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday The book is about my experience setting up and running small businesses in Nigeria. It highlights the differences and alignments between precepts and reality. The challenges that are peculiar to emerging markets and real life examples of how to cope with them. A handbook for all startup entrepreneurs.


UnocasaHR: Why did you choose to write the book? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday After my MBA at the LBS and attempting to apply textbook precepts, I noticed there are huge gaps when confronted with reality of starting and running a small business in Nigeria. I felt a compulsion to document my experience.


UnocasaHR: We encourage multiple streams of income often necessitating a side hustle. What are your thoughts? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday Multiple streams of income is a necessity for survival and success. It is true for businesses and individuals and countries. The greatest investor in the world Warren Buffet also recommends it. The world and life itself is full of shocks. Moreso in an emerging market that is beset with so many uncertainties. No job or business offer guarantees. Risks are always lurking at every corner. Another stream of income can help mitigate those risks.

UnocasaHR: What are the most important considerations for starting a side hustle? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday The opportunities in the market, Your skill set, your passion and the resources at your disposal. All these can come together to provide you a profitable niche that you can exploit for a profitable income stream.


UnocasaHR: How does one find work-life balance with a full time job and a side-hustle? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday It is easier these days, information technology has lowered barriers to reaching customers, suppliers and transfering money. A side hustle delivered from the comfort of your bed or your garage or kitchen or study will reduce time spent away from home and family. It could also be delivered in the course of work, but it is important it doesn’t conflict with your employer’s interest.


UnocasaHR: At what point should you consider moving your side hustle to a full hustle? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday When you have done your projections and you are convinced it will deliver enough to cover your financial needs. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. You need the buy in of your closest family members and confidantes. They may need to suffer with you if the project doesn’t pan out.


UnocasaHR: Your book offers advice on how one can identify investment opportunities even in a distressed economy, what should we look at in Nigeria today? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday The front pages of newspapers and your immediate environment. The long line of trucks on the roads to apapa shows we need urgent logistics solutions. We are still discussing power, housing and access to finance. Mountain of refuse is opportunity for recycling and refuse processing services. Carry a notebook and jot down every service failures you experience in the course of your day. They are pointers to opportunities and unmet needs.


UnocasaHR: What strategic decision has been most impactful to your business? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday Turning a department in the company to a full fledged business. It created a new income stream and proved very profitable. Much more now than the main business.


UnocasaHR: Top 3 advice for intending entrepreneurs? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday

  1. Look for a niche that is severely under-served
  2. Better if you can be first mover
  3. Just do it once you have the conviction it will work.


UnocasaHR:   Where can we find your book to buy? #UnocasaWednesday


Sola Solarin: #UnocasaWednesday Okada books, Amazon and an email to


UnoCasaHR: @sola_solarin Thank you for sharing with us tonight.