Tolu Fiz Akanee is a thinker, writer and speaker; the author of A-Z Life lessons

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This employment thing

I would not say because I had job offers from 3 different multinationals for my NYSC then I have the panacea to this national issue,
However I think I can make suggestions on this employment thing.

This employment thing that has bettered lives
This employment thing that has ruined lives
This employment thing that has empowered some
This employment thing that has broken others

Why it is working cheaply for some and why is it still a big deal for many others is the mystery I seek to unravel based on my little exposure.

(1) I have come to realize that what you did in school when you were not reading your books is more important to your prospective employers than reading your books in itself.
Why am I saying that?
Flip through a well written curriculum vitae (CV) and you will realize that in the 2page document, you have less than 10 lines going to academic qualification while the other lines are filled with information such as your Job experience, leadership records, awards, profiles, interests/hobbies.

Academic qualification is common. Even your first class degree is not enough, there are many other applicants that have it.

(2) WHO ARE YOU????
While thousands of applicants can have the same qualifications, no two applicants have the same experience. Experience can only be similar, it can never be the same.
Your experience is what makes you unique
It is your uniqueness that gets you the job
So applicants are judged based on their individual experiences.

Academic experience is no experience, it is a qualification, it is the knuckle with which you will knock your employers door.
And as soon as you knock the door with the right knuckles (academic qualification) they open the door to see who's knocking, then you are asked to introduce yourself "who are you"

Who you are today is a summation of your experiences of yesterday
So when they say "who are you" they want to know your experience, they want to know what you've been doing with your life up until the time you knocked their door, they want to be sure you have what it takes to cope when you come in, they want to be sure you are equipped for the day-to-day activities that go on inside.

And when they fall in love with your "who are you" response, they let you in gladly.

Relevant experience that will make you indispensable to your prospective employers is mostly not acquired unconsciously, you have to work towards it.

-Have taste for reputable companies when it comes to internships. Once it's a big name, you have less explanation to do as regards the quality of your experience.
-Society membership which should lead to society leadership is the easiest way to build your leadership experience. It helps you to understand team dynamics; team business is people business and your employers really wanna know if you can handle people.
-Build your ideas. Don't just imagine things, attach an action plan to each one of your ideas, strive to push it into reality. Even if the action plan fails, in the process of making an attempt you would have learnt enough already.
-Read!!! Most of your interviewers are people that read, and when readers meet readers they connect.
-Improve your spoken English, learn other languages - it positions you for international appointments.
-Never forget your experiences

(4) WHO ARE YOU could often mean WHO DO YOU KNOW
Imagine a bus conductor that had a quarrel with a passenger and in the course of that, the passenger asked him "who are you?" and in response the conductor went "my uncle is a top officer in the army, if u mess up I'll get guys from the Ikeja barracks to deal with you"
He answered the "who are you" question without any indication to his person. This tells us that we are often judged by our association.
Like I have said over and over again, who you know can only open doors for you, it is who you are and what you know that will keep you inside.

If you are convinced that you have the necessary qualification and experience and you have knocked on the door of an organisation before and they turned you down, know that it's not the end of the world. Pick yourself up and try again until you pull through
Failure is an event, it is not who you are.
Companies atimes turn down applicants not just because these applicants don't have all of the required academic, social, professional requirement, there are times that they have 5 hot guys shortlisted and they just have to pick one. That's when they will go for the MD's in-law or the ED's son.
But you do not need all of that, you just need to know the king of kings, the MD of all MDs, the CEO that CEOs report to, the one who presides over presidents.
You need him
You need his hand

Go and get that dream job!

Sent from my iPod

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"God's will" : whether good or bad?

Funny how we conclude all that befalls us is "God's will" whether good or bad.

When NYSC posted me to ministry of special duties and I was trying to change my posting, one of the guys we (myself and my mum) approached at the ministry advised I pray about it because it might just be God's hidden agenda for me.

When I got Schlumberger most people said "God is really with you oh"
And of course, when I didn't get Exxonmobil you know what they said to me

When I didnt make first class in the university, I would tell myself that maybe God doesn't really want it for me.

Now I don't want to confuse anyone or stir up any argument on how you can tell whether God is in a given occurence or not, I just want to talk.

1. I have realised that people will always accept you and will always have a word for you in any circumstance. Because looking at it, a friend is supposed to "be there for you" no matter what.

2. You can't plan for life, you can't exactly push yourself into a breakthrough, the only way out is to live prepared.
In the words of Henry Hartman  "success is when opportunity meets preparation"
And this is what I have been doing and I intend to do for the rest of my life, TO LIVE PREPARED

3. Living prepared is not as difficult as many perceive it to be, it is not something that is achieved in a day; it is a process so it comes with time.

4. What to prepare for...
Knowing your vision for life helps you to know how to go about living prepared, when you walk about with that big picture of who you're gonna be by the time you are 50, it will help you live a life of preparedness.
Learning how to joggle a ball prepares you for a Nike endorsement in the future
Having female friends prepares you for how to handle your future life partner (vision: you're gonna get married someday)
Teaching Sunday school class prepares you for making presentations to small groups (vision: you're gonna be a CEO someday)
Learning how to speak french, spanish and a couple of languages prepares you for an international appointment
Reading the biography of Obama today helps in you in future political appointments

5. Preparation can only be adequate, you are never fully prepared
At a point in time, I was getting too much praises, facebook msgs, wallposts, blog comments, emails, face-to-face commendations.."I love your book" "thank you for touching my life" bla bla bla and I knew those commendations had potential harmful effects, so irrespective of my sincere gratitude to God I try to suppress it and tell myself that I'm not there yet so I would come online and start to read about millionaires and billionaires under 20 just so I can be reminded that there are loads of people better than I am.
Did it work?
Of course it did, it not only removed the sense of accomplishment (which mostly hampers growth), it sparked up a thirst in me to reach for the skies.

Therefore, if you feel your satisfactorily prepared for a particular thing, move on to the next.

GOD will do through you what you will allow him to do
Moses had a rod in his hand
David had a sling
The widow had empty barrels of oil
Seek to create an enabling environment for your blessings today

(Funeh thank you for inspiring me to write, hope this inspires you to write too)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Window shopping

I went window shopping today, and since I left the store my thought pattern has not been the same

I went window shopping today, and since I left the bookstore my thought pattern has not been the same.

Too much has been written
There's too much to be read
Yet there's still much more to be written
And there will always be much to read

I have resolved to read plenty of books this year and I was going to start with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's "This child will be great" but they didnt have it in Lagos' biggest bookshop....I didnt even go with the cash anyways, but I have prepared a list of must-reads for this 1st quarter of the year. Most of the titles I love are the expensive ones...these fresh fresh authors sef.

Some of my ideas are about to grow, there's a new project I just started with my friends..I would be glad to share more details as things become more concrete.

Speaking on ideas n dreams, I have realised that the room is always full when its time to talk the dream, but there are only a few on the field when its time to work the dream.

People are too lazy to push their dreams into reality, they give in at the slightest resistance, don't let that attitude follow you into this new year...dust it off. I have come to realise that there is a sort of stubborness that is common to most achievers

I leave you with the words of Josh Billings
"Be like a postage stamp, stick to one thing until you get there"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fight for your dreams in 2011 (By John C Maxwell)

Happy New Year! If you’re like me, you spent some time in the past few weeks reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the coming one. I’m already excited about what’s in store for the next twelve months!
What dreams do you have for 2011? Or maybe a better question is, do you have dreams for 2011? For some people, dreaming is easy. Your mind is full of dreams just waiting to be expressed. But what about those who find it hard to dream? What if you’re not sure if you have a dream you want to pursue?
Let’s face it: Many of us were not encouraged to dream. Others had dreams, only to see them actively discouraged. The world is filled with dream crushers and idea killers. Why? Some people without dreams of their own hate to see others pursuing theirs. Other people’s passion and success makes them feel inadequate or insecure. Others think they’re being helpful: keeping us from risk or hurt.
Business professors Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad wrote about an experiment conducted with a group of monkeys. Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas.
One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself. Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water. After making several attempts, they finally gave up.
Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey. As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground. After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.
The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, with new ones, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas. In time, only monkeys who had never received a cold shower were in the room, but none of them would climb the pole. They prevented one another from climbing, but none of them knew why.
Perhaps others have dragged you down in life. They’ve discouraged you from dreaming. Maybe they resented the fact that you wanted to move up or to do something significant with your life. Or maybe they were trying to protect you from pain or disappointment. Either way, you’ve been discouraged from dreaming.
Take heart. It’s never too late to start dreaming and pursuing your dreams. My friend Dale Turner asserts, “Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”
If you haven’t done any dreaming yet this year, set aside some time to explore possibilities and commit yourself to new opportunities. It’s never too late to dream.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Let's start the year with something challenging
Let the new year be a challenge
Let each day be a challenge
Let's set targets
Let's raise the stakes
Let's birth the unthinkable
Let's dare the impossible
Let's work together
Let's build synergy
Let's grow into a force
Let's stand by each other
Let's give
Let's share
Let's commit it all in the hands of God
Let's raise our glasses
As we make a toast to newness

Happy New year friends!