I got the opportunity to be part of the December edition of Uche Meets Accra. It was a night of interaction, speed mentoring and deep discussions. Bordering on issues affecting young women in their career, family life, and society. I share some of the insights garnered in this post. These insights make a good fit for both men and women.
Uche Ofodile is a senior business leader with extensive expertise in building businesses in emerging markets. With 10 years in CEO, CMO, and CCO roles, she has spearheaded transformative change in blue-chip multinational companies. Learn more about her here.
1. Your Career and the Workplace
“You didn’t go to work to make friends”, was a quote that run through the discussions for the night, seeking to emphasize Do your work without fear and favor, just make sure you're putting in your best. - Uche Ofodile Click To Tweet. The most important thing for you as a young woman building your career is knowing what you want to achieve. This goal-oriented approach will direct you to determine if it’s time to move on, or roll up your sleeves and continue working till you achieve the goals set.
Never take a job without clearly defining the purpose. Ensure that you know what you want and how the job fits in before saying yes to an offer. Carefully consider the employment contract to ensure there are no compromises you would regret. Take note of all that and negotiate. The only power you have is before you sign the employment contract.
2. Entrepreneurship Vrs Day Jobs
A side hustle is a good thing to have but, “not everyone can handle an extra hustle aside their day jobs“. Your wiring is different from another individual, thus make it a point to assess your abilities before getting into a side hustle. If you are cut out for the day job and side hustle, plan your time very well, make extra sacrifices. Most importantly, recognize the tipping point – the point where you can easily pay your bills and have enough customers to carry you through a long lifespan for your business. You aren’t superwoman to be juggling both sides of the coin. Eventually one of them would fire you, so choose the one you want to stick with.
On the other hand, if both are things you equally enjoy, for instance, being in an HR role and running a social enterprise that seeks to develop people. You have to optimize on planning and commitment. Learn to delegate when you can, and ask for help when you need and use the people you are helping to manage themselves, people like being in control.
3. Sexual Harassment
Being a woman can come with some really tough and challenging situations. Especially if your job bothers on signing on clients for your business. You are likely to experience sexual harassment of some sort, be it from your boss or a client. Stay aware of the repercussions of your actions, “you can never have it both ways”, just one drink, lunch etc. doesn’t end it. He will definitely ask for more.
From the get-go, set boundaries – in the office and with your clients. Beware of guilt trips that may end up opening you up to sexual or verbal abuse and harassment. Call out actions you don’t like and risk being called mean or disrespectful, but you get to protect yourself to an extent. The most important piece of this puzzle borders on what you hope to gain from the job. If you have achieved your goals, you may have no reason to lose your job or endure sexual harassment to keep it.
4. Your Career and Education/Certificates
At certain points, your education and certificates will trump experience and other times the inverse will be true. Whatever your reason is for furthering your education or getting professional certificates, it shouldn’t necessarily be to prove your worth or hopefully buy you a seat at the table of men. Know where you are going in life and have plans for how you will get there. Let that be what informs your decision of furthering your education or getting professional certificates.
Sometimes these certificates add an authority to and validate your experience, but at other times, they don’t matter at all. Some employers value your experience and ability to quickly learn and grasp changing conditions over any number of certificates you may present. Then to your CV, don’t be tempted to fill it with rote responsibilities and roles just to pad it up. Feature your achievements and the significant contributions you made at your previous jobs.
5. Personality, Passion, and Acknowledgement
Avoid the trap of wanting to achieve more and going farther than you already have. Before you run off trying to save the whole world, make sure you make time to celebrate your own victories. No company or external body will recognize your sacrifice and efforts better than you. Call some friends and family, eat some cake and jollof; reward yourself with a vacation, whatever happens, make sure to celebrate your wins.
Finally, stretch your personality. Move within fierce and kind in swift seconds just because your ability to do excellent work depends on it. Overlook certain actions and behaviors because your goal is to learn and get better, not bitter. Don’t always let your emotions get in the way of achieving what you ought to.
This is my summary of the December edition of Uche Meets Accra. Kindly leave any comments or questions you may have. The evening was live on Facebook, find it here. Follow Uche on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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