The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately…

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If I had a dollar each time a male individual told me that “the world is yours”, seriously, it really would be. The sad reality though is that it really isn’t, it is everyones and the price we pay for our part of the world is taxing.

“The biggest misconception and killer of dreams is the hope that someone is coming to save you/ give you your big break. No one is coming sisi… you must come for yourself.”

As women in corporate, we now live in an era where roles and opportunities are in abundance for African females in African corporates. However, no one tells you how many obstacles you will need to overcome to attain this seat that is “waiting for you”. We are still pushing sis… in 2018 we are still breaking glass ceilings, still fighting back tears from a lack of recognition in a boardroom or for a piece of work we poured our whole existence into. still.

There is this misconception floating around with women in corporate that if we are beautiful, dress the part, are hardworking and smart, we will get recognized and rise up to c- suite level; that our work will speak for us” Its not going to happen sis. No one is coming to save you, no one will recognise you and no one will be giving you a break. It’s not unfair, it is just life. the only person who might just be able to give you your big break, if you work really hard at it, is yourself. but trust me, no one is coming to save us, we need to save ourselves…

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7 top tips to help you land your dream job

Career advice

80% of the time the people who land the job nevermind get the interview usually have a relationship somewhere, somehow with the person/ people they will be working with should they be successful. Reason being, teams hire yes for skill, but more importantly, for “fit” aka culture. All parties involved in the process need to be sure that you will fit into the culture, help make money, and stay.

Having said this, below are 7 really important fundamental tips/ things to consider to help on your journey in landing what you believe is your “dream job”:

  1. What are you bringing to the table?
    • How can adding you into the team be beneficial to the bottom line?
  2. What’s in your skills toolkit?
    • What can you do differently/ better than all the people around the office?
  3. Again!!!!! Culture fit– soooo NB. No one wants to be dealing with “situations”…
  4. Are you generally a hard worker?
    • I mean, its not just good for your image, you just feel less guilty as a resource when pay- day rolls around knowing that you have worked for your money and you’ve actually made a difference and added value. It might feel great skimping on hours and taking shortcuts, but don’t forget-  they may not say it but people are watching you…
  5. Can they take a chance on you?
    • Are you a promising candidate? you can measure this by analyzing then expressing how you being added into the equation of the team will result in some sort of value add- talk numbers if you can… but also, have someone/ people who can vouch for you somewhere somehow so that you look lucrative, as a resource. You must be wanted. People want what they can’t have right? So be wanted haha!
  6. Are you all familiar?
    • Remember, they can’t take a chance on you if they don’t know you/ about you. In South Africa we call this “udume ngani?” loosely translated means “what are you known for?” and it summates everything, from your reputation to your work ethic.
  7. Do you have grit?
    • Can you stand the test of time/ can you venture into territories others refuse to go/ are you resilient/ are you willing to take a chance/ is no the end of the conversation or the beginning of a new one for you? All these attributes that show your huger… so important!

So there you have it! a few things to keep in mind to help position yourself and give you the competitive edge to everyone else who aspires for all that your heart also aspires for 🙂

 

 

Studying while working-is it worth it?

Well there are a few things I have discovered about this new path in my life…the first one is the realization of the magnitude of the opportunity cost of doing something you should not/ do not want to do; and the second one, much related to the first is, things get a bit clearer when you hit 25 because you no longer have the leisure of time that you once had when you were 18 (yes, 25 is still young you may say, try convincing a rampantly ambitious millennial).

The underlying outcome of both of these realizations is that you get to know yourself a bit better. All of these wild thoughts and ideas I’ve had, and thought I really wanted to achieve, when I look at how valuable time is, I have had to sit myself down, have a DMC and ask “why?”… why is achieving A,B or C so important to me? Yes it generally is a good idea to study further, buy property and get married, but is it a good idea for me and does this generic life- template apply to my life, and why?

While studying and working can be a rewarding experience, Some important things to clarify BEFORE going down that path are:

  • “Why am I doing this?”
  • “What do I expect to get out of this experience/ investment?”
  • “Will the short-term sacrifice lead to MY PERSONAL long-term satisfaction?”
  • “Can I live with the opportunity cost of my decision?” because you must be able to derive some benefit in the end otherwise its a foolish decision.

The answers to these question, your “why” are exactly the things that will see you through when your fellow classmates are dropping out like flies, when you have 4 hours of sleep for two weeks straight and when you’re lying in your bed stressing about how the hell you’re going to make it through the next 24 hours. Your “why” in conjunction with your sacrifices will truly be worth it, and you will appreciate the journey so much more if you are doing what you are doing because YOU know why, and it isn’t a societally enforced requirement.

“If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and that is why the rewards will be so much sweeter.”

I can tell you right now, working and studying 70% of the time is not fun. You really do miss out on life, quality time with family, giving 110% (unless you are me) at work and still having that time to relax and recoup. My family has coined me as “Miss I don’t have time” because thats the one phrase I say so often this year. All this sacrifice and missed time must really be worth it or else you’re honestly just wasting your time.

The last thing I wanted to touch on was the part around things getting clearer with time. Besides getting a year older, I have had this dull panic around being “somewhere” before my 30s. The self- inflicted pressure is really teaching me how to make decisions over a short period (5 years) and logically think through the pros and cons of my short- term satisfaction vs long term pleasure. Studying and working makes you such an efficient person, your body and mind learn to do things you never thought were humanly possible if you are hungry enough to take yourself there. However, in those extreme states you really learn to quickly see what in your life is a waste of time, what you hate as well as what you truly love. you learn the power of your mind, the power of positive thinking and you also develop the skill of making decisions….quickly.- something I really struggled with as I am an avid rabbit- hole explorer!

I personally still have 7 months to go on my business school journey and I can say with certainty that I love it and it has been one of the best decisions in my life. very challenging but because I am in the right state of mind and my “why” supersedes and doubt, turmoil or stressful situation, the ROI  of my experience is exponential.

Wishing all you fellow multi- taskers nothing but the best on your journey! Stay strong and focussed! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and that is why the rewards will be so much sweeter.

Career advice specifically for women in 2018

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Photo by Nicola Gypsicola on Unsplash

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”

—Sheryl Sandberg

On the other side of the imposter syndrome is your success. YOU are worthy, YOU were chosen, YOU will not fail and God NEVER makes a mistake.

Managing Millennials: Don’t ask us what we want because we actually don’t know

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Over this past weekend I spent some time reflecting on some of the millennial focus projects I have had the privilege to work on in my organization. During this reflectional period I thought about the impact I made with my suggestions and how much my opinion, as a millennial was depended on for strategic direction and influence on our certain workplace environments.

As much as I am proud of the effort and successful impact we made as a working group, although a little part of me can’t help but cringe when I think about how a dysfunctional, barely able to adult group was tasked with so much responsibility and freedom to experiment.

Two of the things we did really well (unintentionally); which I think contributed to our success were:

  • Having numerous, diverse initiatives (because in hindsight now that I think about it, no two 25 year olds are the same)
  • Seeking more guidance and partnerships with experienced senior sponsors (because although we belong to an incredibly special and unique generation, our behaviour and motivational drivers are not revolutionary, someone, somewhere has wanted the same thing before, whatever it is and to a varying degree)

Some of the questions I am asked now more than ever are ” How do you want me to manage you?”, “What makes millennials happy”, “What workplace dynamics will make you thrive” and each and every time, true to Simon Sinek’s video titled “The Millennial Question” I had a smart succinct answer that I was sure was correct, universal and would guarantee my loyalty. I believed I was giving away a formula that when used, would curb global millennial attrition in the workplace. Until it dawned on me one day. I had the environment I wanted, the resources and the leadership backing to implement the formula I had suggested but it was just not working. With my working group, I had sat down and created this magical Utopia that we thought incorporated elements that would make work life incredible but even so, there was something we had missed, a huge oversight.

The big thing we miss with the millennial generation, on both sides, as the manager and the millennial, is that we try to get a “1 size fits all” strategy that we try to paste to INDIVIDUALS. What my experience on these projects taught me was that strategies are great as long as they don’t involve implementing them directly on people. Although millennials are all born into the same generation, we aren’t all motivated by a bean bag and flexi-hour workplace some millennials thrive in traditional bureaucratic settings and others couldn’t care less for the mastery of unwritten office rules. At the end of the day, millennials, like the rest of the human race, are fickle and forever evolving. Today we might want complete autonomy and the next day we could be accusing you for being a distant leader who isn’t interested in growing their people.

Millennials are really great at having opinions which can sometimes be uninformed and rash when given the opportunity to have a voice.So next time (as a manager/ leader/ human capital business partner) you have an engagement with your millennial employee, instead of asking us what we want, try asking what we don’t want from an organization/ management perspective. As human beings, the things we dislike tend to stick because the decisions we make to rule them out usually stem from concrete and tangible past experiences unlike a future state, wish list  made from fantasies we have no experience in.

I hope this post helped to shed some light into the thought process of a millennial. But, then again, this opinion piece might just be coming from an “entitled, know-it-all millennial” perspective that could change in the next two blog posts haha! Who knows?