Career

Confidence is King

In the past few weeks, I have literally been reminded again and again about the importance of confidence. Between the various blog posts I’ve read and the messages that I have heard in church, they all emphasise the importance of maintaining your confidence.

It is clear that those that actualise their goals and dreams and excel in life all have one thing in common – confidence. And that’s not to say that you won’t have moments of doubts, I too definitely have them but it’s about ensuring that they do not get the better of you.

And the Bible constantly discusses this very subject; I have been gathering scriptures pertaining to this in the hope that I would share it in one blog post. But to be honest, I think this scripture encapsulates it all:

 ‘Therefore do not cast away your confidence which has great reward.’ Hebrews 10:35.

Your confidence may have been tried and tested this year, but as 2015 beckons, be sure to cross over with your confidence in tact and leave self-doubt deeply buried in 2014…

On that note, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year in advance. Thank you for reading my blog and helping me to do something that really makes my soul happy – writing! To the new followers that have joined this year and to the ones that have been active followers from the very beginning – thank you.

P.s.Just in case you haven’t had enough of me, I now write in some other places! One of them in particular, is dear to my heart because it is a lifelong dream of my dear friend Tobi; she inspires me daily. Check out her amazing magazine, Black Ballad at http://www.blackballad.co.uk

With very warm wishes, 

Ola xxx

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Career, Politics

J.O.B= Just Over Broke: why entrepreneurship has become the ever enticing model

Johanna Goodyear, Dreamstime stock photos Hit that button!!

Johanna Goodyear, Dreamstime stock photos
Hit that button!!

 

I am not one to usually take to the timeline of twitter to rant but Tuesday proved to be the exception to the rule (follow me @lady_writes). God knows I tried that morning; (patience is a virtue that I am still desperately trying to cultivate) but by lunchtime, I just about lost it.

 I usually have a pleasant journey into work since discovering that the DLR is a far more reliable alternative to the dreaded, doom and gloom of the jubilee line. My journey is laced with beautiful scenery, a guaranteed seat and finally but most importantly – AIR; I actually get to breathe. On Tuesday however, my journey was marred with delays, disgruntled commuters coupled with unbearable humidity (cue *blank stare*) But my horror hadn’t fully matured. By the time I got into work, the tea point was broken and all the toilets were blocked with this foul orange gunk that produced an odour that can only be described as offensive; will it ever end?! And I think that was what really sent me over the edge; I had reached breaking point so I took to twitter and hurled a barrage of insults at the ‘system’; the system that has truly been ‘selling us dreams’ (cheers Kofo for the befitting phrase) by leading us to believe that a 9-5 is both gratifying and rewarding. I have come to realise that it gives us one thing and one thing only: a false sense of security. 

 Now I don’t hate my job not by any stretch of the imagination. I like my team, I like my role, I like my organisation and I love the environment. BUT I do find that the whole 9-5 thing can be quite soul destroying at times: the dreaded feeling of living from one pay check to the next …or the back and forth dialogue that usually takes place between the financially prudent You and the reckless-You-Only-Live-Once You. I didn’t imagine that life after uni would resemble this at all. Now I finally understand why those that have gone before me have constantly emphasised – ‘enjoy it whilst you can.’

 In an age where redundancies have become an intrinsic part of organisational structures, pensions are slowly disappearing and payday loans have been exposed for what they truly are (interest rates work out to well over 1000% on an annual basis –WTH?!) entrepreneurship has not only become a viable option but in some cases the only option.

 With budding entrepreneurs surfacing every other day from the technology haven, Silicon Valley; our friends across the pond should not be the only ones that are revelling in the success of defying the traditional norms of the capitalist system. Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter (also a college dropout) was scoffed at when he pitched the concept of being able to share your thoughts in less than 140 characters. But obviously we know who is laughing all the way to the bank now as in literally (by 2014 it will be worth a cool £800 million)

 I am not suggesting that we hand in our resignations tomorrow (HA!) but you might want to think about starting something on the side to bolster your monthly wage. Heaven forbid that we remain a ‘slave to the wage’ (such a cool idiom thanks Bola) until we are 65 (sorry scratch that, it’s now 66). I mean who wants to work until they can barely stand and then survive on a miniscule allowance every month?! With George Osbourne continuing to paint an even foggier picture of the future of ‘Great’ Britain,’ we are left with little option than to take a cue from Margaret Thatcher and rescue ourselves; we can no longer rely on the state to help us. Kudos to the Conservatives who have indeed tried their best to reverse the rapid rate of unemployment (the £2500 start-up loans scheme created for those aged 18-24 has now been expanded to those aged up to 30) but it still doesn’t suffice. It’s time we took matters into our own hands quite literally. Pick up a pen and write that business plan!

Until the next time! Xxx

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Career

Just say NO!

So May has been interesting….for two reasons: the planning for my women’s career event went ahead full steam (more details to follow) and Boris Johnson once again has succeeded in securing another Mayoral term.

At his first official staff address since becoming the Mayor of London on the 4 May, I could not help but feel a slight pang of excitement. The more he delved deeper into what the next 4 years under his mayoralty would entail, the more I began to realise that perhaps this would in fact be a ‘summer like no other’ and that I was indeed privileged to be working in such a prolific organisation at a time like this. From the Queen’s Jubilee to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the fact of the matter is that in a couple of months, London will be welcoming the world and his wife to one of the greatest sporting events that this generation will ever witness…

Then I got back to my desk and reality hit me: in the 30 minutes that it took for my patriotic barometer to soar to unprecedented heights, I had amassed a total of 28 emails and my To-Do list had not gotten any shorter since I left my desk to hear the master orator speak. (FACT: love him or hate him, Boris is the master of oratory, bringing together the right level of self depreciation, humour and seriousness all into one speech. Genius…)

And as great as it is to work in such a dynamic place, the work never EVER stops…as in like NEVER. I have found that all in the name of enhancing my ‘professional development,’ I felt this great pressure to take on things with full enthusiasm in a bid to become ‘indispensable’ as I was once advised. A number of successful women encouraged me to ‘volunteer’ for everything so that I could enhance my CV. And don’t get me wrong, no one forced me to take on the tasks that I did; I did it willingly (as my big sister would say ‘who sent you?’) to avoid being pigeonholed as a PA/Administrator/Office skivvy. I wanted to ensure that by the time my fixed term contract came to end in the forthcoming year, my CV would have more responsibilities listed on it than Angela Merkel (although, I most certainly wouldn’t want to trade places with her given the current EU crisis…err pass!)

BUT… whilst I have tried as much as possible to welcome the challenges, embrace the obstacles and make every attempt to overcome them triumphantly, I have come to the realisation that no one can ever truly ever be indispensable!! Sometimes you just have to say NO!!

In order to do things with an acceptable level of quality and with the necessary attention to detail, it is not possible to be everyone’s Gatekeeper for information/Secretariat/Project Officer/Project Manager etc etc. I have quickly become accustomed to the fact that it is important to do the following before accepting a task:

1)    Push back if necessary– is it a task that is being pushed onto you because the person can’t be bothered to do it themselves? If so you need to push back.

2)    Volunteer carefully – is this something that looks minuscule but in actual fact will probably mean that you have to dedicate at least a day a week in order for it to progress? If you haven’t got the capacity to take it on then just say no.

3)    Accept tasks and/or responsibility for things that will enhance YOUR professional development – will taking on this task help you to expand your current skill set? If not, it may be a waste of your time.

You have to be selfish to put it quite frankly…it is all about YOU. I pledge from now on, to only take on tasks that will be of benefit to MY career and MY career only. I pledge to put MY feelings first and even if it doesn’t sound exciting, I will not try to hide my disappointment in order to please others. No siree, from now on I will say no and say it happily too. Girl scouts honour, signed Ola. I feel emancipated; I feel liberated…this is the new and improved me.

And with less than 64 days to go until the London 2012 Games, I am sure I will be forced to eat my words over the coming weeks in the run up to the games due to the increased workload. But until then, I will be saying no a lot more freely…I will exhaust the word unashamedly.

Remember it is better to do one thing well, than to do lots of things really quickly, so if like me, you have some trouble saying no, it’s time you adopt a new strategy, it’s time to simply learn how to just say no….

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