A blog for working professionals.

Worth the read!


“No European writer could have written ‘Things Fall Apart,’ ” says Ernest Emenyonu, who chairs the department of Africana studies at the University of Michigan at Flint. It was “a new kind of writing,” for two reasons:

The first was the way Achebe made the colonizer’s language his own. By incorporating Igbo speech patterns, proverbs, folk tales and beliefs, he invented an English that could “articulate African aesthetics and African poetics.” The second was that he “explored the psychology of imperial conquest” and challenged Eurocentric views.

In other words: Part of what Africans suffered at European hands was the loss of control over their own narrative.

Achebe took back that narrative.

–          Bob Thompson, Things Fall Into Place,

The Washington Post, March 9, 2008

I have just finished reading Biyi Bandele’s latest novel, Burma Boy. Major kudos to Farafina, the publishers of this book. Farafina has come a…

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Peter’s Law

From:                 Sochi Azuh

Publisher:; 2011

Memo Title:     Peter’s Law


Yaya Aiki!

I came across this fascinating litany some time back and … would I say, I forgot it? … Anyhow, I thought to post it here to remind myself. And for some of you who have never heard of it, this “Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive,” as it is also known, makes for an inspiration to work beyond the average, beyond the challenge…

It is often hilarious but all round thought provoking.


  1. If anything can go wrong, Fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
  2. When given a choice — Take both!
  3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
  4. Start at the top and work your way up.
  5. Do it by the book…but be the author!
  6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
  7. If you can’t beat them, join them, and then beat them.
  8. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done right now.
  9. If you can’t win, change the rules.
  10. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.
  11. When faced without a challenge, make one.
  12. No simply means begin again at the next highest level.
  13. Don’t walk when you can run.
  14. Bureaucracy is a challenge to the be conquered with a righteous attitude, an intolerance for stupidity, and bulldozer when necessary.
  15. When in doubt: THINK!
  16. Patience is a virtue but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
  17. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
  18. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

I’ve been posting a lot of quotes or quote-based pieces. They are my inspiration pills and hope they are yours too. If you have these “pills” that keep you juiced through the day, please feel free to share with us by way of comment.

Don’t forget to subscribe to be up to date on posts here.

Enjoy the rest of the working week. Lafia!

Tweeterific Quotes for Work

Yaya aiki!

I’m an active user of Twitter to share inspiration and be inspired. Here is a to-the-minute update on my favourite #workquote tweets and hope you find it inspiring. I credit the sources of these tweet, mine or not. You can follow these wonderful lights of tweet-spiration on Twitter. LOL. Feel free to add to the list please and share. Lafia!

@a_iki The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. – Che Guevera #quotes 

Progress or Perfection? Which do you work towards? Progress, for me. You can get bogged down with tedium of striving for perfection.

@a_iki To have fun at work is key. That and the sweet smell of coffee!

@a_iki A note to self: Make the next project better than the last. Learn something new. Got that. 

Make the world a better place, one good work at a time – @a_iki #quotes

@a_iki “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”– Albert Einstein #quotes 

Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it. -Bernard Meltzer @Inspire_Us 

@a_iki “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn #quotes #hrblog 

Be the exception. Live exceptionally. #quotes 

@a_iki Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win ~ Napoleon Hill #quotes 

@a_iki “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”– Benjamin Franklin, Inventor 

Having the will to give means you want to make a difference in the world. @GhadaElKurd 

@a_iki “Before you change your thinking, you have to change what goes into your mind.” – Zig Ziglar @GhadaElKurd 

@a_iki “A man cannot leave a better legacy to the world than a well-educated family.”– Thomas Scott #quotes 

@a_iki “Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”– Jim Rohn

@a_iki “Stop thinking you are a winner because you’re excited and think your idea is brilliant, and go kick some real arse. 

@a_iki “Focus your messages on the results you expect, not on the methods for doing the job.”– Marty Brounstein 

@a_iki The wisest mind has something yet to learn #quotes 

@a_iki “Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” E. Roosevelt 

@GhadaElKurd: Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. – Steve Jobs

@a_iki “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.”– Mahatma Gandhi 

@a_iki “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”– William Arthur Ward 

@GhadaElKurd “I had rather attempt something great and fail, than to attempt nothing at all and succeed” – Robert H. Schuller

 @GhadaElKurd Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you. Dr. Seuss 

@MeghanMBiro You cannot BUY employee engagement. Or social community. This occurs with #leadership behavior and people passion. 

@HRMargo You can be an A Player on paper, but if I get you on the phone and you sound negative, I move on to the next candidate, sorry #fact 

@a_iki “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.”– Donald Trump, Real Estate Magnate 

@a_iki Success inspires more success. #quotes 

@a_iki “The price of greatness is responsibility.”– Winston Churchill #quotes

I QUIT! – 5 Reasons to Quit Your Job

Yaya aiki!

Just the other day, my friend (and a very good friend for sure) told me about his woes at work. You know the story: “…supervisor has undisclosed issues with everything I do…doesn’t even reciprocate daily/usual courtesies … Yeah, Sochi, it’s that bad!”. The story is familiar to many of us and to stretch the list of workplace woes, we have: changing corporate culture, threats or signs of bankruptcy, irreconcilable differences with co-workers and lack of substantial work benefits. I could go on and on but, by now, you should have caught my drift. These are signboards that point to the Exit, that it’s time to pull out that resignation letter template in your drawer (we all have one)

Here are a few good reasons to move to greener pasture or start looking for one, in any case:


In the words of Harvey MacKay, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Besides the ambrosia of an early morning coffee (caffeinated for me), the only other thing we love to wake up to is a job that makes us feel alive. Whatever our religious affiliations, the core of our existence is the pursuit of Purpose and our careers are supposed to be a clue to it. This is why nothing kills our morale more than a job that “takes” and never “gives.” When you find yourself dragging your feet to the office, it’s time for a change.


If you feel that your job role is not commensurate to your skill, it is a sure to quit. You find yourself scratching the surface of your true potential and skills. Your job involves filing documents and filling memo templates when your core competence is designing models and managing projects – you should make this known to your employer or supervisor so that more responsibilities may be assigned to you. However, if this doesn’t change, you should look out for better opportunities out there.


A change in an organization’s corporate culture can be discomfiting if you are not used to it or find it incompatible to what you are used to. Such changes that make your work environment stiff to your creativity and work flow can be daunting. If you were used to talking freely as to be on a first-name basis, it could be a big deal to now switch to a “Sir” or “Ma” relationship as dictated by a culture change. Another change that you need to consider is that which goes against your ethics. If you don’t believe in the manner that business is run, if integrity is being compromised, don’t wait to think about it, put in your paper.


Study has shown that we spend an average of 15-20% of our life in the workplace and maybe even more if we do more than 60 hours per week. It only goes without saying that we spend a substantial part of our lives with our co-workers and supervisors. This makes it imminent that we have a cordial working relationship with them. If your work environment is icy and stiff, it tells on our ability to bring out our best, hence, our productive comes to a steady decline. Same applies to your relationship with your supervisor. If you are constantly being micro-managed, it shows a lack of trust and this, in turn, bears on your morale. You don’t have to wait till your self-esteem is rolled into a ball and tossed in the trash. Take the walk!


No matter where you work, or even hope to work, it is important to look out for career advancement possibilities. If your present workplace is giving you false hope for promotions or rewards, the smart thing to do is to look for somewhere else to employ your talent and skill. Redundancy is the thief of time, same as procrastination.

You can help add to this list.

Lafia! (Well Wishes!)

“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Harvey MacKay

Aiki! at TARUWA001

Yaya aiki,  friends. We’ve been away, busy, of course believe me. Our post here is a slight distraction from work – to keep you from wondering what your Aiki!blogger does when he’s not working.

A while back, I was invited to perform at a gathering for poets and artists. I’ve decided to share the poem I recited. OK, feel free to laugh AT me or WITH me. Enjoy…


Dear reader, further to our previous chapter

We shall now proceed to our subject matter;

Though not guaranteed to make your rhymes smarter

It will break your fall if you should shudder, stutter and falter

Don’t chew, don’t sag – God, please don’t sag

Unless your poetry can afford you a Bentley or a Jag

Pick up modest verbs where your painted tears once fell

And please use adjectives that your mother can actually spell

As thumb rule, dear reader, KEEP YOUR SHIRT ON

Audience, as their sanity, are in habit of going off with your button

So while good if you, like IKECHUKWU, have a six-pack that can stun

God help us, if it’s a one-pack that smacks of bad porn

A black shirt, has been the best bet yet

Anything you say afterwards is politically correct

But PINK – oh no! is as weak as you can get

It says, “I’m too sissy for my shirt”

Having said this, disabuse the psyche

That you are only a rockstar if you lick the mic

Or jump into the crowd or ride a power bike

The truth is the audience will not catch even a poet they like

And when you walk up to that mic, go in hard


So, in case you mess up real bad, we like to add

Your audience, hopefully, won’t remember you like a bad TV ad.

10 Top Reasons You Need a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

Yaya Aiki!

Been a while, yeah, I know. It’s also been quite an experience blogging on Aiki! Meeting professionals passionate about what they do and inspiring others in turn. Muchos passienda.

Our guest blogger is Gayle Howard. Multi-award winning resume writer and published author, Gayle Howard, is founder of the Top Margin Career Marketing Group. For 21 years, Gayle has been transforming the careers of thousands, setting resume writing trends that have influenced employer decision-making. The first professional in Australia to achieve the Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, Gayle set the pace for her peers, cementing her level of proficiency to become Australia’s first Master Resume Writer, Certified Expert Resume Writer, Master Career Director, Credentialed Career Manager, Career Web Portfolio Practitioner, and Certified Job Loss Recovery Coach. Phew!… And this is just an abridged version of her resume.

I didn’t even know there was such a job profile as Resume Writer (feel free to share in my awe). So to get to our post…Take it away, Gayle.

10 Top Reasons You Need a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

1. Certified Professional Resume Writers see the big picture. They are the objective third party when dealing with information with which the jobseeker has an emotional tie. Most people are too close to their own subject matter and can’t make the right choices about what information to keep in the resume, or take out.
2. Certified Professional Resume Writers possess current knowledge of employment trends. A job seeker is only likely to update one resume every few years. A professional resume writer will have composed 5-10 resumes this week.

3. Certified Professional Resume Writers apply well-considered strategies to document creation. Resumes written by certified professionals are meticulously crafted to align with the person’s targeted role through the careful composition and placement of narrative success stories, skills and experience. Most jobseekers are unaware that strategic and targeted writing is even an option.
4. Certified Professional Resume Writers demonstrate superior knowledge of the English language, grammar and punctuation and possess the talent to write concisely and powerfully. “Fluffy” wording, clichés and run-on sentences so common in most do-it-yourself resumes, have no place in a certified professional’s writing repertoire.
5. Certified Professional Resume Writers use strong and powerful words and phrases when communicating jobseekers’ achievements. Most people list duties, failing to understand that it is not what they do everyday, but how they stamp their mark on a company that helps them stand out in a sea of equally qualified candidates.

6. Certified Professional Resume Writers know how to question people to extract the right information so that individual success stories can be crafted. Most jobseekers don’t know the right questions to ask themselves.

7. Certified Professional Resume Writers are highly competent in the use of word processing software. Consequently documents will look, as well as sound, superior to their do-it-yourself counterparts. Professional Resume Writers never resort to standard word processing templates, but instead, personally tailor an eye-catching format designed to showcase the jobseeker’s talents and value proposition.

8. Certified Professional Resume Writers tell you the truth. Recruiters will not tell a jobseeker of resume mistakes, friends will be unable to advise the folly of applying for unsuitable roles. A professional resume writer is a caring, knowledgeable professional without a personal agenda, unconstrained by the rules of hiring, and one who has the most up-to-date knowledge of the employment market…. all at your disposal.
9. Certified Professional Resume Writers possess a wealth of knowledge about the careers sector including recruiter preferences, successful job search strategies, and social media and networking plans. Professionals have access to the full gamut of careers professionals including interview coaches.

10. Certified Professional Resume Writers place a mirror to the face of the jobseeker and in doing so, provide an unfettered view of his or her worth in the marketplace. The mirror that shows such a value proposition provides an undeniable boost to confidence and self esteem.

The following major resume writing associations provide certifications for professional resume writers worldwide.

Career Directors International

Writing Certification: Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW),

Certified Expert Resume Writer (CERW)

Master Resume Writer Lifetime Achievement Award (MRWLAA)

Career Management Alliance

Writing Certification: Master Resume Writer (MRW)

Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches
Writing Certification: Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

National Resume Writer’s Association – Writing Certification: Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)

Thanks, Gayle.

Learn more about Gayle on

I hope that this leads some of us to heightened curiosity about and research into recruitment and career trends.

Lafia! (Well wishes!)

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

How To Stay Motivated at Work

Yaya Aiki!

More than once or twice, I’ve been asked how do I stay motivated. It can be daunting when you have a heap of to-do’s and such little time to accomplish them in. It drains you quicker than the Vampire Lestat.

When looking forward to sitting before your television set to watch an episode of my favourite show doesn’t see me through the dry hours, you know you need an arsenal of tricks or “kicks.”

1) Stay Challenged. Find a project that challenges your skill. It keeps you sharp and focused on what is important to you.

2) Prioritize. Order breeds peace of mind, I always say. So, to enjoy any task, learn to do it at the right time – in the order of important&urgent first.

3) Take Time Out. Take time out to think or recharge your creative, psychological, emotional juice. The body needs rest to reboot and perform better. When you face a block, take timeout from that task and you’ll find when you return to it, you will have acquired some fresh insight. Yup, timeout can do that.

4) Stay Ambitious. It’s perfectly healthy to be ambitious. What this means is you leave a trail of completed projects or lined up some project and plans that spell out your mission clearly. Ambition is a great motivator.

5) Reward Yourself. When you tick off an item on your to-do list score yourself some points. And at the end of the day, reward yourself. That chunk of chocolate cake you saved since Christmas will come in handy…ewwww. Just kidding.

Keeping motivated in itself can be a motivation but I’ve found “motivating others” to be my personal “kicker.” Yeah, and there’s also my soppy poems (no one has read, thank God).


“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”
— Erica Jong, Author

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Office Romance: A Val’s Guide to a Focused Career

Yaya Aiki!

From 12 midnight, Cupid will be on duty and – heck! – might be putting in overtime still after 12 midnight this 14th of February. It’s Valentine and Love is in the air. Speaking of which … it seems to be a salient subject in the workplace. Nothing sizzles more than romantic frictions in the workshop. Or even news of it. What to do with Workplace Romance.

It is not our view that office romance is outright detrimental to workplace efficiency/effectiveness. On the contrary, we recognize that in some setups, office romance can encourage efficiency.

Our advice goes thus:

If you are presently dating a co-worker (almost tempted to type “if you must date a co-worker” – but we’ll get to that later), you must bear in mind that a harassment suit could easily materialize over your head if the relationship goes awry. Just saying.

Secondly, do not give your other co-workers the impression that your decision or judgements in the office is clouded by sentiments either where discipline or reward is meted or required. Let your relationship encircle a code of fairness in all things official. If you can’t bear to punish your sweetheart, then perhaps you should either resign or call off the date.

Thirdly, if you are dating a subordinate in your report line, it is deemed to be inappropriate. Many company CEOs and chairmen have lost their jobs or hauled into a waterloo of scandal because of an “inappropriate relationship with a subordinate co-worker.”

If you are contemplating a relationship with the hot new exec, we suggest you set up a date with someone outside your office setting first. You want to be sure that convenience isn’t nudging you into an office romance that screams CAREER SUICIDE. If you still feel the same way about the co-worker, well…we pray Cupid’s arrow gets you in the heart and not the head.

Lafia! (We wish you well!)

We pray Cupid’s arrow gets you in the heart and not the head.

My Cubicle – James Blunt Parody

Yaya aiki?!

I decided we need a break and what better way than a lunch-break laugh. I stumbled on this funny video and … well, here it is, for your lunch break amusement. This version has the lyrics on screen so you can sing along.

DISCLAIMER: This video is not a reflection of my attitude at work. In fact, I love my job. LOL. Like I needed to say that, you would say.

I welcome links to more funny work-related videos.

Interview: Nick Williams, Coach and Co-founder, Inspired Entrepreneur

Co-founder, Inspired Entrepreneur

Co-founder, Inspired Entrepreneur

Yaya Aiki!

Today, on Aiki! we are proud to have with us, Nick Williams, an entrepreneur with a rare vision of “inspiring people to find their true calling.”

About Nick: Nick Williams is a UK’s pioneer and leaders in inspiring people to discover their vocation and follow their heart at work.

After leaving his own unfulfilled corporate career in IT in 1989 to follow his own calling, Nick Williams has spent the last twenty years inspiring tens of thousands of people around the world re-imagine work, discover the work they were born to do and then guiding them to create successful businesses around the work they love. He is an internationally renowned coach, mentor, speaker, writer, guide and educator, and has so far been invited to present in fifteen different countries. He is the author of six books, including the best selling

The Work We Were Born To Do, which he followed up with Unconditional Success, The 12 Principles of The Work We Were Born To Do, Powerful Beyond Measure and How To Be Inspired. His sixth book The Business You Were Born To Create was published in December 2010.

He has been the subject of over 1,000 media features in UK, USA, South Africa and around the world, including BBC radio and TV, and has written for “O” magazine in South Africa.

He coaches and mentors leaders in education, the media, entertainment and business.

Nick has served individuals and teams within such companies as: IKEA, BT, W H Smith, London Underground, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Institute of Marketing, McKinsey, British Aerospace, The University of Westminster, Deloitte, Direct Line Insurance, The University of Cape Town, Media 24, De Beers, The Human Resources Summit, Peninsula Leadership Development, CIPD, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, BBC, University Hospital Birmingham, RightCoutts, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, Dublin, Southern Area Health Promotion Department, and various universities. 

Most recently, he has co-founded
Inspired Entrepreneur which provides inspiration, community, guidance and education for people creating successful businesses around the work they love.

Here is an excerpt of our interview with him. Enjoy.

#1 What do you do?
My job description of activities reads: I am a speaker, writer, author, coach, mentor, product and programme creator, educator, broadcaster and community builder.

#2 What does it entail?
I help illuminate the world of work for people. Most people see work as a form of enslavement, and form of misery and suffering. They don’t experience much joy, love, inspiration and fulfillment through their work, and I help people understand that it is possible.

#3 How does it impact on the world?
I know that tens of thousands of people around the world are happier because they have changed their attitudes towards work, found the work they love, and are expressing their gifts and talents and their best selves through their work. I know the happiness of those people impacts others. So the overall impact must be significant.

#4 Did you always know you would be doing the thing you love? How did you know this was what you would be doing – what you really love?
When I was young I felt a sense of calling but thought that meant I needed to become a priest or social worker, and didn’t that find appealing. So I did my studies, got a 2.1 Degree in Business Studies, a diploma in marketing and then went into three sales and marketing jobs. But by late my late 20’s I was very unhappy, selling expensive computers to Japanese banks in the city of London. I knew I needed and wanted to change. I knew I would love to inspire, teach and communicate, but was terrified of changing.

#5 Tell us the story of your start-up
I had no entrepreneurial training. I had always been employed. I had no family history of being self-employed. I felt like I was embarking on a completely unknown but exciting path and adventure. I had started to learn about psychology and personal growth whilst still in my corporate job. I was terrified to leave the conventional career path but felt this call to do my own thing. I had taken some baby steps and given some talks and done some training. I enjoyed them so after three years of soul searching, I decided to leave and start my own business. It was a slow start, but I just kept going. I told myself I could always go back, but knew it my heart I never would.

#6     Who or what inspired you to get thinking? Who were your major influences?
I started engaging in therapy in 1986 and that started to open me up. Then I got involved with an organisation called Alternatives in central London and served there for twenty years. It is London’s major mind body spirit platform. I got to hear many of the leading lights in personal development. I loved Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Susan Jeffers, Robert Bly, Marian Woodman, John Gray. I think I needed to immerse my parched soul in inspiration and possibility. Marianne Williamson has remained one of my greatest inspirations.

#7     How do you recharge your creative batteries?
Most of my work is essentially nourishing because I love doing it. And I also love that I work in many different ways: sometimes writing and working alone, other times working one-to-one, and at other times working one to many. I have a mantra which is “There are many things I love doing, but none of them would I want to have to do every day.” I am a renaissance soul. I spend some time working in my business delivering what I do and I spend some time working on my business, developing new ideas. I also love holidays, lying in the sun and am usually reading at least two books, one a novel and another about personal growth or being entrepreneurial. I love spending time with friends, being entertained, and still attend personal growth talks and workshops.

#8     We recognize that it isn’t always easy starting off on your own, so, please, tell us the few obstacles you met on your way and how you overcame them.
My biggest obstacle was without doubt my own fear and resistance. My own internal negativity has been huge. I have needed to become much kinder to myself. Also know how – there is so much to learn about being an entrepreneur and running a business – its so different from working for a business. And also undoing the thinking that I inherited and grew up. What made me a good employee – like following orders, colouring between the lines and waiting for instructions were not helpful for running my own business.

#9     What next? What is your next challenge?
As well as being a writer, speaker, coach and mentor, I am now consciously trying to build community, online for global access and live in London. This is something I have very little training or experience in, but I do know that isolation is one of the greatest dream killers and connection and support both provide meaning and incubate success. So community building is the next big project.

#10    What is your advice to careerists who might be thinking of breaking out of the monotony of their present career lives to do something they love doing?
Four bits of advice. 1 Trust the dream in your own heart. It holds the key to your fulfilment. 2. Be courageous. Act in the face of your resistance, and move in the direction of your fears, especially when you don’t feel ready. 3.Take lots of small steps and keep taking lots of steps, forever. 4. Don’t try to be great to start with.  Get skilful as you go, serve your apprenticeship, become masterful in time.

If you are not yet clear about the work you were born to do, you can download your free copy of a nine part programme to help you discover it and become an inspired entrepreneur now at:

Thank you for your time. Here, in Aiki!, we love what you are doing for yourself, and more importantly, for the world. We appreciate your time.

Lafia! (We wish you well!)

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