A blog for working professionals.

Discussion: For How Much Would You Resign From Your Present Job?

Okay, here is the question – and I really hope I get your honest opinion:

How much can I offer you to leave the job you are doing right now

I’ll be checking in on comments made here, from time to time. So…let’s have fun.

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” – Margaret Young

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My Zen Workplace: Effective and Efficient Workplace Organization.

Yaya Aiki!

I think workplace organization is a rather salient issue in corporate culture management but even more so in our daily lives at the office. Creating and maintaining a workplace that promotes effective and efficient process flow. How many times have you felt flustered by the clutter on your desk or how the invisibility of naira-versus-dollar file aids the impossibility of filing the naira-versus-dollar document? Shoot! That sounds like that one week, last month, at the office. I’m a big fan of Eastern management practices and it seemed the right resort for inspiration on how to effectively organize my workspace. In this article, I’d like to share a few tips.

The 5S is the basis of the Toyota Production System. It is coined from the Japanese words that begin with S – Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set), Seisho (shine), Seiketsu (Standardisation), Shitsuke (Sustain). It was aimed at leaning their manufacturing processes to eliminate wastage (especially of time which is a key measure of effectiveness and efficiency).

S#1. SORT Go through your drawer and the trays of paper-pile on your desk to sort the garbage from documents/material that you consider still valuable. While keeping the items you might be unsure of closer to you, move the less useful or meaningful materials or garbage to an area you will now reserve for “Garbage Area”. Without mincing words, we are throwing them away. Don’t hug garbage.

S#2. SET The second of the 5S tool is also known as “Set in Order” where you basically arrange your items in designated areas that will make things easier to find. This makes for efficiency because now you don’t have to waste time looking for where to find items. “Once there is a place for everything, everything should be in its place.”

S#3. SHINE Clean your workspace. Keep it tidy daily and always. Philosophically, a tidy environment clears the head and allows for inhibited workflow.

S#4. STANDARDISATION Ensure this order is maintained daily. Make it a rule to be followed by anyone working in this area. Don’t allow a clutter to spill into the next day.

S#5. SUSTAIN Over a period of time, try to look over the area and see if it is still keeps to your rules. This is about the hardest “S” as it entails commitment. It is a continuous process and there is always room for improvement so feel free to be innovative, time to time. If things get chaotic, it can be expected. What is more important is that you review your progress and repeat the 5S process all over again. I’ve found that it helps to reward yourself when you go through with this process.

The 5S tool has been helpful to me at my workplace and I truly hope this message reaches the heart of your work life too.

“A place for everything, everything in its place. “ – Benjamin Franklin

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5 Career Lessons from the Movie “Inception”

Yaya Aiki, peeps!

You must be thinking, Sochi, what were you thinking when you thought up this topic? OK. First off, I must confess, I am a film buff. Secondly, you know how we riot in our heart of heart to reconcile our occupations with our pre-occupations – well, here is my dilemma: How to validate my love for great movie stories and my passion to render valid professional advice.

Ergo, 5 Career Lessons from the Movie “Inception.”

1)            Cobb: Never recreate places from your memory. Always imagine new places!

Break from the monotony. Bring a fresh breath of innovation and imagination to how you perform your tasks. Your employer cum supervisor appreciates what innovation or initiative you can bring to your job. Think, “How can I do this faster and reduce turnaround time?” A thought like this may not get you to Hollywood but it will take you to “new places” in your work life.

2)            Eames: [with Arthur in a gunfight] You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

While thinking of new qualifications to beef your resume with, there is a risk attached to thinking vertically than thinking horizontally. This is where you make career choices that don’t necessarily prove you are looking for challenge or equipped for it either. Strive to widen your skill set instead of changing the combination of skills you use on a job. Dream bigger, darling – pull out that grenade launcher from your pocket!

3)            Cobb: [From Trailer] The seed that we planted in this man’s mind may change everything.

Good thinking, Good product – we were a little younger when we heard this nugget of Japanese management thinking but it only took a few years of proven achievement before the Western Corporate world was a-flush with Japanese management theories. You have to give it that, Good thinking is infectious. Give time to think. It takes practice. Commit at least 10 – 20 minutes to thinking about new ideas. Over time, you see how it changes your world view and your perception of issues.

4)            Eames: If we are gonna perform Inception then we need imagination.

In all your pursuits, strive for originality. Whether it be an interview or a sales pitch, don’t settle for stereotype. Be original in your style. To be original doesn’t come with your DNA, it’s something you figure out as you go, practice new ways to express a point or answer a usual question. Find your own way of dealing with issues without losing your dignity or professionalism. Rehearse in front of your mirror every morning, listen more, speak less, try to see things from other peoples’ perspective. This makes for a more proactive and productive interaction. Sorry, Inception.

5)            Saito: Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!

If I might say myself, this piece is rather timely. As we make plans, resolve and hope for a productive and fulfilling New Year, we need to face our fears, embrace them and finally, let them go. Changing jobs, considering asking for extra responsibility, starting up a business – whatever critical choice might be, don’t be afraid – take that leap of faith. Let me sound a caveat here: When you take that leap of faith, you don’t always land from zero to hero. Life is a journey. What counts is that you start. Refuse to be crippled by your fear (now here’s an idea for a Nightmare on Elm’s Street sequel).

6)            Arthur: Quick, give me a kiss! [She kisses him and then looks around]

Ariadne: they’re still looking at us.

Arthur: Yeah, it’s worth a shot.

OK, yeah, I said I had five lessons from the movie, How come about a sixth? you may wonder. As the hopeless romantic that I am, I just love mushy lines and couldn’t stop myself from throwing these in. Enjoy.

Now that this labour of love is done, I now consider the price of my Inception movie ticket validated.

“There are some movies that I would like to forget, for the rest of my life. But even those movies teach me things.” Anthonio Banderas

New Year Resolutions and a Career Plan to Boot!

A career plan is an action plan that clarifies what your interests and talents/strengths are, what new skills you might need to get ahead in your present, new or prospective job. By this definition, a career plan can have either of two-pronged focus – Career Advancement and Career Change.

The Career Plan for a Career Advancement is not much different from that for a Career Change except for the direction of movement. Career Advancement involves a vertical movement in your career while a Career Change involves a horizontal movement from one career to another. Whichever direction you chose to make in your career plan, there are certain steps that must be considered to avoid a collision course – Titanic-scale. Here are a few tips to help you as you write your career plan:

  1. Write your Life Goals: What are your goals? What do you expect from your work life? Try to be realistic and precise. Nothing too lofty – try simple words and expressions to convey where you would like to be within the next one year (short term goals) and longer that, maybe five years (long term goals).
  2. Evaluate your skills: A SWOT analysis works perfectly here. Take a sheet of paper and write down your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is important for your to have a clear picture of what chances you have of fitting into your “dream” job. The idea of using a SWOT analysis is not to give you 10 reasons why you shouldn’t attempt applying for the job but to give you 10 keys to going beyond the first call to interview.  With knowledge of the skills you have (Strengths) and the skills you need (Weaknesses) you know what skills you require to learn. To understand the Opportunities and Threats involved in your career choice, you must research the industry you are moving into.
  3. Naturally, the next to do when you have realised the skills you need for the job is to get them. You can acquire skills by shadowing (this involves assisting someone already doing what you would like to do, in order to learn from them), volunteer jobs, trainings and perhaps going back to school. When you want to apply for a job, you want to stand out from the crowd and the only way to do this is to pitch yourself as the solution to their problem. You can only do this if you are armed with the requisite skills.
  4. As it so happens with plans, sometimes you need to look at alternatives when your expectations don’t match reality.
  5. Prepare your resume and get it out there. Network from within your contact circle, people you know. Start looking from within – sometimes, you need to start from where you are. Your organization could have a position you would be suited for, apply for it. Be famous for your competence on the job and it becomes easier to trust you with more responsibilities.

Be prepared to market yourself on the Internet even. You have to follow up with action.

It is the way to get yourself out there.  Facebook, twitter, and job boards are daily becoming thriving scout fields for recruiters, so update your resume and upload them.

Career planning shouldn’t necessarily be a once-a-year exercise. Circumstances change and plans are better off changing with them – or at least reviewed as they happen.

“If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” – Brian Tracy

Welcome to AIKI!

"Yaya Aiki" is a genial greeting which means in Hausa, "How is work?"

Welcome to our very own Human Resources and Personal Development blog. A build up from witty but impactful tweets and BBM broadcasts over time.

It offers quotes, articles and tips on HR trends and practices and tips on self development.  All these are delivered in a simple-to-follow language without the condescending use of HR jargons. Articles here have a focus on the Employer and employees across industries in developed and developing economies.

The self-development articles are written to bring business and organizational tips to readers in a lingo that clasps round the brain on first impact. It is an irrefutable statistic that we spend more than a third of our lives working, so our mission “To inspire an attitude and life style of effectiveness and efficiency outside the cubicle. ~

“Yaya Aiki” is a genial greeting which means in Hausa, “How is work?”

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