How to get off to a great start this New Year

We are in the first work week of the year and you probably have the year in perspective with your goals planned. Or maybe you do not. Either way, you want to apply big picture thinking to your endeavours this year.

Imagine being in your room and never leaving. That’s how myopic your resolutions are when they are all about you, your family and your friends-if you remember them.

What is your dream again? It is most likely about that thing you want to do that would get massive buy-in and increase your influence. You want your name to be easily recalled no matter who is asking or being asked, right?

You have no dream or goals? You at least admire the influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Think about Bill Gates, for example, who currently has 19,246,813 followers and follows 166 on Twitter. If we assume his followers are all the people that know him while he only follows those he knows, then we can estimate that he knows 0.00086248% of those who know him. And this case is not as extreme as that of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who has 10,053,450 followers but follows no one.

So here’s what I am saying: a tangible vision (resolution, dream, goal or whatever you call it) is essentially about optimally affecting huge numbers of people beyond those you directly know. This is the concept organisations apply as they incorporate responsibility and sustainability practices. The need to support family and friends may provide compelling reasons to move towards your vision-when you already have one-but it is not all about them, for these 3 reasons at the minimum:

  1. Family and friends have proven to be the laggards in the innovation equation– Doubt me? Enter ‘late adopters’ in your search engine and check the results. If you are starting out an unfamiliar course, they get too familiar; they may be the latest adopters of your vision.
  2. You need a giant reservoir of motivation: For those days after you have enjoyed some level of success or want to quit, you need massive motivation and inspiration to draw from in solo moments. The crowds provide the best shot in the arm.
  3. As you get older, they just want you to eat and rest– A popular saying where I’m from says, “A fool at forty is a fool forever.” It loosely translates to: what you have not done at age 40 is late. Do you like KFC? Me too! Colonel Sanders did not START experimenting and trying out his restaurant franchise idea before he was 40 years old.

You may have more reasons. Share them with us in comments.

There you have it. With this new lens, go take an enlightened look at your resolutions or populate a new list, if you like. I hope you have a great year!


Chioma Tanwa makes people and brands lead, and is on Twitter and Facebook.

#JJCseries: How to not lose your job in 10 days- Pt.1


Some things I have to say to anyone new to the labour market are:

  1. Be confident and know your worth: No matter that in this generation, the society goes on and on about the depreciating value of the graduates being cooked up in Nigerian universities, you are of worth. What’s worse than observing the declining value of the education system; being in that said education system. You have suffered through it and prevailed and if you passed on your own merit (whichcan’t be said for a lot of us), you do have something to offer an employer. Do not let anyone look down on you.

That said…


  1. Do not rely on just your degree: Never get too comfortable in your knowledge. Strive for more always and if you feel you education has been lacking in any way, pick up the slack. There are numerous courses out there that help you better yourself. Don’t know anything about Microsoft Excel? Pick up a book, use the internet or take a course from a good computer institute. Also always try to broaden your scope. Are you a Biochemist? You could do with a course in project management or supply logistics. A geologist? Safety courses would not be bad.


  1. Get experience: Experience can never be bought and it is oh so important. Do not be afraid to do an unpaid job or a volunteer job just to be busy and get some experience. Yes some employers are out there to use you but you could always use them too. In all things, get experience. This is the difference between you and a degree holder.


  1. Learn from your mistakes: Try not to repeat the same mistakes. While working a holiday job, I made the mistake of giving a customer change from my own pocket and balancing the books for my boss. This led to my boss thinking I stole from him when said customer came to return my money. Never again. This leads to my next point.



Jennifer is a medical professional. You may reach her via @djenyva on Twitter.


Did you enjoy reading Jennifer’s tips? You can send yours! Find out details here.


5 ways to loving your Mondays

No single day of the week makes people unhappy like a Monday. Love your job or loathe it, trying to get back into the same old routine after a couple of days out can be a challenge. According to NewYork daily news, 70% of people hate Mondays and 90% of Heart attacks occur between 9am-11am on Mondays. And, as you sit at your desk, staring blankly at your computer screen, that Friday feeling seeming like a distant memory, trying to stay positive is much easier said than done. Luckily, I have read much about Mondays and how to stay positive. So to help you improve your Monday morning morale, I’ve put together a list of the top five ways to love Mondays.


Some people live for mornings. Other people, however, live for their snooze button. For those of us who aren’t early risers, laying in bed till the last possible moment and stumbling bleary-eyed into the bathroom is a daily occurrence. Not usually a morning person? Try waking up 15 minutes earlier. Not only will your morning be a little less stressful, but you’ll feel much more alert by the time you leave the house.

And, if you’re struggling to cure your snooze button syndrome, you might just need to upgrade your hardware. The multimillion pound (warning: estimated figure) alarm clock industry now provides everything from a breakfast making model, right through to one that sends embarrassing tweets every time you hit the magic button.The snooze may never be the same again.


Often dubbed ‘the most important meal of the day’, a balanced breakfast is an essential component to a successful start. Studies have shown that people who regularly skip breakfast are more likely to have problems with concentration, energy and metabolism. And that’s without mentioning those awkward 10am stomach grumbles. With studies finding that over a quarter of us skip breakfast every day, there’s plenty of room for improvement. So grab a bap, bagel or bowl of porridge, and embrace the day. If all else fails, buy yourself a banana and an expresso on the go, and hope for the best.


To increase your productivity, try setting yourself some simple targets for the course of the day. These should be easy enough to hit that they’re possible to accomplish, but just hard enough to make you feel like you’ve worked for it. Think somewhere between being able to get out of bed, and curing world hunger.

Adding some structure to your day will have a multitude of benefits, including increased creativity, better time management and the ability to prioritise. Also, it will help make you look a lot busier and more organised, which can always come in handy (see boss/spouse).



No matter how hard you try to stay cheerful, the start of a new week can be full of other people’s negativity. From your commute to your colleagues, Monday mornings are often characterised by complaints about being tired, being back at work and the premature end of the weekend’s exploits.

The trick is not to let it get to you. Instead of joining in the conversation, simply choose not to participate. Have the biggest smile on your face, put your fingers in your ears and politely refuse to conform to other people’s grievances.

Say out loud to yourself ‘No Monday, you will not get me down with your pointless pessimistic ramblings. I’m not listening. La la la la’. Repeat to fade (or until people start avoiding you).


It’s important to remember that, no matter how bad your day is going, there’s always someone who has it worse. If you can’t think of any way to make your day better, why not make a difference to someone else’s by practicing Random Acts of Monday Kindness.

Acts of kindness can be found at almost every turn. Try giving a random stranger a compliment (make sure you pick very carefully). Make breakfast in bed for your partner. Help a Kid/an Elderly cross the road. Pay for someone else’s coffee as well as your own. You can offer your seat on the bus…and lots more

Because life isn’t about lingering over the little things that go wrong, it’s about loving the little things that go right! Think there’s any I’ve missed out? Share them with me on Twitter via @Heraclesayo or leave a comment.


Samuel Akinlotan is a budding HR consultant/Trainer

Openings at TY Danjuma Foundation

The TY Danjuma Foundation, an independent private Nigerian Philanthropic grant-making organisation, makes grants to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) to implement projects in three main thematic areas (Community Health Initiatives, Enhancing Quality of Education, and Income Generation Initiatives) to empower women and youth.

Community Health

The Foundation’s Community Health Initiatives programme supports projects across a number of medical, health-related and hygeine matters. These include: Free Medical Missions; Partnership with Community Health Centers and Referal Hospitals; as well as Water and Wellbeing projects.

Enhancing Quality of Education

The Enhancing Quality of Education programme of the Foundation supports initiatives aimed to enhancing the quality of, and improving access to education, i.e. enrolment, retention, transition and completion of basic education. This is done by funding Good Schools Projects; Community Libraries projects; as well as Peace Education projects in conflict-prone communities in Nigeria.

Income Generation Initiatives

The Foundation’s Income Generation Initiatives support youth employability interventions; as well as women’s literacy and entrepreneurial skills development. The aim is to enhance the income generation and management capacity of the youths and women, who are without doubt among the most marginalised groups in Nigeria.

The TY Danjuma Foundation is looking to appoint a number of dynamic skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, and talented staff to fill vacancies. They desire hardworking, development-oriented and compassionate individuals with high personal ethical and moral standards to join their young, highly motivated and hardworking team. Familiarity and dexterity with computer packages, electronic tools and the virtual environment are basic requirements for all positions in addition to the specialised requirements of each position.


Position/Title: ICT/Library Intern (Duration: 12 months)

Location: Abuja

Position Summary

The ICT and Library Intern will work as part of the Communications team of the Foundation to improve the ICT environment and experience of the Foundation.


  • Manages the ICT tools, processes etc.
  • Assist to manage the use of the Foundation’s library facilities, resources, equipment, and services, and provide information about library policies;
  • Recommend materials and help individuals find information that they need;
  • Search standard reference materials, including on-line sources and the Internet, in order to answer clients’ reference questions;
  • Keep records of circulation of books and publications;
  • Support the development of library policies and procedures in collaboration with the IMO;
  • Design information storage and retrieval systems, and develop procedures for collecting, organizing, interpreting, and classifying information;
  • Develop and index databases that provide information for library users;
  • Perform any other tasks or duties, including logistics and administrative support, as may be assigned by the supervisor or Management from time to time.

Personal Characteristics

  • Ability to work as part of a team;
  • Demonstrates  acceptance  of responsibility; shows pride in work performed; demonstrates  flexibility  in  acceptance  of  assignments  and  schedules;
  • Maintains professional behaviour and appearance;
  • Exhibits dependability and willingness to learn;
  • Creative and Flexible.

Education, Skills, and Experience Required

  • HND or Bachelor’s Degree in ICT related field; other qualification would be an advantage;
  • Demonstrable knowledge of ICT tools management is required;
  • One to two years of  post-qualification experience;
  • Demonstrable knowledge in desired areas of responsibility;
  • Demonstrated skills in PC management and software applications: Word, Excel, Power Point and Publisher;
  • Demonstrable skills in basic IT maintenance and troubleshooting;
  • Social networking skills;
  • Good verbal and written skills.

Generous allowance paid.


Position/Title: Interns (Duration: 12 months)

Location: Abuja, Taraba or Edo

Position Summary

An intern works with a variety of officers under supervisors and mentors while working on real projects.


  • Assist team in identifying process improvements; 
  • Provide administrative and general logistic support to officers assigned to; 
  • Provide programmatic support to thematic officers assigned to; 
  • Assist supervisors in the preparation of payment requests and funds liquidation; 
  • Providing support in monitoring media mentions, generating summaries from same; 
  • Data entries for Monitoring and Evaluation exercises; 
  • Note taking and compilation of meeting minutes as assigned; 
  • Any other duty as may be assigned by Management.Personal Characteristics
  • Ability to work as part of a team;
  • Demonstrable  acceptance  of responsibility; shows pride in work performed;
  • Demonstrable flexibility  in  acceptance  of  assignments  and  schedules;
  • Maintains professional behaviour and appearance;
  • Exhibits dependability and willingness to learn;
  • Creative and Flexible.

 Education and Skills Required

  • A graduate in any field of learning;
  • At least one year of professional experience (NYSC);
  • Strong written,  verbal,  analytical,  and  interpersonal skills;
  • Must display maturity and a high level of professionalism;
  • Must be detail-oriented and possess excellent follow up skills;
  • Working knowledge of computer software application;
  • Must be flexible and able to work overtime when required;
  • Must be organized and work well with constant priority changes;
  • Familiarity with social networking sites desired;
  • Interest in non-profit management and community development;
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to communicate effectively.

The Intern is expected to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The Foundation offers stipends.

Position/Title: Volunteers

Location: Abuja or Taraba

Volunteers require personal characteristics similar to Interns. The working hours are flexible and negotiable.

The Foundation encourages volunteers from all ages. The Foundation wishes to provide a dynamic work experience.

The Foundation offers stipends.

Education and Skills Required: Flexible.

These openings present excellent opportunities for career newbies who are looking forward to building a career in international development or any of the thematic areas to gain tangible experience. Because of the flexibility of the volunteering position, it may not matter if you are still a Corps member or a student, so long as you reside in the concerned state.

To complete the online application, you would need:

  • A two-page CV which speaks directly to the position of your interest
  • An application letter (not more than 2 pages) stating why you think you are suitable for the position and what value you hope to bring to the Foundation if given the opportunity.


1. Address letter to:

TY Danjuma Foundation,

Plot 2015 Oda Crescent,

Off Dar Es Salaam Street,

Wuse II,



2. Find sample cover letters here to guide you on how to write the application letter.

3. Ensure your CV is customised to fit the position and the organisation’s focus areas. Yes! Take a second look at that old CV.

4. Some university students tell me they do not have CVs because they are students. You can make yourself a CV.  Just put in experiences with AIESEC, JCI, Rotary Club, ENACTUS, trainings, your BSc /HND [degree] (in view), your activities that relate to the position, and a compelling career objective incorporating development or any of their focus areas. Remember to put in your phone number and email address and other personal data.

5. Once you’ve been confirmed for interview, scour the website ( ) and digest every piece of information on it.

(More career advice at

You can apply online here

Experienced professional? Look up the other posts here.

Deadline: Wednesday, July 24, 2013


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All the best,


Prove you can do this! (The sequel)

NEW School

So you have to prove that you are suitable for an offer but you find that you have neither experience nor track record, what can you do?

Tell a story

Don’t just mutter some grammatically correct sentences. Leave everyone listening with a remarkable experience-a story to remember you with. Chances are there is going to be a period of deliberation on whether to make you an offer and you need to etch the meeting with you in the distinctive side of his/her/their memory. You have no story to tell? Really? Tell a story about that time when somebody showed outright disbelief in your abilities but gave you the chance instinctively despite confusing hesitation. Then, explain how you came through like a knight. Whatever you do, design your plot around the hesitation and your coming through like the genius I am training you to be.


Talk like a pro


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NEW School

“Prove you can do this!”

Ever had to answer to this statement?

If you haven’t already had this statement thrown at you, you are really close to having that happen. This seemingly harmless statement is many questions in one. I cannot count how many times I had to change question to statement in this post even.  And yet, it is not a question.

It is becoming more and more important to ‘show yourself’ (the Nigerian version of prove yourself or exert influence or strut your stuff). Some research results have expressed concern that the ordeal of having to face this statement at a job interview has led to egomaniacs flooding the workplace. However, it is really sad to face people with no working idea of where they are going, what they intend to do, or how to articulate their abilities, aspirations, experiences and desires.

In this last post

View original post 447 more words