Patience – Don’t we all need it!

As the sun shone with its consistent intensity, his bald head’s temperature increased appreciably as sweat trickled down to lubricate and release heat by convection on that same head. His handkerchief, soaked from the intermittent application on his bright glowing middle head, seem not to offer better drying of that naturally excavated portion – but isn’t that a good thing?

It is Monday, and Kwaku already has had enough of the week. He laid exhausted in fatigue with his oversized suit making him seem to carry some big ‘post’ than he has got – but he is by no means a small man from where he hails, his home, a father of seven children with enough problems.

He indeed looked beaten as he rested his back against the office chair, but this could only be noticed if you look deep into his soul. For his smile, his coveted signature, has covered this inner pain.

But his day was just about appreciating the brightness of the sun, when came in his boss, ranting and furiously blaming him for a task he has supposedly not completed. The insults where enough to put him on centre stage as all eyes thronged at him.

“…Why are you so irresponsible Kwaku!” said his boss. “I have given you a simple task to speak to our investors and for a fortnight you still haven’t gotten me an update. I also asked that you provide our clients with the new engagement policy and I do not know what you have done with it. You are clearly incompetent and lazy! I wonder how you have come this far in life!”

And that was what made Kwaku lose it. Yhup, he lost it! Not his senses, but his temper to not being cool.

 

To the chagrin of all poking eyes, Kwaku’s response made their mouths all drop with ‘wow’ when he was done speaking to his boss.

Kwaku’s reply was simple. First, he paused to think of his reaction. Then he smiled to himself as always. He later applied the opposite of his boss’s temper, and replied him with the best of coolness imaginable.

He began, remorsefully, “Sir, I am very sorry for my gross incompetence and lazy attitude. I am still learning to be better each day as I try to meet expectations each day. A fortnight ago when you asked that I speak to our investors and request for more funds, I did so and sent you an email on the amount that we managed to secure. Also with our clients, I was able to send them the policy update as well on that very day as I did that of the investors. I also sent an email once it was done to you. Not only did I send an email, but I also provided a printed document on your desk for your notice. I apologise that you haven’t seen all these.”

Kwaku’s boss was numbed and words stacked in his throat. But all were surprised with the impressed with the cool with which Kwaku responded after which he smiled as he sat back in his desk.

The point is, people go through enough problems each day and may have all the reasons on earth to reply us in the worst of actions. However, it is nice to be nice, isn’t it?

My name is Kotey and sometimes, some patience will explain everything.

Good day.

 

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The Same Coin

A story is told of a baker who once was the best in his entire town. The smell of his bread, could travel far along the nooks and crannies of paths trekked by travellers. It was believed, at the time, that, the smell of his bread could satisfy any hunger and bring satisfaction. It was for this reason, that many a person stood outside their front yard to only inhale sweet-smelling air of baked flour ‘stoked’ with yeast.

But one day, the man from whom this baker bought his flour for dough came to town. He had heard of this magical bread but had not a clue it was his long and faithful customer who did such worked the magic.

But to his chagrin, the cost for a pound of flour did not match up with that of the bread. One must buy more bread at more cost to attain at a pound.

On his return, he decided that for the same cost of bread, he will measure the same weight of flour for this baker. However, the baker, having trusted his supplier for long, bothered not to check for the weight of flour he had been supplied with.

After a few days, he realised that his stock of flour had incredulously ran out. He had not the explanation so decided to travel, again, with his donkey to his supplier who was three towns away. After raising all the legitimate points to make him have a good case, his supplier replied, “I give to you the same cost of bread as you would a buyer. Why must you complain bitterly, as though I have cheated you, when all I did, was to measure yours against mine?”

The point of this piece is simple: If you are to be paid in the same coin of how you treat other people and their possessions, how would you feel? However, have in mind that, feeling good because of an act is subjective, but acting right irrespective of the feeling is actually the best ‘feeling’.

My name is Kotey.

Good morning.

Still I Rise

Today, I share a poem from on e of my favourite poetess, Maya Angelou,  that talks about rising from various predicament that people go through. It admonishes us to rise no matter how hopeless the situation we find ourselves.

May she continue to rest in peace.

Enjoy, as you keep on rising, with hope that never gets dampened.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years? – An Interview Question

There are people who do not even know where they see themselves at the end of the day, let alone asking them where they see themselves in 5 years. As a matter of fact, this could be a perfect question you could ask on a first date as it would give you an impression of the vision of the lady/gentleman you are interested in. It will let you know if you two could have a realistic and compatible future without any ‘hiccups’ – and that is the same purpose of asking this question at an interview.

Remember that the purpose of this question is to find out how your future ‘marries’ with that of the company and if, in the next 5 years, where you see yourself, is also a place in the company.

To answer this question, you must first know where you want to be in your career, in effect, you should have a career plan. The question can be reframed this way “Where in your career will you be in the next 5 years and within this company?”

After finding out where you will be, you look at the career development plan of the company you are applying to. It could be the administrative structure of the company showing who reports to who on the command chain. That will give you an impression of where you will be should you be promoted.

Depending on which industry you are applying to, career opportunities may differ and your way of approaching this answer may be different. Approaching the question in a structured manner will let you have control over what you are going to say and also help your interviewers appreciate your response.

You can use the acronym.

P – Position you see yourself in 5 years

W – What to do to be there

H – How will you do what you have to do

However, have in mind that, where you see yourself in 5 years, depending on the industry, may not necessarily be a promotion. This is usual for fresh graduates applying for entry positions. Also, make sure, your answer tallies with the vision of the company. For example, one cannot apply to be a Human Resource Manager in a company and tell interviewers that in 5 years, he sees himself as the CEO of his own company. One can only say such if you are applying to an organisation that trains entrepreneurs or has entrepreneurship as one of its main core values. Even that, it should relate to the job description on the job you are applying for.

Let’s look at the hypothetical example below. It is an interview for the position of Safety Officer, an entry position, at Gustavo Engineering Limited.

5yrsr.jpg

Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Candidate A: In 5 years, I see myself capable of handling all matters of safety in this organisation, and also gained promotion to a managerial level with an increase in salary due to hard work and commitment to company policy.

Candidate B: In 5 years, I see myself as a competent and certified Safety Officer who is well vested in all matters of safety. In order to achieve this, I have established short-term goals on the procedure I will like to follow in order to achieve this. First, I will establish myself within the team and the organisation to understand the various safety processes. Second, I will establish contacts with the personnel I will be working with, as well as those in other departments to ensure team work and coordination. The last, but not least, will be to have a training plan with my manager in order to see how best I can grow my competencies and the skills I need to achieve my targets. I believe with this, I will be ready to take on a managerial position, and with better salary.

A detailed answer can always be differentiated from a generic answer, as can be seen above.

Now, a detailed answer makes your interviewers know that you have control of your future and have outlined a plan for it. So in effect, try not to put out generic answers when answering such questions, rather a detailed approach (also short, at least less than a minute response to answering it.

The answer may differ depending on the industry and job level, but you can always use the P.W.H acronym to inform your interviewers on HOW you will be doing WHAT to get the POSITION you are looking at in the next 5 YEARS.

You can leave a feedback and also other interview questions you may want me to write on during the next piece.

Glad to have you reading. Hope this was helpful? But then, really, where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hope you have an answer to that.5yrs.jpg

My name is Kotey.
Good day.

 

Having a Healthy Financial Lifestyle

It is a universally known truth, that some people exhaust their salaries even before the money hits their bank accounts. This is why it is commonplace for some people to start borrowing money a week after they have been paid – and it is not because their bank accounts are porous.

First, one must be disciplined, financially disciplined for that matter, in order to have and keep a healthy financial life style. The first step to achieving a healthy financial lifestyle could be following the listed bullet points.

  1. Have a list of your expenditure: You must be able to sit and recollect, as accurately as you are able to, what you spend your income on. You could have a daily list of what you consume, weekly list, or monthly list of your expenditure. This helps you to have a view on the sort of things you spend your money on. One way to do this is to have categories for your ‘spend list’. For example, you could have a column for food and groceries, another for entertainment, another for utilities, and so on.
  2. Find out how much your list costs: As you have written all the things you spend your money on, how much is this? One can also compare the categories to each other and see which has the largest ‘worth’. For a more than rudimentary approach, you could employ the use of a bar or pie chart to give a pictorial representation of your spend. Don’t forget to sum it all up.
  3. Next, write down your income: Yes, write it down. What is left of it when you subtract your total spend from your salary? What is left gives an impression of what you are likely to save, without an emergency occurring. With what is left you can project how long it will take you to buy that dream house or car. You can even find out if you can afford that trip.

What you do next after this is dependent on the result you get – if you are in the negatives, it means you should look carefully at what you have to cut out of your expenditure. Remember that everything has an opportunity cost, so do it wisely. However, you should not only cut out things you can without only when you run into the negatives, it could be that, you will be able to discover how to improve your spending habits and how to have a better remaining ‘balance’.fd.jpg

You may be lucky to have money left, but the main thing is, what do you use that money for? Do you save it, invest it or will you spend it? It is a good thing to save, but the best form of savings is to invest, so do not let that money to only sit in your bank account. Try and find something that will make you have turnovers. It is not only about buying shares in big companies or starting your own franchise. It could be as simple as investing in your dad’s shop.

Some say that money is not everything, but at least it gives some level of comfort and less stress when you have it. It is up to you to be properly disciplined in matters of your finances. It has nothing to do with how much you earn, rather, what you do with how much you save.

Have a good and healthy financial life style, for as Abena Brigidi puts it “Wealth is merely an instrument to help you live life on your own terms.”

There are many more ways I could not write about, but for financial tips and also information on savings, you can follow Abena Brigidi on Facebook, or invest in financial literature.

Questions are welcome.

My name is Kotey.

Good morning.

The Little Boy Who Never Gave Up

A little boy once believed that everything was possible, as long as you tried your best for it. Growing up, he had to face the edge of the knife more times than he was willing to count. He faced a series of closed doors, be it when he was attempting to pass college or when he was turned down for 30 different jobs. And somewhere along, his optimism began to get marred by experience. Refusing to be dissuaded, he adopted a new and more practical mantra over time – persistence is key.

This little boy grew up to be none other than Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba. In March 2016, this leading Chinese e-commerce company boasted of a net income of CN¥71.46 billion. While Jack Ma’s incredible story of earning $12 a month to becoming a multibillionaire is a definitive rags to riches tale, he attributes his sparkling success to relentless effort over a turn of luck.

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine,” he has often said.

And today, the almost stubborn persistence of a young man who refused to bend down to fate has finally paid off. To nobody’s real surprise, Jack Ma was recently announced the richest person in the whole of China, and one of the top billionaires of Asia as well.

For Ma, this success today has come at the price of his youth in a way, where he stepped one foot into quicksand more times than he can count today. However, this also taught him to keep one foot on the ground and pull his way back onto safe land and watch his step in the future.

Like many legends before him, Jack Ma refused to be told no. And like his fictional idol, Forest Gump, he ran like hell towards his own finish line no matter the challenges thrown at him. From a very young age, Ma realised his failures and weaknesses, and learned to keep working on them until one day, they became his prize-points.

Coming of age

“I flunked my exam for university two times before I was accepted by what was considered my city’s worst university, Hangzhou Teachers University. I was studying to be a high school English teacher. In my university, I was elected student chairman and later became chairman of the city’s Students Federation.”

Coming last in class can have a serious impact on any child’s self-esteem, making them feel completely worthless. Despite running a leading tech company, Jack Ma was, and still is, terrible at math. He failed in multiple subjects in school and even failed the university exam twice before being accepted into an obscure college. Fortunately for him, he possessed an insight that reassured him that topping a class doesn’t equate to being intelligent or driven. Names like Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, and Rabindranath Tagore reaffirmed his belief that intellectual prowess is not limited to the four walls of a classroom. He never stopped believing that his excellence lay elsewhere. Later, Ma even applied to Harvard University 10 different times and faced rejection all 10 times. This goes to show that more than securing a seat, his goal was to keep taking up a seemingly impossible challenge and try to work it out in different ways.

Pre-Alibaba

“I got my story, my dream, from America. The hero I had is Forrest Gump…I like that guy. I’ve been watching that movie about 10 times. Every time I get frustrated, I watch the movie. I watched the movie before I came here again to New York. I watched the movie again telling me that no matter whatever changed, you are you.”

Like any other student post-graduation, Ma was faced with the challenge of out-competing his batchmates and freshers across the country to secure a good job with a sufficient salary. A degree in English from a less than reputable college certainly didn’t work in his favour, and although he applied to 30 different jobs for safe-keeping, he was rejected from all. In an interview with Bloomberg, he even confessed that out of 24 candidates, he was the only one who was turned away from a position at KFC. On applying for a post in the police, he was told that he was “no good”.

That is more number of rejections than anyone should have to count at one given go, and if it were you and me, it would have possibly led to a breakdown of some kind. But for Jack Ma, the challenge had become a part and parcel of life. He managed to procure a small gig as a teacher in English and International Trade from the university he graduated from. While his pockets were practically empty, his heart was full of hope for the next step in his career. Even though at that point, he didn’t have a semblance of a clue to what it would be.

Post-Alibaba

“In the beginning I just wanted to survive. For the first three years, we made zero revenue. I remember many times when I was trying to pay up, the restaurant owner would say, ‘Your bill was paid.’ And there would be a note saying, ‘Mr. Ma, I’m your customer on the Alibaba platform. I made a lot of money, and I know you don’t, so I paid the bill.’”

When Ma set up Alibaba in 1999, it wasn’t an immediate success. The Chinese economy had not yet developed to support the e-commerce industry, which was believed to be a threat to traditional shop businesses. At every step of the way, Ma had to fight off resistance – from shopkeepers convinced that he was trying to put them out of business to government authorities who were suspicious of the privacy-factor that this online business model would affect. Coupled with this was the fact that Ma’s vision for the company entailed limited promotions for his existing partners, who were told that they could not rise beyond the ranks of managers. He did this so that a group of new hires would be attracted enough to occupy the open high managerial positions. This proved to be a fatal miscalculation on Ma’s part, since it led to the segmentation of the company into many unproductive layers and led some of his best people to walk out and take their resources with them.

However, he went on to rectify this mistake and concentrate on making his existing team a stronger, more unified unit. In the meanwhile, his efforts began to be recognised overseas. Soon enough, the company received its first round of funding from foreign investors – a step in the direction of making it the unchallenged force it is in the e-commerce world today.

As Jack Ma often puts it, “The very important thing you should have is patience.” Without it, you can never reach even a fraction of your true potential- which someday, could even change the world.

Credit: This story was first published on yourstory.com

The FriendZone (Verse 7)

The Characters in the Verse
Jason – a young lad
Brenda – a very beautiful daughter of a boss chick
Bossu – leader of the army of lost grown men
Giddy – a hopeless casualty of the friend zone
Kwaku – Jason’s friend
Delbina – Brenda’s loquacious friend
Giddy, Arc Angel, Ada, Rudolf – part of the army of lost men

The Story So Far…

Bossu, a short fat boy with pink pimples on his punctured nose parades himself a chief priest in matters peculiar to the heart over grown men such as Giddy, who himself became a casualty of the scriptures scribbled in sweat-soaked scrolls usually read out by Arc Angel under the command of Bossu. They sit, with and among themselves planning the next phase of a supposed redemption for Giddy.

On the other side, Jason’s heart was stolen by Brenda, whom he met for the first time at an eatery during a stormy weather. He managed to ask her out to his home and with the help of coloured candles and transparent coloured glasses, replicated the rainbow to help throw some light on his proposal. Brenda, blushing like a blue bird, asked for some time to chew on his words.

Now Delbina, her very much loquacious friend, persuades her to accept and take the chance with this poor boy but Kwaku, Jason’s good friend, is having a god laugh at him, for Brenda sees him as a brother.

Meanwhile, Brenda had asked Jason out unknowing to Delbina, who happen to chance upon the love birds on a cold evening. She interrupts their hearty conversation and leaves them to continue their messed up love story.

We continue…

It took the grace of God to get Jason out of the friend zone but it took another level of grace to keep Giddy there.

No sooner had the sun just managed to reach the exact middle of the sky than had Giddy appeared and knocked on his crush’s door. This is the same lady who identifies him as a studies teacher. He has lost his breath, and pants like a thief whose heels are being pursued by his shadow. He cared not to even catch his breath before knocking. Speaking through his nose, with his mouth wide opened as though he were gasping for the world’s last oxygen molecule, he engages Serwaa, who happened to be lost on what exactly Giddy is doing at her door. He begins

Giddy [both hands on his knee, gasping for breath]: I hear you have broken up with your boyfriend.

Serwaa [eyes wide open]: Huh?

Giddy: Yea. I am told you are no longer dating so right now you have no excuse to keep me in the friend zone. We need to get the queue moving as I am next line. What do you think?

Serwaa [perplexed]: What do I think?

With that, she slammed the door at Giddy’s face, keeping him in eternal chains that no prayer, neither fasting, can set free from the friend zone.

Meanwhile, Jason holds Brenda’s hand, gawking into her eyes without blinking. Brenda’s heart beat at that moment could tear apart a stethoscope. She just couldn’t seem to get over this boy with a dimple.

They sat underneath an almond tree that was in its season. Birds chirped providing natural music that didn’t make their mood boring.

Jason: Brenda, I cannot promise you a happy-ever-after, but…

Brenda [cutting off Jason]: I’m in love with you.

Jason [looking happily confused]: I love you too Brenda

Brenda: I know…

With that, they stared into their eyes again, with tensions rising at areas you cannot even imagine. Jason leaned in, Brenda closed her eyes, drawing nigh. The motion was far too slow and Delbina just had to come in to speed things up.

Delbina [who had been hiding all along, injected]: My friend if you guys are going to kiss just kiss and stop those things you are doing.

From there, Delbina takes over their conversation and love moments, planning from where and when they are to have their engagement, wedding, honeymoon and even how they should organise their naming ceremony.

The End.

Thanks for reading. It’s been long since we had this story running. Had to end it to make way for a new one, God willing, next week.

It’s been my pleasure always having you here always. I will very much welcome suggestions on how to improve. Don’t hesitate to leave your comments.

My name is Kotey, and I love to write.

Good day.