In fact, I have been pushed literally, by the current events in the nation—to write a piece specifically—to address our newly-minted college graduates.
Why am I focusing too much attention on this particular segment of the society whereas the real culprits of our problems---the politicians, civic leaders and policies makers — filth our airwaves, news outlets and political corridors with their diatribes every day?
Given the current tone of the national discussions across the political corridors, lack of meaningful employment avenues and other moral deficiencies in our system, it will be a disservice to our nation and the graduates themselves, if I didn’t focus my comments on them, since their needs and challenges are vastly different and difficult from their contemporaries who were born on the other side of the Atlantic ocean or those born in Ghana in the sixties and seventies.
To start with, I want you to understand something very basic: The future workforce is going to be competing with machines and other workforce around the world for jobs. And, nine times out of ten you will work for someone, unless you’re going to inherit a company from your parents.
With all that in mind, this brings us to my advice:
1. It’s hard to change your reputation so develop one that you can be proud of. When you give your word, keep it without exception. And, focus on your accomplishment.
2. Be punctual.If you can’t be anything else in life; at least, you can be on time. Be on time and be where you supposed to be when you’re expected to be. Excuse won’t get you far. I usually arrive at my appointments or meetings 15 minutes early, just to make up for all those Ghanaians (including our politicians and community leaders) whose clocks are permanently set on “African Time”—whatever that means! Oh sure, everybody in Ghana (except those who have spent the major part of their lives abroad) is chronically late, but hey, they can afford to be—you can’t! You’re just a new entrant to the job market.
3. Be a trustworthy and keep your mouth shut more often than open. Be a person who can keep company’s secrets and can be counted on.
4. Take any job very serious because you never know when and where your breakthrough will pop up.
5. Learn more than it’s required of you about the job you have been given. And, go extra miles for your employer. That means be a kind of worker the employer can’t afford to let you go and the customers can’t live without your services.
6. Ask your boss what the single most important thing about your job, and then make sure it gets done. Every day you should focus on that one thing, if nothing else gets done, make sure that one thing gets done.
7. Don’t be an obnoxious. When you screw up, admit it right away. Ask for forgiveness and get back to work. And dress appropriately without showing your body parts. Remember, people will treat you the way you teach them to treat you and how you dress is one of the clues.
8. Remeber that you work for someone else, and that person pays you, therefore he/she has the right to say what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. You have the right to make suggestions but your superior has the final say in all matters.
8. It’s too early to whine about conditions you have no control over because ninety-percent of people don’t want to hear and ,the other ten- percent is glad it’s you who is going through hell.
9. Friendship of co-workers is a bonus; it is not required or expected of you to make friends on the job. Remember everyone wants you to be successful, but not more successful than they are.
10. Don’t take anything that you didn’t earn by honest labor. In other words, if you’re going to take a bribe, remember we now live in Anas era. If you start your career with bribe you will eventually end up taking bribes till retirement time.
11. Learn to live with the consequences of your actions. Don’t talk on the phone, text, and send tons of messages while you supposed to be working if you don’t want to be fired.
12. Think big—think of the impossibilities. Since you are going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think BIG. If your dreams are not bigger than you, you’re probably not living up to your potentials. I don’t mean you should build castles in the air, but all great achievers thought of the impossibilities and they are all dreamers. Dreamers are those who create their own future. There is no future in working for someone else forever. The only way to see the ‘promised land’ is to create your own business.
13. Take care of your brains and your body. Read more about your career and constantly improve yourself academically. Reading is the food for your brains. Also make use of positive advice from your boss—for any person who will not use other people’s positive thought or others’ brain powers has no brain of his own.
14. Serve the customer well—whether you call the customer a client, patient, student, reader, spectator or boss. Your reward in life is direct proportion to the service you render to your customers. That means where and how you’re going to live your life is linked to how well you serve your ‘customers’.
15. Do the right thing—no matter what! It might be unpopular, time –consuming and very embarrassing .You never have to ask if it’s the right thing or it isn’t. And, don’t kid yourself; you always know the right thing to do—it’s rarely the easy thing to do.
16. Don’t be a“Post office employee” .In other words, don’t expect your employers to make you rich if you are constantly keeping them broke. Post office employers are not motivated by any need or desire to produce a profit for their employer. I doubt if there is a single post office employee who cares whether the government makes a profit or operates at a deficit. Such attitude is fatal to any business.
17. Don’t be an economic illiterate—the person who does the least and demands the most. Be cost –conscious and profit-minded and show your loyalty to your employer.
18. Customers are short on tolerance and have very long memories. They have the money, so give them what they want, and they will share it with you. The best advertisement is a satisfied customer with a big mouth.
19. Your employers will pay little attention to what you have to say—in fact most won’t believe what you have to say. However, they will pay attention to see if you believe what you have to say by your actions.
20. Discover your uniqueness, and learn to exploit it in the service of others or your ‘customers’. The tragedies of civilization is overwhelming majority of people drift aimlessly through life, without the slightest conception of work for which they best suited, and with no idea of even the need for a define objective toward which to strive.
21. If you’re currently dancing to a different tune it’s perhaps you’re hearing a different beat of your drummer. If you’re spending your time with a crowd that is content with mediocrity—those who say,” It can’t be done” or “no one in the past has ever done it”, then you need to change the music or drummer, ASAP!
22. If someone is honestly (and legally) doing better than you in anything, it’s most likely he/she is working harder than you or doing positive things in life that you hate to do.
From, Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (voice of reason)
*The author is a social commentator and a founder of Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment foundation for Disadvantaged youth of Asuom.
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