Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In retrospect- Dis Generation in 2010

Here is an overview of most of the topics that appeared on Dis generation column this year! The topic that received most responses via text messages was “What is education.” But the most viewed online are: “Before You Launch Your new Career” and “I was a baby when the big bridge fell.” To read these articles, get your old copies of The Nation on Sunday or read them online: www.youthmakingchange.blogspot.com
Merry Christmas! May the New Year usher in pleasant surprises to you and yours! May God Bless Nigeria.
Feedback from some readers:
“Thanks for your little column in The Nation on Sunday. Thanks even more for your warm smile. You’ve really blessed my heart. Cheers.” David
“I have been a regular reader of your column “DIS GENERATION”, which has been a source of inspiration to me & many of my friends. God will bless you for your contributions towards the development of the youths & Nigeria at large. I just read about this volunteering for the MDGs. How do I get involved please!” Ifeanyi Onwuzurike, UNIBEN
Counting back, from December to January
·      Dis Generation in 2010
·      Ratatouille
·      What is Education?
·      Three cups of Tea
·      Vitamin ‘D
·      When Praises Go Up!

Monday, December 20, 2010

For every one thing we complain about…

It is that time of the year again. When we all go into our closet to do a yearly evaluation of our goals and plans. Unlike the other evaluation we have done in the past months, this is the chief of them all.

In the process of reflection and taking stock, some of us will laugh while some will sigh. The laughter could be of triumph and proud achievement of the goals we set at the beginning of the year.  Or one of stupidity. The sigh could be an expression of exhaustion but victory of accomplishing that, which was called “impossible.” Or a sigh of sheer guilt and almost defeat. Like the laughter of stupidity, the sigh of guilt could be for the opportunities we allowed to slip away for fear of the unknown. The work we left undone for lack of preparation. The average we carried on our report for being oblivious that a little extra hard work would have placed us on the radar of excellence.

However, it does not matter which way the world turns, we must not allow our failures of yesterday cloud our today’s hope and tomorrow’s opportunity. Thus, in place of every one thing to complain about, think about 10 other things to be thankful for. In place of one person who ruined your plans for the day, week, month or year 2010, think about 10 other people who made you smile. Yes, allow yourself to bask in God’s goodness and count your blessings, one after the other.

If you failed a very important exam this year, and it seems your peers have moved on without you, lookout for the silver linings in your cloud. Bill Gate was also left behind by his seemingly peers when he dropped out of school, but today he has not only created job opportunities for those peers, many others draw inspiration from his conscientiousness.

Was it one of your priced possessions that was stolen this year? Think about the opportunity you have to be alive to replace it, with a better one.  It might be more difficult if you did loose someone close this year. The death of a friend, sibling, parent or family member is very painful. But think about the good times you spent with the person and for the opportunity you got to have known each other, no matter how short.

There is always more to be thankful for than there is to complain about.  As the year 2010 roll by into 2011, learn from the mistakes but make the best of the rest. To use the key words from one of my favorite movies of 2010, Eat. Pray. Love. For every cloud has a silver lining...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Before you launch your new career!

A couple of months ago, I was interviewed for a job. All through the interview, I could tell I did quite well until it got to the big question- “How much will you like to be paid?” Silence. My salary negotiation skill was an epic fail because I had too much volunteerism running in my blood and I had no clear idea of what the job description entailed.

Why do young people often fail at negotiating salary during a job interview? Some of the factors and characteristics that can legitimately affect wages include level of education, Job description and title, type of employer/size of organization, work experience, location and occupation. However, to earn the type of salary you deserve, you need an apt salary negotiation skill.

According to Dawn Rosenberg McKay on “Career Planning,” if you want to get paid what you are worth, it is important to learn how to negotiate well. Some of the Dos and Don’ts she said are needed to succeed at salary negotiation are:

Don't Look at How Much Money Your Friends in Other Fields Are Making: You may be envious of your friends who are earning more money than you are. If they aren't working in the same field you shouldn't make those comparisons.

Do Research Salaries in Your Field: Talk to others working in your field, to find out what they are paid for doing the same work. Remember that salaries differ by geographic location.

Do Consider How Much Experience You Have: Those with more experience can hope to earn more money. Remember to talk about the amount of experience you have if it will help you negotiate a higher salary. If you don't have a lot of experience, be realistic about the salary for which you can ask.

Don't Talk About How Much Money You Need: When you are going through salary negotiations, don't tell your boss (or potential boss) that you need to make more money because your bills are high.

Do Talk About The Salary You Deserve: When presenting your case during a salary negotiation, talk about how you will earn the salary you are requesting. Highlight what you have done, or will do, for the company. Also discuss the salaries in your field (based on your research).

Do Be Flexible: When going through a salary negotiation you aren't likely to get the exact amount of money you want. You will probably have to compromise. The trick is to figure out how much you are willing to compromise and what you will do if your boss doesn't offer you a salary you find acceptable.

Good luck with earning what you deserve when you launch into your career!

Image source: CartoonStock

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Make a Difference: “Inspiring the Volunteer in You”

December 5th marks yet another exciting International Volunteer Day (IVD). This year’s IVD is very significant because it marks the launch of the 10th anniversary of the 2001 International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10). IYV+10 will be an opportunity for people all around the world to join a global effort to reinvigorate the spirit of volunteerism. In the words of Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers “Let us embrace the theme of ‘Volunteering for the MDGs’ as our own way to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism on 5 December [2010].”

There are many ways for young people to get involved. But it is crucial to keep in mind that whatever platform you decide to serve on must be a process of service learning. That is, your volunteering must be a process of learning too. “Service Learning is a powerful means of engaging young people in tackling development challenges…Student volunteers gain opportunities to act on their learning, develop important skills and experience first-hand the feeling of having made a positive difference.” (Resources for rethinking). As you give of your time and skills in service to community development and achievement of the MDGs, ensure you are learning a lot in return. Volunteers are not paid, but they grow as they give.

Why volunteer now and not until after you retire in your 70s? “Volunteerism is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion. It can bring positive social change by fostering respect for diversity, equality and the participation of all. It is among society’s most vital assets.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. You will not only help make a difference in the lives of others, you will make a whole lot of difference in your life too! Volunteering (service) is like a first-step to greatness.

Identify an issue you are very passionate about. Empower yourself with the right information about the issue- if possible, an up-to-the minute research on the issue. Think solution! Define the kind of action you want to take, the resources you’ll need and the expected outcome/impact. Keep in mind; the issue that you are passionate about can be personal, local, national or global. Build a synergy with existing structures and people working on the issue… collaborating is an effective way of bringing about profound change. If no one is doing what you want to do, then maybe it is your responsibility to blaze the trail…but ensure to carry others along in your action plan!

"My suggestion is to become a doer instead of just a hearer. And things can be done. A doer hears and accepts the need for action, working towards the common goal of the people and their concerns." Young Canadian participant, Voices of Youth online chat, Nov 2002.

Other sources to explore:
www.vso.org.uk www.unicef.org/voy www.volunteeringnz.org.nz www.unv.org