Thursday, October 11, 2007

Office Politics

Office politics is just like the lottery. Dreaming about winning doesn't get you anywhere - there's no payoff if you don't buy a ticket. You have to play if you want to win. But unlike the lottery, there are consequences if you decide not to play. Game PlanAt its core, nearly all IT work is binary - ones or zeros, on or off. To solve problems, we drill down until we get to this point of logical decision. Unfortunately, office politics can't be reduced to this level of simplicity. Techies tend to be (gross generalization alert) better at complex logic than complex human behavior. Debug messy code? Sure, I can do that. Decode messy office dynamics? Uh, I'll be heads down in my cube. Gotta go. Office politics is a complex stew of power, ambition, control and ego. Winning, if there is such a thing, requires continuous attention to who's important/not important at any given moment and strategically aligning with the right faction(s). Mistakes can be fatal to a career. It's easy to see how many people decide it's smarter to sit on the sidelines. Swim with these sharks? No thanks, it's much safer not to get involved. Or so you'd think ... but you'd be wrong. Opt out, and the best you can hope for is to be completely ignored. This might be good for your psyche, but it's tough on your career. Promotions or good assignments won't be coming your way, but a layoff might, if one's in the offing. All too often, quiet = expendable. If you choose not to play, be sure you don't criticize those who do, or the game itself. You'll be labeled a loose cannon or a troublemaker. You'll also be a target for skilled political players who may decide to use you to further their own agendas. It's easy to identify the person who doesn't want to join in as the malcontent who's responsible for badmouthing unpopular decisions. Well, says you, I'm not being negative, I'm just saying that things should be based on merit - the quality of your work, not who you kiss up to. I agree - in principal. It sounds great, but I've never seen a company where there wasn't some element of politics at work. This is UnfairRight. What's your point? The culture of each workplace evolves over time, largely in reaction to the example that's set at the top. Unless you're the new CEO, your ability to unilaterally create change is very, very limited. You can continue to resist, but it's going to be a lot less painful if you adapt. You'll be most effective if you can deal with things the way they are, not the way you think they should be. No one can take your principles away from you, but they can take away your position. It's really your choice, and I hope it never comes to that. The best strategy is to modify your view of office politics. Rather than seeing it as a hotbed of useless gossip, intrigue, brown-nosing, or backstabbing, try to recast it in a positive light. Think of the political game as a means for you to spread your own gospel through positive example. One of the few absolute rules of office culture is that it's not enough just to do a great job. You've also got to communicate your abilities and successes to the right people, and you've got to do it via the "right way", which is going to be dictated by the company's cultural norms. Observation is the key. Open Your Eyes and Ears; Keep Your Mouth ShutA key mistake in office politics is accepting information without independent verification. There are a couple of ways this happens. One is that people look at an org chart and take it at face value. In the work environment, there's both a formal and informal hierarchy. There are people on the chart with position and authority who are incapable of exercising it, and conversely, there are people that may not even appear on the chart who manage to run everything. Your job is to figure out who's who, and cultivate good relationships accordingly. That won't happen if you step away from your desk only to use the bathroom. The second mistake people often make is to align themselves with one faction too early, or too closely. When you start a new job, it's tempting to latch onto a person or small group fast. Understandable - it gets you over being green and helps acclimate you to the new environment. The danger is that you may inadvertently align with the wrong group, and you won't know until it's too late. Better to be friendly towards everybody and get the full range of opinions. If you don't favor one faction over another, you'll be able to array all of the different points of view and validate their legitimacy against your own observations. Spend less time talking, and more time listening. This is a wonderful technique that has several distinct benefits. First, you minimize the opportunity to say anything stupid or ill-advised that can come back and haunt you later. Second, people who like to talk think highly of people who listen. They project competence onto you because you let them do what they need to do. They'll speak well of you later, even though your view of these conversations is that they're a good opportunity to plan what you're going to do for lunch. The third benefit of doing more listening than talking is that your silence, especially your continued silence, is liable to make other people a bit uneasy. People who are edgy tend to chatter more than they should. (Think how job candidates might babble to fill up a silence during an interview.) Sometimes, that chatter includes information that wasn't intended to be revealed. All the better for you. Rules of the GameThere's one rule in office politics that can trump all the other rules: never make your boss look bad. Most bad bosses are capable of accomplishing this all on their own. They don't need your help and you don't need to get dragged down with them. Create a situation where your boss is seen in a negative light and you'll be the one who pays the price in the short run. The other rules of office politics are less about the politics and more about you and your behavior. This list isn't all-inclusive, and strict adherence doesn't guarantee success. But, it's better than nothing: Figure out what you want and plot your strategy accordingly. Be a part of multiple networks, not just one. Communicate with your networks often, and in the ways that work best. Judge behavior in the organizational context, not against some idealized standard. Watch other people at work and identify successful behaviors that you can model Don't pass along questionable judgments or spread rumors Look for win/win ways to resolve conflicts, but never leave them unresolved.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Interview tips

1. Be on time! Practise getting to the venue to see how long it will take. Public transport may be useless, the traffic may have been heavy, but however reasonable it won't affect the fact that your chances are reduced if you are late. Always remember - You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Aim to be early - you can always find a nearby resturant to wait in.
2. Be Prepared!Look at the employers' website and learn something about the company before you attend your interview. Feed them the opportunity to talk proudly about something positive you have found.
3 Use the third person when talking about the job. Avoid sounding as though you assume the job is yours. It is fine to ask about the package on offer and accommodation - living in and living out are particularly relevant. You could also try a fewer more testing questions such as how they differentiate themselves from their competitors or what they think the toughest/hardest part of the job is.
4. What are your weaknesses? Don't be SAY ! 'None…ah well, ah'm a bit of a perfectionist actually!'
Try to find an area of your experience/skill that is currently lacking. An interviewer will appreciate your candour - as long as whatever you disclose can be easily remedied.
5. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! SMILE! Dress professionally in simple business attire. And don't forget that firm handshake and to maintain eye contact - without glaring!
6. Be honest! There really is no point lying about your background and/or skills. If you get caught, or even manage to get the job and it is found out, you can be sure you won't be around for long! Job interviews are about matching needs - if there isn't a good match, then chances are that the job won't work out.
7. Check your CV for possible gaps! Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV.
8. Talk about specific achievements! Interviewers like to know how you felt about about a particular success. Some will ask for specific examples of things you've done that you're particularly proud of; how you solved problems; how you learned - and improved - from difficult situations.
9. Don't talk too much! - Communication is a two-way thing so give them a chance
10. Take a spare photo & CV with you! Your interviewer won't be expecting it so you will impress them. It also helps them remember you after the interview.
11. Be enthusiastic and positive!Don't criticize previous employers, particularly within the industry. Focus on positive achievements and views.
12. Be on time!
And finally, Don't give up! The fact is that you will not be offered every job however perfect you think you may be for it. Usually it's because the interviewer was completely blind to the talent that stood before them. However, just on the off chance that it was not, feedback from interviews where you have been turned down can be invaluable for improving future results.
Ask politely if they can give you any feedback for the future - there's a job out there for you somewhere.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Work Behavior that Keeps Your Boss Happy, and Makes Him Like You

What work behavior makes your boss like you? I am not here to discuss tips or tricks that will hoodwink your superiors to like you. Those tricks will only work for the short term but will hurt you in the long term. I'm here to guide you to stand out naturally. If you have proper work behavior, you will impress your boss. However, you do need to be consistent with these behaviors. There are no results without hard work. That said, each of the behavior discussed is not difficult to practice.


Learn to be attentive at work. Your behavior at work should be one of attentiveness. To begin with, you need to be a good listener. Listen to the instructions that are given to you. Make sure you understand what is being said and what is being asked. When you take the wrong instructions you make the unit you are working for inefficient. Attend to details. Make sure every work that you have your hand in is one of excellence. You know the results shine because you paid attention to the details. Never deliver shoddy work. Your shoddy work not just reflects on you but your boss too. When you are attentive at work, your boss will naturally notice you.


I know, this sounds scary. You are a junior at work but yet you need to be bold? Yes, be bold? Being bold means being able to face your fears. You are new and there are a lot of things that are new to you. You quite naturally fear some of the processes. Sometimes, you may even feel intimidated by some colleagues. In such instances, you need to be bold. There is nothing to fear as long as you know your working attitude is a positive one. This also means you are willing to fail and learn from failure. When you accept this work behavior you are willing to take risks and willing to do new things. Someone who is courageous enough to try new things, willing to fail and learn from failure will catch the boss’s attention.


If your personality is quite naturally a calm one, this work behavior is easy. If you have a tendency to panic or you have the tendency to be temperamental then you need to work harder. Be calm and composed at all times regardless of the work challenges in front of you. Remember if something tough is for you to tackle, create a plan to solve it. Everything else short of solid action will be inefficient use of your energy. Your bosses want someone who can help to clean the mess. You shouldn’t be part of the mess. Remain calm and composed at all times. This behavior will have your boss take a second look at you. Soon you will become someone he can depend on


Which brings me to the next work behavior. When you become a competitive advantage for your boss, your boss will like you. He/she will become dependent on you. Strive to become someone your boss can depend. How do you make this work? For starters, be a good listener and be someone your boss can trust. Do not be tempted to get involved in office politics. The best way to stay away from office politics is to shut up. Knowing when to keep your mouth shut should be your work behavior. Do not add to comments. Do not volunteer answers. When your boss can trust you and you have good working attitude, you will become someone your boss can depend on.


This work behavior isn’t just about physical energy. It also means mental energy. It also means infectious energy. This means you have a work behavior that can energize your unit. You are passionate about your work. People like working with you, as you seem to have endless energy. Ever noticed how a person in the office that has energy always gets the better assignments? That’s because their energy is the boss’s competitive advantage. You may already posses these work behaviors. Choose one work behavior that you feel is the easiest to tackle now and work on it. Before long you would have mastered the A to E of how to make your boss like you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Do You Have The Right Stuff To Start A Business?

Anyone can start a business. But to start a business that succeeds and continues to flourish isn’t so easy. According to Statistical data, at least half the new companiesin Nigeria and else where in the world go out of business before their third anniversary, and one in four new enterprises don’t survive longer than one year ("Failure Rates for New Firms"). If you’re going to start a business that has staying power, there are some resources that you must have in place before you open your literal or figurative doors. To turn a start up venture into a successful business, you must:

Fully Commit

Successful entrepreneurs are people who are fully committed to their business ventures. You have to be prepared to put your heart and soul into what you’re doing. You have to truly believe in your product or service, and be prepared to work long hours to get others to believe in your product or service, too. You have to be ready to go without treats such as holidays, and even necessities such as salary, for what may seem like an endless stretch of time. And you have to do all this without the safety net that salaried employees are used to, such as benefits and pension plans.

Be a "Type D”

People commit themselves to all kinds of things; causes, hobbies, other people. Just being able to make a commitment doesn’t automatically lead to business success. If you’re going to get where you want to go in business, and start a business that will endure, you also have to be what I call a "Type D” person; someone who has desire coupled with drive, with strong discipline and determination. You have to not only have the business ideas, but be able to execute them. Successful business people are tenacious; obstacles are temporary barriers to work around. They may take “No” for an answer, but only for as long as it takes them to reframe the question from another angle and ask again. But desire and drive alone are not enough to start a business; you don’t want your business to be a temporary comet streaking across the sky. Discipline and determination are what give successful business people the endurance to follow through on their business ideas, and weather the storms and calms of the economic climate. Knowledge is another resource you need to have in place before you start a business. Continue on to learn what types of knowledge and skills you must have if you want to start a business with staying power. The Knowledge You Need To Start A Business

Get The Business Knowledge You Need

Many people have tried to start their own businesses without bothering to acquire the business knowledge they need to make their business a success - and their businesses have failed. To start a business, you have to be knowledgeable about many different aspects of business and have many different skills… or at least have done the research to find and hire the people who have the skills you lack. If you aren’t knowledgeable enough about accounting to keep your own books, for instance, you’re going to need to hire a bookkeeper and/or an accountant. If your business is Internet-based, you’d be wise to hire a company to design your web site and handle the back end, unless you personally are an expert in site development. When you’re creating your business plan, one of your first steps needs to be a frank assessment of your skills and expertise.

What aspects of the business are you qualified or willing to handle, and which aspects will necessitate either more learning.

Managing people is only one skill set you’re going to need to start a business that's going to be successful. You also need to be knowledgeable about sales and marketing. For example, suppose you’ve developed a better mousetrap. Who are your competitors? What are the mousetraps they’re offering like and how are they priced? What makes your mousetrap better? Is there even a need for a better mousetrap out there? Where is “out there”? Do you have the skills needed to identify and contact customers? Are you good at selling mousetraps? Can you develop a feasible marketing plan and promotional material? And what about business operations? Do you have the business knowledge to manage inventory and fill orders? Where all you going to store all your mousetraps and how are you going to get them to your customers? Have you found the suppliers you need and developed relationships with them? Have you set up a customer support policy? Business knowledge before you start a business is critical. All the drive and determination in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have the knowledge to actually run a successful business and don’t bother to research and plan for your success appropriately. A friend of mine had long dreamed of opening a bookstore. So he did. Unfortunately, he hadn’t bothered to study the competition or the demographics of the market in the area. It took less than a year for his bookstore to fail. He had the desire and the drive, but didn’t have the knowledge he needed to apply them. So let's assume that you are a Type D Personality with all the business knowledge necessary to start a business. Are you a ready for success? Not unless you have the money you need to start a business.

Sunday, September 9, 2007



Negotiating a salary for a potential new job is a task many people dread or feel ill equipped to deal with. Researching salaries First, you need to know the current salary range for the role. Salary surveys on recruitment websites or those published by industry or professional associations are good sources. Grads can also check with an alumni association. Be wary of salary surveys where people can enter their own pay details as they're open to abuse. Salary surveys carried out by established recruitment firms are credible. If you know someone doing a similar role, ask their advice on what sort of money you should be asking for. Obviously you cannot ask them what they earn. A word of warning here too. Some people are very passive when it comes to negotiating a pay rise. They accept whatever the company gives them each year, which could be zero as far as I am concerned. This means that over a number of years, a person could start falling behind market rates. This is one of the reasons it pays to move jobs every few years even if this is just to a new position within your existing organisation. It's also the reason that negotiating the best possible starting salary is so important. If your first interview is with a recruitment firm, you can ask the consultant what the salary range is for the job. Keep in mind that the recruiter represents the employer so they don't have to nominate a salary. Also keep in mind that the hiring manager will have a budget for the role, which means there will be a limit he or she cannot go over without seeking sign off from a more senior manager.
  When to talk salary It's better not to be the first person to raise the salary issue. Ideally, you want to see what the employer is willing to pay before you say what you are willing to accept. The time when you will have the most negotiating power is after you have been offered the job and before you have accepted it but salary often comes up much earlier in the negotiations. In many cases, you will be asked what sort of salary you are looking for. How you answer is a personal issue. You could stall and say, 'I would need to know a lot more detail about the role before I could answer that'. Let's face it, if the role involves having a desk near a window with a great view or having access to a lot of amenities not readily available in our country then maybe you will forgo a few thousand dollars. Or the job might offer a really clear promotion path and being promoted means access to pay negotiations and more money. Pretend you have two jobs to consider. Job A pays N30k more but there is nowhere to go in the organisation so that initial N30k plus soon becomes a minus if you stay a few years as without a promotion, how are you going to justify a decent salary increase? Same goes for subsidised or fully funded training. Gaining further knowledge will add plenty of Naira to your professional bottom line. If you're asked what you currently earn, my advice is to be honest. There are two reasons for this. Your salary could be verified later on revealing you as a liar or, more importantly, the salary range on offer could be so far below what you believe you are worth that to go further with the screening process would be a waste of your time. You don't have to commit to a salary at the interview.You can say 'while I am earning x amount now, this role is more challenging and requires a more unusual combination of skills so is worth a higher salary' without saying what that higher salary should be. If pressed, it's fine to tell the interviewer that you need time to think about the ideal salary range and then move the conversation along. Be warned that if you do commit to a figure at interview then there could be dangers associated with changing that figure after offer. You might be the best candidate at N75k but suddenly asking for N85k when offered the role, they might then see you compared to a more senior crop of candidates and found wanting. Alternatively, the fact you had asked for a specific salary and then asking for more  after offer may leave you looking sly or tricky. If you accept a job you really like but the money is not quite what you're after then it's a good idea to negotiate a pay review date at the time of offer for three to six months after you start to give you time to prove your worth.
The Basic Rule of Job Searching If there is one basic rule of job searching, it is to always act professionally. Communicate, dress and act with class, regardless of the job you are applying for. Believe me, the employer will notice and your chances of getting the job will increase ten-fold!
WORK ETHIC is a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A work ethic may include being reliable, having initiative or maintaining social skills. Workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory (and ideally in practice)are usually selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion. Workers who fail to exhibit a good work ethic may be regarded as failing to provide fair value for the wage the employer is paying them and should not be promoted or placed in positions of greater responsibility. One central concept that forms part of the basis of the conservative economic theory of western capitalism is that workers who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded (eventually) and will move ahead, and that those who do not should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their own poor performance. So while looking for a job remember that having the right attitude (WORK ETHIC)when you get the job can earn you more that just your salary but a quick rise to the top.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Reckitt Benckiser is recruiting for a Commercial Finance Controller RECKITT BENCKISER is recruiting for a Dynamic and Energetic Commercial Finance Controller to further strengthen its Finance team. This is a senior management grade position and would report to the Finance Director. The ideal candidate should be: A Chartered Accountant with at least 5 years of relevant experience in a renowned multinational company. Candidates from FMCG background would be preferred. If you are the right candidate and are interested in an exciting career with excellent growth prospects, send your application with a detailed resume including a daytime telephone contact number and email address to: Deadline for this application closes by Sept 11, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nigerian Breweries is Recruiting Graduates as Trainees - Sales Executives.
This Vacancy is available for applications between the dates 8/29/2007 and 9/17/2007.
Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for appointment to the above-mentioned position.
The Job has the reference EPSM/008B/08/07.
Increasing patronage of NBCPlc’s high quality brands by consumers has created opportunities for suitably qualified candidates to join the national sales force, selling company’s brands to their numerous customers across the country.
Graduates are expected to meet the following minimum qualifications: WASC/GCE ‘O’ Level with five (5) credits including English Language and Mathematics at one sitting; HND (Upper Credit) or B.Sc (2nd Class Lower Division) in Business studies or any of the numerate sciences. Applicants must be very comfortable with the manipulation of figures.
Candidates must not be more than 28 years old on the next birthday Remuneration and career prospects are very attractive, competitive, and compare favourably with those expected in any leading company in commerce and industry.For more details and how to apply,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Glo Vacancies hey friends in the house, glo is employing staffs around us. make the plus by sending your CV to:
Chevron has launched a dedicated jobs site Chevron is currently recruiting IT specialists with degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, geology or in any numerate science etc. with skills and experience in the relevant positions advertised. Apply right now!


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