Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Working Girl Chronicles 2: How is work?

There is a vibe of pessimism that seems to be quite apparent in me nowadays. With this piece of information, I feel like I should be on a mission to change things up but until then, let me just say the question above, always, I repeat always rubs me the wrong way.

Don't get me wrong , it's not like every aspect work is unbearable but the influence it has over everything surrounding it, sure makes it feel that way.

A number of people after asking, How are you? are quick to follow it up with the How is work? In the spirit of courtesy, you just cannot bare it all in conversation especially in pleasantries but in writing, I say, rant away. Just read into it as what you would be  getting yourself into if ever you give yourself a head start into the workforce.

Say goodbye to freedom as you know it. Everything that you want to do even before it takes off comes to a screeching halt. You are tethered  between your life and work, literally just revolving around those two points. Got co-curricular activities? Chances are you can't make the meetings. Social events? Enjoying them wholly, forget about it you are either tired from work or your eye is constantly on the time so that you are not late to work.

Constant exhaustion is the name of the game. You got school, work, schoolwork and whatever else you are trying to juggle. The solution is you need more hours of sleep to cope with your hectic lifestyle, long story short it won't happen.

Remember those people  that not even a day would pass without you talking, having a hearty laugh you know the one that has you hollering, plain chill sessions? Remember your friends? If you are not careful , there new status in your life will be nothing but that, a memory. But before you get there, seeing them and I mean really seeing them becomes quite the rarity. Things will change and you will only notice them when its old news and they are already on to the next one.

Necessary things that need to get done laundry, good grooming hair, brows, mani-pedis house chores, the dreaded cleaning your room or just cleaning in general don't get done as fast more like as frequently as you would like. Then slowly but surely, a couple of things start to pile up, again laundry. Can you tell my laundry situation is a bit on the deep end? Need I mention that you are the one who needs to get them done but because sleep trumps routine any day all day, you are in this situation. In the words of DJ Khaled, "Congratulations, you played yourself."

Once you get into the routine of things, you are getting things done fast and efficient. You develop a trait of predictability, which is code for boring. If you are a 20-something like myself, you get a rush out of spontaneity and probably the most fun at it to. Basically the risk of being boring, is high and has been met.

From this post you know I am an over-thinker and with that comes a dash of anxiety. Anxiety over the fear that you are putting way too much into work and forgetting every other aspect of your so-called life.

That being said, again read into this as a raw taste of what is to come if you consider giving this work-study flow a run. There will be other articles following this one talking about the work-study "conundrum". This was just the order I feel should be considered; what you are getting your sorry self into, what to look for in a job and of course the benefits. Basically, more of the bad and ugly first, then the good!

Have a good one!   

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Surviving College: How to Pick An Internship

By now given that I have shoved it in your face a couple of times, when it comes to internships I have my fair share under my belt. That being said, I am pretty sure out of five or six, give or take, only one has been lets just say not what I expected. Of course that is putting it lightly, simply because libel defamation is real so are lawsuits and honey, the can is no place for me. I mean, it was not all bad, after all, it was the inspo behind this post, classic win-win situation, I guess. Now I know what I should be on the look out for next time I jump in both feet first and I figured I'd let you in on it to.

Experience. Well, what do you know? It does not get any more obvious than that. Pick out an internship that offers you legit experience in your field of interest. You have an interest in working the old 9-5, clock-in, clock out flow? Or maybe just develop a work ethic. Go for something with structure and definition, from defined daily work hours to your job description (which is always subject to change) with set out responsibilities. These need to be set up from the get go, be it on the application or from a piece of information received from someone or simply ask. This way you are not groping in the dark or second guessing yourself when you are in too deep. If things are all too vague, do not be afraid to start looking elsewhere, you will thank yourself later.

Compensation. You kinda need to get yourself from point A i.e campus, home or whatnot to B, said internship. Typically a set amount is already put aside if it was indicated on the application. The general figure on the ground is Ksh.300. It's not rocket science, if the amount barely covers your transport needs you may need to reconsider. But if the amount goes the extra mile and even leaves you with a little something for your troubles, you hit the jackpot and that has a go-ahead from me.

P.S. This is not always the deal breaker if you can finance yourself through, go for it!

Remuneration. This is usually the ultimate dream. Mostly because paid internships are few and far between and you know us humans, we want what we can't get. Rough estimate, I have none, but what I do know is more often  than not it's a weekly stipend steering you clear of tax and other statutory deductions. If you swing by one of those, roll up your sleeves and get your grind on because you, homie, you got it real good. How to legitimize if or when you are actually going to get paid is another thing, there are people out there who are just plain savage and incentivize what is not there, so you best be on the look out for that.

If you are looking for an internship just out of trying to keep yourself busy or curiosity or just plain interest the not so structured traditional internship is right up your alley. Typically it involves meeting a couple of times a month mostly geared towards an event of some sort. Or better yet those that allow you to make your own hours. As lucrative as it sounds ensure you are getting tangible  results from it, case in point, recommendation letter or even a certificate. You are likely also to be paid in kind with snacks during meetings, meals during the said event which will run over a couple of days and transport because again these are not the traditional working hours , you may go well beyond 11 p.m and that is just on the earlier side. If there is nothing tangible expressed early enough, you can A) Follow up and/or/then B) make a respectful exit. Simply because, you are investing a whole  lot of your time, money and energy on someone or whole entities that are brutally put, exploiting your labour and precious whole chunks of resources for their own selfish needs. If that doesn't hit home, only experience can teach you.

Not all of these have to feature but may I emphasize on a tangible product for your efforts, this doesn't always have to be monetary, even if there is a special something for the most exemplary intern/volunteer you who may not be as exemplary as the next guy, you still deserve call it what you want validation, recognition or proof that indeed you put in the work. That in mind,

Have a  good one!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Working Girl Chronicles1: Why quitting isn't an option

Isn't it splendid that nearly every series over here always kicks off on the basis of a bad experience. This post should not and cannot be mistaken for a tell-all, neither is it a Debbie Downer. If anything it's the boost of energy that I, we, need every once in a while when you are down in the dumps.

It feels like ages ago what was only last week. There was this huge cloud of dark grey, almost black just hovering over me. Let's talk about office bullying , because that's what happpened. Rather, that is what is happening. I do not want to fall into the cycle of hurt people, hurt people. Do not get me wrong, I am hurt, there is a wide array of words that can describe the very feeling I have but today on a good day heartache and a constant , consistent supply of impending tears. I have allowed my self worth to be determined by other people's opinion of me, which predictably is not much.

The last quarter of this year carried so much hope and aspirations. Most of which I am glad to say I have been meeting. I have read my Bible everyday for the past two weeks just as I said I would in this post, prayed everyday, worked out, gone to the library of course not as much as I would like to but 'Booyah!' I am doing the damn thing.

Surely it's not getting better . Actually to my utter shock it seems like I am getting tougher. Coming from a place of absolute despair and shambles where nothing was a comfort. Not my Bible, not prayer, not pep talks from my dad or being told what I wanted to hear by my mom or my sister. I hope all those who have caused me to visit such a dark place , the darkest yet are giving themselves the much deserved pat on the back because lemme tell ya, y'all deserve it, you really do. It takes irreplaceable time and great efforts to come to a mutual decision to work against someone. Impeccable organizational skills, massive discreteness, numerous informal meetings to follow up on progress. Heck, you guys deserve to see results, there's nothing like seeing the fruits of your labour.

Then I started to appreciate the little things. School...of all things, my friends, in no particular order, Lyn,Leah, Lucia, Lorraine, Nora, Abed and anyone who put a smile on my face or got my mind of things. Yes, even the professor who dictated notes for 3 hours straight.

Bible readings that were a few days ago what I thought pure salty are now beginning to make sense, not all the way though. Of course I am still bitter, Philippians 4:4-9 telling me to rejoice in the Lord always yet I was in the valley of shadow of death or to enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. Thanksgiving! My faith is not what it used to be, but I remain thankful for periods like these when I am exposed for what I truly am.

So, why isn't quitting an  option? Everything is a lesson, probably a long, hard tough lesson. The longer, harder, more painful and tougher the lesson, the tougher you become. I have got so much to live for;  school, graduation in a little over a year *Lawd*, friends, family, mad talent in me and all around me , humor, dreams and ambitions, experiences, goals. And, these just have to tide me through.

To get by or rather survive, two things, tolerance and indifference. By now I already have caught on that complaints are a waste of time with zilch action in the long run. It is my first job and if this is how things roll I might as well adapt, right. I have no time to reciprocate and play dirty neither do I have time to undermine their beings,I barely have time for myself. This is borderline depression and defeat, but if I don't feel it like I did before, is it really?

Have a good one!