Are you on the right Waffle Street?

Waffle Street is based on the true story of James Adams who used to work with a hedge company but was unfortunately let go after he was tasked to get investors to invest in junk. He managed to achieve this target when all odds were against him. He later realised he was just a tool used by his employer. I was drawn to the movie and have not regretted it due to the personal and career lessons I picked from it.

PS: I have not been paid to promote the book and the movie but you should make time to watch it and you would thank me later.

These are lessons I picked from the movie and I hope you find them useful too:

Sometimes, you have to go contrary to society’s expectations to better appreciate yourself 

Let me throw a question at you…..would you take a job as a server after losing a big time office job? To be clear you wake up all suited up and business like for work and the next day you end up in casuals with an apron. How many of us would do this? The few daring ones might even pretend to be working in an office by dressing up and changing along the way, which is still deceptive.

Why is that? We have gradually come to accept society’s expectations of us, specifying which jobs are regarded as “respect garners” among others. We find people blessed with craftmanship skills studying courses at the University that would end them up in white collar jobs for which they derive no joy.

Are you working for self-satisfaction or to please others?

As an employer, you have to go down and interact with everyone whether their jobs matter or not, you would find yourself learning something new. As parents, our kids expose us to new perspectives we never bothered to consider or never had it crossing our mind. These examples might not always have the Cinderella ending but nothing is lost right?

James humbled himself and took on the job and trust me, he took home some valuable life lessons.

Believe in yourself! Don’t let others dictate your career or life choices, instead, carve your own route. You would be sure to reach great heights!

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Are you searching for job satisfaction or money?

There was a scene, where James had funds ready to buy the eatery and was in a discussion with the griller to poach him as a manager.

Am sure, like myself, you would have jumped at this opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to be addressed as Manager. In our society our love for titles even exceeds respect for hardwork.

The griller asked him some thought provoking questions which eventually led to him redirecting his path. He was about entering into the restaurant business, he thought he had a passion for (might obviously be lying to himself or his mind deceiving him).

Do you love the restaurant? Would you do what you do for free if there was no money?

The question is, the job you currently find yourself doing, do you gain any inner joy or satisafaction from it or you are stuck in an 8am to 5pm routine job like a robot? It’s different if you sacrifice your satisfaction temporarily for the attainment of a higher goal. In that case, check out What if I told you your job doesn’t have to be fulfilling? by Rich Honesty on how best to manage when you find yourself in a job your heart disagrees with. For instance I blog whenever I need a break sometimes from work or stresses of life. It takes me to my own little world even if its temporary but it surely calms me because I enjoy it.

Do not believe you are a failure just because you have not found yourself yet! Believe me I am still in the process of getting to know myself. It takes time, others discover it earlier. Just remember the journey of self discovery is never a race.

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Never underestimate or look down on anyone in your work or personal circles

Whoever thought a hedge fund manager would find himself getting lessons from exconvicts he worked with at the restaurant? How many times have we found ourselves consciously or unconscioulsy looking down on others at work or in our personal lives because of the work they do or judging them for their past mistakes.

If James had decided to be stuck up considering his educational background and work experience, he would have missed out on learning new things and gaining fresh perpectives.

Almost everyone has something to bring on board. Just give them a chance.

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Give your partner a chance although his plans might sound crazy

James’ wife was against his decision to buy the restaurant but managed to stay behind her husband, believed in him with sound caution. He went to the extent of selling their house and am sure the risk averse peeps like myself would say, “no way”, what will we do if it doesn’t turn out as planned?”.

At work and in life, let’s avoid the phds (pull him down syndrome). It doesnt get anyone anywhere. Even if you are against an idea why not present yourself as the voice of caution. The person might probably discover areas he might have probably overlooked to make his idea stronger or worst case, realise it was not achievevable but at least he or she tried which is better than killing it before it even got any chance at possibly thriving.

Never limit yourself!

This is my personal discovery on my “finding myself mission”. Try out new stuff, be adventurous, see any barrier as a challenge (gather vim and tell the kill dreams and spoilsports to bring it on!). I recently discovered I love to write and research and am seriously pursuing it. Try your hands at new things, thankfully we have free learning websites so why not?

Set a dream, believe in it and implement it a day at a time. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. So dont give up just yet!

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I have come across people complaining about work, life etc. My first response: you might not be able to change your work environment or certain things but certainly, you have control of your life’s choices: value your potential and find another place or activity which syncs with your goals and values. Instead of wasting the limited resources of time to complain, why not find solutions? That’s my new motto.

Today I would like to inform you that I am on course to find my waffle street, what about you?

 

Modern Superheroines

How do they do it? Going to work, making time to attend to the family especially the kids, etc. Do they have super powers? Do they receive any special motherhood training? These were questions I used to ask myself whenever I had an encounter with a working mother. I was always in awe of working mothers. I used to dread getting to that stage of life.
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Fast forward to now…………..am at that stage I always dreaded. Most of you are already aware that I took a break and became a temporary stay at home mom. Even that was a lot of work, multi – tasking in between child care, keeping the home, blogging and freelancing was a lot of work!!!  Mind you, mine is just one kid. Kudos to all working moms!!! Am still in awe of working mothers with more than one child……….They are true MODERN SUPERHEROINES!!! I have lots of respect for them.

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In GH, we all look forward to holidays. We don’t joke with them. So this Easter I had planned out my time including scheduling 2 or 3 blog posts, catching up on work to lessen the week’s workload among other things. I went home on Thursday excited and looking forward to the loooooooonnnnngggggg weekend, but alas my cute boss had other plans for us. She had a temperature so we decided to go to the hospital on Friday (first day of holiday) for a quick checkup then later go shopping for some stuff for her. Never in our wildest dreams did we think little boss lady would get admitted! We were truly unprepared, it was obvious from our facial expressions and initial reluctance. It was concluded she had malaria so she…..I mean WE……. had to spend the night at the hospital. Big shake up to my perfectly planned Easter holiday. We had to reluctantly stay but what really pierced my heart was the point at which we had to pin her down (two doctors, husband and myself) to insert the IV for the drip. Her screams teared me up. I was close to tears, had it taken any longer am sure you would find both mother and child crying. 🙂 Let me use this opportunity to appeal to scientists to invent alternative ways to provide healthcare for babies which is less painful than seeing these little gifts of God squirm and cry in pain. It’s heartbreaking. Anyways, the long and short of it all was that we spent the night but as kids, the temptation to take out the IV is high so they need to be watched 24/7 meaning no sleep for me. 😦 Although I managed to steal some 2-3 minutes periodic sleep. Being at the hospital meant delay in folding of laundered clothing, ironing, rescheduling personal and work plans etc but our kids are the reason for our sacrifices, so why complain?  I lacked sleep and unfortunately my best friend and support was also ill.  Probably father daughter bond, both fell ill at almost the same time with the same sickness. Bye, bye to my perfectly laid out plans.

Kids are gifts from God and they bring perfect and beautiful disorder to our lives.

I was tired but I don’t know how I managed to still cook up something, bathe madam etc who also decided not to sleep unless I held her, slowing me down in the process and draining my already tired self. I was exhausted but I still managed to gather some strength. After all she is my life, the reason behind most of my decisions in life.

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At the hospital there was a lady whose 2 sons were also admitted. I could imagine what she was going through. In the end she still manages to go to work and excel at the workplace. I ask again………How do they do this?

My conclusion is that it’s not magic or any super powers, it’s all by the Grace of God. Going back to work after being a temporary stay at home mother, I expected to mess up at work and home. But strangely enough, although it’s tough sometimes I dare say we (ALL WORKING MOTHERS) have done well. I have to wake up early to bathe her, dress her up, ensure she has enough packed food, change of clothes, sterilised zippy cups, enough wipes and diapers, feed her before getting to work etc. It’s chaotic.

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What gets me through the day is her excited face and welcome that meets me every time I pick her up after work. On a tiring day, I just stare at her pic and that’s it! No need for energy boosters. I get the vim to make it through the day!

I am grateful to God for helping me transition smoothly although I have still not fully perfected the skill. I always ensure that I make maximum use of working hours so there is no need to work extra hours when I get home. That is not even an option , little boss lady won’t allow that. I set daily work goals of 2 or 3 and ensure that I complete them before the end of the working day to ensure I am effective both at work and at home. They are interlinked.

Mother’s work and take care of kids, yet they are expected to achieve same results as their male colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done but it requires sacrificing a bit of your family time for it. So how can employers help career mother’s at the workplaces to bring out their maximum best?

1. Providing flexible working hours for mothers. Undue advantage should however not be taken by mother’s to ruin the chances  for others in future.

2. Creating a nursery at the workplace makes it convenient for mothers. And I can bet that these moms will work extra hours without complaining because most mother’s close at 5 sharp to attend to their family. Recently saw some pictures of MTN Ghana’s nursery.  Why won’t the mothers stay and work till the nursery closes at 7pm. Both the company and mother gain in the end. Kudos!!! Hope more companies follow in their footsteps. I know DataBank also has a nursery.

Pictures of MTN’s nursery

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Share your stories if you are a working mother. How do you make it through a typical day? What is the source of your drive in life?

Let’s help colleague working mothers and future mothers to adjust to this messy and beautiful phase of life by sharing our stories.

Does a career break lead to a career end?: Perspective of a stay-at-home mum

Six years after graduating from the university, if someone had told me that down the line I would voluntarily quit a good job to be a stay at home mum, I wouldn’t have believed it. Never in my wildest dreams!

After graduating from business school, as all graduates wish, is to get a good paying job, car, house and I would basically say, to live the life! :). I am also the typical independent lady. Common trait of a gey hey girl. I prefer to do things on my own and not rely on others. God being so good I was fortunate to get a good job straight out of university.

Five years down the line, I lost my triplets at 27 weeks. That was the fire in my life that eventually became the turning point in my life. Prior to this my focus was family but mainly by words but after this terrible experience (I have heard stories of people with worst experiences than mine which I would share later in a separate post) my priority was my family and I ensured that I put that to action this time. Family is the next important thing to have in life after God. Through all this I learnt to be a risk taker, took things cool in life and embarked on new adventures.

I would say God indeed has a reason for everything.

When I resigned to stay at home due to some pregnancy complications, I received comments such as ‘You are brave’, ‘You are so strong’, ‘Are you not scared you might not get a job when you are ready to work again?’. I just smiled and told them, ‘one can only make such decisions if only one has passed through fire before’. Yes fire, by fire am referring to any experience that results in you rethinking through your life and resetting your priorities in life. It’s not just about making resolutions but actually sticking to them and putting them to action.

In life taking a break sometimes helps you rediscover yourself. This career break/family time came with its advantages as against the spoilsports who thought a gap in my employment would not look good on my CV and future employment potential.

For those who need motivation, these are a few points I wish to share that would probably give you hope should you wish to take this bold and risky step.

1. I am gradually becoming a risk taker
Even quitting my job to stay at home to care for our baby girl for a year was risky enough. In other words people were scared I won’t land a job when I was ready to go back to work. But I disagree. You have to brand yourself well on LinkedIn and consciously work on building new professional networks. I get contacted on LinkedIn which is evidence that taking a career break is not the end of your career. I use my interview opportunities to develop myself till I find a suitable job in line with my objectives.

2. I feel I have options in my job searches
I don’t settle for just anything. I know what I want in a job. My family is and continues to be my utmost priority. So I would say am a beggar with a choice. It feels good. I am no longer a desperate job hunter. I feel I have nothing much to lose and it builds my confidence when I meet potential employers.

In my free time I do freelance work for essaywriters.net and essayology. The pay might not be high but the good side is I get paid to write and I end up studying at the same time. Note that, I am still developing myself whilst at home. I am actually learning new things.

3. Free e-learning opportunities
As a follow-up to the earlier points, I began to explore and discovered ways of still developing myself during this period. There are loads of free e-learning opportunities online. When my baby is asleep or being of good behaviour, I go online to study and develop myself. I have done courses such as Introduction to risk management, Social media and entrepreneurship etc. Don’t want to become archaic during my career break. For those interested check out the following sites: Alison,  HP life e-learning for entrepreneurs and Coursera.

4. Learning new skills and discovering new hobbies
As a an addition to point 3, I have discovered a new hobby which is crocheting baby slippers and shoes. Currently working towards creating my own designs and patterns. Good thing is I learnt all this for free online. That is now my newly discovered hobby.

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Image of crocheted shoes made by myself

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Image of slippers I crocheted for a friend

I have acquired social media marketing skills through experience and practice. Social media and business

6. Entrepreneur and business skills
I assist my sister with her business and advice her accordingly. I founded an online wedding business helping out brides to get affordable and quality gowns. So I would say I became a mumpreneur. I keep my own financials and I daily have to strategise to meet customers needs. I gained all this during my break. Am not an expert yet but it’s a good start.

7. Time management and multi-tasking skills

Most stay at home mums and even working mums will testify to the fact that childcare is full-time between diaper changes, feeding, bathing etc. You might not even have the luxury of the time to eat. I am always rushing when eating or taking a shower, I have no help at home during the day, so in all this chaos I find myself planning and making maximum use of my time. I have to squeeze in crocheting, blogging (OMT’S digest), freelance writing, online e learning, social media marketing within the shortest free time I get. Not to mention the periodic interruptions by my daughter. True test of patience. 🙂

8. Financially prudent

Not being on a monthly income has made me more prudent financially. I now value little things that I used not to. Managing your finances

I would say its been worth it and I disagree with the pessimists who believe that being unemployed for a period of time takes you off the job market. It’s all about planning, rebranding and developing yourself and acquiring new skills.

In life, if you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect someone else to?

Disclaimer: I am not by this post pushing for everyone to be a stay-at-home mum, it requires budgeting, agreeing with your spouse and planning. If your finances allow you then I would say go for it!!!

Looking back one year down the line

Just realised it’s been a year since I officially transitioned from a full-time career woman in the corporate world to a stay-at-home mum.

Looking back, it’s been worth it and I have no regrets in respect of the decision we made, by this I mean my husband and I. The only regret I have would be not investing my savings earlier during the period I was working. I guess I was comfortable with my earnings and savings. I knew I had to, but kept procrastinating. It’s not a good excuse and If I could turn back the hands of time, that would be the one thing I would do differently.

I didn’t just wake up one day to quit my job. It involved a lot of thought and deliberation. Had to consider our current savings and estimate our monthly expenditure including mortgage servicing to determine how long I could comfortably stay at home and tend to our girl. Initially, we estimated I could comfortably stay at home till she was 6 months old. But God truly worked wonders during those times from windfalls to hubby’s pay rise among others. Check out my post (Managing your finances) on how we had to make lifestyle changes and sacrifices to achieve this. It includes motivation for how to manage your finance should you decide to follow in my steps. 🙂

Good things came our way and here I am with our 10 months old. I have secured a job with an employer who bears with me and has agreed I start work in February 2016. My daughter would be a year old by then, which is more than I prayed and could have wished for. I would be able to spend quality time of a year with my family and head back to work to continue with my professional and career development.

What more could I ask for?, but to continue to count my blessings.

Check my blog post on how I developed myself whilst at home. Hope it is motivation enough for the risk averse (I used to be anti – risk) mothers out there. Does a career break lead to a career end? : Perspective of a stay-at-home mum

Feel free to comment or email your questions if you are a struggling stay-at-home mum or considering embarking on this journey of mine.

I would be more than pleased to guide you within my capabilities.

Follow me on Twitter @mophie227 or email omtsdigest@gmail.com with any questions or success stories you would like to share with others.