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!

OMT


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.

OMT


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.

OMT


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!

OMT

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?

 

The motherhood chronicles: “Don’t be quick to judge”

Most mothers will be familiar with this, “judging a mother or father consciously or unconsciously before you became infected by the parenthood bug.” When I take a look at myself now compared to the era of BK ( Before kids), I see a significant change in my perception to life and I have had to let go of certain habits to be a better mum and person.

Before………….

In the BK era, I couldn’t stand seeing disgusting things like people spitting, soiled washrooms and any disgusting image you can imagine. Almost everyone cannot stand these sights but mine was on a different level. The mere sight of any disgusting thing meant I had to brush my teeth or rinse my mouth plus psychologically get my mind to erase the picture. That would take hours before even daring to touch anything or eat. I could even stay hungry till the brainwash process was complete. I used to say that whenever I had a kid, I would hire someone to do that job (changing of diapers) for me. That was how bad it was.

After……….

You should see me now. Those things still disgust me though. People should be sanctioned for indiscriminate spitting, that really gets on my nerves. I remember the first stinky poop after the meconium (black sticky poop), I was about eating some red red (fried ripe plantain with beans stew) and had to change her diaper. I was torn between eating first (satisfying my selfish self) or changing her diaper (satisfying her at the risk of losing my appetite).  Was that even an option? We brought them into this world when they were sitting their somewhere (direct translation from twi). It  also actually looked similar to the beans stew. The BK me would have let the food pass but I went straight to chowing (eating) after changing her diaper and washing my hands.

You know the bible verse: Matthew 7:1 ‘Judge not that you be not judged.’ I used to wonder how people handled their phones to end up with scratches and looking like the cat had a scratch fight with it. I considered them careless because I could really keep a phone and it would still look almost new. Apologies to anyone I misjudged. You should see my phone in the AK era, the phone is really suffering. In fact if you find a phone with no cracks in my house then it’s probably brand new and yet to go through the initiation rites. Little boss lady drops it in water (don’t know what scientific hypothesis she wants to test) and throws it away in a fit of tantrum like she has been hired by the manufacturer to test its strength and durability.

I used to wonder what could make families consistently late to church. My idealist mind just couldn’t decipher this. I get it now. I am usually late to church about 10 to 30 minutes. One time we got to church and mass had almost ended, we just drove through the church and went back home. You wake up early though, but getting a kid ready for work or school is a difficult task. Imagine packing up for a 2 to 3 days trip, yup…..now that’s similar to packing your kids stuff just for a few hours away from home. I try packing a day before but the funny thing that still beats my mind is that I still end up spending the same time. Your CHILD might also keep you awake all night and you would end up waking up late to church. As for alarms forget it! Sometimes if it wasn’t for the snooze I would have concluded that my alarm was faulty. I probably need one of those slapping alarm devices to wake me up.

The BK me had time to go shopping for clothes or shoes for occasions but now even managing to look good is a luxury. Not forgetting getting to the office or church with food or dirt stains. Wig caps and crochet braids are now my best hair pals. No long Rasta things. Oh and before I forget, am still wearing old clothes and I keep lying to myself that a wardrobe change was needed about 2 years ago. I still tell myself this and never act on it. I however manage to miraculously make time to shop for my kids. 🙂

I like things to be perfect but I realised in the kingdom of children you should let your guard down, have fun and be perfectly imperfect.

OMT

Through all this, I have learnt not to prematurely form conclusions and judge others (not only parents) if I haven’t yet taken a step in their shoes.

What’s your story? What habits have you had to change for your kids sake? We would love to hear from you.

Also check out our post on Daily Struggles of a Mother: My Top 5 on the hubpages!

5 silent truths about LinkedIn

Would you prefer to shoot yourself first before being shot at? You might be asking yourself, “What difference does it make? After all I would be dead in the end anyway!”. If you agree with this, then it means you might be someone who probably shies away from challenges and is satisfied with the minimum. What am I driving at? What if after shooting yourself, your shooter realised he had no bullets left or by some form of divine intervention someone comes to your rescue? You would have been saved but by then it would be too late.

That is what I have observed on LinkedIn over the period, people shooting themselves in the foot before any opportunity even gets the chance to be presented at their doorstep. I get a couple of messages in my inbox from people either trying to sell a service or product or seeking employment. Some mails are sent in a rush with grammatical errors and its gets me thinking, “why would this person be killing any prospects they might have?”. First impressions count a lot! Take note of this. There are times when I reply with feedback, some ignore it and take offence, others are also appreciative.

I was inspired to put this short piece together after reading a post by Nadia on LinkedIn.

Hi Guys just a tip – if you want someone to notice you and/or if you want to make an impression don’t inbox them and say ‘hey look at my profile’ it’s unbecoming! Put your best foot forward and let me see you! Too many inbox messages that I should look at people’s profiles…. Fix up, look sharp and let’s go!

Nadia

I commented on her post with the below and got a number of likes

linkedin response

My comment on Nadia’s post

Apparently it seems some people are genuinely not aware of the courtesies on LinkedIn and I hope this post would be helpful to you especially the recent graduates and other job seekers who want to get noticed.

1. Please! LinkedIn is not Facebook

If you want a social interaction and nothing professional, kindly deactivate your LinkedIn account and migrate full-time to Facebook. I have observed that people post forwarded messages and other junk on LinkedIn without even taking some time to check on the authenticity. It might seem nice to alert your professional contacts of some social scams etc but note that, there are other platforms for social communication.

NB: This excludes posts by persons whose job involves social media interaction, blogging among others.

So before you post anything, ask yourself this question, is this suitable for LinkedIn? How would my professional network react to this?

2. LinkedIn is not a chat service!

“Hello dear”, “Hi”, “Whats up?”, “What do you do?” Please and please again, starting your conversation with this and expecting a reply before proceeding won’t take you far. Personally if you approach me this way after I accept you as a connection, I would take you off my network. It means you are idle or don’t know what you are about. If you want to chat there are loads of options available and LinkedIn is not one of those options.

So what do you do? My advice is to introduce yourself and go straight to the point. No dancing around when you can just hit the nail on the head.

3. If you can’t sell yourself, don’t expect others to easily buy into you

Currently people are busy and might have limited time, instead of going with the following:

Hello I just completed xxxxxxx with first class honours and am in search of a job. Can you assist?

In the first place, I am not a recruiter, just a finance person. My response usually depends on my mood. If I am in a good mood, then I would say,

“I am sorry xxxxx we don’t have any vacancies where I work or I will send your CV to our HR department in case of any future vacancies”

If not, then forget it! You won’t get any response from me. So imagine a recruiter who receives thousands of mails, what makes you different from the others? What makes you standout such that he/she would want to read your message and even take the next step of sending a reply or getting in touch with you?

In selling yourself, your contents and subject is very important. The subject and first statement of your message draws the reader to want to go further.

4. Perform detailed research before sending any message

A recruiter would be interested in you if you have done your homework. Perform research to know more about the company and what you can bring on board should they decide to hire you.

Once it’s easy to add you to my professional network, it is equally easy to take you off once I notice that your purpose for connecting with me is unprofessional.

I once received a message, very detailed, research and introduction on point! BUT the individual had developed a generic email that he was circulating. The company I work with didn’t even provide those services he had boldly stated in the email. Would a recruiter take you seriously if even prior to hiring you, you are already committing blunders.

My advice is to take your time and send specific and relevant emails.

5. Use a professional looking picture for your profile

If I get a request, I look at your profile and your display picture before taking a decision to either accept or ignore your request. As I said, first impressions count a lot. In as much as it is attracting, save your beautiful poses with pouted lips for instagram and the likes unless you are a model but even with models I would expect a professional looking profile picture.

If you need any guidance on tips to assist you in selecting the right picture you should check out, 7 Tips to Make Sure Your LinkedIn Picture Is Helping, Not Hurting, Your Prospects

 Hope you found something useful in this post.
What’s the worst and best messages you have received on LinkedIn? Is there anything I have missed in this post? Do you have questions you need answers to? Drop your comments or send an email to omtsdigest@gmail.com.
“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrongly.”
Germany Kent

Excelling with Microsoft Excel 7: Excel 2010 ( Date formulas and shortcuts)

This is the final post of my Excel 2010 journey  with Alison.  Finally! Although I missed my target timeline of completion but the important thing is that I have completed and passed my test. You can check out the previous post on the “if” function.

Dates and formulas

This is useful when the task involves finding the days between two dates. That sounds straightforward, just subtract one from the other. It gets complicated when you are interested in finding the number of week or work days between two dates.

  1. To find the number of weekdays between two dates (=NETWORKDAYS)
WEEKDAYS

Formula requirements to determine the number of workdays between two dates

In the above scenario, I assumed there were no holidays. Results indicates that there are 261 working days in 2016. This formula natural excludes the weekend ie. Saturday and Sunday.

What of places like Dubai that have Friday and Saturday as their weekends? How can one determine the number of working days?

The formula to use is =NETWORKDAYS.INTL

workdays_dubai

Formula requirements to determine the number of workdays between two dates with custom weekends

Results of the above indicated 260 workdays in 2016 for workers in Dubai.

2. To determine the date after a specific number of workdays from a start date (=WORKDAY) or (=WORKDAY.INTL)

workday formula

The above results in an end date of 2 January 2017

workdays intl formula

The above results in an end date of 30 December 2016.

Excel shortcuts

  • ctrl+shift+$ = currency format
  • ctrl+shift +% = percentage format
  • ctrl+shift+L =filter
  • ctrl+ z = undo
  • ctrl +y = redo
  • ctrl+ o = open
  • ctrl +alt+ v = paste special
  • ctrl+ w = close
  • ctrl +f4 = exit
  • ctrl +shift+ (+) = insert a row or column
  • ctrl+ (-) = delete a row or column
  • shift+ f11= insert new worksheet
  • ctrl +shift+ ! = format number to 2 decimal places
  • ctrl +1 = opens format cells dialogue box
  • alt+ (displayed character) = Access keys  are easy to use and there is no need to memorise it

Hope you picked up something new from my entire Excel 2010 posts. Don’t forget to share your excel tips and tricks with us (E-mail omtsdigest@gmail.com and your tip might just be featured on this site!).

What would you want to study with me this time? Take a vote and that would be my next study topic on my self-learning journey. Best of luck!!!

Ibrahim, the self-taught artist

I came across Ibrahim on LinkedIn when he dropped a message in my inbox advertising his works and inquiring if I was interested in acquiring some of his pieces for my home or office. I decided to inquire further about his works and requested for his brochure. Although am yet to get one I felt, why not share his story with others?

Here is a short piece of the interview I had with him mainly through email interactions.

Why art?

Art, because for me it’s the only thing on earth as old as man that doesn’t discriminate or judge, and I believe with it I can make a difference.

What drives you?

First and foremost God and secondly, my doubters.

God, because I see everything He has created as a piece of art from which I derive my inspirations from.
When I say I have a lot of doubters to prove wrong, I mean it in a positive sense. Not everyone will believe in what you do. In the past I’ve had people say I will not get anywhere with my art career and because of that I never gave up. It was this desire to prove them wrong that has helped me to come this far.

” Everyone has what it takes to paint the world just as an artist paints on his canvas.”

Ibrahim

What are the challenges you encountered and how did you manage to overcome them?

As a self-taught artist, raising money for art supplies was my greatest challenge and in the past, I have always neglected my love for art in search of jobs in factories. These experiences have had both positive and negative impact on my art career.

The talent has always been there but nurturing it required a lot of dedication. After my secondary education at O’Reilly senior high I wanted to learn how to paint since what I was taught was mostly theoretical. Unfortunately, the artist who was to teach me told me an artist I know had informed him to turn me down whenever I came over. It was a surprise to me since I had not discussed these plans with any other person. Irrespective of this, he was still ready to take me on but I didn’t return as I felt discouraged. It was at this point that I decided to learn on my own by practicing.

I was able to finally raise money for my art supplies by doing pencil portraits for friends online via Facebook.

How do you use your art for charitable purposes?

I live in a rural area in the central region of Ghana, where I see lots of children of school going age that due to no fault of theirs don’t have formal education. So what I do is to bring them together to teach them how to draw and paint. I use part of the money I get from my art sales to buy art supplies for them.

I believe working with children is like planting a seed.

Artist for Humanity_kids sample

Art piece completed by one of the kid’s under his tutelage

Word of advice or motivation

” Everyone has what it takes to paint the world just as an artist paints on his canvas.” It means that everything in life is beautiful depending on who is looking at it.

 

Samples of his artwork

art 1art 2art 3art 4art 5

 He currently has two kids under this tutelage and his paintings cost between GHS500 to GHS5,000. If you are interested in purchasing any or supporting any of the kids you can contact him directly through a phone call or email.

Contact details

Phone number:  +233 547 115 079
Email: myartmirrorkoncept@gmail.com

 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/artistsforhumanityint/