Friday, July 18, 2008

Growing Pains

Actually, this post was brought about by one of Yankee Naija's posts on Nigerian society in the diaspora. Though her post was geared towards many within the Nigerian community that refuse to pick up extra responsibilities as mentors for those coming in, I realized that maybe there were lessons that we've learnt (particularly those in the diaspora) that can be passed on here. For many of those that know me, there are very few things that I haven't done or contemplated doing or been on the way of doing and of course as is natural - I have gone through my share of lessons, heart break and triumphs. Enclosed are some of my lessons:

a)Knowing Your Worth Is Your Negotiating Point: I graduated from my undergrad during the period of recession (I think the recession is worse now) and all I knew was that I wasn't going to stay home and watch tv and job haunt, I was going to get myself busy and I was going to do whatever I got my hands on. I went for several job interviews - I didn't have the experience so I didn't get those jobs. My first paid job was as a sales associate in Brooklyn. Now, many people didn't know that was my first job except some of my closest friends from undergrad. I knew that people had this huge expectation of me since I was somewhat of a nerd as school but that is how I started. I remember going to the interview - the lady quizzed me, I answered - she noticed that I had a great resume when it came to un paid internships and experiences, so she gave me about 2 dollars more than what I should have gotten. In retrospect, she was the only person negotiating my worth and I wasn't part of that negotiation. With what I know right now, I should have spoken up for what I wanted and I probably would have gotten it. After working as a sales associate and working in several positions, at my most recent job, I negotiated and spoke up and I got my worth. Basically, know your worth in monetary terms. Don't ever let anyone undersell you.

b) Hold on to your dreams - All through out undergrad, I said I was going for my masters program. I graduated, a lot of things happened, the question was - will Pamela go for her masters or not. Family members were saying things like you will be fine with just your undergrad? Friends (I use this term lightly) were saying things like you know the program you are going for doesn't suit you, why not go for something else entirely? No one was listening. I held on, saved my money (I was earning horribly at that time), got myself into a graduate program and graduated in less time than a full time student. One thing I learnt from this experience was," people might claim to know you but you are the only one who knows yourself, if you have a dream - hold unto your dream and do not let anyone dream for you".

c)When you are at work, you are there to work and when you are at play - please, play it out: I will be writing a post either here or on face book about the crying game (women, work and office politics but I digress),

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