Monday, September 30, 2013

Welcome Night Vigil, Goodbye Restful Sleep

I don't joke with my 6-8 hrs routine of sleep. So when my Dad insisted on Friday evening that everyone must accompany him to his friend's church for a vigil, I couldn't help but smirk.

Reluctantly I wore my fuzzy socks and hood and hopped into the car. My cousin and I were still grumbling when we got to the church, but we were amazed by the beautiful decor, great sound system and cozy environment. I was starting to feel relaxed until the time for prayers.

Obviously it was warfare night, hence the songs followed suit. Actually I was dazed and particularly thrilled by two songs.  The soloist had sing "Jesus is my bulldozer " then the congregation will reply "amen,he's my bulldozer amen." The other one was even more interesting as she would say "Holy spirit you owe me something'' then the reply would be "you owe me money " I almost said iphone. 

Little of the word was preached as we came to pray out our enemies that night. So I was surprised when we were asked to raise our weapons of warfare, as a diligent believer I raised my bible. A tug at my arm jolted me to take note of my surroundings #gengen# what I saw was lots of canes and sachet water; I almost thought we were going for a protest probably to HELL and asked the devil to leave us alone. Alas the devil was going to be flogged that night.

Even though it was a long night, yet it was an eye opener. Guess no one in my house was surprised when the topic of morning devotion suddenly changed to "The believers Authority''

So i wonder,when will christians learn the principles of dominion?  I agree there are powers and principalities but God forbid they take 90% of my communication with him. If only we learn to channel that energy towards growing deep on Gods word then the victorious christian life will be easy for us. Have a spirit filled week.



The Porter's Soup

While wishing Naija happy birthday tomorrow don't forget to do thesame for Asuu.

Three months into the strike and I can't help but reminisce on the ups and downs of living in the hostel. While the hostel life could be fun 98% of its occupants will tell you the toilets and bathrooms is always a pigsty. Lord have mercy if your soap or sponge falls while having your bath,don't bother picking it up except of course you are a pig; to avoid urinary tract infection every girl has her own little bucket where she answers the call of nature.

So it was a huge relief when a new female hostel was built though expensive than the former but more comfortable. It was more like a self con except that each wing had a general kitchen, still that's fair treatment. 

Unfortunately, the hostel had a glitch. It shared its boundary with a farmland owned by a very nosy female porter whom also stays there. Instead of my colleagues to use the toilets in their rooms they would use a nylon and fling it over the fence into the farmland.

On this fateful thursday morning, everyone was summoned by the hall governor for an impromptu meeting and alas here was our nosy porter crying, cursing and promising fire and brimstone upon God knows who. She was cooking a pot of soup for the family when an uninvited guest landed inside her food.#yea,surprised huh? # Miss somebody had done the usual and kinda miss her mark hence the s**t inside the soup.

It was a very hilarious moment but miss somebody might have denied that family breakfast or worse. That day will ever remain fresh in my memory and even now, I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Till next week when I'll give you more juicy tales. Don't miss me much.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Perfect Makeover

Every bride wants to know how she's going to look like on the big day, so she hires a make-up artist who gives her a make over and if she likes the look; the artist is hired. If she doesn't then its a goodbye.

A lot of us wear expressions as the biblical Joseph's Coat of colours.

Who do we blame for the mask we wear? Society that defines how we are supposed to act even if it's all a huge pretence; a mock show that we put in front of people so they pat us on the shoulder and don't speak ill of us. Or is it the parents, who wake up every morning and wipe the tears from their eyes, smiling to the world, telling everybody that everything is all right? Or is it us? do we hold ourselves accountable for lacking the strength to show others who we truly are for fear of ridicule.

The masks that people wear are real.The existence of this mask can be seen in the fake laugh that explodes from a person who tries to look good in front of his/her superior. It's in the girl who go out of her way to look thin just because that's how society will accept her,  even though she knows she had rather be devouring the ice-creams and chocolates every night.
It's in the husband and wife who scream at each other every night but when they appear in front of others, they act all sweet to each other. It's in the hundreds of people whose heart are in a mess and when asked " how are you?" They answer,"fine." As if there's a new universal definition for fine that says, " a total state of misery"

The greatest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. We live in denial of who and what we are, even what we think.  Just because we are afraid,we fear we will not find love and if we do we might lose it. No one want to be unhappy.

So when you wake up tomorow morning, ask yourself, are you going to meet the world wearing a mask of a person you're not? And if you think you're not wearing a mask, could it be that maybe, the mask is so stuck to who you think you are that you don't even know its there anymore? That's something to think about. For me I guess the perfect makeover is to be YOU.

How to give an acceptance speech

The big day is finally here and you are so overwhelmed with emotion you don't know what to say. Whether you are accepting a gift, a promotion, or an award. For those lucky enough to have to do this here are 7 useful tips to consider.

1.Don't make your speech too long. Have you ever heard an audience complain about a speech being too short? The audience will be pleased to see you accept the award and may want to take photos but they certainly don't want to hear your life history.

2. Try not to be controversial.  Acceptance speeches are usually given during a galaxy night, a coronation, an award ceremony etc. People are there having a good time- please don't upset the mood.

3. Don't try to be funny. If you are a naturally funny speaker, that's fine. If you are not don't force it. Instead of being funny, you could try to smile A LOT.  A bright, genuine, teeth-shinning smile usually has thesame effect on people as a joke -they smile back at you.

4. keep still.  Don't fidget too much. You will irritate the audience and may give the impression that you don't deserve the award.

5.Don't speak too quickly.  Know what you want to say and take your time.  This doesn't mean give a long speech but give a short speech slowly with expression.  Let the audience have time to take in what you've said.

6. Thank the people who REALLY made a difference. However don't stand there and list all your friends, your hairdresser, your mechanic, your plumber, and your bull dog.( Yes, people actually mention their pets!)

7. Acknowledge what the award is for and who voted for it, or who your opponents were if you won it in a sporting event. Acknowledge the rest of your team if the award/recognition is for a group work. Resist the urge to be selfish!.

When you are giving an acceptance speech, you must realize you are the center of attention.  You have just been named a winner, a champion, a new leader etc. Everyone is now looking up to you.

Hold these three things in mind: smile in happiness, acknowledge everybody involved, speak without notes.


2nd Commandment of your career.

Last week we talked about the first commandment under the five career commandments .

Here's the second commandment and it states MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Don't just wish and dream - go out there and do it. Now let's think about how you might achieve career goals. Its time to plan the steps that you will take to get what you want.

1. Take one step at a time
   Take time out to figure the things you could stop( things you don't like about yourself),start ( things that you would like to improve) ,and continue doing ( good things about yourself that you must persist with).
It's more important to write them on a piece of paper and put it somewhere prominent.

2. Identify your constraints.
   We all have barriers that stand in the ways of our carrier goals. Constraints falls interest a broad area.  Think about these areas and analyse what you need.

SKILLS ; do you have any skills you need?

EXPERIENCE ; do you have the right work experience?

FAMILY ; what are the needs of your spouse?

FINANCES ;do you need to pay for further education or training?

LOCATION ; are you tied to a particular geographical location?

HEALTH ;are you in good health?  do you have the energy to pursue your goals?

Look at your constraints . Which ones can you do something about?  which of them can you not change? If you honestly think you can't change them, do you perhaps need to change your career goals at all?

3. See yourself as others see you.
Peoples perception are rarely thesame as your perception of yourself. You may think you are ambitious and confident and others may see you as arrogant and ruthless. Again you may see yourself as caring and honest and others see you as tactless and smothering. Whatever the reasons people give for how they see you, just know that perceptions are double-edged sword.

4.Go for the grand plan.
   After breaking your goals into smaller units, find out what you plan to achieve, how you will go about it,who you need to get involved and when to do this.

5. Celebrate your success.
   One of the most important part of your plan are the answers to these questions. If you have missed your deadline find out why and what you can do about it. And if you have achieved it, take yourself out to dinner and celebrate. You have completed part of your career journey. 

Next week we would talk about the third commandment. Be safe

Break up lines

Being Dumped is awful, being dumped with a classics break up line is even worse. l really think if you don't like someone anymore just tell them. Why walk on egg shells or tip toe around the truth just to spare feelings? You just end up getting the other person confused . What does "l need to focus on my career " really mean?  Does it mean they really want to focus on their career or are they just over the relationship.

Below are some break up lines and their meanings.

1. "It's not you, It's me"= "It's totally you "

2. "l need my space " = "please delete me from facebook, twitter, and forget my phone number -you are smothering me"

3. "I'm just not ready for this kind of relationship." = "I'm just not ready for this kind of relationship WITH YOU.

4. " You deserve better than me" = " I deserve better than you ".

5. " You don't understand me." = " You don't understand me because your IQ matches your shoe size.

6. " l think we are moving too fast." = " You've left me 6 messages,flashed me 10 times and plastered my facebook wall with love quotes, you creepy stalker, you."

7. "You are going to make someone really happy someday." = " You are going to be alone forever."

8. " I don't want to hold you back " = " You are a drag."

9. " My feelings for you are so intense they scare me." = " My feelings for you are totally non- existent.

10. "We just don't have anything in common." = " we do ve a lot in common but one thing we don't have in common is our view on this relationship. "

Everyone knows how much breaking up sucks. Rejection is devastating no matter which side of it you are on. But, initiating it seems to be what throws people into a frenzy. Hence the ridiculous lies they tell in order to slither out of a relationship

Friday, September 27, 2013


Person go go school; Asuu and FG no go allow am graduate as at when due.

Person go subscribe or buy megabyte but no go get megabyte to take browse.

Shebi dem say travel by air is safe?  Why for Naija we dey fear to travel by air?

Person go finish school; common job to take cool temper person no go see.

Police man wey dey safeguard civilians no go get better money as salary wey go do am to stop am to take bribe.

Person go put him positivity for him business but the atmosphere just dey knack am akpako with negativity.

Person go suffer build house finish na that time government go remember say them wan plant flower there come demolish the house.

Person go steal maggie them go burn am; but person wey dey office just dey steal billions just dey laugh dem.

Person go dress finish to go serve God; another one go come bomb am for inside God house chai!!!

Monkey dey work; bamboo dey chop; these are few but temptations in our country.

Include yours.

The Perfect Alibi

Dectective Vance was killed by a hit and run the same nite Carlos checked out of Rehab unannounced. Gaby was really worked up but fortunately Carlos had an alibi; he was in the police station at the time of the accident. Great intro huh? Anyway that's a clip from one of my favorite series Desperate Housewives #winks#.

TGIF!!!!! what's your plan for the weekend? Is it gonna be sports, games, relaxing at a bar,swimming or snuggling up to your boo at the beach? whichever ever one it is I'm  going to give you the perfect alibi for the weekend. So when next you hang out with your folks,there's gonna be a lot of story to wet their ears and when they ask you the reason you miss this week's hangout.Here's your perfect alibi

Facing the Giants.

If you've seen fireproof, then you need to see this movie. An old movie though, it follows the personal struggles of High School Football Coach Grant Taylor (Alex Kendrick ). He is faced with the possibility of loosing his job because his football team doesn't win,feelings of betrayal,inadequacy and infertility and his house and car are tearing apart. Like Job in the bible he resolves to trust God no matter what happens to him. Its cinematography is very great, its raw powerful emotion are moving and inspirational.  This movie has a strong faith-based storyline,thus narrowing its audience but there's no doubt christians would be blessed. However non- christians could be unreceptive because of itself religious overtimes but statistics say during the first few weeks of its preview 284 persons already surrendered to Christ #WOW#. Suitable for kids, teens, adults and the aged

12 Years A Slave.

A 2013 movie based on a book published in 1853 directed by Steve McQueen's, "12 Years A Slave " tells the story of a man kidnapped into slavery in 1841and forced to live in increasingly brutal circumstances. As a slave he can't often speak what he feels. What we read in his intensely private thousand yard stare is the agony of a man robbed of freedom,but also the moment to moment recunciation of that despair.Whatever happens he will persevere, he will survive,he will know misery but he will not fall into the trap of madness he will transcend. One of the actress sang " ain't got no clothes, no country, no friends, no nothing, ai
n't got no God" and because she had lost everything, she had only one thing left:she had life
12 Years A Slave is a movie about life that gets taken away and that's why it let's us touch what life is.

For Colored Girls.

Here comes Tyler perry with another block buster but this time madea is absent. Its poetry is hot and searing, its story an unbroken current of rage, pain, sex, abuse, solidarity, self and empowerment. Nine women in screams, weeping and weeping demand that you listen, that you don't look away,that you deal with the discomfort as they did. I really think Tyler Perry was more in sync with his feminine side when he wrote that movie.

Mrs Somebody.

Yea, this is a nollywood movie featuring Uche Jombo as the lead character. It shows the struggles of a young woman searching for a husband. Following a series of self-inflicted bad relationships,a desperate, fire and brimstone breathing, probably mentally unstable kaira( Uche Jombo ) gives up on love and marriage to focus on herself.

As she finds her self confidence, the vicious cycle of disappointment ends and she finds true love.

A message to the ladies - do not give boyfriends married men privileges.

Have a productive weekend.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Couples Myth and the real deal

Old Rule No 1: Never go to bed angry. Settle every conflict right away so that it does not turn into bigger fights.

New Rule: Sleep on it. Conflicts are best dealt with when you are calmed down and are well rested.

For happy co-existence,couple's settling their disagreement before the day's end is a popular belief. After all, the bible says,"do not let the sun go down on your wrath". Ideally we should be able to settle our differences before bed time. Yes, but it is easier said than done. Although, this is achievable but a lot of people don't solve problems well when angry. So the idea that people should speak about how they feel in the heat of an arguement/moment is one of the greatest poison to relationships. John Gotham,Ph.D says "often nothing gets resolved, the partners just get more and more furious" when people are overwhelmed by emotions like anger,they experience what psychologists call "flooding",a psychological response that leaves their heart pounding and concentration shot to say nothing of their ability to resolve arguement fairly.

Instead set out time maybe each week to evaluate the state of your union. Take time telling each other something about your marriage/relationship that you appreciated that week and then each of you can get to bring up one issue.

Old Rule No 2: Couples grow apart apart and fall out of love.

New Rule No 2: Marriage or basically any relationship works because the partner/spouse work hard on them.There is a claim that couples of divergent interest tend to go the way of separation faster than others with similar interests. But if you look closely at happy homes,you might be amazed at how little they have in common.She could be into creativity and he might be a huge sports fan. Yet they have discovered ways to be themselves and together at the same time. This implies that sometimes she might decide to knit in the sitting room to keep him company as he watches football. Experts say " shared interest or even similar interest or temperament are no assurance of any relationship longetivity ". A lot of people have worked their way through many disagreement, illnesses, financial problems or even an affair. They survive because they understand they are a team.

Old Rule No 3:  The home will become unbearable when children leave the nest.

New Rule : Marriage can flourish in the new freedom. Most people become lonely when their children are finally gone; moments when the house seem impossibly quiet and empty. Some couples enjoy themselves by finding ways to renew commitment to each other. With kids out of the house, marriage can bloom when there is a sense of shared purpose. Even though communion can sometimes get pushed aside in the daily round of raising a family and making a living, some couples may let that feeling of togetherness die. Then its not the kids leaving that makes it empty instead it just exposes it. But for others, its a time to reconnect again. Compile a list of what you and your spouse can do that you haven't done before; which maybe a vacation, or becoming involved in something voluntary. Celebrate and share in your common interest because you have succeeded in life by raising children together.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guilty pleasures

Just how sinful is a box of chocolates? You may never know until the doctor asks you to shed a few pounds and you end up sneaking a piece into your mouth.

Guilty pleasures are things we enjoy and consider pleasurable despite feeling guilt;This guilt is often because of fear of others discovering our lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, rather than moral guilt. There are things we do but don't talk to anyone about. If we really like doing something, we shouldn't feel guilty about it right? So what are yours? Here are five guilty pleasures a lot of us indulge in:

1. Pinging while in church
   You know that awkward moment when the pastor is preaching and the message is soooooo....#yawns#
We see that as an opportunity to tweet, facebook and read e-books just so the time pass.

2. Regifting
    This is actually something I think a lot of people do but few will admit. It fits the definition of guilty pleasure. It's so much fun to take that lame gift and pass it on. No need to feel guilty because the person you gave it to will probably pass it on too.

3. Dipping bread inside the tea
     I did this as as kid, and I'm telling ya it still feel so good and pleasurable.Of course my friends are like *ewwwwww* but when am alone having tea,I don't sip. I prefer the kiddies version.

4. Sarcasm
    Nanya my dear friend was wondering while a lot of  people waltz through life and l replied " that's because what we are doing is tango". Not exactly pleasant but a lot us can't help but be sarcastic at every turn. It gives people the impression that you are bitter and impolite. #who cares?#

5. Watching movies during school hours.
   After long hours of lectures and assignment sometimes you just stab classes,lounge in your hostel or room and watch that recently released movie you downloaded for free or collected from a friends pc.

6. "creeping" on facebook
    Also known as stalking in the real world. This usually occurs when there is some sort of homework you have due in 7 plus hours and can't seem to focus.  So you start to click away on friends of friends profiles going through their pictures and after an hour of that you realize you are on your cousins best friend's sister's roommate's page and just learned that she get's a little crazy after 7 jello shots. Then instead of clicking out of the page you see what her boyfriend looks like.

So bring it on!!!!! what's your guilty pleasure? don't tell me its watching Nigeria idol audition else I won't talk to you ever.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mrs Gasbag

Mrs funsho was a woman everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of. She was a very volatile woman that goes off raining abuse at any slightest provocation - once she starts there is no stopping for her until she is satisfied with dishing the culprit a heap of unwarranted insults. Her bullets spared no one whether toddler, teen, adult or the aged.

On that fateful day, Mrs Funsho was involved in a heated argument with Mrs Akande and as typical of her she used her signature #her loud mouth# she told Mrs Akande, "l promise you death would come calling in your house tonight". She knew she didn't mean it and the neighbors never took it to heart they figured it was just one of those talks. That night Mrs Akande was visited by armed robbers and shot. She died. There was no way Mrs Funsho could exonerate herself as all the neighbors were witnesses to her supposedly empty threat hence she was sentenced to life imprisonment.Hmmmm.... how sad.

Many of us are like Mrs Funsho, we feel because we have mouth anything can be said at any place and anytime. Talk is cheap but if God honours everything you say, then it would be very costly. This is in contrast with silence which is golden. Excitement, anger and other emotions prompt us to say a lot of things we don't mean. A saying goes "speak while you are angry and you will make the best speech you will regret" how true.

Apart from emotions, talkativeness is an innate character of some individuals. This makes them to talk endlessly thus boring their listeners.

I am a Gemini and one of our features is the gift of the gab. I experienced this while l was much younger. It always landed me in trouble but as l grew older l learnt to curb this habit; trying to speak when necessary and choosing what l say. Sometimes I default and other times I'm successful. lt is a gradual process.

You have one mouth and two ears so you can listen more and talk less. Your brain coordinates your body activities and not your tongue, so think before you talk. Next time you consider giving someone a piece of your mind ask yourself this question, " if God were to honour this, what would be the result? "

written by Gideon Chukwuemeka

Five commandments of your career

Have you ever wondered if there's more to working life than the grind of your job? Do you sometimes worry about where you are going and what you should be doing in five or ten years time? Do you want to earn more money from your work?                

Only a few decades ago, people could join one organisation and stay with it until they retired. They could wait for parent-like company to send them on training, hand them promotions and eventually a happy retirement; but times have changed. Today's economic climate is more competitive hence you can't guarantee a satisfying job for life. The good news is you can determine the sort of career you end up with, and if you are the sort of person that is willing to invest in acquiring the right skills and attitude, then companies will reward you with constantly challenging work - as well as hard cash.

No one can tell you what you should be doing with your career. You can easily source ideas from friends, colleagues, and family. But the decision is still up to you. So here's the first commandment.

Understand your talents

1. Recall your accomplishments.
  What have you done in the past that you are proud of? Your personal triumph, hobbies and interest,academic achievements, community or group work.

2. Appraise yourself honestly
    Be really honest with yourself no one can be good at everything. Are you a good team player? How good are you at solving problems? To what extent do you understand the commercial market and issues that affect your work? What are your  areas of specialist knowledge?

3. Get a second opinion
  Its possible to have a blind spot about your own strengths and weaknesses. Personal insecurity may prevent you from recognizing some of your strengths but sometimes a bit of over confidence can mask your own weaknesses too. One of the most valuable activities you can do is to get some input from people who know you well. Choose a half-dozen people or respondents to give you some feedback. Take out time to evaluate this next week we would dwell on the second commandment. Remember knowing what you want will make you happy but knowing what you are good at will make you successful.

Have a productive week.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Affordable Ways to be Romantic.

After being with someone for a long time, most things become a routine and sometimes boring. Keeping the relationship green requires a lil bit of work and attention.  Even though you  already know the do’s and don’t of your partner. Coming up with ideas to spice up your love life doesn’t have to be so difficult, the main deal is simplicity. With these tips you don’t have to consider the weight of your wallet. Its cheap, affordable, romantic and fun. Give it a shot .
 Write a note saying ‘’ I thought of you today and it made me smile’’ be sure to leave it where he/she will find it.

On a warm nite , organize a backyard picnic. Spread a blanket on the ground and get some snack, chocolates and a suitable wine. lie down on the blanket and gaze at the sky together.
When your partner is sitting at a desk or table, come up behind him or her and give her a back, shoulder and head massage. Finish with a gentle kiss.
Buy a tree with your partner and plant it in a special spot. Each year on your anniversary, have a glass of champagne next to your tree and talk about how your love and the tree has grown.

This one is for long distance relationship, its gonna take a lot of work and precision but it’s a nice stunt if you can pull it off and its definitely going to be a wow moment she won’t forget in decades. Organize to catch up with her online, keep this constant* try the instant messaging app*. Then arrange a secret trip without her notice. Meanwhile, arrange with a close buddy to log on with your id and password while you are standing outside her door. Then call your friend and ask him to write the following words ‘ I really miss you tweetie, and I wish I could  just reach out and knock on the door’ as soon as he has sent the message , knock on the door *yippppeeeeee*
Really affordable ways to be romantic huh? So now we*ladies* don’t  get the flimsy excuses. Therefore,dudes give us the perfect moment . It doesn’t have  be the fast food and ice cream or popcorn tradition anymore. Get creative* we are tired of the status quo*. Seriously, keep the love alive, it matters. Even if your partner never becomes your spouse, leave pleasant memories and not awful ones. I’m outta here.

How to Dress for an Interview .

Once upon a time in history, almost everyone wore business suit to a job interview. Now the tide has changed.The old adage could never be true, you never get a second chance to make a first impression; a good one at that. Dressing appropriately for a job interview is half the battle of the interview itself, whether you look smart or sloppy determines to a large extent if you will get hired.  Surely, you need to look right to a stranger who is making an important evaluation of you in 30 seconds. Here are important tips when dressing for an interview
  1. Check out the company culture- are you interviewing with a company where the employees wear suit everyday  or  t-shirts and jeans?.  Nothing too fancy or casual. Appropriateness is the most important factor on what to wear for a job interview. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, while at the same time matching the dress code of the company- this way you will give off great energy and your true personality shine through
  2. Make sure your clothing is ironed and they fit, don’t wear oversized or undersized clothing
  3. Accessorize wisely- flee flashy Jewelry *hehehehehehe*
  4. Dress according to the season* don’t wear turtle neck tops when it’s all sunny*
  5. Don’t wear perfume or aftershave – your employees might  be allergic or you can keep the to the barest minimum). Also try not to wear perfume on your right hand, yea you don’t wanna leave a smell when you shake your employee.
  6.  Avoid cloths with busy prints.
  7. For pants outfit make sure you wear a belt that matches the  colour of your  shoes
  8. Women don’t overdo your make – up
  9. Keep your hotness in check. Don’t let your clothes be a distraction. While a polished and professional outfit is no substitute for a killer resume, the right look can set you apart for the job and boost your confidence.
As started earlier, the company culture is one important factor that will determine your dress pattern. If you are applying for a technical position, you won’t need a suit. A collared shirt and khakis or slack would work. Same goes for women, sweater or blouse. If you are applying for finance, note that nothing is more precise and exact than managing money. Allow your clothing speak that language. If you are applying for a Government job don’t be too flashy ( gone are the days of white shirts for government workers). This is a time to show you are trustworthy, responsible and honest. A bit of colour is ok for your clothing. For a human resource job, you need to look professional and authoritative- you will need the look that you could handle any crisis and be dependable.
Other points to note are:
  • Use leather belt with quiet , small belt buckles.
  • Your tie should be long enough to reach your belt buckle, and don’t forget the all important dimple(the indentation under the knot)
  • Run away from white socks. Let your socks match the colour of your suit.
  • Button your suit when you enter the interview office, you may unbutton it when you sit down. Button it back when you stand up to leave. Always leave the buttom button unbuttoned.
  • Don’t chew gum; its disrespectful.
  • Make sure your nails are trimmed.
Congratulations, on getting the interview! Now you know what to wear so you get the job. Ta’da. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gaby's Journal.

Story story!!!!
Once upon a time! Time time!!!
So my name is Gaby short form of gabrielle which means the lord is my strength, no wonder l’m tomboyish,in my late teens and not exactly lady-like, fiercely independent with a gross sense of humor. I plan to entertain you with the boring moments of my life. Shocked? You don’t have to be.
Welcome to a new week, and as usual guess we all went to church. My family and I attend one of the numerous mainline churches. Anyway two events happened in church yesterday that left me dazed .
A family friend invited me for her brother’s thanksgiving; the dude just got married. Since am a great friend *tongue out smiley*I decided to honour the invitation and be there for her. So it was nollywood to me when I started noticing some manifestation. First, testimony time is fun time for several reasons: the phonetics conscious people that end up embarrassing themselves and the listeners, then others ( typically women) will ask you to shout seven hot halleluyah while she responds by rolling on the floor plus those that sing special number before the actual testimony. So yesterday this lady asked everyone to stand up, and repeat some words after her then we were asked to run round the church, I mean inside while shouting FOURTEEN hot hallleluyah (hehehehehe). While we were still panting and yet to recover our burnt calories from the early morning exercise, another testifier came and said he fell down while trying to kill a cockroach at nite. Apparently, it means the nocturnal insect was sent by enemies and unfortunately met its demise. Uhmmm…. Like pastor Bankie will say cockroach na cockroach, be its man or animal in that form na insecticide go kill am.  
Just when I thought the drama for the day was over, then came the time for the word and suddenly this woman from nowhere appeared behind me and started chewing gum *arrrrrrggghhh* the continous sound of ta-ta, ki-ki filled the air and I wondered why people could be so disrespectful. Like seriously, they can’t even try that in the presence of a dignitary. To add insult to injury she add an accomplice but this one was chewing bitter kola. Jeez her mouth movement was funny, maybe everyone wasn’t that uncomfortable but that was the end of service for me cos I couldn’t listen to the pastor.
I did enjoy the praise that’s because I love to dance and the pastor knows the word. I still replay yesterday’s incident over and over again.
On a serious note, I think when saying testimony simply cut to the chase we don’t wanna know how you bought something and returned the balance, and please stop the drama. However, there is nothing like effective communication. You don’t have to impress anyone just be you, if you can’t speak English, try pidgin or revert to your local language. Also note that everyone wants to be respected both those that deserve it or not.  So let’s learn to be of proper decorum in God’s presence. Even though he is all accommodating biko… no calls, gum chewing, walking about, side talks. He is God, its not about knowing it, sometimes you have to show it. Don’t miss me too much. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pidgin English : Naija's Lingua Franca

Abeg dress make i siddon jor,  wetin da wori dis one? See as dat bobo da yarn dust shebi he want make I chuke him mouth for him anus abi; A typical naija fellow. Our pidgin is our original identity ( some of una fit disagree sha), though the accent varies from warri to sapele,edo, onithsha, port Harcourt, lagos , ajegunle.
From the working class dude to the conductor at the bus- stop. It’s a language for everyone; literate, semi-literate and the illiterate. The most amazing thing about pidgin is that it is always correct. Unlike the queens  language were you have to modify your nouns, follow the sentence structure, and certain rules of has, had and have….*sigh* but my lingua franca?  Gbam !!! no rules. Anyhow you speak am, e correct. So tay people da learn the wafi style.
 In order to appear official we adopt some correction. So instead of saying go- slow we say traffic jam, area boys na society outcast, give me my change is give me my balance, driver ! drop is - want to alight (hian, I still stick with the drop cliché sha, em.. for effective communication). As with every language, we also have our official abbreviation, even though you cannot find them in webster, oxford or the longman’s dictionary. While the Queen’s  english have AWOL, FYI, ASAP. We have UTM, IDK, ITK, IDD, FYM, IGG et al.
Apparently it baffles me when I bump into an old friend  and am like how far na? e don tay o, see as you da chop life…and he/she replies “  how have you been, its been a while, how’s your mom and siblings?” HUH? In my mind am like oyibo speaker. So I reply’ yea, its been ages, look at you* with emphasis and giggling* you look like a speckled puppy( let the English begin) rotflmao. Few days ago, I read the Nigerian accent is the fifth most romantic in the world and some people will do anything to get a British accent because it sounds super cool*shrugs*. Fellow Nigerians please feel free to exhibit your accent.
In Eighty percent of naija family , after the mothers tongue, pidgin is the next, from there you can learn the Queen ‘s. some of us were persecuted in primary and secondary school if we cannot accurately and fluently make a sentence very well. Its even worse if you speak brokin, you will pay to the class prefect. So it wasn’t really a big deal when some student suddenly turned deaf and dumb. Then others proceeded to write the school leaving certificate exam for over three times cos they kept failing English which is a prerequisite.
Africa is particularly admired for it vast heritage of proverbs and words of in order for the common man to fit in, we did coin our version e.g. na condition make crayfish bend, do me, I do you God no go vex, rolling stone na pesin push am, who go talk say im mama soup no sweet? Etc
Amidst the fact that English is our official language as well as a second language, many of us would agree that pidgin is a second official language.  And when we get back together with friends again trust me it feels so good to fall back there. Wazobia  fm; a pidgin station played in crammed buses, sleek air conditioned jeeps and roadside food stalls is doing a wow job in promoting this language.
Not everyone is a fan of pidgin rise. Some see its continued existence as a glaring symbol of a failed educational system. So potentially powerful is pidgin’s punch that authorities periodically clamp down on it. Fela said it a long time ago that the only language that can unify Nigeria is pidgin. In 2004,  President Olusegun Obasanjo banned a popular rap song called jaga jaga which took aim at politician who scatter-scatter the country,

Pidgin might not be the official language of the country but it is the universal language. Put a smile on somebody’s face today by telling them u de ginger my swagger. Cheerio !

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Fine Art of Revenge

If you prick us, do we not bleed­? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison, us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?–william Shakespeare.
A legal scholar says that “ eye for an eye” justice is a lot more humane than you think. Another author says “don’t get mad, get even” some of us will agree that payback is a bitch, but sometimes it pays to be a bitch/jerk* raised eyebrow*.  How do you go about crushing your foes so that they no longer get in your way?
It is perfectly normal to want someone to feel the pain and anguish that you feel especially when there are the source. After all, why would the person who’s   ruined your day, week, or even your life go scot-free?   Let’s face it – everyday there is at least one person who really pisses you off and while it would be great to ram their head into a roaring fire, it’s not exactly pratical aside the repercussions involved.   Some people think the best way to get revenge is with violence. They throw a rock, punch a nose or start a war. Yet if you use violence for revenge, you hurt innocent people, destroy lives and might even end up in jail.
So what is the best way to revenge?
The cycle of revenge is one way to show that ‘two wrongs make a right’ is a logically fallacious claim, and also deconstructs the Golden Rule or at least how everybody uses it as a justification for punishment. It, more often than not, results in a tragedy of impulsiveness.
The best revenge you can have is simply moving on and getting over your troubles. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction of seeing you suffer, in other words kill with kindness*literally saying*.  I mean being terribly kind to your adversaries.
 Just know that it is important we acknowledge what we are feeling, the anger, unfairness and aversion- and really honour how much hurt we are. Repressing our feelings means they will come back again at some point, probably when another situation triggers a similar response.
Note, no one can hurt you unless you let them, respect yourself enough that you want to feel good, consider how you may have contributed to the situation, extend kindness ,

Lastly, forgive. When you forgive you set a prisoner free-you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

walls of silence

          I got a job in New York City a few years ago. I was new to the American North; I still reeked of the South. Pillsbury biscuits, Georgian peaches and Jiffy cornbread with a dollop of Daisy. Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles’ and Piggly Wiggly. I was a Southern American, in many ways. Cheerful, trusting, polite, Bible-wielding, slow-talkin’, Southern. South of the Potomac, East of the Mississippi. Paisley print blouses, plastic sunflowers hot glued on Payless Shoes open-toe rubber sandals. But I was all right, I guess. Perhaps a bit wide-eyed, gap-tooth grinning, but I was all right.
                 The job was with a news media outfit that covers Africa and the affairs of the black Diaspora. It was fashionable, in every sense, that media company  Funded by big-name multinationals, Third World saviors, it sought to tackle malfeasance and corruption with heavy handed, not always credible citizen reportage. The company had made its name among particular Westerners and Fela-loving expatriate Africans, students of the school of thought that says African governments need a total sociopolitical upheaval to weed out the kleptocrats before anything substantial can be planted, plug in the former student union grassroots activists who give a care about the proletariat, slum dwellers, retired civil servants, and unemployed twenty somethings. A single-handed crusade propelled by American dollars and mercenary Africaphiles, this media company had recruited a handful of passionate, impressionable youngsters with a compelling allegiance to Africa. Aluta Continua! Help the motherland. We thought, or at least I did.
                  So I went to work. My title was a new one. Within that role, I initiated new projects, helped revive slumbering ventures, planned and promoted the awesomeness of the company — what we were doing and where we hoped to go. I tuned in, excited about every single part of the job. Everything seemed fine in the beginning.
              I went out with the boss one evening to hang out after work. I was still new to the North, still new to the city. A Nigerian immigrant in his early 40s, the boss had a hip rugged fashion aesthetic, quintessentially urban: distressed brown jackets and boots, a hefty brown backpack. He was the rebel with a cause, a card-carrying activist. Encrusted in the syrupy coos of his admirers, he has fans on both sides of the Atlantic. He was charisma defined.
               He’d been nice to me thus far, a listening ear for my Southerner’s rants and observations on northern culture. We walked around the street corner to a swanky new spot with a shiny glass exterior and perfumed-scented, dimly lit interior. Good living people in stiletto pumps and crisp blazers, leather and lace, hung there. He led me to a couch in the corner where we sat down. I don’t drink, so I didn’t order. We chit chatted pleasantly about school, guys, Africa, Nigerians, our past, our future.
          When we get up to leave, he grabs my waist. He pulls me to his chest. He leans in for a kiss. My stunned mind stops thinking. It shuts down; I hurry to turn it back on. Easy, Chika. Don’t embarrass the man. Take it easy. I slide out of his arms with a surprising calm. I’m just not interested. I say his name for effect. It works. He gets the point, yet the perplexity in his eyes remains. I never bring it up. It’s like it never happened. It never happened again.
     As time goes on, I grew in confidence at work as I befriended my fellow colleagues and further solidified my commitment to “the Africa cause” and to excel in my job performance. I began expressing my opinions about the way things were done, and offering suggestions on how I thought we could improve in production quality and efficiency. The boss welcomed the suggestions, in the beginning, but only to a certain extent.
Time after time, I begin to notice a pattern: he seemed to have issues with women, especially expressive women with a backbone.
“She’s arrogant,” he would often say with a sneer and a dismissive shrug whenever I would mention names of high-profile successful women I admired. Whether it was author Chimamanda Adichie, or a well-known female journalist, or a female politician, it seemed all successful women were inherently arrogant to him.
           Eventually, my efforts at work never seem good enough. The boss is known to be hot-tempered and I was often on the receiving end of his sarcastic remarks, his angst, his frustration, and disapproval. Any gaps from my colleagues, anything they failed to do, it was usually my fault. I was the office scapegoat. Some of my colleagues noticed this. They’d throw me sympathetic glances or they’d simply try to ignore the situation and keep their eyes glued to their computer screens. After such occurred not once or twice or thrice but on multiple instances, I soon became aware of the hierarchy. My male colleagues seldom received the boss’s butchering complaints. I’d arrive to work and the boss would remain silent to my greetings. My male colleagues would arrive and the boss would say hey what’s up man and crack jokes with them and have a jolly good time. He had a propensity to engage in sex jokes with my male colleagues, the kind of lewd comedy high school boys often entertain.
             My female colleagues usually fulfilled the boss’s wishes without much objection, but on the whole, it looked to me like the guys were coasting.In my role at work, I was frequently undermined. He’d constantly override decisions I had already made with his prior authorization. He’d demean my work in the presence of others. He’d sometimes shut down my attempts to join the staff in their friendly, office banter. He rarely expressed gratitude about my initiatives and strategies that were clearly having a positive effect on the company.
“Do you really think you’re directing anything?” A colleague once asked me.
        The situation deteriorated. I pushed myself harder, completing massive amounts of work by staying late into the night when everyone else had gone home. Graveyard shifting, early mornings. He began shouting at me in the workplace in front of my colleagues. My cheerful, trusting, polite, Bible-wielding, slow-talkin’, Southern mannerisms were dissipating. The city was taking its toll on me. I felt like discarded mush. I planned my exit. Looked for another job.
        one day he called me to meet him in the office. In the meeting, he said the company is losing money, said he had to let me go. Though I was the one who was suddenly unemployed, it was his emotions and composure that began to unravel as I fought to keep the work I had produced – works that were mine. The payment I was promised because I was not given notice of my termination in advance, he didn’t pay me anywhere near half of it. He lied and said I was never even employed, said I was just a contractor, a freelancer or something like that. My work agreement had conveniently disappeared from where I had placed it inside my work desk months ago. The intervention meeting we were supposed to have where we were supposed to present our cases before two or three mediators, well, that was conveniently cancelled. A male colleague and a prominent columnist with the company intervened, but nothing much came out of it. Perhaps, they – both guys – ended up siding with the boss.
       Because the boss had already depicted me as “one of those” power-hungry, erratic, opinionated, overly assertive, selfish girls, one who eagerly challenged his authority. That false image suited his chauvinistic motives.
“You like attention,” he once told me.
Wrong. I’m actually as shy as a kiwi bird.
“You’re a career woman,” he once told me. It came out as a judgmental scoff. He’s a career man himself, but because it’s more socially acceptable for men to devote much time and energy to their professional lives, the term “career man” is seldom used.
            In the workplace, women often work twice as hard as their male colleagues, yet still face the brunt of disapproval when things don’t go right, while male colleagues seem to get by. We put in overtime – a 2013 study from the Ponemon Institute revealed that women employees “work harder and longer” than men do. Another 2013 study from Edith Cowan University and the University of New England found that “women experience more rude and disrespectful behavior in the workplace, but they tolerated it more.”  We continuously strive to be on the good side of the boss. Women seem to always be compensating for something. Their womanhood?
Most of the women who worked at that company hardly objected or posed a challenge to my former boss’s sugarcoated slurs and sly insolence. But I had an opinion and I voiced it. My opinions, my free-willed spirit and intolerance for nonsense cost me my job… for that I am grateful.
My former boss’s attitude toward women is not unique.
I had a conversation with a gentleman here in Nigeria who said women in positions of power always become over-bearing, whereas men know how to handle leadership and success with humility.
“It gets to their heads,” he said of women in management roles.
            Looking back, I realize that my experience at that New York City-based media company was not atypical. I wrote this piece “It Happened To Me” bolstered by the courage I summoned immediately after reading a blog post a few days ago “The White Savior Industrial Complex & Sexual Harassment of African Female Aid Workers” by Lesley Agams. Agams vividly describes an assault by a male colleague while working as the Nigeria country director for the renown Oxfam GB. After the assault, the man in question handed her a contract termination letter. Many of my fellow women have confided in me, sharing harrowing real-life tales of near-rape incidents in the workplace, cases where they were told to sleep with the boss to get a promotion, and aggressive intimidation by male supervisors.
And it’s not only the overtly patriarchal, “man-is-the-head” types who are committing this abuse.
             It’s also the hash-tagging, progressive, left-winged liberals garbed in trendy activist attire: thick soled boots and dashikis, plaid button-downs and worn blue jeans with worn sneakers, or cropped blazers over cotton shirts without neckties. These activists are too often propped up in a righteous spotlight. They march on as darlings of the revolution, unexamined. Their act-ivism is unstoppable… their acts, unstoppable.
                 I met one of these young self-titled human rights activist types. He was among those arrested for protesting during the 2012 Occupy Nigeria rallies. This guy picks and chooses his causes and apparently the advancement of women is not one of them. In his mind, women’s rights are not important enough. After I voiced my opposition to his foul groping and leering sexual advances on me, he told me “women’s rights are not human rights.”
Even the Pan-African activist revolutionary himself, Fela Kuti once sang, “When I say woman na mattress I no lie.”
Confiding in others about incidents of workplace harassment and intimidation often backfires. Some employees get terminated. Others stay in those toxic work environments after they are made to doubt their own perceptions.
Relax, calm down, maybe it’s your imagination, it’s no big deal, maybe you’re just stressed out, well you know you’re very pretty, he didn’t mean it that way, dress more conservatively, forget about it, maybe you led him on, well… ignore it, just pray about it, you can be very emotional, you’re being dramatic, um…stop working late hours in the office, say no next time, these things happen, you’re overreacting, are you sure?
Yes, I am sure.
Harassment is still harassment whether in the form of intimidation in the workplace, sexual propositions or subtle or obvious oppression.
In his 1,621-word editorial, Los Angeles-based social commentator Yashar Ali compares the emotional manipulation and harassment of women to gaslighting, a coined term referencing the 1944 feature movie in which Charles Boyer’s character employs wily strategies to make his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, believe she is crazy. Off the Hollywood production sets, real life is full of cases where women, distressed in the workplace, keep quiet for fear of being labeled troublesome. Or crazy. They allow perpetrators to go free, especially when the perpetrator is a popular man.
If we share our experiences collectively, we can break down the wall of silence.
It’s time to tell our stories.
Chika Oduah is a journalist presently based in Abuja, Nigeria.
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