Njuki Moments

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Au revoir

Yesterday,Tuesday 28 June 2011,I waved goodbye to Rotaract,a home I have had for the past decade or so.It was a fairly large audience,and I don't know whether it was just to see me go or it was a mere coincidence.Well,I wasn't the only one leaving. More than ten years ago,I was an ashen faced,shy,slim young man who was starting university.My first port of call as the Rotaract Club of Makerere University.I found my friendship in Rotaract.I belonged. Alot of my friends then probably remember the attachment because when we meet now they are surprised I never left.
I tend to be long term,by the way.

I was allowed to share a little about me throughout the years. Particularly about my Immediate Past club,the Rotaract Club of Kampala city. I have grown up here.I now carry myself better,hope I am a better leader and I know I have taken out more than I have given. I am truly proud. The journey has taken me through several lands,from Kigali to Nairobi,from Dar -es Salaam,Zanzibar to Addis Ababa.
I have toured the District and neighbors...and that usual friendliness that only comes with years of sharing,surprisingsly that is brimming in the family which meets you every where,and always that tag.."any time you find yourself in this Country,give me a call". True hospitality.

My start was actually at the Interact Club of St.Henry's College,Kitovu,and for a past seminarian in a school of 200,you can't say I knew every one.Leaving the exclusive club needed new friends,and I will be honest here I simply joined for the word,'Interact',well it means Interact and I was not wrong.

So life has been great.I found a wife,in Rotaract,I shared a Club with a brother,you could say adding new meaning to the word family.A brother who by the way got me very emotional narrating his journey in the Club. Those deep truths that come out with tears!

Like I said, Iam glad to leave,not because I have had enough,you can't have enough here,whether fun or friendship.Infact the longer you stay,the longer you want to stay..you get comfortable.
But I need to move on.To create space and room for the new members to bloom and grow..and honestly I had reached the maximum age limit.

So I will move on to new lands,new territory and Iam brimming with mirth,I may yet be the youngest there...

But it hasn't been love alone-I have also been deeply hurt,and you could say such is life..and it's the experiences that make us who we are.I have learned as well.It is also said that when you get hurt,it teaches you to apreciate love and friendship more. I will do the same.Besides,we need to apprecaite that every rose carries with it a thorn,and the work of the thorn is to prick.Can you imagine roses without thorns, they wouldn't be roses then!

So,to all family and friends,see you around. I would never ask for another life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

there is no such a thing as failing a job interview......

If you are out of school, congratulations, you are soon to embark on the new job of finding a job. In effect, you have already got a job, to search for a job..And I am not kidding or being sarcastic. Reality is that if you whole heartedly would like to be gainfully employed as they say, you need to go to work and give your all to the job at hand of finding a job.

By a mere stroke of luck I have found myself in this situation before (don’t we all) but I have also found myself observing people who are looking for a job at length. Now, employers do look for specific aspects in a potential employee, but don’t be fooled; however professional the search is and how well worded the job ad was, the panel is still composed of humans, who, like all humanity have predictable behavior. We like people who seem to like us, for example. Friendly people are easy to get along with and we do hope they make better employees. You could have a great track record of leadership and performance and achievement, but if you are ever not selected for job you interviewed for, don’t beat yourself too much, you did not fail the interview, you were just not the right person…and that is not failure.

I don’t want to delude you that there fore there is no need to prepare for the interview, the whole point of an interview is to present your best side, so work on it, but you can relate it to a date that even when your best is not seen as such you don’t say you failed a date, so why an interview! There are special circumstances of course, like when your potential has been misrepresented. Some of us only blossom in familiar territory - one brief interview may not be enough to show you in all your glory, hence the need to prepare, but this need should not be taken to give a picture of who you are not.
We shall agree here that if you have held a job before the last thing you will ever pray for is to be accepted for a job for which you are not suited or that is not personally stimulating. You don’t want to live your life like that. Therefore, other than wearing clean clothes and well kempt hair; working on your accent and polishing up your current affairs (like who the Minister of Portfolio is) also know that one of two things will happen. The panel will either find you suitable or not. If they do, you have every right to celebrate. That is the reason you applied.
If they don’t however, stay calm, and look at things the way they are, you did not fail, it was not an exam, it was an interview you simply did not fit the picture they wanted. Apply for more jobs. Remember, that till you find one, this is the process that should occupy you more. Put time and tact into it. Eventually you will find your calling where everyone is happy with the outcome.

Of course I am making this argument on the premise that you are otherwise fairly qualified for the job you are applying for and someone just happens to be better, the other assumption being that you are fairly treated and you had a good fighting chance, and may be there is just one required out of seven hundred applicants, like the norm is for Civil servant’s jobs. Otherwise, if you are a qualified Accountant and this is your twentieth rejection for a simple cashier’s job, barring over qualification assumptions, then may be you are living proof that one can actually fail a job interview.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't tell me nuthin'. All men are dogs. tsk

Over the next couple of months,I will be writing about issues you wish you knew about men. You see,a lot of 'truths' you think you have about the menfolk are actually myths.You know why? Because they have been passed on by fellow women,who are not men(duh) so they don't know how a man reasons,what he wants and why men do what they do.

I believe in world peace and harmony,so I have decided that the more women and girls know the truth about men,the better we shall co -relate and live happier.

Of course I don't expect all smiles,especially from the brothas who will regard me as a snitch and wish to pour beer on me for telling on them,but I believe they will see the light soon.That this is for their won good too...and anyway if the beer was poured properly I won't lodge any complaints either.

So,here we go.
Where did you ever get the concept that men are dogs? How can you even liken us ,the best creatures to have walked this earth, to a dog! Beats me.
Okay ,people who keep dogs( I don't have any people I know who do ) tell me that dogs are God-sent.They are humble,polite ,loyal and protective.Great aspects of character,if you ask me.May be that is why we may be referred to as dogs too.

But No,someone here is screaming,The noun dog here has a negative connotation,for what,you tell me.

Small break as I be updated.....

Yes.I am back.
Out of my class,attended while you waited,we did not agree with the student teacher.But student teacher says that being a dog has nothing to do with sexual conquests.No? Yes(uumm she lied,it does).But the point ,normally dogs hang out together, clubs on weekends, strip clubs on Thursday’s, a bar on the other nights of the week,Rugby on Saturday while looking for something new to hit. Okay. I may agree there.

In our defense,even dogs sometimes tire of waiting for something to happen,(you get the point if you are the type)but once you have their attention,you need to keep it. It's not them,it's you.

But my promise of the whole truth about our ilk will be honored. See you after break.
Class dismissed.

bird poop

Yesterday I was humbly taking my walk through my leafy neighborhood when I felt something cool.No.Cold on my head. I looked up,and then I Couldn't see any more,well for the next four minutes.Then I wondered,when they talk about blessings flowing from heaven,is this how they fall?

Kumbe some family of birds had decided I was the nearest thing to a flush toilet for them.

All my swagger was gone.I thought of returning home,but how do you return home like that! If those of home don't laugh at you they will pity you,and me and pity are not exactly very good friends.

Seriously,how does one go ahead to address situations like that?
Its only later that I realized that birds are taught these things in their schools.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the excusitis disease and how to find help

Dr.David Schwartz diagnosed a disease among people in all walks of life. He even gave it a unique name based on what causes it.He intimates that people who are normally called failures have this condition in advanced stages.

I am not in the habit of doling out self help information and neither do I want to be referred as a know-it-all telling you who to listen to or which books to read in order to get better. But if you are the reading,or the leading type with people you need to motivate in order to get work done,The Magic of Thinking Big is one book that I am sure would serve you well.

This particular chapter came to mind recently after attending a do-it-your self presentation. Much as I realized that a lot of people were appreciative for the information shared and there were obvious signs of envy for the guy who was living the life,a totally different side turned up when we interacted after the presentation. The side that gives all reasons why we cannot do what others have done.Those who have achieved are either con-artists or have had an unfair advantage over others.Such voices tend to be so loud they wont give opportunity to positivity. Granted,we all recognise that it takes inconsiderable effort and opportunity to be successful,but it starts in self belief. We all want to live a good life,where money is more than our needs.We all want to travel and afford life as we know it.I suspect that that is why we listen to people who have the life we would like to have. The people who have lived in places and countries we want to live in .The people who drive the cars we would like to drive.The people who live in houses we would like to live in.It's as if we want to confirm just how good our life will be when we archive our dreams by observing others.

Why then would we decide to find reason not to be what we dream of? Confusing? That is what Dr Schwartz calls the 'excusitis' disease. People afflicted with this disease find reason not to get started. They will dig deep and find all possible reasons why something cannot be done,especially by them.They may hide behind age;they tend to be either too young or too old.Education;they are either with little education or not the right education. They may hide behind health,always with a condition which prevents them from being who they want to be. They may also hide behind luck and the fact that the universe has conspired to deny them their life's joy at all times. The list is big.It is a self defeatist mentality which unfortunately once rooted leads people who have real potential into real failures.

The truth is that all of us have the same opportunities in life.WE all have twenty four hours in a day,for example.No one is created with an extra heart or a bonus pair of hands.Yes we are gifted differently,but there lies the diversity of our strengths. We can get whatever we want no matter our background,our education,our faith or even how powerful our ancestors are. People who we look up to in life have achieved what they have, not without challenges,and grave challenges at that.If you listen to them,they could have hidden behind a lot of excuses just like the normal average guy,but they didn't. Some have found success despite being foreign in the country where they find themselves.Some have battled with the limitations of poor health,old age,death of parents,abuse as children,no contacts,no education or even several false starts to make it in life.They could have thrown in the towel when met with hard challenges but they didn't.

If you recognize even a miniature thread of this condition, take a few steps. It may also be that people you are responsible for,people you lead may have this excusutis condition.Take heart ,it is curable.

Develop a positive attitude.Look for what you can do and not what you cannot do. Realize that your mind only works with what you feed it.If you choose negativity and why you can't, it will work overtime to give you reasons why you cannot do what is at hand.On the other hand if you challenged it to give you reasons why you will succeed, it will give you thousands of reasons why you will succeed.

Decide to live for now and not for the past.The past is gone and you cannot change it.Look at the opportunities you have now and use them.Go for them with all you have.
If it is poor health you are worried about,the fact that you are still alive and not dead yet means you have more opportunity than most people.Stop feeling sorry for yourself and live with what you have. You are alive for a reason,poor health or not.

Life is too diverse for us to know everything,so we only use what we know.Education is good,but if you focused on education alone you may not have time for anything else. Use what you have. The greatest singers did not go to music school...and every time you fail,throw a party,you have found one more way that wont work and you are getting closer to what works.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transform talent into business

Tim is a globetrotting celebrity photographer. He is good with the camera and he flaunts it. His equipment is his life and he lets everyone know on first meeting. He boasts about the fact that he can make his rent money over a week end and life can only get better.

The first time we met, we didn't have a lot in common, so conversation did not flow that well. It is on the second meeting that we got beyond the usual, hello, and nice to meet you. Since you already know that I do, I won’t dwell on that but rather share what Tim shared. Other than being a bit jealous of a young man who makes his rent money in a week end, I also got a lot to learn from my friend Tim.

"The journey here has not been easy. But I love photography and travel. I am blessed I am doing what I love. Since these two are my passions, photography makes the money and pays the bills while travel gives me the exposure and well, that is where the money is spent."
He didn't need to elaborate much. Both times we had met on trips.
“I decided I will be a photographer when I realized that is all I want to explore. It didn't pay the bills at first, but I lived on what I had to make it last. I am luckier these days. I am so on demand, sometimes I have to keep clients waiting. Full events get rescheduled because my calendar is full"; he continued.

I could only marvel.
"So what happens if you are unable to make it for a really important client? Do you pass on the chance? What happens when you fall sick?" I asked.

With this look that only very wise people can muster, he looked at me long and hard, as if wondering how I could ask a question like that. I waited.

“You see, I work like a musician. He only gets paid for days worked. If he was booked for a concert and had a bad throat, tough luck." he reasoned.

"But does it have to be that way? I mean you have been in the field that long, you must have spotted young talent that you can groom to fill in for you."

"You are not listening, my friend. By the time a client calls Tim, they know me. They can rely on my work. They will not allow anyone else to do that." The lesson continued. “And besides, by the time someone is good enough to do the work I do, then they are good enough to get their own work."

From my experience. That was not so. A lot of talented people prefer a steady pay check to the life of hustling on their own. They would rather work with an established artist than strike it out on their own. Not because they are not equally good or even better in some aspects, but because security of income is top of the list in most people's lives. I told Tim as much and told him that there may be some really talented people out there, and it doesn't hurt to get them and play mentor. Or even employ a few. Set up a business structure which will keep work going and money flowing even when you are unable to be there physically.

Several months later, and Tim had a shoot in our lovely town. He called me up.
"Man"; he started. “I cannot put a price to our chat the last time I was here. I am glad we talked.
I waited.

"Two months ago. I went to visit my sister, and her two year old son woke up when I entered the house. I went to get him. As I was bending to pick him from the mattress on the floor, my back snapped. Those were the most painful two weeks of my adult life. Not just from physical pain but also from the fact that clients' work was waiting. It’s only then that I thought about what you said the last time we talked.
My first company was registered last month, and I have you to thank for it. Even when I travel, I know work will still go on"

May be I should start charging for consultancy.

notice of intention to sue

The first time you ever receive one of these (notice of intention to sue), you will have a bowel movement. Sweat suddenly decides to leave your body at great speed, your throat is suddenly very dry, and you may develop a stammer.
By the time you get here, there must have been some background, and this may seem like the justified step to take.
Unfortunately in business, situations where you have to resort to courts of law often occur. Here is when you need a good lawyer. Although some would argue that if you had used one in the first Place you would not have got here.

Assuming you are the aggrieved party, you may have to prepare well, unfortunately one way to do that is to put more money aside. This process can be costly.

But what happens when you are the one being sued? The answer doesn't change much. Prepare well too. Call up an equally good lawyer, (big firms first, please), though your banker could be of help here. Luckily most disputes in business revolve around money and unless there is simply bad blood and ill intention, you may be lucky if you have a friendly banker.
Truth is, lawsuits are often a pretty poor way of resolving business disputes. The problem however is that we have yet to come up with something better and so litigants are usually forced to make some hard choices.
The cost goes beyond money. You will spend a lot of time, emotions flare and you are not immune either from being sued in return.

Sometimes though, that is the only way to get justice, closure or just recover what is lost. I warn you though. It is quite draining, and to both parties. You may also need to check in with your doctor before a big show down.

Of course there are ways to avoid the suits and you could try some.

Threaten a lot of action. People in business generally dislike litigation and work to avoid it. Use that. If you have a grievance, consider hiring the big names (firms and individual lawyers), have them threaten to sue, but offer to settle for less. Your defendant just may come to the same conclusion that you did – that a lawsuit is just not worth it – and therefore may look to settle.

Being willing to settle for less than you are owed is another sometimes wise action: If you want to avoid the expense and time of a lawsuit it is almost a guarantee that you will have to settle for less than you want. Be happy if that is the case. Plenty of defendants will not settle. But if your good lawyer friend offers a reasonable settlement, and the other side agrees, you just avoided paying a lot in legal fees, and your Accountant will be the happier for your action.(Did you know good lawyers bill by the hour?)

Walk: Not every dispute is a litigation-worthy dispute. Even in the best of cases, you should think that your odds of winning are 50-50. The judge may say yes, or she may say no. It's 50-50. Of course some suits are better than others, but you just never know what a judge may return with, and your work my friend is to make money, to do business, if it is not worth the fight, don’t waste your time.
But you only have these choices if you are the aggrieved, other wise if you find yourself on the opposite side; this is what the Bible says;
“Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.”(Mathew 5:25)