Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It's Your Turn

Don't worry, I'm not about to prophesy :)
Every Friday going forward, it will be #YourTurn on this blog. I intend to publish one piece of non-fiction or that odd fiction that catches my fancy. If you have something interesting you really want to say and know how to like they say, spin a good yarn; mail it to me. I'll publish it on my blog once it's been reviewed.

A few things to note however:
  • Keep your articles short and straight to the point
  • No APC PDP mud-slinging (I'm not suffering from apathy. I just can't)
  • No typos and grammatical errors (In other words, edit before you send.)
  • A little humour never hurt anybody
 If you are interested, send your articles to nlb.share@yahoo.com

©Naomi Lucas

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Tribute To All Mothers. Random Monday Thoughts

I was in/on (I'm not sure again) a plane yesterday evening sitting by the window.  On the aisle seat was a lady. The middle seat was empty. Ha…bliss. I thought. Too soon.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Must Read: The Religion Called Nigeria by Zeal Akaraiwe

A friend of mine called to ask why I hadn't written about all the nonsense going on in the Church today. I told him I hadn't because I was upset and still was and didn't want to write with the kind of anger I was feeling. Well, Zeal has saved me the stress and written what most of us would be afraid to say, for fear of offending the powers that be. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Discipline To Finish

Let me start with myself. You see, I cannot be rushed. I just can't. It is one of my most annoying traits - that's what my friends say. I don't mean that I'm slow, quite the opposite. The rush I refer to has to do with ideas, projects; the things I say I want to do. I will do them when I feel ready. No amount of pressure will make me start what I haven't thought through.

Bribery In The Workplace

My friend built this really amazing app. He wants to sell it to a bank. He approaches the head of a segment who could recommend the app. Before the poor guy is done explaining what the functions of the app are, Segment Manager tells him how much he wants. He will only facilitate this ‘deal’ if my friend agrees to his demand.

Another friend got funds for a creative project. As with most investors, funds are paid in tranches based on attainment of mutually agreed milestones. The Project Manager who worked with the investing company could not be bothered. Out of the first tranche, this Project Manager, who earned less than half a million a month, collected over 30 times his monthly salary in one fell swoop. The project faltered mid-way and is yet to be completed over one year after it was commissioned.

Monday, 22 September 2014

There's Always Another Option, Always

Sometime ago I found myself in a fix. I needed money and I needed it badly. Now, I had a couple of people who owed me cash. My first thought was to call and say, "Hey, I've tried please give me back my money." I didn't. I didn't because I knew deep down that the only reason they hadn't returned it was because they literally didn't have it. If I had insisted, they probably would have paid back but it might have strained my relationship with them.

Having precluded my debtors as an option for the cash I needed, it was easy to think of other ways to solve my problem. 

Tunnel vision has it's advantages - laser focus etc. etc. but when you don't make an attempt to see beyond what's in front of you, what's in front of you is the only thing you will see.

A helpful way to see beyond the apparent, the immediate, is to divorce yourself from the situation; see the problem from a passerby's perspective. You will literally be shocked at the range of options available to you.

There's always another option if you think about it long enough.

©Naomi Lucas

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

#BringBackOurGirls - Some Good News, Maybe?

I met a friend at an event I attended recently. We sat together and chatted while we waited for the event to start. And then she asked me, suddenly, "Do you think the girls are coming back?" She asked in relation to the girls recently kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. It was a simple question but it dampened my mood that evening. All I could mutter was "I don't know men, I don't know." 

Until she asked I had tried not to consciously think of the girls; that was my own way of dealing with the horror. But as the week wore on I found the question flittering in and out of my thoughts. The media has done its bit in creating the buzz needed to get the government to do something. It seemed to be working at the time but as with most social media driven campaigns (Remember #Childnotbride?) the hashtag grew tired and even more sad, most people moved on.

During a conversation with another friend who happened to be from Maiduguri and still has family there, I asked the same question, "Do you think the girls are coming back?" Let me paraphrase what he said to me:

The girls have been coming back Naomi. They have. In the last couple of weeks, quite a number of them have been found, in twos, threes, in the bush at different times by farmers, people looking for firewood and so on. But because everyone is afraid, no one wants to be the one to say, "look, I found a Chibok girl" they get the girls to places where they can hitch a ride or find their way home, give them some money and leave them to their fate. But in recent weeks the numbers have reduced drastically. Sadly, some of the girls have gotten pregnant. So as a collective, they are not coming back but as individuals, most likely, maybe.

Bittersweet right? Grateful but still anxious, that's how I feel. But hey, while we hope for better days ahead and some more good news, I thought this might brighten someone's day, to know that some of the girls have and still are finding their way home.

©Naomi Lucas

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Thing About Assumptions

I had a young lady who was having major issues with her boss come see me. Feeling terribly overwhelmed, she had asked for help. As I listened to her go on and on about her boss, I realized the cause of her misery. Her sentences were peppered with - she's supposed to... she should know that... I expect her to... When I couldn't take it anymore I told her to stop. Between her and the boss, they had tons of assumptions going on. Where her boss expected some things from her that she had not explicitly communicated, she expected some things from her boss and felt used because those expectations were not met. When I asked if they had ever had a conversation about her concerns which had plagued her for over six months, she said no. That revelation didn't come as a surprise. It's just sad that she had borne such heartache for a problem a simple sit-down would have addressed.

When you assume, you 'confer' expectations on the other person; expectations they are not aware of and may or may not have the capacity to meet. Anything not explicitly agreed by the other party cannot be construed as a promise. Except if you are surrounded by people who read minds, you need to verbalize the things you expect, from whom and by when. 

Did you say you will...? When am I to expect...? I'm assuming you are responsible for...? Are you sending the...? At the risk of sounding totally stupid, ask questions just to make sure. When you have done so, ask again. Even with the flimsiest of things, as long expectations are concerned, seek clarity. 

Environments where assumptions are rife are usually toxic environments. Everyone believes someone will get the task done, but then no one does and sadly, someone gets blamed for everyone's careless oversight. 

Assumption makes everyone involved look quite frankly, stupid. It disrupts things, affects relationships and wastes time, especially yours. The job will start when the person responsible for it knows he is responsible, not while that piece of information is still in your head. 

I believe personal effectiveness lies in paying attention to the little things, the obvious things. Knowing never to assume is commonsense 101.

©Naomi Lucas

Friday, 12 September 2014

360 Woman: JobMag Founder, Maureen Iyasele On Managing The Homefront, Running Her Youth Centre And Making Her Marriage Work

Every once in a while, you come across people who make some decisions that make you wonder what they were thinking. But when you stop to think about it, it all makes perfect sense. After working with Exxon Mobil as a Lead Design Engineer for 5 years, Maureen resigned to set up a youth center in Lagos. When asked why she did it, she responds very simply, " I wasn't fulfilled or satisfied with what I had accomplished." 

Armed with some work experience and a very big heart, she found The JobMag Youth Centre and 4 years down the line, her company is still standing strong. Every woman should read Maureen's story. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A Tribute To My Brother

He made me eat Key Soap. Remember Key Soap? Yeah, that one.
Okay wait, let me give you some background to this story. You see, I loved sugar as a little girl. My definition of ‘enjoyment’ was drinking garri with sugar that I am allowed to scoop by myself. I would suck cube after cube and marvel at the beauty of this thing called life. My family knew. If I ended up with any meal that needed sweetening, they would sweeten it for me and watch me eat and take my plate to the kitchen. It was necessary ‘cos 3 seconds was all I needed to empty a container of sugar into my food. I wanted to grow up really bad and my primary motivation for that ambition was so that I could eat as much sugar as I wanted.