Monthly Archives: May 2013

10 signs you’re about to get fired

Firing an employee is something that no one looks forward to and it’s just as awkward for management as it is for you.

It’s May and what that means for me and others in the non-profit struggle, is that the fiscal year end is quickly approaching. Management will review budgets and see who’s worth keeping and who’s just costing them money. I work in a small office so when someone is let go it doesn’t go unnoticed. Once I became familiar with the signs, they were easy to see; like “neon construction sign” easy to see. Co-workers who were let go had seemed unhappy with their jobs and communicated with management less and less. The little conversation they did have wasn’t exactly personal and more and more there was major shade thrown over minor things like who didn’t change the toner. And we can’t forget the team meetings to address problems that everyone knew were actually meant for that one person with a pink slip headed their way.

Sometimes it really is nothing personal and with budget cuts there is nothing you can do to stop the inevitable. But other times you have to be honest with yourself and question if you’ve truly been performing to your full potential and if you’re even happy in the position anymore. It’s understandable that any job is better than no job in an unpredictable job market, but no employer wants someone who is simply showing up and you shouldn’t have to spend 40+ hours a week simply going through the motions.

Your job may be in rough waters, but you don’t have to be left without a paddle. Here are 10 signs that you may want to refresh that résumé:

1. Your position was created for you or labeled a “trial position.”
Beware of positions that never existed before your employment. Smaller companies and non-profits are big fans of employees who can easily transition between departments and know a little bit of everything, but it can become tricky when your responsibilities aren’t complimentary. I once had a co-worker whose job title grew longer and longer because she believed she could make herself stand out by doing a whole lot of everything. Management allowed her to take on a number of responsibilities to see if someone could successfully manage two very different positions at the same time. She took the shovel and quickly buried herself and burned herself out.

There’s a reason why someone is rarely an “Administrative Assistant/Office Manager/Grant Writer/Program Director.” Inevitably deadlines will conflict and instead of doing one job well, you’ll end up doing a lot of jobs incompetently. Trial positions are just that: an experiment. If management sees it’s not working, soon you won’t be either.

2. There is a high turnover in the position that pre-dates your employment.
Do your research on the history of your position and how it came to be vacant in the past. Do people usually get promoted from it, are they often fired or do they resign? If there is a high turnover rate in a position it could be because job duties aren’t designed in a way that makes sense for the company or because they are especially difficult or demanding. Is the position set up in a way that will sabotage even the best employees or is that particular manager difficult to work for? Sometimes it really isn’t your fault. It’s not that you weren’t a right fit for the position, but rather the position isn’t a right fit for the company.

3. You can’t clearly define what it is you do (and why only you can do it).
You’re at a networking event and after revealing with pride your fancy professional title, you’re hit with the obvious follow-up, “So what does a (insert fancy title) do?” If you can’t easily ramble off three major job responsibilities you might be in the danger zone. It’s one thing to do a little bit of everything or get in where you fit in when your workload is light. But if you don’t have major designated responsibilities and find yourself regularly looking for tasks and end up watering plants, color coding the Outlook calendar event or labeling the cabinets in the employee lounge you may not be as vital to the organization as you think.
If you’re not given an important project, create one. When I noticed my agency’s Facebook hadn’t been updated in over a year when I started, I designated myself our agency’s social networking coordinator and began updating it frequently. I set goals to get more followers and web traffic and it didn’t go unnoticed when management noticed how much visibility they gained.

4. Your PTO is approved a little too easily.
Damn, you forgot to request off for your niece’s graduation which unfortunately falls on the day of the annual fundraiser. When you bring your concerns to your supervisor they sign off on your PTO request, no questions asked. That was easy, right? Either your boss in still in her “I just got a man” glow or your absence doesn’t make much of a difference because soon you’ll have a whole lot more days off. Most management will want key employees at special events to at least show their face and represent even if they aren’t assigned any major tasks. If your company allows you to skip major events , it could be because you’re not needed or there’s no point in having someone network who won’t be able to access their work e-mail in a week.

5. You’re given very little responsibility or tasks.
On one hand you have management with major control issues who would rather do all of the work their way instead of delegating. On the other hand they may have lost faith in you to do a decent job. If you find that your boss has been picking up more of the slack and doing tasks that would have otherwise been assigned to you, don’t be afraid to ask why. Firing an employee is something that no one looks forward to and it’s just as awkward for management as it is for you. Sometimes it’s best to get things out in the open so you both can better prepare for you departure instead of awkwardly avoiding the pink elephant in the room.

6. When you’re headed to the team meeting, you’re told, “You can sit this one out.”
Could you imagine if the Heat told Lebron James he could sit the championship game out? Or if Kelly and Michelle told Beyoncé at the Superbowl, “It’s cool, Bey. We got this.” When you are a valued employee, companies take your opinions into consideration. You may not have any hiring power, but you’ll be asked what you thought about the spring interns. Even if you’re not the star player, if you’re making any kind of significant contribution your coach will need you in that huddle. If you’re sitting on the bench it’s because, sadly you’re not needed and well , “they got this.”

7. You notice a lot of conversations are happening behind closed doors.
Consider yourself lucky if you work for supervisors who keep the lines of communication open and update you about any issues within the company, even if they don’t pertain to you. When you have this type of relationship you can rest assured that when conversations start happening behind closed doors, management is discussing you and/or your co-workers. I once had a co-worker who was already on management’s hit list because she revealed way too much about her personal life. When she revealed she was 4 months pregnant by her less than stellar boyfriend (information which she openly revealed to management), more and more meetings were held down the hall as opposed to in the office. Next thing I knew when she went to deliver, an “agreement” was worked out so she could part ways with the company.

Closed doors don’t have to mean they’re working on your severance package, but prepare for some kind of big announcement, because it’s coming.

8. Management is increasingly encouraging job-sharing or instructs you to train someone on your responsibilities.
Raise your hand if you’ve been tricked into training your replacement. Take a note from Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg: They’re not asking you to train the new guy to hold it down because you put in a vacation request, it’s because they’re trying to take you out. I personally think it’s a poor practice and that if you are managing anything you should know how to do tasks that are below your pay grade instead of asking your subordinates to pass on the knowledge that you don’t have yourself. Otherwise, why not train the new hire yourself and allow your employee to leave with some dignity.

9. You do your job a little too well.
It’s no secret that for every great manager there is one who is power-hungry, insecure and doesn’t really want to bring out the best in their employees for fear of creating competition. A supervisor that is confident in his or her abilities is not worried about cultivating a mentee to grow into a skilled professional. If you’re making more of an impression on your colleagues than your supervisor and co-workers are looking to you for guidance, a disgruntled manager may find any minor slip-up to send you packing for “insubordination.”

10. Expenses are cut.
As I mentioned earlier, lay-offs are inevitable and even if your bosses are still faxing and filing while the Titanic sinks, you should keep an eye out for the iceberg. Have your Del Friscos lunches been reduced to Dominos? Does your manager’s blood pressure shoot up whenever you print out anything in color? Cutting expenses doesn’t mean that you’ll show up to see an eviction notice, but it may be a sign that management has money concerns. Before they start skimping on the big things, find little ways to do your part. Try not expensing your parking everyday when you live 10 minutes away and don’t write off the McDonald’s you had while on a conference call as a “corporate lunch.” It may seem like nothing, but those $9.00 value meals add up.

Source: YNaija

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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Thoughts, True Life


Pres. Jonathan’s State of Emergency: An Opprobrious Political Shenanigan – by Femi Olabisi

President Jonathan’s declaration of State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the troubled North-Eastern Nigeria brought to the fore the myriads of hydra-headed problems and compounding leadership tragedy that have defined our democracy. While it may bring succour to the people of the area, it may also compound their problems. In a normal situation, the people of these states should enjoy a new lease of life and security due to 24-hour protection by the military. But would they actually have that peace? What becomes of this hapless people if the military boys turn around to become their worst nightmare through abuse of power as witnessed in the past?

In a society where it is a common trend for the powerful to lord him/herself over the weak, there is every possibility that the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states would eventually be at the receiving end of military brutality.

Just last week, I witnessed a very sordid, barbaric and inhumane treatments meted out to some young Nigerians at the hand of two young military men. Due to a misunderstanding between a lady (probably a girlfriend to one of the military boys) and the owner of a mobile phone shop, two military boys in army camouflage mercilessly beat up of those in the shop and locked up the shop in broad daylight.

Surprisingly, the shop is located beside a Divisional Police Headquarters; the shop actually belongs to the police. With all the beating, commotions and dare-devilry brigandage of the two military boys the police did not intervene; they exercised a very nauseating ‘I don’t care” attitude while these boys carried-on with their shameless acts.

It was a national discourse a few years ago when a military top brass ordered that a young woman be beating up and strip naked in broad daylight by his men just because the young woman had the audacity to compete with his convoy on the street of Lagos. Nothing happened. Life went on. This is Nigeria.

The incidences above are just a microcosm of the larger society. I have in the last few months being in constant skirmishes with some overzealous military boys. This is due to the proximity of my house and office to them — I have been lucky and spared brutality due to existing camaraderie between some ‘ogas at the top’ and myself. That is what defines Nigeria. It is not new.

I do not think the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states would fare better. Farmers, fishermen, market men and women and other commoners in these states stand no chance.

President Jonathan ought to exhaust every option available to him before declaring a state of emergency. He told the whole nation some months ago that he knew Boko Haram sponsors and they were — and maybe still — in his government. Are these Boko Haram sponsors too big for the security agencies to arrest? Why subjecting the people in the area to additional hardships? Is there a political colouration to Boko Haram insurgency? Who is the President afraid of offending? These and many other pertinent questions require urgent answers. Political shenanigan at the expense of the masses is at best opprobrious.

It is equally germane that the President exercise tactfulness and define clear line of authority in handling the issue of state of emergency and heavy military presence in these states. Licensing the military to ‘do and undo’ as wont by the military without suspending civilian administration may not go down well in a nation where politicians are mini-gods.

Desirous as the state of emergency in Borno, Yola and Adamawa is, it should be devoid of political colouration. Allowing the governors of the three states to stay during the period may not bring the anticipated peace. They have been there for years and Boko Haram menace waxed stronger under their watch. I do not think they can be of any good at this moment. Now is the time to be pragmatic, and now is the time to do all that is necessary to give succour to the people whose lives and livelihood have been shattered.

Posterity would neither forget nor forgive President Jonathan if the peace, joy and unity of Nigeria and Nigerians are sacrificed just for political survival.

The writer is on Twitter: @Femiolas


Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Politics, Thoughts



“We the youths in this country don’t know our rights,” said a 55-year-old member of the “Northern Elders Forum” of Nigeria’s National Youth Council. If you noticed any anomaly in the previous statement it is because there is an anomaly. A 55-year-old man, old enough to be a grandfather, was complaining about the rights of Nigerian youths with himself depicted as one of the youths. This anomaly has come to define Nigeria. Elders have refused to grow because of what they will eat, fathers have sold their birthright to people their children’s age. Where you have a President that is supposed to offer leadership, what we have in Nigeria is a President who prefers to stain himself in the mud, without shoes, just like he claimed to be when he was supposed to be growing up. Only Goodluck Jonathan did grow up in terms of age but if his obsession with mud fights is anything to go by, then it will not be out of place to wish him “Happy Children’s Day” because the only difference between Jonathan’s recent actions and those of an average child without parental care is just that the President has an office to decorate his own “childishness”. One must, however, respect the office of the President whatever you think of the current office holder.

The other day, the President’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, tweeted about how Jonathan was not interested in what happened in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. I believed him as much as I believe my grandfather died a virgin. Even if I were still a child obsessed with playing with dirt and mud and with little cerebral development, it’d be taking too much liberty with one’s expertise at telling lies to think that one would believe everything that has defined the shame of the NGF was not the game plan of Aso Rock. 2015 will continue to define Nigeria politically, socially and economically going forward. I should add morally but the major players are without any known morals so that’d be out of place. I understand Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State is an old man. I used to equate old age with wisdom but we learn everyday and I am only glad people like the elderly governor have shown that anyone can be part of a morally devalued gang where power is involved.

Bamanga Tukur is a great man. He finds his greatness in his ability to trade anything for anything. Sadly, people like the PDP boss seem to have no meaning for principles and respect for rule of law. While he battles within the PDP for control, he is also currently foisting a 40-year-old man on the Nigerian National Youth Council. If you think the NGF election has become a disgrace, the election of the youth council has only been less of a disgrace because everything about this organisation has been about the fact that it operates like a secret cult, shrouded in secrecy and lost to the stranglehold of the PDP and post-50-year-old men fleecing an organisation that ordinarily should represent the best of the Nigerian youths. Why would anyone blame these old men when Methuselahs like Tukur are actively involved in the same National Youth Council politics? So you see Tukur is a great man, he cares about Nigerian youths. For him doing everything to suppress the voice of the youth council as 2015 arrives will certainly not rank close to the evil that prevented our amiable President Jonathan from delivering his transformation speech at the African Union. Some people say “give thanks for the evil you do not see” and I bet some of the Africans forgot to be thankful for the missed opportunity.

But then, it takes a blind opposition to say Nigeria has not been transformed. The Jonathan era has been nothing short of transformation. He was reported to have spent N1.3tn to run his 2011 election campaign. This is hard to believe and I wouldn’t believe it if I were you too. What is not hard to deny though is the fact that Nigeria spent at least N1.7tn for fuel subsidy that same year for what used to average just about N400bn per year at periods of rising prices. You cannot claim the money was stolen. If it was stolen, why don’t we have anyone jailed for that despite at least proving that the money was stolen and even getting to finger several government ministries, departments and cronies of the government. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, oversaw this looting, no, not that she watched as others stole our national wealth. She did not watch. Hard to imagine a clean woman like her being involved in a dirty thing like that. Did she not even say, “There is corruption in Nigeria” on one of the recent editions of CNN’s Richard Quest. Until the much-revered Satan declares “there is evil in the world,” it would be hard for one to believe there is evil let alone imagine Satan himself as the fulcrum of evil.
Every day, people keep asking this question: “Where are we going in Nigeria?” and I am always left to wonder what they mean. Did we not choose the disaster that has befallen us? Did we not prefer Jonathan to the PDP? And now that Jonathan’s PDP has thrown away PDP’s Amaechi, we can begin to understand that we don’t understand anything. The biggest evil that has befallen this nation is that it has become an abandoned child. It has been left in a drainage not to die but to live long enough to provide a certain level of meaning to youths like Tukur, clean people like the petroleum minister and agents of transformation like Jonathan. The baby will not die because the baby’s death will mean many deaths so they will do enough to keep the baby alive. But while these ones are at the helm, the baby will only just be alive.

So, where is Nigeria going? You really want to know? These are the best of times. Our rulers have always danced naked, only now the deregulation of the media has exposed their nakedness to some of us. Most of us remain in the dark. What do you think Nigerians who watch NTA Network News think about Nigeria’s realities? They see transformation, they see a New Nigeria, they see the best President Nigeria has ever had. You really think a lot of Nigerians feel your pain? They can’t. They are not part of Nigeria’s reality. Yes, they are dingily poor but if they see every day their country is being transformed, they can only be certain that the transformation train will get to them before 2015 and you can bet it will. They will get packs of noodles and some naira notes enough to move to the next polling station to repeat the cycle of disaster. So, where are we going in Nigeria? We are not yet going. We never left the shore. There is movement but we are still at mediocrity’s equilibrium.

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Politics, Thoughts

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