I was 21 years old and a computer illiterate graduate. I had no idea of what I wanted to do. All I knew was I wanted to do my National Youth Service in Lagos State.
I spent 4 years in a North Central Nigerian University, presumably pursuing a science degree, but in actual fact, spending my time performing music. I didn’t know my Grade Point Average until my final year. After graduation, I wondered if I should pursue music full-time or get a “real” job. (This was before music became sexy in Nigeria. I remember sitting across the table from a multi-award winning musician who advised me to get a job and pursue music on the side.)
I did what most graduates do – I applied for positions in multiple companies. In my case, a record label, a radio station, a bank and a consulting company. The consulting company was a fluke. My sister had interned there and asked me to apply months before graduation. I took her advice. I was petrified about my upcoming interviews so I did what I knew how to do – I prayed. ☺
I remember my interview at Cool FM. I was asked to do a voice test and ended up recording 2 promotional jingles for the station they would use for several months. I got the job and the 3 others I applied for. Here I was, unqualified, but a recipient of an abundance of grace. Now, my confusion was which job to take. I prayed again and did an analysis of the pros and cons on paper. I came to the conclusion that 3 of the jobs were things I could do in my sleep. I had the basic skills set. But the consulting company was different. I didn’t have any of the requirements so it would be a challenge. I would learn something completely new. So, I took the leap and accepted the offer from Alder Consulting. At the time, the pay was 10x less than the other offers. I took it anyway.
Who would have known that in my first year, the skills I thought were irrelevant to a consulting firm would catapult my career. My creative gifts came into play when I wrote an original song for a Bank client. My analytical skills served me well as I became known for having a keen eye for detail.
In my career at Alder, I imagined I would learn maybe one or two new things but I have learnt several. I have been a Research Analyst, a Brand Consultant, an HR Manager, a Project Manager, a Social Media Manager and an Executive Director.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned during the course of my career:
a. Do not be afraid to go for what you want. Apply for jobs & go to interviews with confidence. You never know what companies are looking for. It may end up being you.
b. Bring all your skills to work – both professional and vocational. There are things only you can do in your company. Deploy your gifts and talents.
c. Develop yourself by yourself. The first social media training I went for was self-sponsored. This was at a time when no one at Alder cared about social media. Today, I run our first social media unit.
d. Your first job matters. It can define your career path for good or bad. Be more concerned about learning opportunities than the size of your paycheck.
I took the pictures in this post yesterday. In one picture, I’m with my boss and in another with young Associates at Alder. The collage represents 3 generations of Alders.Your first job matters. It can define your career path for good or bad. Click To Tweet Develop yourself by yourself. Pay for your training & self-development. Click To Tweet Bring all your skills to work - both professional and vocational. Click To Tweet