Thursday, April 30, 2009

As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra: Of Job-hunting Tips in Accra; the African Youth; and Climate Change

When I posted the entry last week about job hunting in Accra, I could hardly believe the number of hits I got. I couldn't believe it, partly because I had no clue how many! Seriously, all I saw in that bar to the right of the screen were entries from all over the world--some that had been referred through FACEBOOK and whatnot--that had gone straight to that post.

Let me be clear: this list is far from exhaustive as I indicated. I am encouraged, though, to regularly post more of these. I got a thumbs-up from quintessential blogger Esi Cleland, which blog I highly recommend visiting, even if I am jealous of the number of visitors she gets and the number of comments her entries elicit! I'm talking green-eyed monster city baby!;-)

On the more serious point of some of the other tips for looking for a job in Accra, I got some other tips from someone else who commented, but would like to offer some of my other ones: "Be Humble"; "Create a Blog"; "Practise Dressing Neatly--Always"; "Carry a Pen-Drive Wherever You Go".

Be Humble

This is a lesson straight from the Good Book. Humility pays. If you don't have it, better learn it fast! My parents have often accused me of lack of humility when I don't ask questions. At first I thought they were off-tangent, but the older I get, the more I kind of see the light on that one. It realy is true; if you do have a problem or a challenge, what stops you simply asking for help? Apart from shyness or an excessive introspection, when stuck, ask for help--and that includes tips on getting to the job market!

Create a Blog

You might have guessed I would bring this one in. I cannot tell you the immense benefits have been "bequeathed" me owning a blog. Let me be straight for a second, though. I Started a blog when I landed a job, but I did have a website before then, which I started in 1999. I learnt HTML language on my own (with plenty encouragements from the folks, especially my Dad who would print many, many self-help stuff on it, expecting me to learn it the following day!).

To the point: despite holding down a job, I'm in the unique situation of owning and maintaining five major blogs. The one you're readinig has been around since 2005, and is one of the more popular ones, followed by Accra Daily Photo. The third is more sector-specific, and more geeky, with me pontificating on my knowledge of an emerging disclipine of international affairs, known as regional integration. That's been around since 2006. I have two others, which include writings on technology, etc.

This glorification of my good self has less to do about me, and everything to do with my interests. As I advanced in blogging, I decided to categorize my interests through blogs. It has little to do with me being intelligent and everything to do with trying to be smart. By segregating my interests, I've developed a kind of esoteric, cult followings on my other blogs, which is pretty cool. You might want to do that when you set up a blog on[no, no pay for this ad!!], or wherever else you might want.

Blogging gives you exposure; and exposure means you're likely to be noticed by someone out there. Somewhere. Believe me when I tell you that there's always someone watching and reading--and not just the CIA!;-)

Practise Dressing Neatly--Always

A picture paints a thousand words, so if you're dressed neatly even when you're unbase, you're half-way there. Why should you dress down just because you're out of work? Practise being the person you want to be, so that you attract what you think about. It doesn't mean wearing your best every time you go out, but dressing even if conservatively (blue,black,white colours) when you need to go into town. Remember that the law of the universe is so powerful that you attract what you think about most. Dressing gives confidence, and with confidence, you never know who might notice you for some networking...!

Carry a Pen-Drive Wherever You Go

Make sure that a relative or a friend, or you yourself procure a pen-drive. They're one of the most useful communication tools--bar the mobile phone--in town. Why? That's where you put your CV on, and carry it around--always. Perhaps, if you can get a scanned copy of your certificates/transcripts, that would be great too. This means wherever you are, as long as you can get to an internet cafe, you can pop out your necessary documents for consideration.

Lecture Over!

the African Youth

I turned 32 on 26 April. According to the African Youth Charter that was adopted in Banjul, Gambia in 2006, I am still a member of the youth, for the youth ranges between 18 and 35 years old. I guess in between the the three years I have left before I leave that age bracket, I can think of what I can do not just for myself, but my country, my sub-region of ECOWAS; my continent;-) Thinking about it just gives me a headache, but it's one I'm prepared to endure.

If you never heard of the AU Youth Charter, kindly allow me to fill you in on some of the main parts:

Every young person shall have responsibilities towards his family and society,
the State, and the international community.
Youth shall have the duty to:
􀀾 Become the custodians of their own development;
􀀾 Protect and work for family life and cohesion;
􀀾 Have full respect for parents and elders and assist them anytime in cases
of need in the context of positive African values;
􀀾 Partake fully in citizenship duties including voting, decision making and
􀀾 Engage in peer-to-peer education to promote youth development in areas
such as literacy, use of information and communication technology, HIV/
AIDS prevention, violence prevention and peace building;
􀀾 Contribute to the promotion of the economic development of States Parties
and Africa by placing their physical and intellectual abilities at its service;
􀀾 Espouse an honest work ethic and reject and expose corruption;
􀀾 Work towards a society free from substance abuse, violence, coercion,
crime, degradation, exploitation and intimidation;
􀀾 Promote tolerance, understanding, dialogue, consultation and respect for
others regardless of age, race, ethnicity, colour, gender, ability, religion,
status or political affiliation;
􀀾 Defend democracy, the rule of law and all human rights and fundamental
􀀾 Encourage a culture of voluntarism and human rights protection as well as
participation in civil society activities;
􀀾 Promote patriotism towards and unity and cohesion of Africa;
􀀾 Promote, preserve and respect African traditions and cultural heritage and
pass on this legacy to future generations;
􀀾 Become the vanguard of re-presenting cultural heritage in languages and in
forms to which youth are able to relate;
􀀾 Protect the environment and conserve nature.

In short, there is a lot the African Youth--strike that: the Ghanaian youth--is capable of doing, but is not, instead allowing themselves to be the tools of politicians who use them to further polarize society! We have a climate in peril, yet we are forever talking about forming groups left, right, centre to support politicians. If that is not folly, I don't know what is!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Tree

I've never been a tree before, so I wouldn't know how light it feels being a tree! What I do know is that it's no fun these days being a tree in Africa, as you're most likely to be chopped down? Yesterday, the BBC World Service had an Africa Have Your Say programme on Trees.

Coincidentally, my colleague and I had just attended a two-day workshop, discussing climate change, and the international instruments--such as REDD and FLEGT--and how they help complement the fight to have a greener world.

Let me be clear--and not for the last time!--I am so spooked by climate change. To think that if the Earth warms up by less than 2m degrees, civilization as we know it will no longer be around is just downright scary. To also think that more trees are being cut down by the day is even scarier. We need to think about planting more trees to absorb the carbon that the absence of them creates. I am beginning to understand that our carbon footprints are what we leave behind as excessive levels that all contribute to climate change.

Trees are a good start, and maintaining the greenery also counts.

It begins with YOU...and me.

Have a great weekend/May Day!
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