COLOSSIANS 3:23,”Whatever you do, work at it with your heart, as working for the Lord, not for Human Masters.”
Lately, God has just been teaching me about WORK, that is what has been ringing through my mind for the past few months. Even with the whisper prayers that I do, I listen in and it’s all about just work. Maybe it’s me, I thought one night after doing my daily devotion. But at the time of writing this, the answer was and is still very much clear that I need to expose myself to WORK. So, it’s just not me but God speaking to me and I thought it wise to share it out the best way I know how, writing. Because truth is, It’s not God speaking but I am also in the kind of space, mentally, emotionally and physically preparing myself for the working space and the working environment.
2017, around August, I had the opportunity of interning at one of the main media houses. BIG Opportunity, your thinking yeah! It is a very BIG Opportunity which I am sincerely grateful for. But that was my first encounter with anything to do with, ‘The Work Place.’ And truth is the work place is a great place to be at, because then you learn to interact with people of different stature and character, sometimes the experiences are good, sometimes they are horrible to say the least. I might not be able to dispel all the facts or be able to decipher the truth from the falsehoods of the work place but what I can do for sure is to tell of my experiences[ because they are so many, so take a cup a tea,] and I am still going through the whole work experience as it, [but that is a story for another day]. When you start to experience and work with people one on one, then you probably realize that people are not as nice and sincere as they seem. It is at the work place that someone will be smiling at you but then behind your back they are busy planning the worst against with your colleagues or even with your bosses. It is at the place of work that I have learnt that people’s intentions are not always as pure as they might seem, it is at the work place that I have realized that the ‘big already existing fish’ do not have a welcoming heart toward you who is ‘new’ and trying to learn or climb your way through, it is at the work place that people will make you feel like you don’t ‘belong’, or ‘useless’. But you wanna know something, it is also at the work place that I have learnt the most patience, to take in so much, I have learnt to tap into that inner confidence even with those days when I feel like so and so looked down on me because I am ‘new’ and still learning. I have also learnt that sometimes you really need to pat yourself on the back, be gentle with yourself. But one thing that I am working on is to handle my profession for what it is- my profession. Not to dwell on the fact that I’m a woman doing the work. This approach, I have seen working for so many women in my field of work and study. I sure hope to adopt it as well.
Even with those days when you feel so overwhelmed you could barely breathe, remind yourself that, that there is always a greater force holding you together even when you think you are falling apart. Every time I feel like people are just becoming so mean at work, I refer to the verse below, it comforts in ways that even I never really quite understand.
Titus 2:7-8,”In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity,seriousness. And soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us..”
I love that I am becoming a ‘strong’ individual who is completely at a comfortable space on how to relate with people at different work places. I have learnt to stay calm and keep my cool in every sense of that word. While writing this I came across some really sound advice on what it means to be a woman in the board room,here are some of the insights I found:
• TAKE A BREATH: There are a variety of ways to counter push back. If you want to be treated with respect, then be respectful and take a breath before responding. Letting your temper lead your response makes your colleagues uncomfortable because few people enjoy witnessing conflict. Letting your temper lead your response makes you look unprofessional. Your goal is to be recognized as professional. Don’t let your temper confuse your goals.
• DO NOT REWARD BAD BEHAVIOUR: “Calm down” does not mean shut up. It means be methodical. If you get push back, respond. Even you shy ones! You will not get recognized if you do not assert yourself.
• BE FACTUAL: Not sure how to respond? Is a colleague or boss raising their voice or getting agitated? Are you getting nervous? Respond with facts. It’s difficult to argue with facts. Simply restate the sequential facts leading up to your discussion. I have found that this almost immediately brings tempers down and gets everyone back to talking. This tactic can also be used to buy you some time to compose your thoughts.
• CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES: Do you want respect? Don’t fight with everyone. Seriously, not everyone needs to be put in their place. Let it go. You will be stigmatized. Pushing the envelope should be strategic and well-rehearsed before it ever happens in the workplace.
• FOCUS ON SUCCESS. Ladies, competition is everywhere. Don’t be jealous of each other. Don’t be jealous of the men either. Find out what is working for the successful people in your firm or industry and focus on cracking the code. Never, ever try to raise yourself up by stepping on someone else. It’s bad business. People need to be able to trust you in power. Don’t give them a reason to hold you back. At the end of the day, the facts should be that you’re awesome — nothing else.
• BE KIND: You are not only judged by how tall you stand. You are also judged by how many times you have bent over to help. A company is only as strong as its weakest link, so help everyone when you can. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt when you can. One day, you may be running that company so you should start setting the tone now.
• BE PASSIONATE: Don’t fake it. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Here’s the truth: Not all men are ignorant chauvinists who are threatened by women. In my experience, many men have championed my cause, pushed me forward, promoted my work, mentored me and shown genuine enthusiasm for my success.
So don’t be the best woman in the room. Just be the best in the room.
Let us all win in our work places. Let us all work towards being the best versions of ourselves. Not to put down others. Not for the women alone but even with our men.
Have a fruitful week ahead!