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Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons - Career - Nairaland

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Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 10:23am On Jan 01, 2014
Welcome to the new year 2014!

I will be sharing my experience and lessons on achieving the dream career of my choice amidst challenges. I will also share various ways you can enhance yourself and improve your skills. In the course of my write-up, I will touch on job hunting, good CV writing skills, aptitude test writing, interview skills, certifications, presentation skills, career progression, personal fulfilment and investment. I will also say a little about scholarship opportunities (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and job scams.

This is NOT a textbook theory on achieving a great career. Thus, don't expect text book approaches to career issues. The thread doesn't answer all career questions. It focuses on my peculiar experience and lessons learnt, including my modest career achievements, mistakes and obstacles. I will also refer to other people's experiences in many cases.

I'm still an ambitious young man, who is looking forward to achieving more in life and progressing my career. I am not perfect. I just wanna share this so that we can all learn. I hope my story inspires many. This is because I know that true life stories inspire far more than motivational write-ups. I am not a blogger and I am not here to promote any blog. Other people with varied experiences can also contribute.

It promises to be interesting, detailed and elaborate.

I also promise to update this thread at least once a week in 2014. I can't promise to do more for now. smiley

I wish us all a fulfilled career and personal life in 2014.

22 Likes 9 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Bakare19: 10:37am On Jan 01, 2014
Good one. .

1 Like

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by urchman101(m): 10:40am On Jan 01, 2014
Waiting............... AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Archmage(m): 10:56am On Jan 01, 2014
I got an excercise book n a seat... Who has a spare pen?

1 Like

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Archmage(m): 10:56am On Jan 01, 2014
I got an excercise book n a seat... Who has a spare pen? Ride on sir

1 Like 3 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Archmage(m): 11:00am On Jan 01, 2014
I got an excercise book n a seat... Who has a spare pen? Ride on sir.
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by nikaShow(m): 11:09am On Jan 01, 2014
Good ! I'm Signed up !
We are together

3 Likes

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 11:13am On Jan 01, 2014
Let me give you a little background about myself:

I graduated in one of the public universities in Nigeria. I am one of the unlucky few that narrowly missed first class. I was a nerd back then in school all in the name of finishing with a first. I sometimes still feel I was deliberately denied a first class degree in my engineering department. I was so enraged that I didn't attend my convocation, even though I was in school when it held. I still hold a little grudge against my alma mater till date.

I served in a secondary school. I never really had any engineering experience, even during my internship because I didn't know anybody that could help. By the time I was through with NYSC, I was close to 27 years. Many will say that I had virtually passed the age of getting a good job, especially in these days where 21-24 years old first class/2.1 graduates are countless. There is apparently nothing special about a 27 years old 2.1 graduate like me! Besides, I was living in the far North while all the juicy jobs seemed to be located in Lagos.

But despite these limitations and more, I have worked with 3 top organizations in Nigeria within 2 and the half years of completing my service. I job hunted for about 5 months before getting my first major job. I started with unarguably the biggest FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) company in Nigeria. I later moved over to one of the biggest government parastatals in Nigeria. Now I am working with one of the topmost International Oil Companies (IOC's) in Nigeria and currently one of the top 30 companies in Forbes Global 2000 companies. And I have only a BSc with no connection. Lucky right? Sure, elements of luck combined with lots of hard work.

During the course of my active job searching period, I applied for 6 organizations (4 oil and 2 FMCG coys). I never had the opportunity of applying for banking/financial jobs because I had passed the age requirement. And I wasn't ready to falsify my age - that can be easily detected anyway. All 6 are multi-national companies (MNC) except the government parastatal. I got offers from 4 out of the 6. But I reached the final recruitment stages in all 6 coys. One of my modest achievement of note is that I never failed any job aptitude or skills test. I shall reveal the secrets in due time.

The race to my career path started in my undergraduate days. I will recount the story, with lessons learnt.

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Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Joshuabak: 1:23pm On Jan 01, 2014
interesting profile.....still waiting for more post from you
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by biosdenzel: 9:39pm On Jan 01, 2014
What's going on bro? It's as though we are the same...same age, same experience way back at school...I'm eagerly waiting for more!! Happy New Year!
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 11:00am On Jan 02, 2014
I'm back. Let me start from the very beginning, my undergraduate days

UNDERGRADUATE DAYS

I decided to go for engineering because I had a flair for mathematics and other core technical subjects. I wanted to work as a foremost engineer in a foremost engineering. That was my childhood dream.

LESSON 1: Identify what you love and have a flair for. You will most likely succeed at what you love doing most. I have a number of friends who have changed career paths (engineering to financial, financial to academic research, medicine to IT, etc) in order to follow their heart desires. And believe me, they are not doing badly at all! I know people who never wanted a paid white collar job. They always wanted to be entrepreneurs. And upon graduation, they started off on their own and they are doing very well. A well known example is Bill Gates who dropped out of school to start Microsoft. Today, he is one of the most influential successful entrepreneur in the world. I heard Seun Osewa's story is also similar. That is why it is funny to me when people, especially young entrepreneurs condemn paid 9-5 jobs. Money isn't everything. First of all, identify what you have a passion for. I desired to be an engineer in a top engineering company. My dream was never to start off as an entrepreneur. Some desire to be musicians, motivators, writers, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc. Focus on your dream. While it is very possible to succeed at what you don't desire, it is easier to succeed at what you love.

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Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Anoneism(m): 11:03am On Jan 02, 2014
Waoooooo, this is getting more and more interesting. This is really inspiring and motivating. l look forward to learn more from you. This is exactly the kind of thread I want to be part of in this year 2014. I'm eagerly waiting and following as well. More grace and cheers. Happy new year.

5 Likes

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 11:09am On Jan 02, 2014
@ ALL,

Happy new year. I am greatly encouraged by your words. smiley Thank you so much

1 Like

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 11:12am On Jan 02, 2014
I continue......

I started off in school with a target to graduate with a first class. I wanted to distinguish myself. I knew I had the capacity to do so. I worked so hard to the extent that it affected my social life a little then. I was a top student in my department and even in my faculty. I led in a number of courses, and I was well known for my academic performance. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to graduate with a first class due to a few minor issues. And I learnt from those 'minor' issues. In order to be the best, never take little things for granted, cos it may be those 'little things' that will distinguish you from the crowd. This brings me to my 2nd lesson:

LESSON 2: Always aim to distinguish yourself in your dream career as early as you can. The earlier you start distinguishing yourself and making your mark, the better and easier for you to achieve your career dream. That is why it appears easier for first class graduates to get jobs. In many cases, the foundation of your future career begins in your undergraduate days (whether polytechnic or university). In the higher institution, you will realize whether you truly love the course you are studying or not. I had a senior engineering student who realized he preferred the financial/investment sector. While we were in still school, he started reading financial books, following the stock market, FOREX, and other financial data; and started attending financial seminars. Though he graduated with a 2.1 in engineering, he is today an investment expert in a financial institution and he is currently pursuing his MBA. He realized his dream on time, and started work hard towards it during his undergraduate days. I worked hard in my undergraduate days and it has rubbed off even till now. It is better to fail in your pursuit of your dream, than not to purse your dream at all. This is because you will learn and be better equipped for the next challenge.

17 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Nomski0(f): 11:16am On Jan 02, 2014
Following.


This is nice. Please update frequently Op.

1 Like 2 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by urchman101(m): 11:20am On Jan 02, 2014
Thumbs up bro. Am following
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by AbuMikey(m): 11:28am On Jan 02, 2014



#following_like_its_twitter.

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by rioemmanuel(m): 12:09pm On Jan 02, 2014
So Happy To Be Here.
God Bless You Sir for Sharing this with us
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 6:26pm On Jan 02, 2014
I continue.....

One major mistake I made was that I allowed my personal/social life to suffer as a result of my ambition to get a first class. Though I was lucky to have kept in contact with the good ones, it affected my social life adversely. I will elaborate on that later in the thread. I had poor presentation skills and I was very shy. I am gradually recovering. While I was in school, I enjoyed two major scholarships. Fortunately, I had friends with similar ambitions. It was my friends that informed me and later helped me drop my hardcopy applications for both scholarships. The annual scholarship awards provided some needed fund. I bought my first laptop which helped me greatly. It also sustained me during my agonizing 5 months of joblessness. I was able to apply and travel for job tests/interviews from money I saved as a result of the scholarships. There were moments I also had to sleep over in friend's places when I travel for job hunting. A friend of mine also gave me materials for a particular job skills test I wrote. Indirectly, my friends have played their active role in assisting me to achieve my dream career. This leads to lesson #3 and #4:

LESSON 3: Always try maintain social contact and network as you pursue your career ambitions. Never ignore the power of networking. Your social contacts may help you in little ways that may have significant impacts in your career and life. I am ever grateful to my friends. Social networking also helps in job hunting. My close relative (who incidentally is an engineer with a third class degree) got his first major financial breakthrough through a friend of his. Today, he is a successful contractor who relies on the various relationship he built as far back as his undergraduate days.

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Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 7:10pm On Jan 02, 2014
LESSON 4: Iron sharpeneth iron. Build contacts with people with similar dreams and ambitions. Most of my friends and mentors were also top students like me who inspired me and challenged me to do more. Many of them are currently pursuing their PhD on scholarship, while others are working in top companies all around the globe. I met a lot of them in final recruitment stages. Surround yourself with people that will encourage and motivate you. Never surround yourself with pessimists. Maybe one of the reasons I didn't make a first class was that I shared the same apartment in my final year with a coursemate of mine who was a pessimist and an underachiever. He was always complaining about one lecturer or one course or the other. He was simply overwhelmed, and unfortunately, I subconsciously allowed his negative attitude into my mind. I became overwhelmed and it affected my reading concentration. As expected, my CGPA dropped. Good enough, I got over it. Today, that friend of mine is still without a job.

16 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Feex: 10:03pm On Jan 03, 2014
Just stumbled on this. Nice thread @ Op.

Mods, front page pls

2 Likes

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by OMA4U(m): 2:44am On Jan 04, 2014
Nice one! Thanks for sharing.... We're waiting for more. I really need to learn
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by thecia(f): 1:36pm On Jan 04, 2014
...baba we are all following now. Biko update asap. Ill be 27 this October and plan on joining a major multinational come 2015. Its not easy though for we women but i hope to share my story one day like u.

3 Likes 1 Share

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 4:49pm On Jan 04, 2014
the_cia: ...baba we are all following now. Biko update asap. Ill be 27 this October and plan on joining a major multinational come 2015. Its not easy though for we women but i hope to share my story one day like u.
You made me laugh cheesy
I will definitely keep updating the thread. Be patient. I have a lot to share from my experiences.
Your plan on joining an MNC will surely come to reality. Women do make it. I have seen a lot of women join MNC's and even rise in their career. Be steadfast. In all organizations I have worked for, I have seen women who distinguished themselves. As a matter of fact, my newly appointed HOD in my office is a woman. She was chosen amongst her male counterparts because of her track record of performance. I have also worked with some great and passionate women. It can even be easier for women because the competition is lower, and people easily notice women that do well.
Cheers.......

10 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Archmage(m): 7:00pm On Jan 04, 2014
I should graduate by midyear, contemplating a career path is really a headache. I am learnin fröm your experience already... Thanks
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Archmage(m): 7:02pm On Jan 04, 2014
I also find it hard to understand what 'performance' entails in a workplace...
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by FerdG(m): 8:00pm On Jan 04, 2014
This is the best thread i have come across here....thanks bro.

1 Like

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 9:11pm On Jan 04, 2014
Archmage: I also find it hard to understand what 'performance' entails in a workplace...
Performance entails a lot of things in the workplace depending on the organization, job role and expectation, and the people (boss, subordinates and colleagues).
Many organizations have different ways of appraising their staffs - some use grade system; some use KPI's (target setting); while others use ranking system. I won't bore you about the details but lemme list a few factors that affect performance:
1) People: From experience, managing people especially your boss, is the most important factor. You need to understand the expectation of your boss, and try to make his job a lot easier. Also, you need to have the ability to influence without authority to achieve results, especially when dealing with peers.
2) Visibility: Be visible. This is where communication skills and creativity come to play. Make your impact felt. Let senior colleagues and managers notice you. Perception matters a lot.
3) Key Performance Indicators (KPI) - commonly known as targets. Many organizations set periodic KPI's for their employees depending on job role. Ability to meet and exceed your KPI's influences your career growth.
4) Quality of work output - You can easily distinguish yourself from your peers based on the quality of work. As we often say 'the reward for good work is more work' i.e. added responsibility
5) Initiative - the ability to show initiative is also important. The ability to give an extra push inorder to get work done is key.
Other silent factors that sometimes influence performance are nepotism, eye service, ethnicity and favouritism. This can not be totally eradicated in the Nigerian setting, but people progress beyond those obstacles.

@ALL, I presently out of town and I'm sending this from my phone. I will update the thread as soon as I get back to my base.

12 Likes 1 Share

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by xfire: 9:12pm On Jan 04, 2014
Archmage: I also find it hard to understand what 'performance' entails in a workplace...
Performance entails a lot of things in the workplace depending on the organization, job role and expectation, and the people (boss, subordinates and colleagues).
Many organizations have different ways of appraising their staffs - some use grade system; some use KPI's (target setting); while others use ranking system. I won't bore you about the details but lemme list a few factors that affect performance:
1) People: From experience, managing people especially your boss, is the most important factor. You need to understand the expectation of your boss, and try to make his job a lot easier. Also, you need to have the ability to influence without authority to achieve results, especially when dealing with peers.
2) Visibility: Be visible. This is where communication skills and creativity come to play. Make your impact felt. Let senior colleagues and managers notice you. Perception matters a lot.
3) Key Performance Indicators (KPI) - commonly known as targets. Many organizations set periodic KPI's for their employees depending on job role. Ability to meet and exceed your KPI's influences your career growth.
4) Quality of work output - You can easily distinguish yourself from your peers based on the quality of work. As we often say 'the reward for good work is more work' i.e. added responsibility
5) Initiative - the ability to show initiative is also important. The ability to give an extra push inorder to get work done is key.
Other silent factors that sometimes influence performance are nepotism, eye service, ethnicity and favouritism. This can not be totally eradicated in the Nigerian setting, but people progress beyond those obstacles.

@ALL, I presently out of town and I'm sending this from my phone. I will update the thread as soon as I get back to my base.
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Mcslize: 3:38pm On Jan 05, 2014
Wow nice thread, I luv it. Nothing more interesting than pursuing ur dreams but should age limit one frm pursuing one's dream? Now and then u wil hear people reminding u of ur age making discouragement to creep in and giiving up on ur dream. What can be done about that?
Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Nobody: 4:04pm On Jan 05, 2014
wow!! What a story..you're so right, nothing motivates more than hearing a true story of a successful man or woman..I must say you are really excelling despite having just a degree because alot of people with msc/phD from good 'unis' abroad haven't even smelt your back. I'm happier you achieved all these without anybody's influence,just you and God... Congrats I must and wish you more success..also, I strongly believe I'm going to tell my own success story soon by God's grace. ...
Please, don't hold back anything, tell us everything because alot of people are waiting to learn from you and you may change someone's life...#brings my water bed cheesy

6 Likes

Re: Achieving The Dream Career: My Story, My Lessons by Nobody: 4:14pm On Jan 05, 2014
xfire: LESSON 4: Iron sharpeneth iron. Build contacts with people with similar dreams and ambitions. Most of my friends and mentors were also top students like me who inspired me and challenged me to do more. Many of them are currently pursuing their PhD on scholarship, while others are working in top companies all around the globe. I met a lot of them in final recruitment stages. [b]Surround yourself with people that will encourage and motivate you. Never surround yourself with pessimists. [/b]Maybe one of the reasons I didn't make a first class was that I shared the same apartment in my final year with a coursemate of mine who was a pessimist and an underachiever. He was always complaining about one lecturer or one course or the other. He was simply overwhelmed, and unfortunately, I subconsciously allowed his negative attitude into my mind. I became overwhelmed and it affected my reading concentration. As expected, my CGPA dropped. Good enough, I got over it. Today, that friend of mine is still without a job.
can't agree more with you here, thumps up....friends can easily influence

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