A few weeks ago, my good friends and I shared the 10 things we learnt about ourselves. Well 2 out of the three did, still waiting on you P J After I wrote mine out, I realised I probably found out more in the last 2 years than I have in the almost 4 decades I have been on God’s green earth. Today though, I am going to share just 10 of them with you guys. This goes for living in Ghana as well as life in general.
10. Although I know have always known this, it has been in the last two years that it has been put into practice. When you do good for people, always do it from the heart and never expect payback. The reality is, although at the time you need help it is true that that person who you lent money to cannot return it to you. A lot of the time, people only think of themselves. It is not a bad thing, but always think of yourself first because nobody else is going to think of you. If someone needs to borrow money and you have it at the time, but may need it later, don’t give it, because when you need it, it is likely that it will not be returned. That goes for time as well as money.
9. A one man business is that for a reason. That person wants to be king and you are just a mere servant, your thoughts, your feelings, your advice is not needed, and well they will and always want to be the final decision maker. Unlike a well-oiled machine type organization, be prepared to be micromanaged, and well I can’t blame them, it is their investment so if things go well or if things go wrong it immediately impacts their bottom line. However, if you are coming to Ghana especially, I wouldn’t recommend working for a one-man business, either a multinational or your own business, at most a partnership because it is likely that the frustrations will be too hard to bear.
8. The best course of action coming into Ghana is to come on expatriation, at most negotiate a salary commensurate to what you are getting back home. You may have to take a little bit lower but know your worth and don’t except anything less for the sakes of introducing yourself to the market (unless you are fresh out of school or have limited work experience). My mother always said, if you sell yourself cheap, Ghana man will want to take you for free. It is difficult to get an expat position, but it is not impossible so if you are thinking of coming over and working for someone, make sure as much as possible to get something before you come in. Otherwise, once you get here, you will be seen as another local, and worse, people will be gunning to keep you down because well “who do you think you are” is the thought. There are people just as educated with just as much experience who have been in the game for a lot longer so what are you bringing to the table. You know, but they don’t, however it’s a competitive world and as such the knives are out.
7. Going back home whether it is for good or on a temporary basis, it is not a sign of failure, it is merely an end to the chapter. There is no such thing as bad experience, all experience makes you grow. For me, for example, if I step out today, I have worked for very good companies and my skills will as useful to a UK manufacturing firm as a Ghanaian one. Plus, if I were to step out for a while, I can only gain more experience in my chosen profession, so if I decide to come back, I know that I have a richer experience than anyone who has solely worked in Ghana or solely worked in the UK. Knowing when to move on is better than staying just to see, because you only end up standing still while the world passes you by.
6. Have a life’s plan and stick to it. Don’t let anyone’s view of how you should live your life taint your decision. You have only one life to live and only you are living it. So don’t look at what anyone else is doing or staying, as long as you have a plan, you know your direction.
5. When a guy loves you, he will move heaven and earth, if he doesn’t, you can cut of your right arm to save his finger and he will still find a problem with what you have done. A relationship is only a waste of time when you stay in it knowing that it isn’t going anywhere. Ladies (and some gents), the signs are always there. Giving love a chance is not the issue, you can only kiss the frog before he turns into a prince. Our problem is when we keep kissing that frog, willing it to turn into a prince instead of moving on once we realise that that frog will forever remain a toad.
4. Never feel you have to defend your choices in life just because it doesn’t suit someone else. My life is my life, your life is your life, if you have chosen to marry young, stay in the same job for 20 years and do the same job, I am happy for you but we are not the same person, and life would be pretty boring if we lived the same life. It is what it is, you do you and I will do me.
3. Never let anyone make you feel less than you are worth. Once you do that, it chips away at your self-esteem until you feel worthless. Always make yourself feel a billion bucks then if you get a million it is fine. However if you only feel 10 dollars you will only get 1.
2. Don’t feel the need to have a happy face all the time. We all get kicked down and we know that we are going to get back up. If it feels uncomfortable for others to be around you to the point where they leave when you are feeling low, they probably don’t think that much of you in the first place. Those who really know you, know that it is a temporary issue and will give you time to figure it out. Really, unless they have a solution to your problem, they have no right to tell you to snap out of it. Unless you are constantly down in the dumps, well then that’s all on you. As the old saying goes, it is when you are down that you know who really has your back.
1. If you are lucky to have a great, supportive family, who give you unconditional love then clap for yourselves. However the truth can be sometimes that even family love comes with conditions attached. Embrace those that love you most unconditionally, they don’t necessarily have to be your family.
Which is why I want to say thank you to my dear friends E and P, you have heard my cries, you have read my complaints, you have experienced my pain. With that you have made me laugh, you have counselled and you have listened quietly. Never once making me feel bad for the “bad” choices that I have made, never judging and never given me the “I told you so”. Thanks for your unconditional friendship, sister-kin (if that’s even a word) and love. To all my readers, wishing you a wonderful new year, I hope to keep on sharing with you and wishing you much love for the years ahead.