Day 8 of the Afrobloggers #WABC2021. This week, we’re writing about Business and Tech. While I am not as knowledgeable on the subject matter as I would have liked, I am doing some research and hoping it turns out great! Please let me know your thoughts!
Networking isn’t how many people you know, it’s how many people know you.
– Amit Kalantri
Mama always taught me to “go where you are celebrated.”
I remember being very young and wanting to visit cousins all the way across from town, knowing full well that it was unlikely that the said cousins were as enthusiastic about our visits, or about ever returning the visits.
Mama sat me down and asked… “Why don’t they ever want to visit too? Why do you want to go somewhere that you’re not wanted? In life, as much as you can, go where you’re celebrated!” It stuck with me, and honestly, it’s one of the important things that subconsciously helped me in life.
You know that feeling when you really really care about someone, but you can see clearly that at best, they tolerate you? I learnt to pick that up very early. Learnt to bow out gracefully while there was still some grace in there. With friendships, with relationships, and even with family.
It was a concept I was going to have to learn to use more as I entered the corporate world.
Mawuli had showed me over the past couple of months that I was celebrated. And loved. Even when the daily therapy sessions had slowly gone down to fortnightly sessions, he would still check in with me… ask me if anything was triggering any unwanted emotions. If I had anything not showing on the surface that I wanted to talk about. He made me feel understood, safe, heard.
When I started the job hunt, he showed me people and places that would likely value my experience. He was like a guardian angel sent from somewhere.
Because the business front in Ghana is an interesting one.
I applied to at least twelve places. I only heard back from about six of them. And of those six, someone knew someone and had connected me with someone. It was the first thing to know about corporate Ghana. You had to know someone.
No matter your qualifications, it helped a lot if someone connected you with someone – which all over the world is a thing that happens, aka networking. But in Ghana, it’s on a whole different level! You could be the most qualified fit, and yet you’d be unemployed because you did not know anyone that could connect you with someone at the top!
Ol’man left quite a legacy, and if I had been a lawyer, or even done anything remotely political or administrative, I would definitely have had multiple people I could call on, to grant me a couple of interviews.
In my trade, however, we knew no one. Most people set up their own businesses and moved from there. Yet I wanted good experience with art and its business aspect. And so the hunt was on. And it was a difficult hunt!
Interviews were usually a breeze for me. But for some reason, these were tough. They had questions about my 5-year plan, and if I intended to get a masters soon, etc. A number of the interviews were virtual, a few were hybrid, combining both a virtual aspect and an in-person part, and only about two of them were completely in-person.
Adulting was slowly catching up with me, and it made me wonder about so many things. Were people right about asking me to follow in my father’s footsteps? Did it make any sense that even though I graduated with honors I was still struggling to find work? And what if the art business was not enough to sustain me as an individual? Had I been myopic in choosing art over a stable trade that would at least earn me money? Would I be better off just starting my own art business? And what kind of art business was it going to be in the first place?
I was in a dilemma, and I didn’t know what to do, or who to ask. I didn’t have many role models in the field, and that made it very very tough!
So when Mawuli reached out to an acquaintance about taking me on as an intern, I was elated. It was an art firm, and I was at least going to be able to learn my trade! Mawuli not only celebrated me, he made me soar!
I am starting to think that when people ask you to choose a stable job that could earn income, over your passion, they may have a point. This job hunt is killing me, and I don’t want to end up in an office or gallery where I do not enjoy the work, or where I will become the errand girl. My heart cannot take that. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I thought this through before deciding to pursue my art. Would it have been easier if I had just done the engineering? I mean, I could have at least ended up with a wider field to apply to? I am very confused.
But Mawuli spoke to someone, and they agreed to have me come in for an interview.
I’m starting to think that this is what love is about. Is it? He makes me happy, he’s happy to help and constantly pushes me to be my very best. Is this it? Or is there some sign from somewhere that’s going to drop? I’m falling in love. And that is also a little confusing to me!