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The Best Job Ever, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 21st April 2017

The Best Job Ever

Dream Job

Imagine you are fresh out of school and all geared up for either an internship or perhaps you are lucky enough to get your first job interview.

Ah, them days! They have been full of disappointments or maybe some got lucky and were instantly hired.

Before we take a look at the job interviews, let’s take a look at how the world has changed.

Once upon a time, referrals got you your first job and in few instances the qualifications added to the possibilities. More than likely that became your job for life and you retired with it. According to a major publication, the worst jobs of 2016 include Military Personnel, Retail Salespersons amongst others. Some of the toughest jobs to fill in include Marketing Manager, Electrical Engineer amongst others. Best jobs include Human Resources Manager, Tax Manager amongst others.

The future needs a whole lot of medical practitioners including Nurses, Massage Therapists, Dental Hygienist and many more. It is as if the world is going to be one sick world and people are going to need a lot of medical treatment if not healing.

Back to our job interviews though, and it has been proven scientifically that for one, you can not predict job performance by doing a job interview. You must be thinking is that not obvious? Well sometimes some candidates bring on shining credentials and they hardly live up to them and vice versa. A street smart person may prove to be a better sales person than somebody who has earned a Masters in Marketing. Or maybe the Masters in Marketing may prove to be a better General Manager than a more experienced one. The tables can turn depending on the industry, type of job and especially the owners.

When the employees are “robots” then two people usually define the fate of the company, that is the Procurement Manager and the Chief Financial Officer. Unfortunately most establishments who have this set up are either family owned and even when hiring and firing, very little emphasis is given on an incoming or outgoing interview. Thus, just no point in making a case here.

But sometimes you may be lucky enough to get a boutique business that is really trying to make a difference and be the new spoke in the wheel. These game changers and visionaries do take their job interviews very seriously. Job interviews are necessary no doubt. They make the formal step to introduction, presentation and possibilities. Thus, the interviewee gets the opportunity to present why they are the best for the job and the interviewer gets the chance to assess him or her better and open the channel for communication. There, that’s it, communication- the key to any success or failure. One right message goes a long way and one very wrong message ends it all.

According to the Michigan State University’s School of Business, a written test is four times more accurate than an interview. Thus, the first step to a successful interview is to set it up well with goals in mind. Imagine you are hiring a sales person for your team, when the applications are coming in, why don’t you ask them to send you a mock power point presentation upon a client? That way you get to see their writing and strategy skills, then the best ones get the chance to make the presentation in person but make sure you have the other candidates inside the same conference room too. Sales people like to feel the competition and those who can handle it are the ones you should hire.

How about for the interviewee? You must understand the most important thing that your first job may not be the ideal one, but it is a great start, it is up to you to make the most of it. Just like in school they do not teach us how to cope with life, you need to learn your job skills on the job unless depending on your type of profession otherwise. You must also realize that while dream jobs help you achieve your dreams, does it pay for your daily life? Yes, the remuneration you take home is extremely important and while you may not get your ideal place to work at, there is always a start somewhere.

Time is very important and thanks to the Internet the knowledge is at your disposal, make the smart choice of getting the Best Job Ever.

 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Educated Leaders and Do They Matter? Point Blank with Asian Weekly 14th April 2017

Educated Leaders and Do They Matter?

Robert Mugabe Courtesy AfriclandPost

President Robert Mugabe, Courtesy AfriclandPost

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” by Abraham Lincoln

A man, who wants his family’s survival, will do anything, his grades will not matter, his qualifications will not count and his skills will not work always.

But a man, who wants his power to grow, will do anything, his grades will not matter, his qualifications will not count and his skills will always work because he knows how to do it.

There has been a study by Timothy Besley, Jose G Montalvo and Marta Reynal-Querol that used data on more than one thousand political leaders between 1875 and 2004 to investigate whether having more educated leaders affects economic growth rates. In regards to African countries they found that ‘a transition from a graduate leader to a graduate leader has no effect while a transition from a graduate to a non-graduate has a large negative and significant effect.’

Africa has been the focus of the world for economic purposes including everything from energy, resources, human capital and the role of democracy. However Africa is struggling to keep up with Western standards and while the recent Tanzanian President John Magufuli is chartering a new way of doing things, the rest of the continent is lagging behind in western standards. Maybe Africa needs to look inwards and because of its diverse culture and traditions, it needs to set its own standards and goals. However basic education should be a must no matter what.

When the Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko shared his KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) exams results there was major uproar. Surely, a poor result in class will not result in any better score in running the County? Perhaps politics were at play because soon after the opposition’s candidate Governor Hassan Joho’s KCSE results were also under question. There is hope in Africa though, because according to an Internet poll, the world’s most educated president is none other than Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Yes he was a teacher in the beginning of his career, has a qualification in Economics, is a lawyer, masters from University of London’s external programme’s and has a BA from Fort Hare University in South Africa.

While the basics of your education need to be covered and if not high scorer the average is quite ok too. According to the super power, United States of America, a great president needs to have a compelling vision, wherewithal to implement this vision, focus on a few major goals at a time and understand the process and implications of decision-making. These are as per Michael Siegel, who has written the book- The President as Leader.

But what about experience, surely this should count too?

According to Gautam Mukunda of the Harvard Business Review, “if you choose an insider who you know can do the job well, most of the time that person won’t perform any differently from any other top candidate with lots of experience, I call them “filtered leaders”, they might be good, but not brilliant.” He goes on to say that it is the unfiltered leaders, the outsiders without lots of experience who perform the very best.

While Senator Mike Sonko may not be highly qualified, he drew inspiration and connected immediately with the people of Nairobi and won the hearts of the Nation. A great example of an unfiltered leader is the US President Abraham Lincoln, but you have to remember says Gautam “you can choose leaders who are likely to lead you to big wins or big losses, or you can choose leaders who will definitely be good at their job but almost certainly won’t be great.”

Thus, a good leader needs qualifications but a great leader needs to be an excellent communicator and negotiator. What is the point of having a leader in a powerful position who looks at either ‘hands’ for advise, he or she should be capable of taking the decision or choice with all ears, eyes and opinion open. Life is the biggest teacher and experience adds to the wisdom, degrees and qualifications only pile up in the brain’s cupboard as trophies, rarely to be used to make any real difference, honestly.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Search for the Egg is On, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 31st March 2017

The Search for the Egg is On

Easter 2016

Every year comes a time, where there is a full weekend of joy, eating out, good times and a treasure hunt for Easter Eggs. In fact there is a city in Texas, which will conduct their biggest search ever of over 20,000 Easter eggs. Well, what does all this Treasure hunting and Easter has to do with each other? The giving of an Easter egg symbolizes the celebration of new life and that since Jesus Christ rose from the dead after dying on the cross, it shows that there can be a miracle of life over death. The cracking of the egg is like the tomb opening.

But in these harsh economic, water shortage, drought and famine times how shall we best spend this Easter weekend? In general, what do these festivities do for us? Yes they are an integral part of our cultural and religious life but somehow with this materialistic world, values are getting distorted. On one hand, you are buying a brand new outfit to celebrate and on the other side there is a refugee suffering. Are we meant to take on the moralistic cap and be conscious about what is happening to humanity and the planet? Who will draw the line? The suppliers selling Easter eggs, the shopping malls with offers or the simple man celebrating Easter for its significance?

Festivities have their benefits. They bring the family together, friends make more memories, weddings and maybe funerals happen. They remain important to each and everyone, from the worker who needs time off to that one who wants to work overtime and catch up a pending bill. Fortunately while there is doom and gloom there is merry and shine from a few in the world. Just like in business the 80 – 20 rule, the reverse needs to happen, 80% doing the good. You have a choice to be who you want and where, now that everything is at the tip of your fingers. You can learn about a festival, your religion, cultural rituals, the pros and cons and make up your mind about what it matters to you. That is especially if you are not caught up in a rat race to please others or have not been fortunate enough to come to self-realization that all good things come in small packages.

Make the festival about the saving a life, giving a life, sharing a life. Go and donate your blood, plant a tree or spend time with strangers you never thought you would. The joy of being with such a task are unbelievable. Unfortunately they are the hardest to do because you are either alone in this vision or you give up soon and since majority are partying it out you fail to see the profits of your investment in kindness. Have you noticed that while the world is becoming more conscious of how humanity is suffering and that we need religious tolerance and that we exist in multi-cultural communities, the need to be isolated and powerful is growing exponentially?

Suddenly our borders are more important and walls are necessary to protect National interests and this virus is spreading across oceans. At the core of all this apart from power and national pride is the commercial success of the country itself. Whatever happened to making the ladoos at home with the full family? The westernized families find these a waste of time and against their “religious practices”, while the remaining eastern families are looked down upon that “oh they can’t afford it”. What a complexful crap way of living. If you had a ladoo company, do you really think your relatives would honestly support your business?

Just forget it and look at the big picture. Make the festivities count and spread kindness. Do not wrap up shiny objects and with fake smiles keep up public appearances. Do the fun and feasts but mean it for the well not for the weall-thy.

Choose your meaning of the festivity for the well-being of all and not the shopping mall.

 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Happiness Is Inside All of Us, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 24th March, 2017

 

Happiness Is Inside All Of Us

World-Happiness-Day-Quotes-2017

Some people chase success, some people chase money, very few people chase happiness. That is because they think it will come from success and money. While there is no denying that money buys you things you like, places you want to go to, certain experiences, happiness has no price tag. You have to earn your happiness.

The Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” That is kind, but I like how Abraham Lincoln also sums it up, by saying “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Yes, it is up to you and you only to be happy.

The International Day of Happiness started in 2013 to recognize that happiness is an important requirement of our lives.

While this year the Smurfs (famous cartoons) rallied on their three goals to attaining happiness, which are end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet, there was an index to show which country fared on this rank of happiness.

There was no surprise that Norway was the happiest country in the world, especially since it has almost no poverty, great equality and excellent climate protection. The poor Americans dropped one place to 14th, they are getting sadder, but luckily for them the UK was 19th. While Syria and Yemen were at the bottom, the interesting thing were the main components used to calculate the rankings; how people rate social support, personal freedom, corruption and generosity. While the UAE was the happiest country in the Arab world, the shocking winner in East Africa was Somalia.

Somalia is ranked 5th while our very own Kenya is 13th in Africa according to the Gallup World Poll. It is interesting to note that in their calculation which they call Afrobarometer, “while poor infrastructure and lack of service delivery may contribute to lived poverty and depressed happiness, it may also undermine Africa’s democracy project. A case in point is South Africa’s relatively new democracy. The latest Afrobarometer survey conducted there suggests that 64% of South African respondents thought that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government, a similarly high percentage (62%) stated they would be ‘very willing’ or ‘willing’ to give up regular elections to live under a non-elected government capable of ensuring law and order and service delivery.”

Somalia has been a war torn country and perhaps they are rising to the top of happiness because they value the support system of happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. With their newly elected President Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo the expectations of moving forward and creating history are high, especially since the country is finally trying to put together its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century. By the way even Pakistan and Bangladesh ranked higher and happier than India.

Kenya is not happy because of a long list of old issues and some new ones that are manifesting to become dangerous signs to disaster.

While there is progress in investment, there is almost no progress in fighting corruption. While there is progress in community security, there is very little for law and order. Those in charge of our security need to be secure in their lives, better working conditions, remunerations and goals to achieve. Our failing national doctors and the entire clogged system is crippling the nation’s health. The ever growing pains of teachers who are meant to shape tomorrow’s leaders are busy still fixing their state of affairs. If we do not get a grip on these key issues amongst others then we are setting up a whole new generation of failure and even the oil discoveries will not float us out of the dirty crap.

The mind, the will, the heart, all need to change to be honest, compassionate and happy. There is just no other way to achieve a better ranking not for the sake of an index but for the real truth, progress and happiness.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Environment First For Kenya, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 24th March 2017

earthrise-over-plastic

Did you know that about 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide annually? That comes to one million bags every minute!

Plastic bags look ugly yet it can take up to 100 million barrels of crude oil just to make the annual worldwide bags. They choke the animals when they clog water sources and they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Incidentally it was the Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin who invented the plastic bag in the 1960s. It reached the US through its supermarket chains in the 1970s and it was San Francisco who was the first to ban the bags in 2012. They also came up with the Checkout Bag Ordinance, where customers were charge 10 cents for their compostable plastic bags, paper bags and reusable check out bags that have been designed to last 125 uses and are washable.

Then what about Paper bags? Are they your better option? Unfortunately a paper-bag manufacturer will use 20 times as much water as plastic and requires more energy to be recycled and when they degrade they will release methane. Not to mention the millions of trees it will take to make them.

Jute bags need a lot of water too, and we are already facing severe water shortages worldwide.

Kenya joined other African nations including Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Cameroon, Mali and Guinea-Bissau to ban plastic bags as per the gazette notice on 28th February 2017. The ban starts 6 months from notice period. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, Kenyans uses about 100 million plastic bags annually, while 8 million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean every year.

In Kenyan style there was bill introduced to the County Assembly in July 2016 that was sponsored by Umoja MCA Njoroge Maina under the Nairobi City County Plastic Control Bill and Kayole South MCA Elizabeth Imanyala claimed to be the actual author of the bill.

The fate is now sealed. Environment Minister Judi Wakhungu says there is no turning back starting September and fines include customers being jailed for up to 12 months or pay 3 million shillings. In 2007 an attempt to clean up the country and ban the bags flopped.

The Kenyan manufacturers however have reported that over 60,000 jobs directly and over 400,000 indirectly will be lost with this ban. The dilemma prevails. This dreadful yet useful material poisons the environment worldwide and we are not the only country to face this challenge.

Let’s talk about Kenya, since 2007 the attempts to ban these bags have failed. Well, there has been plenty of time since to come up with innovative solutions or after much research now at our finger tips to see what else can be done. The manufacturers should be playing a bigger role in changing the environment than profiting from it. They need to drive the change and not wait for the Government to come and close shop. Perhaps they tried too and since there is not much evidence on what they could have tried, there is only speculation.

What then can the plastic bags be replaced with?

This means a lifestyle change. That’s right, how we consume, what we consume and where we consume will define the use of materials. Remember the milkman who brings fresh milk to your house, he pours it from his jerry can to yours? How about that happens here too? Imagine if you did not have to go shopping and ordered it online and they deliver from their bag to yours? Alright, so the malls will have no more supermarkets to sell their spaces too. Let’s consider what can be done inside. Simple, the trolley which holds the shopping items remains with you till your car, where in the boot you have a box to fix the materials and then offload from trolley to box to home. Not a single bag needs to be used.

Thus, recycle the use of the trolley and not fill it up with the bags.

To carry your lunch boxes, extra items or just about anything try and see what else can you use. Just the way the school kids have a permanent lunch bag, even adults should adopt them and not misuse the plastic bags.

Human beings are at a major crux, should they be nature friendly and live like yogis or be materialistic and fulfill their objects desires? One is long term thinking and investment, the other is way shorter and more expensive. Feel free to choose the one that works best for you, we still have that say.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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All Ado About Food, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 17th March 2017

Pineapple Pizza Courtesy RedBubble

When was the last time you had a fight over food? Not literally but just when you are ordering it. Each member on the table most certainly has a different taste and they want their preferences. One of my favourites is not including onions in my dishes.

 

But when was the last time you heard a food drama happen just because a President said so? Yes, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson President of Iceland got the attention when he said he would rather not have any pineapple toppings on his pizza and if he would have it his way, he would go ahead and even make a public ban. It was not long before the Internet world jeered or cheered him and the “pizza debate” was off to a hot chunky start. While many are used to the “Trump State of Mind” it was a change to hear another Head of State speak his mind.

However, President Guðni, later clarified on Facebook, saying “I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza,” he wrote. “I am glad I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power.” Really how much power should Presidents have?

Let’s start with your immediate president, yes your Boss, CEO, MD or whatever you call him or her. They play a major role in the first order of business, what the employees get to wear, eat, drink or talk. Yes there are some obsessed directors who want to control every moment, movement and mood of their employees. Here, the pizza debate is far from even reaching an office desk. But then there are those who a trying to run a democratic empire and leave the beings to be but still pass on indirect message. As we speak there is a current debate about the headscarves once again stirred up where the European Union Court has ruled that wearing headscarves at work is illegal and that any other political or especially religious symbols are not to be allowed.

Getting back to food, there are also those bosses who do not allow non-veg foods in their kitchens and so forth. Here is the thing, create an environmentally friendly structure. You have to realize your employees or workers in this case are almost giving you about 8 to 10 hours of their active life, make it worth it for them. They too need to reciprocate and not abuse. The Head of State should not be able to influence the ice cream flavor of the month, but he should be able to make food prices friendlier and balance out inflation, standard and quality of living.

Australia is facing its own turmoil, through a beer campaign, which has run dry after it hit a rainbow. A beer company release an advert sponsored by the Bible Society where two Liberal MPs are discussing the “heavy” topic of same-sex marriage. This entire episode has not gone down well with consumers or any type of audience. This is an almost unusual mix of Members of Parliament discussing a serious topic and having product placement involved. The owners of the beer company say they did not approve the advert and that they support the Bible Society as a philanthropic project.

Basically, in a world where we are faced with the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945 according the United Nations and that even Kenya is struggling through drought and hunger, we have better ways of getting attention to the food problems. Let the pineapple toppings feed the world or the beer make people merry but not let all food go down a rubbish debate or bin and leave others hangry!

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Mummy is He Gay? Point Blank with Asian Weekly 10th March 2017

Mummy is He Gay?

LGBT Courtesy Stream.Org

 

Get into your living room, turn on the TV and wait for the show Modern Family. This is one of the earliest introductions to a gay couple, while the audience is primarily an adult, the chance of a teenager catching it is not too slim.

 

The modern media is changing fast and while there is race sensitization going on, it is the LGBT that are overtaking the story telling. LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. This “freedom for sexuality” has various scientific proofs or basically personality clashes, each to its own. When the AIDS epidemic hit the 80s and 90s, the deniers blamed sexual promiscuity. Now that all those hurdles are over, religious factions too are secretly adopting this reality, especially after the sodomy cases breaking out in the Vatican world, we are faced with a new conundrum, shall we be truthful to our children?

Nothing escapes this new digital age children. It does not take them long to reach their favourite cartoon on an iPad or explain to you a full story of what is going on in a short clip of a film. If anybody knows the hype of Frozen, then you know what I mean, what if Elsa and Anna were a gay couple? The world would surely have Frozen! This is the subtle attempt that the new Disney film based on one of the best stories of all times, “Beauty and the Beast” is going to do. There is a sub plot of a gay couple and censor boards around the world are giving it different certificates, from over 18 to 16 and so on.

More than world still looks down upon women and we are beginning to bring in the consciousness to our girls, that they are important, that their gender is relevant and that they can make a difference in this world. The poor boys have been sidelined and the chances of them tilting during their puberty exploration towards bisexuality may be higher. Boys too need the confidence and exposure that their machoism represents strength and not oppression, that their vulnerability represents feminism and not weakness. A human being has been designed with both masculine and feminine, after all we have been born through the manufacturing of a sperm and ovary. Thus, the scientific drops of gender exist. There can be an imbalance of the chromosones and further to the environment, upbringing and attitude of the personalities around, there can be a tip over.

A 3-year old does not need to know right now that there is a gay or lesbian, but a 13-year old does. An adolescent is in search of his or her identity and if they are not comfortable with their sexuality they can have a crisis. They need the special attention not only to make them feel good but to recognize their urges. These must not be dismissed and if a child does come forth and declare their sexual preference, as a parent, realize one thing, loving them for who they are is more important than denying them their personal truth. Keeping them away from a film or even a gay couple you know will not alter their minds unless you are ill equipped to educate them. First know the truth and accept the side you want only then expose them to this new reality.

The digital age children are slightly aware of the new way to love, but let that not become lust and turn into an opportunity for a sexual offense. It is up to you, the parent to give them their space and reality. Anything otherwise will confuse them, drive them away or destroy them.

Take a leaf out of this famous song “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga:

“I’m beautiful in my way,

‘Cause God makes no mistakes,

I’m on the right track, baby,

I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret,

Just love yourself and you’re set,

I’m on the right track, baby,

I was born this way”

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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