2018 will not be happy with me if I fail to share “Solving for X “. Ok I entered 2018 just praying for total health and longevity, I did not border to make all those long list of what I wanted to achieve (amidst burning with all sot of life and career goals) because other years I have written out this long list and worked hard and many a times I did not achieve them although things might just work out in a different dimension but not just as I wanted it(This is including getting Master of Public Health(MPH) abroad instead of Master of Industrial Microbiology in Nigeria, which am grateful for and trust me MPH completes my personality if you have ever had any contact with me).
Somehow, I saw this Facebook post from my own lady, my role model, Dr. Adeola Olubamiji “ Solving for X”, gush I was encouraged by it. And so I made my list. You wanna know, I guess?.
Let’s get down to it.
Own a website: Writing and expressing myself is just my thing and so I needed to own my own platform not the free blogging stuff. So to buy my domain name and subsequently building the site and get it rolling. This was number one on my list. I achieved this by the middle of 2018. You can visit my website: www.ladyelink.com
Get a good phone: Funny as it may sound, I wanted a good phone and needed to work to buy it myself. Hahahaha, before now the phone I came with to Nigeria got broken, it was better to buy a brand new phone. So I used this small itel red phone with this very loud ringing sound that could not be lowered. Hahahha, the phone sabi disgrace person emm. You would wonder why I needed a phone. With a good phone creating content for website would be easier (i.e original pictures and videos) and responding to mails is easier too. I got myself Gionee PW8 after taking up a one month immunization job. With my phone I do quite a lot. It’s serving its purpose for now.
I needed to gain more skills to enrich my CV: In my search for job in the past one year, I discovered that employers are more interested in what you can offer not just your degree grade. I needed more skills. So I intensified my commitment to my volunteering job of which I requested for departmental rotations that way I will have a better knowledge of what is obtainable in the various departments. This request was granted as such I moved from prevention, care and treatment, to TB referral then finally to Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E). At this point, I came to understand that the bedrock of NGO work is M & E and programs. I would admit that this department is quite challenging. It requires time, consistency and developing expertise. Amidst the odds, my supervisors played their roles well, especially, The TB Referral Coordinator I worked with, Amara Nwokoro and my M & E Supervisor, Dr. Idongesit Edward. Thanks to them.
Enrich my knowledge and get my field specific job: Considering my empty pocket, I could just take any job but I said No. I wanted to grow into a public health consultant. If I keep jumping from one field to another, it might take me a longer time to achieve this. While I volunteered, I took my time to take online courses haven understood that online courses are a great start and future employers’ value continuing education and professional development. Employers love hiring people who are resourceful and who take action to stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive edge. So, I created time for these courses. I started out with Global e-learning courses powered by USAID and later got linked to Philanthropy University online courses through my cousin who is my senior colleague, Uzoma Ajaebuo (nne Anosa).
Pilot a Public Health Outreach: This has always been my heart cry. But this year, I took it as part of “Solving for X”. I did my research in the developing communities around me and found Iriebe Community, Rivers State worthy of reaching out to. So I embarked on the project to reach at least 100 girls with hygiene pack to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018. My kid sister, Chioma helped me design a sticker and I shared what I wanted to do on my social media handles. I got support from Facebook friends (some of which I have never chatted or even had any form of contact with), other friends, immediate family and relatives. Oh yeah, I was able to reach 84 girls.
Join programs related to my field: Every day, I searched the internet for programs/ events related to my field. Did I get involved? O yes, I did. Althrough 2018, I was part of virtually all programs related to public health in and outside Rivers State, Nigeria where am based. I meet a lot of colleagues who are now my career mentors. From these events and my cousin as well I joined a WhatsApp platform for NGO related career personalities where only career related matters and jobs are shared. Through this platform I got to know about the job website, MyJobMag. I applied for a good number of jobs shared on this platform and finally I got one. It will also interest you to know that I applied and was part of She Hacks Africa 2018 Cohort 4.
Get a Public Health/NGO Job: I searched the internet like never before. I made all contact where ever necessary. I wasn’t tired of making it a key prayer point and used every opportunity to say it where ever I go. With time, a lot of people sent me related job links and I kept applying as far as it related to my career, qualified or not. Funny as it may sound, I applied for over 50 before I got my first job in April, with my proceeds I got my website running. And the second, I bought myself the dream phone for now. I did not stop here. I sent a Facebook message to Dr, Adeola Olubamiji telling her I needed a CV/Resume update. She responded but didn’t have to update it herself. I guess she wanted me to be more responsible for myself and so she gave me guidelines and redirected me to read up one of her post which I did. I updated my CV/resume and continued applying for jobs which amounted to 202. Good for my persistence I got about seven interviews in the last six months and was offered two jobs within this month both Public Health/NGO jobs. May I let you know, that my last interview, the Dr interviewing me was humbled at my accomplishment/ experience in the past one year. She was carried away by my response that she openly admitted to have been lost in the interview process of which she was supposed to be taking short notes from the session with me.
My lovelies, this didn’t come just by wishing. It came first through God who understands me, secondly through my role model, Dr Adeola Olubamiji who motivated me amidst succumbing to life challenges to have a plan, then my immediate family whose encouragement is without measure. Cheers.