I’m in a Job that Does not Really Use my Skills. What Should I do?

I make welcome Mr. Oseumeke Nnaemeke. He’s the Digital Communications Officer for EEDC, a brand enthusiast and CEO of Viral Media Concept. Follow him @osemekennaemeke on facebook, twitter and instagram.

Guest: Thanks for having me

Me: So, as an employee, what does it feel like? What’s… What’s the vibe like?

Guest: It feels great, especially when you are doing what you love and you can see how relevant your work is in the aspect of building a viable brand that customers can relate with.

Me: Doing what you love… Hmmmm… I understand this because I have same experience. But then…, from your personal observation, do you think most young Nigerian workers enjoy what they do?

Guest: Well, there’s a fine mix of people who love what they do and are committed to adding value and a vast majority slumming it living for the weekend and the paycheck πŸ’°.

Me: Yeah. I agree with you. Can be sad, really. I had a job like that before and I was just so scared of leaving it because I needed the pay.

OooKay! Right into the space for today’s topic.

Emmm… Imagine an employee complaining to you or a friend telling you that he or she feels weird because her skill or his skill is not being used at the work place. Mekus, what would you say to the person? Like… What would be your response?

Guest: Find a place for your skill in the office. Most offices are bereft of people who are truly there to add value. Most employees are in it for the money so anyone with ideas or skills that can add value to the company will be highly welcomed.

That said, be very subtle how you deploy this because of a possible backlash from employees who aren’t happy with the few people who want to move up and do more.

Me: Wow! Emmm… Are you saying, like if the individual could write πŸ“ and she’s not asked to write but then there’s a department that’s in charge of content development, she can approach someone there?

Guest: Yes! The key should be to offer value upfront and not ask first. Too many people want others to do stuff for them first without providing value. When you offer value first and your work is remarkable, people will make moves to bring you onboard.

Me: Hmmm… This is quite revealing. And then you also mentioned being careful due to backlash from some folks who are maybe insecure… πŸ˜‚

Guest: Yes! To be frank, people who are not adding value are defensive when they see someone truly trying to get work done.

Me: I agree… Especially in our system. Folks like more money with less work. So, if you’re trying to work more with no increase in cash, you’ll be seen as ‘I To Know’ like ‘na you sabi pass?’ πŸ˜‚

Guest: Yes… Personally, in my last place of work, everyone was so inundated that any idea you brought was frowned at.

Me: … ‘Some pipu sef!’ So, what other ways can the person get on being productive?

Guest: One of the best possible ways I’ve found is to deliver excellently on your current assignment or designation. Results attract favour and access. Delivering proficiently on your current duties will create the avenue needed to solicit a change.

Me: Hmmm…

Thirdly, you need to get clear on what you want. Is the job offering you a clear cut path to growth in your career of choice?

Me: … So even if I’m not using my gold in the job, you think I should still give my best and perform excellently?

Guest: Yes. Personally, when I started at the defunct Diamond bank, I was the least performing salesperson… Remember at this point, I was still in the process of learning sales/marketing so even though the atmosphere at work was toxic I endured for two reasons:

1. I wanted to gain a skill that could put food on my table even outside the industry.

2. I didn’t quit because if I did then my record at that company would be that of an underachiever… I didn’t want to leave as someone who couldn’t make the grade. I left two years later as a high flyer having mastered the skill and gained the results to back it up.

Me: Really?! So even though you were there, the thing was not connecting with you but you had to deliver… And finally, you left on a brighter note?!

And I’m sure your pedigree there stands strong especially amongst your peers…

Guest: Yes. I opened an average of 40 accounts monthly and had a volume base of 10 million quarterly.

Me: Hmmm… Guys, are we here?! So, whether they are using my skill well or not, underperformance should be a no for me…

Am I correct sir?

Guest: Yes

Me: Hmmm… OK. This is where the icing is for me. I call it the ‘what do you want?’ question.

Can you explain this further. Please… (Thirdly, you need to get clear on what you want. Is the job offering you a clear cut path to growth in your career of choice?)

Guest: Self Awareness is key. You need to get crystal clear πŸ‘“ on what you want work to be like for you down to the bare grimy details.

In 2011, I had the privilege of working with the World Health Organization Enumeration team. We canvassed local governments in Rivers state collecting data of pharmacies, local chiefs, and health centers. This was targeted at having quality data with which to distribute free mosquito nets and A.C.T drugs.

It lasted for two weeks but the experience made me discover that I loathed desk jobs… I desired work that would give me the freedom to work outside the confines of an office building… Hence, my career in marketing. I have a ritual of writing (my list) which comprises the job I want, colleagues/industry I want to operate in, salary scale and all the details that would make the job enjoyable. When am done, I take it to God in prayer.

Me: Hmmm…

Guest: As far back as 2013, I knew I wanted a job that paid 6 figures. I didn’t get one but I persisted on the vision while doing my best where I worked for peanuts but kept adding value to myself and that dream became a reality last year.

Me: Real! Real!! Real!!!… So real! So hot! You know, I like the fact you have personal stories to back these principles up. Gary Vaynerchuk said in one his quotes:

Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life?’

(So, Self Awareness is key. You need to get crystal clear on what you…)

Guest: Yeah, it’s very important. The worst thing in life anyone can do is settle.

Me: I like the 6 figure dream and how it has materialized. So no excuse. That’s what you’re saying?! Give value. Find where to add value and give it excellently?! Right?

Guest: Yes.

Me: oookay!

Guest: What this does for you as a person is you get to wear many caps in your firm; by caps I mean responsibility. Responsibility and competence births influence.

Me: Hmmm… I’m almost speechless. You just revealed certain things to me that I never knew. So guys, stay there in that office and give all you’ve got while you keep working on your career vision.

Before I let you go… I heard you insisting on career vision… like it should be the driving force while delivering value with the skill one has at the work place?

Guest: Yes

Me: Noted.

Guest: Goals are important but I’ve achieved goals and still felt empty… Vision should be the driving force to achieve goals. We all need a picture of our destination. What this does is that it gives you the fortitude to persist through today’s challenges πŸ‘Š.

Me: Yeah. I agree. You can check this site https://bit.ly/2QvGg9q to understand how to create a career vision.

πŸ‘πŸ‘ So awesome to have you sir. We look forward to more time. I’ll take this as your final words… Responsibility and competence births influence.

Guest: Yeah, thanks for having me

Me: Wow! Well, for me these are my takeaways:

  • Get to give value with the skill you have. Find a vacuum and use that skill to fill it.
  • Perform in your current assignment excellently with the skill you have – whether it’s cool or not. Just give your best.
  • Have a career vision and let it direct your decisions.

Two other interviews will be coming up soon. So, just stay connected so you can enjoy the thrill. Before I run off:

Can you give your best to an organization where people can indict you for trying to be excellent?

Click on the share button and let the goodies roll to your friends.

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