Tag Archives: African employee

Africa and the Future of Work: Understanding the Gig Economy – Part 1.

South African telecoms firm, MTN, on Friday sacked 280 of its employees in Nigeria, in a major job cut that affected about 15% of the company’s entire Nigerian workforce. Those affected by the move include some 200 permanent employees and about 80 contract staff across various cadres, ranging from new graduates to senior managers.

Many of those sacked spent up to 15 years with the company having joined MTN as it opened its business in Nigeria in 2001. Our sources said affected workers were given a dismal severance of 75% of their gross monthly income multiplied by the number of years with the company.

That was the news as seen on Nairaland Website on 2 May, 2017.

And many more of this is coming. Why? Work is changing. The world is getting to a point where permanence of employment is an illusion. Organizations are outsourcing on a large scale. It’s a give me what I want now. I pay you. You go system.

Well, let’s get into understanding what this gig thing is.

What is the gig economy?

This is what Investopedia website explains the gig economy as:

In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.

That’s it! It use to be that you get into an organization, grow, retire or maybe die there. When you are done, your kids come in if they want to. That is changing. Even if you have that due to family business structuring, the change is coming so fast.

Reasons for the gig economy.

I think it’s just simple. Companies have come to realise they can do more with less long term staff strength. There’s effective cost management in outsourcing jobs.

It’s clear there are better people who can do what you are doing at a cheaper rate. So, why should we keep you? they ask…

Let’s not stop there. Employees too want a more flexible lifestyle. You want to do your work from the confines of your bedroom without showing up in the office. This is another great factor driving the gigism of the economy.

So, it’s a reaction between the thirst and dynamics of employees, employers and the economic forces. Whether it is balanced is a course for another day.

The Pros!

More Flexibility: I use the WordPress app to do all the work I need to do online. From research to first draft from vague idea to refining the draft to more editing (photo editing and…) to final uploading anywhere I find myself. This is a plus for the gig economy.

Access to more employment opportunities: Google Fiverr or jobberman.com or jobmag.com… You’ll find lots of jobs available with limited applicants. If fired today, it’s only by choice to be jobless in the next 12hrs.

More money:  This is also true of you know what you want. You can have two or more jobs without interference. What’s the translation in dollars or Rand?

Less computing expenses: Source of power might be the only reason you move. If you can work from anywhere, why move?

It carters more to the creative worker: Those who are art inclined folks – she draws, into music, photography, fashion designing… – are given that space to express themselves. So, they enjoy the flow.

The Cons!

No benefits apart from your pay: The 401k system or whatever your ststa calls it, might not functional. Although, I saw recently how Uber is making retirement plans for it’s staff. But how many organization will do that? It means you have to plan with your salary.

(For government) Taxes might be difficult to track: Very true. Fintechs are making easier to pay and be paid for service rendered. How will government receive taxes?


High levels of isolation: And this could lead to depression amongst workers. You’re working from home. Just you. No one to disturb you and make you angry in the office… I think this might make some folks refuse the system entirely. Although there’s a way out of this…

Stress or anxiety in the instability of the work you’re doing: You’re replaceable. If your work is not good, we can call someone else. Remember how your mum stayed faithful to the organization and they cherished her? Now, it’s going away. You are repleaceble!

No room for lack of skills: You are either good or go away. Most folks I tell about building websites just tell me yo go online and I’ll get it cheaper and better. So also, organizations will get things done cheaper and better and if you’re not getting better your odds are just in…

It’ll take longer time to build experience as in teems of focus: As you do this and do that, that focus needed for mastery will be lacking. If you stay stable in a place and work and learn, mastery from experience comes faster.

How can you as an African Employee Thrive?

Taking a look at these cons and its trends, if you’re an employee, how would you navigate the tide? What will be your strategy?

From Johannesburg to Addis Ababa to Lagos and Cairo, there’s no exemption or hiding place for this. The way forward is this: How will I thrive in this system?

Albert Einstein will tell us this:

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

And George Bernard Shaw…

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

The way to thrive says Gianpiero Petriglieri, Susan J. Ashford and Amy Wrzesniewski is to use these strategies:

Place, Routine, Purpose and People.

And the second part of this post talks about these strategies extensively.

Does Motivational Books and Stories Really Work? – Pt. 2

Motivational books: Are they relevant? Or are they lies?

Let’s see the other questions. You can read the first of this post here.

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Hmmm… Should I talk about this?

The day I heard my first book mentor, John Maxwell, talk about his challenges with his wife and then few things he failed at, I was speechless.

I use to think he’s so perfect, he makes no error until he wrote two books on lessons from failure – Failing Forward and Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn.

These books have made me love him more. See this:

No author’s life is as clean as the books they write.

Asking this question, “What did the author not say?” will help you think for yourself. Remember, you can’t say everything if you were the author.



My generation is the instant generation – Instant Noodles, Instant Milk, Live stream and many other quick fix. Yet, life is not like that.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest… shall not seize.

Genesis 8:22 (AMP)

There’s a space between planting and reaping. If you’ve read Think and Grow Rich, you’ll see the story of Edwin C. Barnes who wanted to be an associate of Thomas Edison.

And he did. But it took time. Chapter 8 of the same book is titled Persistence.

This is another side most authors don’t mention. The success is so sweet and hot they feel like spilling it out for us. And sure I’m grateful they do.

On this, I’ll recommend you follow the author for a while and you’ll learn the journey of their success like I’ve been doing with John Maxwell.

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I think this is where the real work is. Napolean Hill did not write a book and title it: I WILL THINK FOR YOU WHILE YOU GROW RICH… No!

Who is thinking? You. Who is growing? You. Who is suppose to persevere? You.

It is the principles you practise that work. I don’t care how long THINK AND GROW RICH has been in your shelf, until you begin to think it and apply it, you’ll not grow rich.

The best, today’s authors can do for you is coach you online or offline. Get your sleeve up and go to work. The result is in the doing.

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There are basically two main kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Most folks who complain about motivational books actually take these books as drugs.

So they think the motivation should be from the books. They pursue extrinsic motivation instead of intrinsic motivation. Guy, it does not work. African Queen 👸, it doesn’t. That’s why you throw it away after one week.

It’s OK to start with external or use it once in a while. I do. So does Mohamed Salah. Yet, my motivation for teens career niche coaching is inside not outside.

Jim Taylor PhD. explains this well in a post he titled Personal Growth: Why Inspirational Talks Don’t Work.

Lastly, any motivational book you read that does not paint the picture of perseverance in the story or experience of the author, in any way, is not a good one.

That’s why I’ll strongly recommend Think and Grow Rich as one of the best circular motivational books on success.

And then, begin to listen to local 🎑 successful men and women as their stories will relate more with yours.

Some other time, we’ll see why it’s also important to read foreign books. I do and it’s given me huge mileage.

When next you try to read any motivational book, consider these questions.

If this has been helpful, and I know it has, you can share it.

Does Motivational Books and Stories Really Work? – Pt. 1

What has made profound books like Think and Grow Rich, The Law of Success and How to Raise Your Own Salary all by Napoleon Hill; The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason; How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale remain classics after decades?

(In fact, I can bet it’s hard to see anybody who’s so successful that don’t know any of these books. It’s hard! And I hope you’ll be convinced to get them after reading this post.)

There are testimonies of what these books have done in the lives of men, women, boys, girls, Africans, Americans, Asians, Europeans… and almost all people group that have had access to these materials.

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Yet, I see folks who say, ” Motivational books are scam! It doesn’t work.” And I’m like, “Are you on this planet?”

While I understand what they mean, I still have a personal library because of a personal experience of the power of some motivational books.

I entered the office of my boss this morning at about 09:55am and guess what? He had this book in front of him: The China Strategy and trust me, I googled it instantly. Because I know the power of these materials. (That’s one secret of having a mentor.)

So, why does it feel as though these books don’t work? How can we read these books and profit from it?

What if we read these books with a mindset that ask these questions:

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There’s a difference between principles and methods.

If an author says he was able to raise $1M through personal savings and loan in six months after starting his business why will you in Ghana want to do the same thing and if it fails, you start complaining to everyone you know that these guys are lying? Why?!

My friend, calm down! I can see at least two principles from the example above: perseverance and planning.

He got his result in six months not six hours. And he mentioned at least two plans he used: personal savings and loan not empty paper with no plans at all.

So, take the principles and apply them. In your case, you can even create seven plans. Just stay there and apply it first.

You’ll see result. Sometimes even faster than the author or later.

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I was speaking at a training on Employability Skills for 21st Century when I mentioned the importance of motivational books. And someone said they don’t work. I had to interrupt and was like, “It does work but the location matters.”

See, there are different kinds of tax laws, business laws and all those laws enacted by nations that control what they do. Thus, as you read such books, bear in mind the location of the author.

When I read Branding 101 and Marketing 101 by Trump University, it was so inspiring I felt like taking over the business space of Nigeria 😁.

On the contrary, when I engaged Small Money, Big Business by Akin Alabi, founder of NairaBET.com, I understood it fast. It was homely.

He dropped the cookies on the lower shelf for me like John Maxwell would say. And in my branding journey (for African Teens, African Employees and African Educators) his book has helped me the most.

Akin Alabi wrote as a Nigerian and African. Trump University gives a global view – which is also important.

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Kenya? Ivory Coast? Egypt? These places are different from each other let alone European countries from where most motivational books come from.

In a large part of Europe and the US, there are lots of places where free WiFi is available and neighborhood mentorship programs for entrepreneurs.

But in Africa, we’re still on the throttle level for that. And I know we’re getting better.

So, how can a teenager who is not working, start a blog and keep it updated? How can our start-up founders get steady mentorship when most of the successful entrepreneurs are so busy to scale their mentorship programs?

Knowing where you are will help you understand your challenges as opposed to where the author is. Yet, it shouldn’t stop you.

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After reading the books from Trump University, I asked myself this question: How can I brand myself for teens, for teachers & for employees in Nigeria and Africa using the principles I read?

My decisions for teens?

Make branded shirts which I’d wear from time to time, learn to visit secondary schools often and talk with them, share branded gift items like wrist bands

It’s not going to be all about the YouTube thing that most books advise because most African teens have phones but not enough data. Although, I still have online plans.

For you, ask yourself same question. You’ll get answers.

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The book, As a Man Thinketh says it so well. If after reading this and you still don’t believe these books work, they won’t. Why? The Law of Belief.

Apart from natural laws like gravity which works whether you believe or not, there are some things you can’t experience until you believe it. If by chance you see it in your life, just in a short while it’ll disappear except your mind adapts to it.

If you believe, they’ll work. If you don’t, forget it.

The other questions will come as part two of this post.

If this has been helpful, remember to share it.