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IS YOUR JOB A DOG’S DINNER?

Stuart White
THE WORLD IN BLACK-N-WHITE

Results of a study by researchers at Southampton University out this week, reported in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, and claims that buildings and locations including public libraries, railway stations and shopping centres could be unwittingly making people ill through the effects of ultrasound. 

This virtual noise in public places can be generated from a number of sources including loudspeakers, automatic door sensors, pest repellents, public address systems and spotlights and according to the new report might cause dizziness, nausea, migraine, fatigue and tinnitus.  This was news to me but then so was the fact that there are actually professional Vibration Consultants in this world, people who work alongside engineers, planners and architects, advising on and correcting vibration and noise problems in construction and building design. 

There are also professional golf ball divers who make their living jumping into water traps on golf courses to retrieve lost balls; professional pet food tasters to ensure the quality and flavour of premium pet food products; and eel ecologists who spend their days wading into rivers to monitor the sizes and numbers of endangered European eel species.

If the idea of tasting doggy chunks for a living is food for thought then that’s just my point this week.   Let’s face it, life is just too short to even waste being in a job you hate; working with people who don’t relate to you; doing tasks that feel pointless; suffering through performance appraisals that don’t make any sense; putting up with corporate politics where individual agendas overpower the collective good of the organisation; being treated like a child and tortured by micro-management. These bullet points have all arisen during the countless discussions I have had with people about their job, or at least the ones who are unhappy about it. I often ask “if you knew then what you know now, what career would you have followed or what would you be doing?” It’s a great question because the answer often uncovers people’s true passion and what they would like to be doing.

Deciding on a career for the most part isn’t a one-time decision or the sole territory of the school leaver or graduate. Nowadays it should be seen as a succession of decisions, made while you progress through various stages of life, experience, and responsibility. At each stage we begin to adapt our lifestyles and family commitments to conform to our present employment needs or demands. Or maybe for the more empowered it’s the other way around.

Passions change with time. I can testify to that as I get older my appetite for challenges, results and rewards is different from when I was young so it makes sense that I like others, should be adjusting my career accordingly. As my passion shifts so should my environment to match this.

As with all kinds of planning, career planning is a thinking process that starts with identifying a goal or asking the questions what do I want to do? What am I really good at? What will make me happy? What job will align well to all of this, regardless of age? Unfortunately very few people really ask these questions. The clear majority of people seem to fall into their career by accident with little focused decision-making based on structured career guidance or coaching. What is available at school or university appears to fall dramatically short of requirement and at your place of employment, career departments and career planning are even more useless and there is almost no support to employees. This might be because until recently, employees could join an organisation fully expecting to stay with it for their entire career but now, life-long careers are a thing of the past and so this HR function is gradually falling away.

What I have picked up as the most common error people make in career choices is choosing a job based on salary. This is so established in our culture that it’ll take a strong commitment to change it. While a big salary might give you a good lifestyle and a certain amount of peace of mind, it will not guarantee job satisfaction. Another frequent error in choosing a job is familiarity – because that’s what your parents do. So don’t follow in your mother’s or father’s footsteps unless you have exactly the same size shoe and want to end up exactly where they are.  Even worse, don’t choose a job to fulfill your parents' unfulfilled dream. Parents must be careful not to steer their children to something they themselves would like. Rather, children should be encouraged to follow a career path that best suits their talents and abilities.

So what would my advice be to those wanting to make good career decisions? Well firstly spend time clarifying your purpose in life. Whilst I know this is sometimes difficult especially when you are young, it’s important. Your purpose may change but if there isn’t alignment at a particular time with your raison d'être, chances are you will be all out of sorts. Discover your natural inclinations and how to use them effectively. There are many was to identify strengths (there’s a plethora of psychometric testing available or for something free try  HYPERLINK "http://www.authentichappiness.com/" t "_blank" www.authentichappiness.com.  Alternatively simply investigate where you have found success and happiness in the past with work or leisure activities and you will start to develop a profile which is then easier to match to a career. Investigate several occupations that fit your talents and personality. Focus on professions that are a potential good fit. You can also interview people who hold similar roles, learn about them from reading on the internet or visit job sites in order to identify jobs that best suit your talent profile.

What is really relevant today is becoming a lifelong learner. There are many subjects and skills that weren’t available 20 years ago. It is essential in today’s world of continuous development, innovation and change and that employees keep up to date with these changes so that they are not left behind and remain irrelevant.  There are new pet food flavors being developed all the time and don’t forget the wonderful world of white noise – the truth is out there.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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