Women in tech, young people in business, whatever

Posted: March 23, 2015 in Social Media/Work
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Who has noticed I’ve got my groove back? Whoop!!

Very recently I wrote about being almost subsumed by work, stress, and so many emotions that made it difficult to write. Guess what? I’m back! Whoop! Slowly catching up with most of my writing commitments, and oh what a joy!

Thank you Jesus!

So let’s talk about something that happened recently which I’m very concerned by, especially since it has happened before. Before I start though, quick question: what’s the most important thing for you when you apply for a position/job/project/whatever?

For me, it’s knowing all I can about the people hiring. It’s like dating ( by the way, I refer to relationships so much these days I think an Agony Aunt column is in my future) and if you don’t get to know your partner, how can you please them (or at least try)?

Agreed? Not saying that’s all you need to look out for but believe me when I say it’s important. Very important.

Second thing for me is that I need to care enough/want it bad enough, otherwise there is no point. I won’t get it. To be clear, I haven’t been accepted everywhere I applied for a job, matter of fact there was a research project I put in for a couple weeks ago with a team, and we didn’t get chosen. We did get great feedback though, on what we did right and wrong, so much as I really wanted us to win the tender, I’m not beating myself up at all.

Anyway, back to talking about other people. Lol.

For about two years I’ve recruited ad hoc or full-time staff for myself and for clients, and so I’ve gone through a number of CV’s. And that’s what this post is about. The entire gamut around securing a job, from sending a CV to the interview, to negotiating your pay, to whatever comes after. I know we all talk about the scarcity of jobs, and the difficulties around women finding and being in work but have we thought about employability?

A month ago I needed two researchers and so I asked on Twitter – and most times I will tweet about positions I need to fill – that people send CV’s and a link to anything they had written to an email address.

I got the weirdest responses. From the guy who addressed me as “Hi Chi” (forget the inappropriateness of the salutation, anyone who knows me knows any adaptations of ‘Chioma’ never work with me), to the person who sent me her social network names for me to ‘check her out’, then the guy who sent me a CV which had more errors than correct sentences, phew! Then there was the lady who sent me a nice CV, but then an article that was full of ‘lols’, ‘smhes’, and ‘rmes’. How do you send that as a writing sample for a research position? Who does that? Hian!

About 72 hours ago I joined a panel to interview some people for an internship position. Three guys, two ladies, and somehow the guys went first. First guy was alright, second guy maybe just a bit more qualified, and the third guy sounded like the perfect ‘bullshitter‘ (forgive that word please, I’ll explain). We asked him how he would solve a problem in our organization (which he claimed he was well aware of, and then he said he wouldn’t be able to give us an answer till he had “researched into the foundation of the issue because everything takes root at the foundation then starts to grow”. What??? You know how people just go round and round the mulberry bush because they don’t have an answer? This guy.

Anyway, it was the ladies who worried me. Greatly. The first one knew next to nothing about the organization, kept on smiling in a ‘I-don’t-know-as-much-as-I-should-but-I’m-hoping-my smile-makes-up-for-it’ kind of way, and said she didn’t use social media but had a Facebook and Twitter account. Haba!!! When social media management for the organization was there as one of the tasks? Did I mention she wore jeans and hot pink lipstick? And generally gave off a very unserious vibe?

The second lady did just a bit better but all the interviewers knew the race for the position was between the guys. The ladies were (to my mind) just there to make up the numbers.

And so it is to the sisters I write today. Do we not care enough? Is the problem that we are not aware of what we should do when we’re job-hunting or we don’t want these jobs bad enough? I don’t know. It was distressing though, super distressing. And then we’ll go to our places of worship to pray for favor when we put in ZERO effort. I don’t know…

Thoughts, anyone?

PS: Written on the 21st of March, 2015.

  1. bshaba says:

    I think the cultural influence of being in a patriarchal society with the men in charge leaves a lot of ladies feeling like it’s a plus to work anyway so sometimes do not pay enough attention to details that can help them become employable.(i stand to be corrected)
    But then, I also think this problem is not gender specific, a lot of men just like a lot of women out there are ignorant & probably too rigid to accept the changing world of work, that’s why someone will tell you ‘I have accounts on twitter & facebook but I don’t use social media’.
    The take-away for me is that regardless of your sex/gender, be prepared for the future you desire. Do not just apply for any jobs, focus on what you desire, work hard at being ready for it and research about any opportunities you are invited to interview for.

    Thanks for sharing ma’am. It’s enlightening as usual. I’m so glad you’ve got your groove back!


    • Hey Radio Girl!!

      Yes, I agree with the whole patriarchal society influence, and I also agree with this problem not being being gender specific. It’s just frustrating because the opportunities I have now I would have killed for if I had them just five or six years ago; my life would have taken a whole different trajectory. And so when I see people younger than I am throwing these opportunities away because they don’t care enough it just kills me.

      Ah well, I can imagine people older than I am might have been saying the same thing when I was younger!!


  2. Having done a very short while in recruiting, I agree the problem is not gender-specific. Its a general problem between both sexes. I have had a guy come in rumpled shirts, tucked out on a jean with palm slippers claiming “no light” and a lady tell me nothing but her age, favorite colors and favorite foods when i asked her to tell me about herself.

    In a way, like i told a friend last night; I think my generation is very unprepared for the future that is to come. Whether in entrepreneurship or careers, the dynamics have changed.

    I end with this; “If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention”.


    • Ha ha ha… Femi… Did we meet the same lady? This one was just… I have no nice words.

      I don’t think we care enough. Which is why I’m confused there’s such a hue and cry about the scarcity of jobs. Do we even want them? Why do we want them? To have some bread at the end of every month or to really do great stuff? These are the issues.


  3. Maybe..just maybe we don’t care enough or we just think that we carry “special favour” as women, and our smiles and sexy bodies can get us into organizations.Seriously, I was agonizing over a man I went to ask for info on a business who sent me a suggestive romantic msg afterwards..I thought it as an insult but reading this now, I think its because of the general suggestions women have given off in the areas of business and in the workplace.I didn’t do anything to suggest more to the man but there just seems to be this mind set from the women and the men that a lady cannot be all about “seriousness” in the workplace.We just assume that smiles and all will get us “there”But then again, maybe we just dont know the things that matter..and in that case, I thank God for your article. Frances Okoro


    • Exactly Frances, exactly!!!!

      When we (especially females) dumb down and reduce an interview or a tender or some other intellectual competition to how pretty/sexy we are, we feed this really ugly stereotype about women being not more than pieces of meat and successful women had to compromise a lot to get to where they are. I think that’s what kills me most.

      I’m not saying don’t smile or become a meanie, I’m saying care enough about a potential role to go on their website at least!! Sigh.


  4. Akpevwe says:

    Femi your statement in the third paragraph ‘I think my generation is very unprepared for the future that is to come” sums it all up. A certain part of my career involved me lecturing full time at one of the universities; the experience was troubling. The upcoming generation are in no way ready for what is coming up. Although this lackadaisical involves both genders as Femi and bshaba have pointed out, from my experience most females students at the university didn’t show any zeal or interest whatsoever in planning or taking concrete steps to enhance themselves career-wise, they were content in depending on their male counterparts . My male students seemed more interested in getting advice on how to get ahead in their career. I would love to offer a solution for this generic problem, but the solution lies in individuals. You want to do well career then put in the efforts and don’t wait for someone to pick up after you.


  5. […] At 9am, I joined Ismail and Seye to conduct interviews for a potential intern for the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers. Very interesting time, even though I was shocked on many levels; that story is here. […]


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