Friday, April 10, 2015

Volunteer Workshop

“You control your fate, you control your time and you control your life. Doing things changes things.” – Ross Simmonds
NUWODU Uganda recently held a small workshop for its volunteers and interns with the salient objective of boosting self confidence and esteem during the job hunting process and overcoming the challenges they face as girls with disabilities.
I found it not only educational but insightful. I love hearing about other people’s experiences. I may not necessarily like to share mine but I do love to hear what others have to say especially from girls with disabilities. This is the second time in my life where I have been given the opportunity to rub shoulders with people with disabilities. Before April 2014 and March 2015 I had never been in such environments.
Hearing from them and the challenges they faced as girls with disabilities during the job hunt was eye opening. What stood out to me most were the challenges: rigidity of thought pertaining opportunities and self marketing because they cut across both groups.
Rigidity of thought hit home because I have come into contact with several people who do not want to change their school of thought nor look at situations or opportunities differently. To them it has to be done the way it was meant to, for example, I have a Bsc. Information Technology and as such I should only look for jobs in Information Technology. If something you studied for fails to bring you that which you desire, why not find something else? Why not acquire a new skill set that will help you get where you would love to be? This is why people end up being bitter and frustrated yet opportunities are there, all you have to do is change your mindset and do self development if necessary.
Self marketing. As imparted to us in the workshop, we are now living in a generation where employment is not as clear-cut nor guaranteed as was previously done. It is about what you are offering, the skills you are bringing to the table and projects you are trying to pitch. Academic qualifications as a stand-alone are a thing of the past for the not so lucky ones. I came across an article by Ross Simmonds on Elite Daily where he said, ‘you are good as your last project. You are as good as your last pitch. You are as good as your last review. And with every day that passes that project, pitch or review will loses its wonder,’ and academic accomplishments mean nothing if you don’t create value – this can only be achieved through self development.
I personally believe in self development because I managed to land a job I never studied for academically. I spent a good year teaching myself secretarial studies specifically typing (I wanted to improve my speed on the computer which I did) and working for my mother helped me gain the interpersonal, communication and customer service skills which came in handy at my former place of employment. When the opportunity arises not necessarily out of lack of what to do, no. Out of interest. I take the time to catalogue that which I am doing here though not of late. I hate doing nothing! Sitting there and twiddling thumbs is not who I am. I have this belief that the things we teach ourselves stay with us much more than those we were taught.
The point is; do not be a stick in the mud where your thought process is concerned. Have an open mind because you are closing yourself off to so many opportunities yet you should be capitalizing on them. And do not be picky! Opportunity favours the prepared, prepare yourself, take the time to learn something new or teach yourself a new skill or subject you are very interested in. Your qualifications might not get you where you want to be but the skills you teach yourself will.
Ps: You can find Ross Simmonds article on elitedailydotcom under the title, ‘11 worthwhile pieces of advice for every ambitious young person.’ It made a good impression on me and re-enforced the thought to write about the workshop and follow nuwodu uganda on twitter @nuwoduadvocacy

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