TOUTISM – an unwelcome industry and a generational scourge?

Driving through the streets of Lagos one cannot help but notice a growing number of able-bodied youth and young adults loitering or wandering aimlessly at all hours of the day and night, seeking those to whom they can render some service or the other.

A tout can be described as an illegal salesman or someone who attempts to sell something by a direct or persistent approach.

The word ‘toutism’ does not exist in any English dictionary but I have coined the word to describe what has long become an industry in Nigeria, where the homeless and disadvantaged youth have found what they deem to be a potential career in the absence of parental or third-party assistance.

Many of these young people grow up on the streets of Lagos, having escaped from broken or abusive homes, mingling with like-minded youth who initiate them and teach them how to survive on the streets.

Sleeping under trailers, in front of shop premises, along the perimeter of church fences or simply finding shelter under a pile of rubble or planks, these young people wake up early in the morning; just as we all do, to seek their daily wages.

A few of them with some modicum of dignity and self-worth would make extra effort to look presentable by seeking places to bathe and keep their few clothes clean.  Even in abject poverty, you would see them make the effort to keep their shirts buttoned up, and their countenance pleasant and friendly.

With their meager earnings gained from street begging, some would buy some inconsequential items  (like tissue packs) to peddle to commuters in traffic. Some would attempt to render some service such as parking assistance or service guides to the unsuspecting public. Others would simply lean on cars in traffic recanting some pitiable tale or the other, with the expectation that they would receive their daily ‘wages’.

This unwelcome persistent invasion into the space of the commuters is what I describe as toutism- a bane in our Nigerian society where the rich or well to do are constantly harassed to part with some of their wealth to support the livelihood of the severely disadvantaged on our streets.

The dearth of properly structured public or privately funded social assistance programs is evident in our society. The number of young adults hitting the streets on a daily basis as a result of job losses, parental abandonment or lack of job or trade opportunity is simply overwhelming. 

Amongst these groups are potential leaders of Nigeria- bright, highly intelligent and trainable looking for the assistance of any kind to forge ahead and secure their future.

Toutism should not be an acceptable career. It certainly should not be an industry, if more public, private as well as not for profit organizations would invest in destroying this bane by committing resources to reunite these children and young adults with family members and then assisting with their educational development so that they can be self-sustaining through a chosen career or trade.

 We should all commit to making a difference by joining one of these organizations to destroy toutism in our society.

"People who dress better are typically treated better at work," says David McKnight, a New York City-based image consultant. "They are usually given more responsibility and are shown much more respect."

THE RULES OF WORKPLACE STYLE

In today’s business-casual workplace and organizations operating from co-work spaces, suits and ties and formal dresses no longer seem to be the standard, not even in financial institutions; however, the way a person dresses to the workplace still matters and to a large extent determines how they will be spoken to and treated.

“People who dress better are typically treated better at work,” says David McKnight, a New York City-based image consultant. “They are usually given more responsibility and are shown much more respect.”

Here are tips on what to wear and what not to wear — so you can make the best impression on your boss, colleagues and clients.

Business casual isn’t a fashion free-for-all,” says Susan Bixler, president and founder of the Bixler Consulting Group. The Atlanta-based consultant has created guidelines for business-casual dress for those just starting out, workers at mid-career and those eyeing the executive suite.

The “baseline” look starts with the three Big Nos

  1. No flip-flops
  2. No jeans
  3. No visible tattoos

Yes to:

  1. Tailored trousers
  2. long-sleeve shirts or tops

The “midstream” look is similar but with an emphasis on higher-quality fabrics while the executive version ups the sartorial ante by recommending jackets for men and trouser-style suits for women.

“Any time you want to add authority, put on the jacket,” says Bixler, the author of seven books, including The New Professional Image: From Business Casual to the Ultimate Power Look.

The General Rule:

In journalism, the editor would always as you “leave out”, if you’re unsure; the rule is different when it comes to dressing and style. If you are to attend an interview or a business meeting and are unsure about the dress code, you should ask in advance, then again, you can’t possibly be faulted for appearing in a jacket or suit. Wearing a suit to an interview, meeting or work is a nonverbal way of communicating the fact that you are in for serious business.

Curb excesses.

Clothes that are too tight, overly generous makeup, too much jewelry, and accessories as well as ‘loud’ fragrance.

Never show up to work in shorts, ripped jeans (not even on a Friday)

Avoid wearing dusty, unpolished shoes to work.

When it comes to dressing, women have more options while the playing field for men is quite narrow and straightforward.

Too Much Skin

“Edgy looks, especially those involving the baring of cleavage, skin or tattoos, rarely cut it at the office, unless you happen to work in a trend-conscious field like advertising or fashion.

“When you’re not sure whether something is appropriate for work, then there’s a 98 percent chance that it’s not,” McKnight says.

The Whole Look

Choosing the right clothing is just one component of your professional look, which includes good grooming and hygiene, as well as being well-rested and mentally ready to face the day.

“There are so many things we don’t have control over, but what we can control is the image of professionalism we show to the world,” Bixler says.

Choosing a career path As interesting as it may sound, choosing a career path can be daunting as well as confusing for some people. The endless ‘what ifs’ that accompany deciding which field to go for or against could sometimes be exasperating.

Choosing A Career Path

As interesting as it may sound, choosing a career path can be daunting as well as confusing for some people.

The endless ‘what ifs’ that accompany deciding which field to go for or against could sometimes be exasperating. However, choosing a career is one of the most important decisions any individual would have to make at some point in their lives.

To make the right decision, careful consideration and meticulous planning is required, especially if one desires to land the job of a lifetime. To help you chart a course, we have outlined several tips.

Tips for Choosing a career path:

1.    Determine Your Skills
According to Career Advisor, Shay Nolan, there is a four-stage model of competence that aids skills to determine a person’s skills.
•    Unconscious incompetence
When a person does not know what they are good at, this is mostly, because they haven’t taken the time to evaluate their skills.
•    Unconscious competence
They are good at something to the point that they almost do it on autopilot. There is also a danger that they can become complacent here.
•    Conscious incompetence
They are not good at a particular thing and they know it! At the very least though, there is an awareness which can lead to skills development.
•    Conscious competence
They know what to do, though it takes some effort. This is where they want to be as there is both competence and awareness. This means that a person’s skills require a lot of consideration if they are to make well-informed career decisions. Ask some key questions:
What do I do really well?
What areas for development do I have?
What are the skills that I really enjoy using?
The final question represents an excellent starting point in terms of looking at how a person’s skills can help to inform what career path they should consider.

2.    Take Opportunities to Play the Field
A footballer who remains on the bench will never make a mark. Do not shy away from seizing opportunities whenever they present themselves, do not hesitate to participate in team-building activities that require you to put your skills to use.

3.    Aspire and Work to Reach Your Goal
Dream big, have confidence in your ability and constantly put your skills to work. Set goals for yourself – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals and keep moving.

4.    Seek Career Contentment
When you love your job and work with a reliable team, you are more innovative and productive, your level of confidence soars and you are filled with a sense of purpose because you know you are adding value. This feeling of contentment does wonder for your morale, you will hardly get tired or bored with your job, instead, you will find yourself constantly exploring innovative ways to better your performance and outdo yourself.

The African Woman and her strength The African woman’s wrapper, this piece of cloth like a prized jewel encapsulates her feminine essence.No event – formal, religious, traditional or casual seems out of place for her to appear enveloped in her flowery wrapper.There is of course a variation to her appearance as dictated by age; while young and adventurous, she would wrap herself around with a single sheet of wrapper, barely covering her knees and revealing long, dark legs and beautifully shaped calf but as she gracefully ages, she would lengthen and double same fabric to show maturity and decorum

THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S WRAPPER

The African woman’s wrapper, this piece of cloth like a prized jewel encapsulates her feminine essence.

No event – formal, religious, traditional or casual seems out of place for her to appear enveloped in her flowery wrapper.

There is, of course, a variation to her appearance as dictated by age; while young and adventurous, she would wrap herself around with a single sheet of wrapper, barely covering her knees and revealing long, dark legs and beautifully shaped calf but as she gracefully ages, she would lengthen and double same fabric to show maturity and decorum.

The African Woman’s wrapper, this highly prized possession often serves as her lingerie.

If you have had the privilege of gazing upon her narrow waist, then you know how the wrapper flows and stretches to accentuate her broad hips and expands downwards to accommodate her round, protruding behind.

Have you seen her with her wrapper knotted at the middle of her chest? The way it hugs her firm, full, voluptuous twin mounds. Look a moment longer and you would see how the wrapper slightly parts around her knees to lend you a peek at fat chocolate thighs, unaffected by the sun or any harsh element. If you have been privy to any of these sights, you would treasure the African woman’s wrapper even more than she does.

The African woman’s wrapper is one subliminal wonder of a fabric that can be tweaked to offer a lot more than it was originally designed for especially with a creative owner.

It is not uncommon to see how it functions particularly for the market woman as a safe – yes, the ultimate safe.

At the right or left tip of her wrapper is a special knot which holds an unbelievably large amount of naira bills surreptitiously deposited there for contingencies. This safe is one that can only be ‘opened’ when all else fails as not even natural disaster, the threat of hunger or death can get her to unknot that part of her wrapper.

Trust me, it is almost impossible to get her to dip into that particular storage facility. The African Woman’s wrapper, this piece of cloth is highly sought after and can be used as a kerchief.

The African woman tormented by the heat of the sun would loosen one end of her wrapper, bend her head and use it to wipe the sweat off her face and that of her offspring.

Oppressed by the scorching heat, she would leave her bed, spread her wrapper on the floor, use her headscarf as a pillow and serenade herself to sleep.

With her maternal instinct in full swing, she would gently unwrap her wrapper from her waist and rest it on her sleeping child to shield it from the cold night air.

To refer to the African woman’s wrapper as a mere piece of clothing would be tragic for the culprit who dares… Her wrapper is not just an apparel, lingerie, safe, kerchief or blanket, it is the symbol of her femininity, versatility, pedigree, and belief.

George Wonah, Content Writer TWPC

Building a great workplace structure

DEVELOPING A GREAT WORKPLACE CULTURE

There was a time when the brand value of an organization and remuneration paid to workers made an organization a desirable place to work.

However, today’s workplace has evolved to the extent that fat pay cheques, generous tips, and bonuses can no longer attract or keep employees, especially when the workplace is toxic. Sadly, organizations lose great talents because of their failure to put a premium on developing a healthy organizational culture.

A healthy workplace culture is what attracts talents and imbues them with a sense of loyalty which binds them to the organization and makes them continually give their best to ensure the company stays in business and is profitable.

What constitutes workplace culture? you might ask; Workplace culture refers to those intangible attributes of an organization that makes it a great or toxic place to work in, these attributes are largely defined by the ideology that drives the organization.

These ideologies are often reflected how employees related to management as well as one another. Inclusivity Consultant and Behavioural Scientist, Dr Pragyal Agarwal maintains that positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce.

Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. And, most importantly, a positive work environment reduces stress in employees. The following are simple ways an organization can improve their workplace culture:

1. Communication and collaboration: a workplace culture that values and encourages open and honest communication, feedback and teamwork are all vital for improving workplace culture.

2. Continued learning opportunities: knowledge sharing, brainstorming sessions as well as social interactions within the office all add up to improve the workplace culture of an organization.

3. All-inclusive work environment: value, support and encourage all employees regardless of gender, ethnicity, social or religious orientation. All employees should have equal access to growth and advancement opportunities, bonuses and general goodwill.

4. Establish trust: employees should be able to confide in management and have honest conversations with one another without fear of being judged. Again, trust that you have a good and dependable team.

5. Make onboarding of new staff easy and warm: get an old and friendly team member to take the new staff around and acquaint them with the rest of the team, answer their questions and help set up their workspace. A great workplace culture takes time, effort and dedication to develop, but it is worth it. The first step is to have frank a conversation with your team and communicate your vision for the company to them in clear terms and ensure they identify with it; once this is achieved, the rest will easily fall in place.

Teamwork In The Workplace

“Teamwork is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal” – Business Dictionary - workplace, teamwork, career tips, career success, recruitment tips, work, office tips, corporate behavior, workplace ethics, soft skills, workplace skills

(3 Minutes Read)

There isn’t a more concise phrase that captures and explains teamwork better than the adage “Two heads are better than one”, every other explanation simply puts the adage into perspective, lending it more credence.

For argument’s sake, we should perhaps visit a few of the existing definitions.

“Teamwork is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal”Business Dictionary.

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives”  – Andrew Carnegie.

There is also no phrase that expresses the need for collaboration as adequately as the adage “No man is an island”. This adage translates to the fact that no single individual has a monopoly of knowledge, thereby necessitating the adoption of teamwork.

Efficiency is bolstered where there is knowledge sharing through brainstorming sessions, which introduces fresh ideas as opposed to dated ideas resulting from working alone. Again, there is also a pool of creatively unique as well as diverse viewpoints to be engaged with.

Benefits of teamwork in the workplace

Working together allows team members build on the skillset of their teammates, while one person’s strength may be in IT, another may be in critical thinking, content creation, project management or even public relations, when each team member’s talent is exploited, there is a resultant blend of complementary strengths from which individual members of the team can benefit.

Teamwork promotes a wider sense of ownership mentality where each employee begins to see themselves as co-owners of the business. This, in turn, reflects on the growth and ultimately the profit margin of the business as new business strategies are introduced, refined and executed.

Understanding Generation Z- the new entrants to the workplace.

Generation Z refers to young people who were born between roughly 1996 and 2010.- those who typically were born into a technologically advanced world that is simply unable to do without the internet.

As recruiters and perhaps potential employers of labour, it is important to understand the characteristics that define these new set of job seekers so as to be able to manage their expectations and help them to succeed in life.

Characteristics of Gen Z

  1. They are technologically advanced from an early age and learn to use smart phones very early in life.
  2. They develop a strong ability to communicate electronically via mobile apps and online platforms even before they start school.
  3. They have an incredible ability to search out information on the internet and absorb copious amounts of information.
  4. They are strong multi-taskers, able to handle diverse tasks and projects at the same time
  5. Their attention span is very low unfortunately and they are ready to move on to the next activity within short time periods
  6. They tend to be more independent and autonomous than millennials (the Generation before them) and many of them are eager to start their own businesses much earlier in life.

Motivating Gen Z

A good understanding of the above traits will go a long way in placing Gen Zers in the workplace. Monotonous or routine jobs would be a turn off for these high paced set of employees. Tasks that enhance their innate creative abilities and promote an entrepreneurial spirit would be very desirable and would stimulate increased productivity and performance.  

Long gone are the days of long service in companies. The new generation, not unlike the Millennials are not looking forward to long service company awards. They are highly mobile and enjoy the here and now. Jobs that enable them to be involved in projects and where possible allow them to travel and work remotely would be best suited for this cohort.

 Fluid workplace arrangements with less rigid structures, policies and practices may very soon become the order of the day in even the most conservative of corporate organisations.

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