Monday, December 5, 2011

When I Was 25, It Was A Very Good Year


What’s on an interviewer’s scoreboard? I couldn’t tell from looking at his face. I was interviewing for my dream position and had been ‘marking’ this firm for two years. I was finally ready with the required background/work experience and sent in my resume. That got me on the longest interview chain with hurdles and hurdles of never-ending nerve-wracking tests and interview stages. Apparently, the unit I was applying to was a male-dominated one, or headed by males only. My first interviewer was a senior, as they are called. He started off easy, made small talk before picking his notepad and then he put on some sort of game face, probing and penning as I supplied answers to his missiles. The interview lasted exactly forty-five minutes, we exchanged pleasantries and I took my leave and called up a friend in the area to rid the tension over drinks and a movie. The next time I would receive an email from this firm would be seventy-two hours later, informing me of my success at the second tier and inviting me to a third - an interview with a senior manager. This would be my most unnerving interview ever, and it did not help that his facial features were quite unfriendly. Going by the look on his face gave me the feeling my scores were not doing too well on his board. I risked all and broke the ice with a joke attempt. It worked, he laughed and I regained confidence until the interview delved into unfamiliar territories where I struggled to stay afloat without upsetting my external temperament. I walked out at the end feeling somewhat unsure about my performance. The waiting interval was again the usual seventy two hours, but even the Good Book states that ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ 

The email finally came and yes, it was a success once again. The final hurdle would be with the firm’s senior partner. I had subscribed to newsgroups and newsletters around the Internet, had printed and copied pages of researched information I deemed relevant and gradually made a pastime of watching segments with related content on CNN, CNBC etc,. I mean, I’d been doing that for two years and this was my chance.
I arrived at the venue three hours early and got lost in some literature placed at the reception until it was time and I was called in. The interview was as basic as ABC, there were no outlandish questions, and in fifteen minutes it was over. He closed with a brain teaser which caught me off guard. Then he explained the solution to me and I replied, “Could you give me another one? I need to redeem my image here.” He laughed and said, “Oh yeah?” and pulled out another brain teaser. His facial expression read ‘pleasantly surprised’ when I gave him the correct answer and then the interview was over. I left satisfied, pleased and confident. Surely, the next incoming email would be an offer.

When that email finally came in seventy two hours, it read:

“Thank you for taking the time to discuss employment opportunities with us ... However, we will not be continuing this interviewing process with you ...”
That was what the abrupt end of six months of tests and interviews looked like. I accepted a pending job offer from a different company, lost a healthy chunk of optimism (which I thankfully did not find in appetite), kicked into quarter-life crises and numbed out for the next four months, which finally ended three days ago. It still was a very good year, regardless, even though Sinatra missed out recording his highlights at that age ... if they were any. But he ended his like vintage wine. Mazel Tov!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

There was nothing to write about London


The week was crammed with too many things to do, people to see. The high point however, was meeting up with best friends from high school who now had businesses and families of their own and of course, running and getting around with a 'partner in crime' from undergrad days. Manchester, Peckham, Lancaster, London in seven days, no small feat.
There was barely time to sit and enjoy any scenery but I must add that the coffee on Starbucks, 19 Market Street, Lancaster was heavenly. The barista called it Creme Brulee Macchiato, nothing like anything in my entire coffee drinking experience. The ambience was just perfect - the wallpaper, the interior decor interwove beautifully with Marvin Gaye's 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' softly playing in the background. So was clubbing at Elements on Friday night and Saturday singing Madonna's hits at the pub/karaoke spot on King's Street.

And by the way, Americans are way friendlier than the Brits.

Maybe on the next trip. Maybe.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: 'Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite' by Paul Arden

Title: Whatever you think, think the opposite Author: Paul Arden
Publisher: Portfolio Trade
Publication Date: March 10, 2006
Pages: 144 pages (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1591841216, ISBN-13: 978-1591841210                                                                  Language: English


The genius thing about this book is that it looks like there's really nothing genius about it. In the simple type faced-easy to read in 15 minute-144 paged part look book part text book, Arden takes your mind on a paradigm shifting journey the length of a train ride from King’s Cross to Bounds Green. From PG Tips to CV Tips, he chips almost everything in between, forcing you to redefine your views and belief system about security, safety, stability, status quo, sense (and/or nonsense), satisfaction, school, shame, sanity and general outlook to life. I dare attempt to make my axioms of his axioms.

1. Embarrass yourself.


2. You might want to quit throwing pennies in a wishing well. You’re building a misfortune.


3. There's no wisdom in living a life of regrets: “Should have, would have, could have ...” are the words on a fool's cap.


4. While you may or may not have been involved with activities that may include pro-choice activism, endeavor to keep your inner child alive.


5. Push your mind to produce something of use – be it useless or useful.


6. Leave paper planes for origami. Your ambition should blast off in a rocket and blow your mind.


7. Choose to be propelled by your failure(s). The earlier you learn to reconstruct rejection and criticism, the better.


8. Simple interest = PTR/100, where P = Pay attention
                                                           T = To
                                                           R = Receive attention
                                                          100 = It’s foolproof


9. Why don’t you start your life with a goal post and then a goal?


10. To sum it up:


Cogito Ergo Sum,


Sum Ergo Find-Your-Ego.


11. And where you knew it to be antonyms, think synonyms i.e. ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ might as well be viewed as a bipolar perspective.


12. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is the man with a point of view. What do you think? Have an opinion.


13. “Even a bad idea executed is better than a good idea undone.” Plus you will never be Plato, so just get your balls in motion.


14. Of kleptomaniacs and queens of England, you are in good company. Kleptomania is a blue-blooded trait. Steal, but not with a peasant intent.


15. There’s no mistaking this; Ignorance is Bliss.


16. Think Different.* Be a maverick while you're alive.

Have you read this book? Share your opinions and favourite thoughts in the comment box.

 *RIP Steve Jobs

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The other day at Schiphol

Travelling through Amsterdam, Netherlands requires being searched at the Schiphol airport security. Passengers at Schiphol have the option of being frisked or going through a scanner, and I chose to walk through. I got through without hassles to the other side and waited at my boarding gate while I absent-mindedly looked around for some sort of entertainment.

A scene got my full attention when one male passenger walked through the detector unsuccessfully. The detector had gone off and he was to be screened MANually by a male official. With a raised brow, I observed the degree of frisking and fondling going on and I looked around for other onlookers' reactions. The German speaking lads seated beside me were also watching, whispering and laughing. What was I missing? I took one more look at the scene and noticed the frisked man was beaming and grinning so much that I burst into fits of laughter. He was clearly being rubbed the right way.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fulfilment

I had practised and perfected my victory speech. Having worked and wanted it for so long, (the) reality could not find a more perfect match for my imagination. When it finally did arrive, I was too sure it would not be without cheers and clarinets and cymbals. Without a doubt, it was to be an unending moment of celebration.


In the back of a broken down car in an empty lot, waiting for the tow company, I am gazing at bored leaves in shades of orange and rusty brown, once green, propelled by the mischievous wind as they flap, float and fall lazily. Clouds are gathering and before long, easy raindrops begin to slide carefully down this side of the car's windows.
In one cool, quiet moment, I realise I am sitting right in the middle of my dream.
Treading so softly, blowing no trumpets or candles, my private victory finally did arrive and almost ... I almost missed it.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Gravity

Feb 14 2011: They were arguing again but this time his words, once caustic, had long become blunt, they no longer hurt. The next time she saw him would be
Mar 30 2011: He came to town on Tuesday. When she saw him, he was wistful and she knew what he was thinking. Their eyes met, and he looked away. By morning, he was headed out of town before she even woke up.
April 2 2011: She called his phone. "Hello?" "Yes?" "Just wanted to say hello. Hope you're fine." "Yes, thank you." "Okay, bye." "Uhm."
Call duration: 16 seconds.
April 3 2011: Her phone rings. "Your father's in the hospital ... He had a stroke this morning ... He can't talk ..." Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

G is for Google, Great massages and Globetrotting without Girlfriends


Yeah, what a title :)
Week 2, State 2: Florida.

Not sure I remember exactly how I felt when I woke up, but it was a feeling of being in a good place. I did my pre-shower rituals on my hair with hairsprays and things, wrapped it in a head wrapper thing and then in a shower cap and made to the shower. Good thing I had a room to myself as I croaked a song whose title eludes me as I showered and got ready to start my day. It felt like a perfect day to wear a rose pink long sleeved shirt, black trousers, with shoes right for walking. There were Epcot buses around to convey participants from the hotels to the convention centre, but that 'good place feeling' prodded and I took to walking instead. Arrived at the convention centre a tad too early for my meeting with the international members of the group and I wandered off to a resource centre to use up my extra time before the meeting kicked off.
At another time between appointments, I took the leisure of walking into massage parlour and the following is the account of the best $15 I have EVER spent. I opted for the 'stress buster' package and submitted my body with my face down to a hunky Latin American masseur who handled and manipulated layers of stressed muscles. He correctly pointed out unease somewhere between my ‘12th and 13th ribs’ which he said was from traveling long hours, in addition to carrying a laptop on my shoulder. I still sigh in relief to this very day.

Afterwards, I met up with a lady from Panama, who I had only met the previous day. We bonded discussing career paths, starting a family, cultures and other spheres of life, over rum and coke with a meal of potato skins, buffalo wings, celery at Fuddruckers. She was slightly older and had recently got married to her high school sweetheart. One, two, three hours slipped unnoticed until one of our phones sent a reminder: SHOPPING!

It wasn't until Friday night came that I realised that I was in an unfamiliar location with no friends in the vicinity. My Panamanian friend didn’t offer me the luxury of Friday night entertainment and I didn’t expect her to, for obvious reasons. There was this other lady who I met a year ago at a similar Engineering women's conference in a different city. She was Canadian and it was her first time in LA, as it was mine and at the end of week we all hooked up to find a cure for our Friday night fever. This time around, she was also in Orlando with a married status and gave seemingly reasonable reasons why she wouldn't be available for a night out. I typed "Nightlife on International Drive, Orlando, Florida" in my browser’s toolbar and the friend that is Google, responded. Showered after a light dinner, watched reruns of Family Guy and BET's Wendy Williams show which I wasn't a fan of but for some reason couldn’t flip the channel. At 12:30am I threw on a number, did a routine check for my ID, money, camera, and headed out on my own. I started with the "Backstage" which was on the ground floor of my hotel, enjoyed the music and the attention from being a brown female in a white bar and later hit the road to find some other forms of nocturnal activity in Orlando at 2a.m. Did a bit of sightseeing and photography, and headed back when I was done for the night.


Saturday night was way more eventful ;)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Moi, toi et Ménage à trois

Beautiful Saturday morning, trapped in the house by the rain. While the angry thunder seeks to be pacified as raindrops trickle down my window pane on the outside, it's me, John Legend and a cup of latte indoors this morning. Pure therapeutic algebra: Rain, Coffee and Music.


What could possibly go wrong with this divine trio?
Sure to wipe off a writer's tears and put an end to his cramped flow, be it dusk or dawn.
The rain's there to inspire a calm,
The music to soothe like a good masseur,
And steaming coffee bridges your lips to your soul.
It's the beginning of true poetry.


Inhale, dance, write.
Search your soul. Silence your fears.
Ignite your essence. Rouse your senses.
Revive your passions. Relive your dreams.
Relish the moment. Find your balance.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looking for my blind side

July 6th 2009.

Me: Dear friend, please I need your candid opinion. What one thing is very obvious to you as my effortless strength? Your response is invaluable.

Michael Nnochiri: Goal getter!

Tolu Faloye: Writing.

Ladun Olatunde: Writing articles, reading cramming song lyrics...looking pretty. lol. Making fabulous friends and bringing people together.

Anne Ayang: Guess your ability to manage work n pleasure. Insatiable thirst for information that gives you an edge.

Mark Akpaibor: For me it's your SET mind. You are very determined and when you put your mind to do something no matter how obscene, you do it.

Oluchi Duru: Your ability to bring people together, to reach out to people and draw them to you somehow. I think it has to do with charisma.

Tobi Ogundolapo: Your ability to express your self in words.

Jide Ayeni: Discipline and honesty.

Deola Owokade: You have lovely listening skills. You are fun to talk to and share problems with.

Jolaade Alao: Your ability to stay calm in the face of a storm.

Emi Longe: Your independence and strength of character. Also, your ability to be candid with yourself and to be yourself no matter.

Lotanna Egwuatu: Your writing.

Damilola Adu: Your writing. You tend to draw people to you or people like you naturally without you making any effort.

Simbo Olatoregun: Your loyalty to your friends, your creativity (A la TTG group 8 drama), the name 'pink suede', your desktop background at times, your maturity and your ability to give someone ALL your attention. I admire that a lot.

Sanmi Ibitoye: effortless strength to me is a person's ability given by nature. Basically more like one's strong point. And from a careful thought on who you are. It's obviously your ability to win people's confidence. Your personality commands respect, especially when one gets an initial impression that you just might be too fragile to pull a string you win with ease. I can't explain that. Loads of people fight so hard to achieve that.

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Put a ring on it.

Love makes the world go round. Or doesn't it?

February 14th 2010 happened to fall on a Sunday. The last time that happened was a year and a decade ago. This year I would be 'the Grinch who stole Valentine', or even the 'Ebenezer Scrooge of a Valentine Carol' (story for another day) so it made virtually no difference to me. Like I did on regular Sundays I went to church, but this Sunday, I would go late on purpose hoping to miss out on any soppy stunts and just get to the preaching. To my chagrin, I stepped in to a hall laced with red wrappings all over the place. Even the members of the congregation were not left out, clad in red clothes and accessories. Church was virtually bleeding on every side, irrespective of my lateness or mood.


And so it turned out the service was a Valentine's day program. The ushers and choristers and all the church workers had a touch of red going on. The song renditions were on agape love but LOVE all the same and as the event progressed, the senior pastor's wife asked the women whose husbands were present in church to march forward with gifts. Apparently the women had pre-rehearsed for this day and moment and the unsuspecting husbands were called on en masse to identify their wives and pick their Valentines pressies. I thought to myself, Church had not been so dramatic in a while. The men kissed and hugged and pecked and all forms of *PDA while the congregation consisting of desperate singles, widows and widowers looked on. One of the women took the microphone and started to give a vote of thanks to the husbands. She praised and appreciated and bragged about how good it felt to be married. Wow! The singles must have felt like jumping off a cliff at that point.
And then she said, "Shout Hallelujah if you love your husband(s)." And women thundered a response so loudly the roof must have shaken. Then she said, "If you had the chance of picking a husband all over again and you would pick the same man you are married to today, Shout Hallelujah!"

DEAD SILENCE!

And then a delayed chorus of "Hallelujah" ensued, followed by a guffaw from Ebenezerette Grinch.

*PDA – Public Display of Affection.


Wrote this last year, February 14 2010.
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Testing

Does this work? Just checking.
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