Dealing with critics at work

Source: McLeod & more

When you start your first work email with ‘Goof morning…’ you know it’s going to be one of those days. But it takes a conscious effort to have the right attitude. You may find yourself working at an establishment where some colleagues try to put you down, try to set you up to fail or criticize your work. You have a choice to let them defeat you or your can decide not to let them invade your positive mindset. But how do you do that?

I’ll tell you one thing – it’s not easy. You could try to ignore them. But that’s difficult if you have to work closely with them. While I’m a believer of choosing my battles, I also encourage people to be prepared with appropriate responses to criticism. You see, keeping quiet is not a solution because it welcomes further criticism. Aggressive retort could also have bigger consequences that may result in intervention by your human resources department. You want to exhibit the right attitude not the fight attitude. There are responses that are well seasoned and would let the critics reevaluate their tactics.

You want to exhibit the right attitude not the fight attitude.

Your responses should never be personal or emotional. Keep it professional and relevant to the job. If the criticism you receive is not based on your job but your character, take a step back to reflect. Get the opinion of a trusted colleague or have a one-to-one with your line manager. If you need an attitude change then it’s better you know early enough. If your critics have overstepped their boundaries then by all means get your line manager involved and he/she may decide to take it up with the critcs’ line managers.

Another good approach is to let your work speak for itself. I like to document my activities so that it serves as an easy reference point. You never know when that work will come to your defence and vindicate you. Remember that no man is an island. Always seek opinions of others. Surround yourself with positive people both inside and outside your workplace. Try to emulate the qualities of positive people you see day-to-day. They attract good things. You can be like them too. Carrying old baggage or a chip on your shoulder is not a good way to start a new day that comes with opportunities.

I mentioned earlier that not letting people invade your positive mindset isn’t easy (if only we had a delete button to handle them, right? Ok maybe just a backspace button then). But if we make that choice to have the right attitude, a positive one, then that’s half the button…I mean battle won. I personally ask God to guide my steps and fight my battles for me. With a habit of meditation and prayer you would gradually get the divine direction you need to face life’s critics and challenges.

It won’t all happen overnight. It takes time but the first step takes seconds – make that choice. And so what if the first email you start the following day with goes ‘God morning…’ – at least this time you’re off on the right track 😉

My birthday weekend

My wife made my birthday special with a collection of thoughtful gifts - I swear it was Christmas

I’ll let you in on a secret

Sometimes I wonder what good is a secret if you can’t tell anyone about it? If you’re the custodian of the secret it is tempting to evaluate if you should be divulging information. Valid reasons include to protect an individual, to prevent financial ruin, to maintain status quo, to save lives, etc. Personally, some close contacts have been entrusting me with a good number of secrets (though I’m not yet bursting at the seams). On one hand the sharer of a secret has eased his/her mental burden by telling me about it. On the other, I have now become entrusted with information that suddenly weighs on my mind. While I don’t plan to leak other people’s secrets in this post I do wish to share mine. Continue reading

BBNaija Lockdown 2020 Updates: Down to 7

With less than two weeks till the end of the BB Naija Lockdown season the reality show has been nothing short of creative compared to previous seasons. After the unceremonious exit of Billionaire son – Kiddwaya and unlucky HoH arena game contender Prince last weekend the remaining HMs had no idea about the twist to come the following Monday with the arena games.

The usual snake and ladders-inspired game was played with much dexterity by all the HMs because it meant immunity from being nominated for possible eviction. Nengi had luck on her side as she emerged the HoH winner but with no provision to choose a deputy HoH. Then came the twist from Big Brother – unlike previous weeks where HMs would nominate two HMs each, this time around BB divided the losers of the arena games into two groups (Black and White team) and asked each team to nominate two HMs from the opposing team after a 30 minute period. Lovebirds Neo and Vee were different teams but that did not deter them from stylishly saving each other from being nominated in each other’s opposing teams.

After what appeared to be a carefully executed strategy of misdirection by Vee and Neo the final four up for possible eviction are Dora, Ozo, Laycon and Trikytee. Well, I would write more but the show is about to start. See you on the next post 😀

BBNaija Lockdown 2020 Updates: Down to 9

It has been the best of times and the worst of times. After three housemates were evicted two Sundays ago (Tolanibaj, Wathoni and Brighto) tension was on the rise as the remaining housemates tried to cope with the absence of a close companion. But the worst of it came from the HoH for last week (Erica) who had a series of altercations with various housemates and broke several Big Brother rules in the process. She provoked several housemates with insults and also deprived the DHoH of sleeping on the bed in the HoH lounge by pouring water on the bed. Big brother gathered all the HMs and played back the events ahead of Erica’s announcement of her third and final strike leading to her immediate disqualification from the game.

Following Erica’s unceremonious exit with no interview Ebuka, Lucy was announced as the next evictee and she scurried off to the exit door without looking back at the HMs. During her interview with Ebuka she explained that the reason for leaving abruptly was so that she could avoid shedding tears. The HMs seemed quite relieved that Lucy had left but there were mixed feelings about the way Erica left. My unbiased thoughts – she deserved the disqualification. She had 2 previous strikes and a stern final warning yet she went too far with the abuse, goading and complete disregard for her DHoH. Kiddwaya seems to have moved on fairly quickly.

It was all jubilation after the Arena games ended in a five-way tie and then a deciding game resulted in Trikytee becoming the HoH. His surprise deputy choice was Laycon (which made sense because all the other HMs would never have picked him as DHoH if they were picked and had all already been inside the HoH lounge). The warm embrace between the two was the stuff of movies and really tugged at my heartstrings. The other HMs all gave an applause almost as if to affirm that he made a wise choice which they certainly would not have made. Trikytee so far has been the funniest HoH from his poses on the BB throne to the swag with which he reads out BB’s tasks. This will be his first week of being immune from eviction after being up four consecutive times.

This week the four HMs up for eviction are: Kiddwaya, Ozo, Prince and Dorathy. It will be tough determining which of these HMs will be going home this Sunday. If Erica had behaved herself and controlled her alcohol intake perhaps Vee would have been evicted along with Lucy. With the dynamics in play Vee is safe for this week. Nengi isn’t seeming too concerned that Ozo is up for eviction – after all she was only up for eviction last week. Ozo is concerned as it is his first time but Trikytee the veteran assures him that by midweek he will be fine.

With only three weeks left to go before the voting public will have to decide the winner from the last five, it’s going to be interesting to see how HMs behave and interact with each other.

Ships status

  • Kiddrica – Capsized
  • Neve – Adrift
  • Ozone – Still at the dock

Why Women’s handbags should come with Google search

Have you been in a queue at the supermarket and had a woman in front of you rummaging through her handbag for her credit card?

Have you dropped a woman off at her place after a romantic evening and waited while she ransacked her handbag for her front door key?

Have you had to place several phone calls to a woman whom you had no idea couldn’t answer your phone call because she hadn’t found her phone in her handbag?

What is it with women and big handbags? Why do they seem to keep getting bigger and bigger? It wouldn’t hurt for somebody to tell the manufacturers to stop increasing the depth of these handbags because of the externalities that result from their production i.e. the shoppers queuing behind at the teller point, the driver waiting to zoom off, and the concerned friend at the end of an unanswered phone call. Wouldn’t it be nice if handbags in the 21st century came with a pre-installed Google search to help navigate inside the handbags? This is how I propose these special handbags should work if, for example a woman decides she needs to locate her wallet to pay for some goods:

Step 1 – Handbag owner performs a search for her wallet by saying, ‘Google, wallet’

Step 2 – She inserts her hand into the handbag and is guided by a voice in the handbag; ‘Deeper…Deeper…that’s it…you’re almost there…left a bit…’ (Well, I’ll have to work on the lingo not sounding like a Rated R movie.)

Step 3 – Once the voice says, ‘Wallet found’ the handbag owner can grab accurately.

Well I better send a proposal to the app developers at Google pronto 😛

Just Leave It!

It’s been 3 months of working from home and I think the most popular phrase I’ve heard myself say is ‘Leave it!’. Sometimes I’ve said it in succession so much so that I’m thinking of releasing a cover of the King of Pop’s classic with a chorus like this:

Just leave it! (leave it) Leave it! (leave it)

All she’s gonna do is break it

Sure she’s not working. Sure it’s my plight

If it gets broken who’s gonna buy it?

Just leave it, leave it, leave it…(leave it ×4)

Bless my daughter. She is quite the inquisitive type, always wanting to know how things work, why things light up, and how everything that can fit in her hand tastes. Interestingly enough like me she takes hygiene very seriously – when I use the sanitizer dispenser I rub my palms. When I pour some for her she rubs both palms and then uses one palm to clean her tongue (only she knows where she’s been).

Working from home couldn’t be more adventurous because you don’t know what she’s almost going to damage if you’re not looking. I have a rough daily count of my Leave It chorus:

My phone whilst charging – Once a day

Water dispenser without a cup – Twice a day

TV remote already replaced – More than twice a day

My official laptop – I’ve lost count

Well my consolation with this behaviour is that it’s only a phase and like the Corona virus it will pass very soon 🙂


Fiction: 2021 (Pt.2)

I walked into my office and met the usual two early risers: one cleaner employed to vacuum-clean, mop the floors and wash dishes. The other was contracted to neutralize the Corona virus handle detailed cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing of every visible surface in the entire office space. I knew the latter was hard at work from the offensive bleach odours invading my nostrils. No doubt about it – when it came to hygiene my office could go toe to toe with a 5 star hospital.

My colleagues began to troop in one after the other in mask-off mode. We had all gotten quite acquainted to sitting beyond spitting distance from each other. The result – tendency to focus more on the work at hand and less time for idle chit-chat or probable virus transmission. Lunchtime was implicitly observed at one’s desk or in the lunchroom if only one person had a 4-seating table to oneself. Unfortunately one could not exercise proper social distancing in the restroom (at least I can speak for the males). The urinals were not designed for this new era as evident from the distance between them.

Curfews had been extended gradually every fortnight by the state government until midnight but nothing beyond. This was obviously bad news for night crawlers but for old fashioned family men like me (Disclaimer: I have been known to have quite a few doppelgangers on the bar scene) I was happy to close from work and get home as early as I could. On that day in particular my wife and I were not eager to walk into a sea of scattered toys, a gallery of amateur graffiti walls and a solo-performance from our unsigned artiste (no amp required). We heard that a new movie experience was in town – at least new to Lagosians.

The pandemic took its toll on the local movie theatres while Netflix and Cable TV giants were cashing out on both the health-conscious and the care-free couch potatoes. One movie theatre decided to launch a drive-in cinema. You could enjoy your own air space, recline your seat to 180 degrees, mount your feet on the dashboard, binge on whatever picnic basket you prepared. Only thing I’d have to worry about is getting good seats parking space also within pee-holding distance to the restrooms. Movie wasn’t due to start for another half hour so we decided to stroll to a nearby bar to see what anti-COVID enhancements may have been made. We were pleasantly surprised…

Image credits: autojosh.com

The White-Collar Nigerian Wears T.M. Lewin

He wakes up around 4.30am and eventually drags himself out of bed by 5am (after engaging the 5-minute snooze button six times, of course). He does this from Monday to Friday; not because he wants to but because he knows if he doesn’t he’ll risk reporting to the office after 7.30am, by which time his line supervisor would issue him a well deserved query. He does a fast clean – no literally, FAST as in Face, Armpits, Scalp and Teeth. It’s arguably ineffective but fools all his colleagues ,whom may actually be birds of the same feather. He throws on his T.M. Lewin shirt – the shirt that makes a bold statement in the business world, the shirt that is so often used to impress at that desperately awaited job interview, the shirt that shouts to the world, ‘I care about how I look and I know I look damn good. Don’t cha wish your T.M was hot like mine?’ But after all this he complements this pristine shirt badly with his overworked suit before dashing out to hustle for sardine space in an overloaded public bus.

Nasal carbon dioxide exchange is on the high especially on those rainy days where you can’t open the windows too much. The sweat is no match for his Brut antiperspirant but his T.M Lewin collar gets it, and so does the full length of his arm sleeve rubbing against the perspiring brute aka bus conductor. He gets off at the usual bus stop and walks down to his office 10 minutes away. His T.M Lewin isn’t looking as sharp as when you first put it on. The starch-effect is fast fading and as he speeds up the stairs and arrives at his desk with one more accessory than the neck tie and cuff links he left home with – sweat beads. He makes it just in time for his weekly review meeting which is no different from the Spanish inquisition.

Alas, T.M. Lewin can’t impress his boss if his sales figures can’t. In fact, it becomes a source of ridicule; how he can look so good and yet have his figures look so bad. He returns to work after the meeting…dejected and demoralized…he goes to the restroom to have a private moment to reflect. He’s arrested in his tracks as he’s greeted by Mr. T.M Lewin staring right back at him in the mirror. His momentary admiration borders on narcissism but he suddenly leaks a little smile, adjusts his lopsided necktie and tells himself, ‘One day I will rise…I will break away and do my own thing…The world hasn’t seen the best of me…I’m the man’. He rolls up his sleeves then leaves the restroom. He walks back to his table with his head held high with an air of confidence…in his sparkling white (but slightly wrinkled) custom-fitted T.M. Lewin. He looks good so he feels good. He is ready to face the day’s challenges and slave put in some overtime to get back into his master’s good book where the latter was once impressed by the T.M. Lewin look…

How to make a Chapman drink

For as long as I can remember there has been this fascination with the large red cocktail more commonly pronounced by the average Nigerian as ‘Shapman’. It has become synonymous with the popular orders made at our local Chinese restaurants, Recreational Clubs and more recently, weddings (though our wedding planners are notorious for being extremely selective with Chapman distribution – I‘ve never been offered any to date). Its origin is arguably in Nigeria but no one knows for sure. It isn’t necessarily expensive to buy (between N300 and N1000, i.e. $6 max.) nor is it difficult to make. But I think I know why there’s such a fuss over this bitter-sweet refreshment – it just tastes so damn good!

Today I’m running a small Chapman factory in my apartment (okay, not really but I do make them rather frequently) and I want to share the recipe for you to enjoy. Learn how to make Chapman is 6 easy steps!:

CHAPMAN RECIPE FOR 1 PERSON

  1. Get a large tumbler/glass mug (necessary if you want to make your Chapman-experience last a bit)
  2. Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes
  3. Pour a capful of Grenadine or any blackcurrant cordial into the glass (for that red glow)
  4. Pour in 2shots of Bitters – Any bitters you can find but you can also use Campari (In Lagos, Angostura Bitters is available at Goodies for N3,200).
  5. Pour in equal amounts of…believe it or not…Fanta and Sprite then mix it up
  6. Throw in a slice of lemon, garnish with a cucumber slice and dip-in a bendy straw
  7. Sip slowly and try not to hum too much as your taste-buds go into a frenzy.
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Well there you have it. Simple, isn’t it? So the next time you’re sitting by your computer and one of your (anti-social) friends sends you a mouth-watering cocktail…via Facebook, make a Chapman to quench that insatiable thirst your ‘friend‘ created (remember to do point 7 ^^)…and then proceed to delete that friend from your Friend list (optional).

CHAPMAN RECIPE FOR 100 people

You’d need the following (if you are serving in small plastic cups):

– 1.5 litres of Ribena/Blacurrant cordial/Grenadine (about 1 big table spoon poured at the base of each cup)
– 50 cans of Sprite (half of each can poured into a cup)
– 50 cans of Fanta (half of each can poured into a cup)
– 10 medium lemons (each sliced in 10, making 100 slices)
– 10 medium cucumbers (each sliced into 20 and served two pieces per cup)
– 4 bottles of Alomo bitters or 3 bottles of Angosturra bitters (a capful poured into each cup)
– Probably 500 ice cubes equivalent (cheaper if you have ice trays at home. 5 cubes per cup)
– 100 bendy straws.
– Mixers (long plastic stirrers) are optional as you can use the straws to mix the drinks

N.B – If you use large mugs instead of plastic cups then use 100 cans of Sprite and 100 cans of Fanta (1 can of Sprite and Fanta per mug). Everything else remains the same.