Look Before You Leap

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I have always maintained that Nigerians are holiday lovers — not in terms of spending the time to cool off but just to get the day off. 🙂 You can be sure that many people spend that time either attending family ceremonies, extra work, and some other extras. This, however, seems to be changing with the emergence of more relaxation spots especially in the capital cities. But that is not the core of what I intend to share thoughts on.

Today, January 8, is the first full work day in 2007 because there was another holiday after the New Year holidays. Many offices resumed work on Thursday last week, but many minds resumed work today. 🙂 Me? Well, you can ask and I’ll tell you when work resumes or resumed for me… but while the traffic situation this morning revealed that the 9 to 5 spirit is back in the groove, the most important part of this morning would be the discussions about the New Year. After much of hugs, handshakes and voiceshakes welcoming colleagues back to the office (including those you really wished changed jobs, desks or departments during the holidays), the meeting begins with how 2007 should be a better year for the organisation and then the meeting ends with comments about the forthcoming elections. After that, each person would likely say what their impressions will be for the year.

In one of such meetings today, I was asked a simple question: “What do you think 2007 will look like?” Responses from various people at the meeting came in form of words such as fast, slow, surprises, etc. But I was of the opinion that 2007 cannot be seperated from 2008. I said: “2008 is a leap year, so the year that comes before it must be a look year. It is natural that we loook before we leap, so 2007 must be the look year while 2008 goes on to be the leap year it should be.

While this was met with smiles and sighs, I couldn’t help notice how a simple illustration helped drive home the point: we need to look into the various departments of our activities and life in order to set things in a ready mode for progress. Just as opportunities come to many unprepared people and they do not gain access to it, the unprepared will naturally spend the entire year waiting and complaining. If it’s not the fact that the budget wasn’t good enough in January, it’d be the fact that February was lousy because no roses arrived on her desk. If the complaint isn’t about how March was too full of political activities, it would be the fact that he couldn’t stand the idea of voting in April. May, for her, would be the month when holidays should have been extended while June came too soon. The year would go on until, suddenly, it would be December. Then, the excuse would be that the year moved too fast and (s)he couldn’t plan properly for it. Wake up!

Many years ago (and the emphasis is on many :)), my mother (equipped with foreknowledge of the way I’d leave my bed in the morning) had a favourite saying: as you lay your bed, so you will lie on it. It was more of a song than a sentence, and I bet the song gioes without an argument. As most offices resume for work in full mode across Nigeria today, it is certain that many employees will complain all through the year until they break away from the glass ceiling that comes with the let’s just do this and get paid attitude. What must you have accomplished on the job by December 31, 2007 so that you can move from working for that organisation to working with the organisation. Whatever that translates into for you, you hold the ace! Whatever you do, look before you leap.

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