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It is that time of the year again and another service year has already began. I see national service as a transition period for young graduates to transition from school life into the cooperate world.
I recently shared this with a friend, “see where you are doing your service as a diamond-mine”. I believe strongly your service time is a time you can use to prepare yourself adequately to transition and launch into the co-operate world. It is all in the mind, and your mentality and attitude counts a lot. Here are seven (7) tips to help you make the best out of your national service period:
1. Seek to please God.
Yes, like we all say, Ghana is hard and times are tough, but don’t abandon your values, principles, and morals all in the name of making it. Remember this: God has placed you wherever you are doing your service to honor Him and please Him. Let Matthew 5:16 ring a bell, in the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
2. Set Goals and Have a Plan
Clarify your life goals and have a plan for it. Plan your whole service year ahead of time. Begin with an end in mind. Plan how you would want to use your time, plan your finances, the skills and experiences you want to acquire, what you want to do after the service and many other things you think is beneficial. Have your CV and begin applying for jobs or scholarships if you intend going back to school.
3. Be Diligent and Pursue Excellence
Don’t chase success, pursue excellence and success will follow you. Diligent means to be dedicated and committed to the task and role you are assigned. Excellence means the quality of being extremely good and outstanding at what you do and even going the extra mile. If you are told to do x, do x+1. Plus, commit yourself to the work ethics of your organization, volunteer and be eager to learn from everyone. Don’t get yourself involved in the office politics and don’t abuse the organization’s resources like Wi-Fi and phone doing unprofitable things. You might think no one is watching, but trust me, people take notice of the little things you do even if they don’t tell you or you are not aware.
4. Focus on Building Your Capacity and Acquiring Relevant Skills
Most people start their service with their focus and mindset on making money. Expect less from your organization in terms of monetary gains, rather focus on: gaining experience, building your capacity, sharpening the skills you have learnt in school and learning new ones. If you have a business in mind, build your capacity and develop yourself to run that business. Attend seminars and workshops that will help you in your chosen career path. You can also add value to yourself and CV by writing professional courses and exams like ACCA, ICA, CFA, etc.
5. Build Relationships and Network
You are going to meet and interact with a lot of people as you do your service. Be intentional and build relationships, connect and network with the right kind of people, who have gained more knowledge and experience in your chosen career path. Networking and connecting with these people will go a long way to help and influence you: get to learn from them, ask questions, seek their advice and opinions and let them share their work and life experiences with you.
6. Be Humble, Honest and Eager to Learn
In your bid to please people and put up a good behavior, don’t fake you. Be real, be honest and be you. Show respect, humble yourselves and be willing to learn from everyone in the organization, even the cleaner and the security officer. Be willing to give an extra helping hand to other staffs with their work and assignments even if it is not your duty.
7. Save and Invest
Live your life during service as a single as much as possible depending on no one. Discipline yourself and try as much as possible to save and invest at least ten percent of your monthly income and any other bonus or allowance you might get. Have a budget, plan for your finances and cut down on your expenditure. If you have some extra time, and your work is not so demanding, do some side business as well to fetch extra income.
This came late, but I hope it helps. I want you to succeed, I want you to make the best of your national service and enjoy your service period as much as possible. Please don’t forget this: see where you are doing your service as a diamond-mine. Live your dreams, and inspire the world!
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