Being a Graduate Trainee at Heirs Holdings is a great opportunity. After three weeks in the classroom, a lot has impacted me. Our facilitators throughout the classroom session highlighted the importance of understanding the company’s key principles, which are “Excellence, Enterprise, and Execution.”
They encouraged and counselled us on how to incorporate these principles into all we do, both at work and at home (work-life integration). As a result, I have begun the process of altering my lifestyle to reflect these values.
One of the highlights of my first three weeks as a Graduate Trainee was interacting and forming an excellent network with other Graduate Trainees from different walks of life, disciplines, and backgrounds. It has been an insightful experience finding myself in the middle of such diversity. I was with the Marketing & Corporate Communications (MCC) division of the philanthropic arm of the Heirs Holdings Group, and we recently concluded the application drive for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. It was a phenomenal experience coming up with different ideas to encourage people to register for the programme before the deadline. I also had the opportunity to chat with some prospective candidates and assist them with the difficulties they were encountering during the application process while making sure to escalate when necessary.
I was given the task of creating and posting engaging social media content for LinkedIn and I must say, this opened my eyes to the struggles of content creation. However, with an amazing team by my side, I pulled through! My first post got some encouraging engagement and reactions that kept me going. Subsequently, my posts alternated between having a high level of engagement and sometimes little to no response. I’m still figuring out what works best on the LinkedIn platform, but I cannot deny the knowledge gained. So far, I have learnt how to create designs on Canva, engaging content on social media and how important it is to give and receive feedback. My writing skills in addition have also nicely improved during this content creation experience.
One of the major challenges I have faced so far has to be surviving Lagos. Eko indeed is not an easy city and commuting from the mainland to the island is quite exhausting.
I wake up as early as 4 am and leave the house by 5:30 am at the latest to avoid being late or sucked into the unpredictable traffic. Sometimes, I find myself nodding off on my way to work which is risky, but I guess these are part of the sacrifices I make to be a success. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “People sacrifice the present for the future. But life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now”.
On an occasion last week, I left my house by 5:30 am to get to the Obalende bus stop by 6.45 am. On getting there, I noticed the weather was gloomy and windy. Following my routine, I got on a bike to transit to the office but kept thinking to myself ‘Thank God I’m almost at work and the rain didn’t meet me on the road’. Little did I know the rain had other plans!
After barely 2 minutes on the bike, the wind, the sand, and the dust united and took a stand against us all on the road. I was struggling to see amidst this weather commotion and till today I remain baffled as to how the bike man was able to see through the dust and wind and make talk less of drive through it. At that moment, my earlier prayer and thought switched from thanksgiving to supplication. From thanking God for not letting rain meet me outside to a safe journey to the office without being involved in an accident.
Would you believe me if I told you that despite all that, I still got caught in the rain right before I arrived at the office? Well, that is exactly what happened. ‘Drenched in rain’ would be an understatement to describe that morning. I immediately sought shelter at the nearby fuel station and began waiting for the already angry rain to subside. After 10 minutes, the rain was not giving way! What could I have done but take extreme measures? And mind you, I cannot run late to work or make excuses for my lateness. Remember, excellence! So, I removed my wig. My shoes were already soaked; hence there was no need to take them off. Bearing in mind the short distance from my place of refuge to the office, I decided to run in the rain to the office. Yes, I ran!
Once I got to the office, I headed straight for the restroom to dry myself and gear up for the tasks of the day.
My life as a graduate trainee has been a whole new experience different from what I have known. It has been exciting, stressful, and impactful, and ultimately, it has been worth it! The learning process is never-ending. I look forward to more challenging tasks and work schedules preparing myself with all I have learnt and all I am yet to do for success. It has been fascinating and exhilarating working at the Tony Elumelu Foundation as it is a totally new experience for me in all ramifications, but I believe and trust myself to turn out to be more efficacious in what I do while keeping an open mind.
~ Author: Amaka Eluemuno