How To Tame An Indian Dragon – Pt. 2

The first thing I observed about Indian men, within the organization I worked for, was their easy going attitude. However behind that laissez faire facade, lies a lazy, narcissistic, entitled individual who thinks the world revolves around him and no one else. You’d walk into a meeting with an Indian, come to a compromise or agreement about things that require attention and some few hours later, you’ll receive a rude awakening with their utmost turnaround via fervent denials of what was agreed earlier.

Document: To curb denials in any form, ensure to document all official interactions through emails, copying all decision makers. I don’t give a frigging hoot whether it was a 5 minute or 1 hour chitchat, so long as we came to an agreement about something, I am hitting you up with a mail. This email will cover up your ass, when the time comes for shit to hit the ceiling.

Shrewd Negotiation: When negotiating with an Indian man, do not fall for a verbal agreement. Ensure you have all terms of engagement written and spelt out clearly to avoid ambiguity. If he reneges, you can call him out for it legally. Nothing scares an Indian man than the threat of legal procedures or police.

Power drunk: The average male Indian colleague is in love with the notion of ‘Power’, no matter how minute it might be. He loves to exact this power to the detriment of the organization he works for. Teamwork while lovely and heartwarming, is a foreign concept in his personal vocab.

To fuel this power drunk individual, they end up recruiting ‘Yes – men’ instead of individuals that can think on their feet. At the end of the day, a would-be vibrant organization, becomes a shadow of its’ former self. Unless he’s playacting in front of his senior colleagues, always expect him to be gung-ho about power. If you have attended meetings with Indians, just check out the power play between two Indians (Senior – Junior). The junior one tries to outshine his boss at all time, cos he’s positioning himself in the minds of the powers that be, about his suitability for his bosses job.

Be Superior: always remember that the society in which an Indian man was raised, is largely a caste system. Hence, to tame your Indian male colleague, you must relate using the same caste system he believes in. How? For instance, most Indians think that a lot of Nigerians are poor and desperate, and will condone all manner of abuse in the workplace. Darling, this is where you draw the battle-line. If you want an Indian man to relate with you as an equal, you must relate with him from a ‘Class Superiority’ angle. This angle he’s comfortable with and understands. At all times, you must pass this message subconsciously through the innovative and creative insights/ideas you bring to the table so it sinks in. Once you are successful in passing this message, he will drop his superior air and relate with you as an equal.

One Witty Mail At a Time

Acerbic witty emails: no one does this better than me in my workplace. You know those kind of emails you send, where you are actually calling the recipient out for his appalling performance on the job, but he cannot call you out likewise for your insulting email as there is no visible proof you have basically labelled him ‘Wimp or Stupid’. Become a pro at it. Be creative with the use of English language to pass your messages across.

Lack of responsibility/Plague of Silence’: When you have surrounded yourself with inefficient people, who dare not think on their feet, you breed a poor working culture. Most Indian male colleagues are a pro at this. They do not understand the concept of taking ownership. When things do not work according to plans, they dig their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, and begin to take pot shots at junior colleagues, who end up becoming the scapegoats.

How To Tame An Indian Dragon.

Ignore the Gringo on the table. This is not about him!

Working in an office with expatriates from different nationalities is an insightful experience. It can be hilarious and harrowing, as you navigate personal bias, prejudice against each others’ norm and idiosyncrasies. However, nothing prepares you for working with Indians till you experience it.

So, what’s it like working with Indians? Please note that this is not an Indian bashing exercise, rather its’ a summary of my work experience with Indians. For more than a decade, there has been a gradual invasion of Indians, across the African continent. Taking Lagos as an example, there are exclusive Indian communities, schools and groceries dedicated to serving this ethnic populace.

Indians are highly religious and in an office, you might find replicas of small shrines dedicated to the varied god/goddesses, they worship. However, if religious piety was a major factor in their behavior and attitudes, within the workplace, it’d be astonishing. The Indian populace is largely influenced by a pervasive caste system and this is reflected in the Nigerian workplace, where they think “we are superior to the locals” and “they should serve us in every capacity”.

The second job I had was my first encounter with Indians. Previously I had worked extensively with Britons, Americans, Hungarians and found them to be pleasant without aggravating the locals. When I resumed at this new job, though it was a multinational firm, most of my colleagues were from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Within 2 months of resumption and direct observations, I discovered something appalling. My Indian colleagues were all about double – speak, ass lickers, and always willing to throw you under the bus, if you allowed it.

How did I plow through this toxic situation? I will be exploring this in subsequent posts.

Why You Should Avoid A Black Guardarropa

Take a cursory glance when you walk into a office, perusing what the female employees are wearing and the color ‘Black’ , is a predominant color. Sometimes I think the official color for most Naija women is black.

My first job was at a leading financial institution. The official colors were black and dark navy blue. Gosh! How depressing it was back then. I remember thinking, there is no way I am going to be stuck up in a black or navy blue suit all day, traipsing the streets of Lagos without a personal car. The heat and humidity out there will suck the energy out of me.

My female boss who was light years ahead of her time, gave me the leeway to dress whichever way I please, so long as it was not vulgar, tight or transparent. I stuck to the bright end of the rainbow spectrum. Till date, I do not own a black handbag. While I own 2 pairs of black shoes, my shoe collection consists of orange, green, blue, pink, red, nude etc. No dull colors for me. Along the lines, female colleagues handed over cash so I could procure the same clothes for them. When the principal manager of the branch, felt my influence was rather pervasive, she approached my boss to complain and was told to ‘back off’.

One of the few things you can do, to aid your career growth in the workplace is to ditch a black wardrobe especially if you work in an office, filled with expatriates. The colors black, brown, navy blue completely washes you out. Keep in mind that your skin color is not a major consideration, by western manufacturers, when making these clothes. I am always at a loss anytime I am on vacation overseas, and see people of African descent, adorning black. Girl! YOU ARE INVISIBLE….No one and I mean no one sees you especially people of other skin colors.

This is the practical truth. The next time you are in a video conferencing call, seated in a room of expats which can range from Caucasian to Asians, take a cursory glance on the screen and see if you are visible or not. If you are wearing the colors mentioned above, chances are high that you are washed out on the screen. Let me give you a visual aid. Your hair color is black, your skin color is brown or a darker tone, you love the colors black, brown and navy blue. You need to put an end to this debilitating habit, as it makes you invisible along the corridors of power.

When a Caucasian or Asian wear black, you can interpret the fleeting emotions on their face. You on the other hand, have simply boxed yourself into a corner, as no one can interpret the emotions on your face, as you are completely washed out. The same thing occurs for Caucasians, when they adorn white and bold colors. These colors wash out their pale white skin.

Instead, adorn yourself in bold, bright colors. In the workplace, you must make it a habit of registering your presence in the minds of your expat colleagues, when you walk into any room. Bold, bright colors accentuate your skin tone and in a room filled with expats, no one will ignore you. Your opinions will be sought for. Just make sure you own your end of the intelligence angle. Trust me, you will always be remembered as the lady who leaves an impression with her color choices.

Remember, no se permiten flores de pared aquí….which means, “No Wallflowers Allowed Here”. For the month of March, I am offering great savings in your cart when you purchase here.

Glossary:

Guardarropa – wardrobe

Enough OR Not Enough?

What’s Your Financial Shield?

If you are going to live the life you desire, on your own terms, without conforming to societal norms and expectations, ‘Financial Freedom’, is the main key. Now when I speak about financial freedom, its’ not all about having excess money, you’re not sure how to spend it all.

No, this is not the picture I want you to have in mind. Financial freedom will save you from making terrible, hurtful decisions. It will save you from terrible bosses, toxic workplace culture, abusive relationships where its’ mandatory to lose your individuality, so a little of your true self can survive. And in situations where you end up making terrible decisions, financial freedom will step in, to aid you in redeeming the situation. Irrespective of wherever you reside globally, this principle is a universal one.

Seeking Life Adventures

How do you determine when it is enough and you can bow out of the corporate or whichever race you are on? It is relative to each individual. Assuming you want your kids to pursue higher education in a foreign land, you want to explore the world while retired or simply want to live out your days in relative splendor. If your current monthly expense range within N50,000 – N100,000 monthly, and passive income you are currently earning is within this range, will you consider this enough?

Some might while others’ won’t. My personal yardstick is once 20-30% of annual passive income earned, can take care of your daily needs, then you have passed the yardstick. Please pat yourself on the back and take out time to evaluate goals you have set for yourself this year. Financial freedom is around the corner.

Jefe Egoista

How do you deal with a boss who’s egoistical and tends towards narcissism sometimes? NOTHING! You heard me right…absolutely NOTHING. Stop agreeing with every damn stupid word that spouts up from his/her mouth. Rather learn to rein him/her in and if s/he declines, darling step aside, and let him run into the marketplace amok like a raging bull.

Honestly, your days and nights will be much peaceful, since the only thing you will be bothered about is cleaning a bit of the mess he’s left behind. Majority of the mess he’s caused will be cleaned up by none other than ‘El Hombre/La Mujere’.

As part of the lead management team in the SSA region, I report directly to a boss overseeing SSA. While he’s a creative person, sometimes he lets his ego get the best of him and decides to do stuffs that are not aligned internally. Last year, we had developed a creative campaign for a leading brand. When the first cut was presented to the board, there were some elements that were added (talk about too many cooks spoiling the broth). I had raised my objections and given clear cut reasons on why these suggested elements, should not be added to the overall creative.

I am always pissed off when foreigners think they have a secret insight into local life. Disculpe Senor, you know jack shit. When did you arrive and what has been the duration of your stay in the country/continent to think you have an idea of local idioms, cultures and norms in developing a campaign? Suffice to say, the campaign bombed and talk about a major backlash from TG. Consumers were so loud that our North American office had to step in to resolve the ongoing madness.

I cleaned up social media and the next morning, my boss called me in. By this time, he had been chastened and made to see the error of his way. I knew there was a narcissistic storm on the way when he said “Jan, you realize this campaign was developed with a lot of love for the local custom and culture.”

“You know I have always depended on you to set me straight, when i veer off the beaten path”. In my thoughts, I am thinking “hey el hombre, take a dip in the water. I reined you in once or twice and you wouldn’t listen. Be bold enough to face the storm”. Stop this emotional blackmail B.S. It does not work on me. Cut me some slack on the sob story.

I sat in his office pretty as you please, while we evaluated where he went wrong, how we can salvage the situation and come out stronger on the other end of the rainbow. By the end of the day, we had a solution for the national disaster he had created.

Wheew! All in a day’s work.

Glossary:

SSA – Sub Saharan Region

TG – Target Audience

El Hombre – The man

Disculpe – Excuse me/Pardon

La Mujere – The woman

Senor/Senora – Sir/Ma’am

Jefe Egoista – Egoistic Boss

Cliquey

lady boss taking charge at work avoiding cliques.
Don’t You Just Love That Plaque? I OWN This Every Single Day!

Clique

nnoun: clique; plural noun: cliques

  1. a small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them.”his flat became a haven for a clique of young men of similar tastes”synonyms:coterie, circle, inner circle, crowd, in-crowd, set, group

The one thing I have avoided over the course of my career within the workplace is ‘Cliques’. No matter the form or shape it announces itself in, I stick up my middle finger in its’ face, and own the spot I occupy. This dark form of nepotism, destroys the soul and culture within the workplace. I do not think highly of people who belong to ‘Cliques’ as it tells me you have subjugated your individuality for the common individuality of a group.

How boring and utterly stupid? Thinking from a common point of view gets you nowhere on the career ladder. You must learn to stand alone and own your thoughts, irrespective of whether you’ve got supporters or not. Don’t imagine this exists within Naija alone. No! Its’ a global affliction and I have seen this operate everywhere, while working in Dubai and other places.

Belonging to a clique will dumb you down and take you along a narcissistic path, where you will lose all forms of creativity and wit to aid you in your career. That is, if you eventually end up having a meaningful one without spending your days, licking asses up and down (this is the bane of most Nigerian men in the workplace. So timid and always agreeing with every dumb ideas or words, that comes out of their bosses mouth, without taking a moment to think and reflect). It pisses me off completely. Miss me with the B.S.

Rather, choose to be different. Yeah, you might be hated, called weird names, hey sugar, deal with it. How have i dealt with this negative phenomenon?

In my unit, we ain’t got time for ‘Cliques’. Once I notice there is a cliquey thingy going on, I break it up immediately by assigning each person an onerous, individual task that takes a month to deliver. It works like a charm. Since they are so busy with meeting deadlines, each day is filled with heavy grunts and lots of silent thinking.

I love that especially when your unit has been noticed as the only unit, where employees do not dwadle or gossip, you know you are building the right culture.

In With The Cheeky, Out With The Old…

You’re wondering how to celebrate Valentine’s day, in a unique and memorable way? I don’t know about you but I will be curled up, in front of the TV, watching my favorite series ‘Ajoche’.

I am so caught up in Idoma culture and language right now, nothing else matters when you have spent 3-4 hours daily navigating Lagos traffic. Traffic in Lagos kills whatever sort of libido you have and by the time I get home, I am in the mood for sleep and lots of it, nothing more. When the team behind <a rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.paperlesspost.com“>Paperless  Post</a>  reached out to me, asking if I will be interested in checking their products cum services out? I wasn’t really sure cos I am yet to find out what beats what I am using currently. It makes the life of a creative much easier with the platform I use.

The first thing I did was to visit the website and check how they stack up. Paperless Post is a platform that offers you the freedom to customize cards, flyers, invitations based on your personal style. I am currently customizing a cheeky card for my partner and a charitable organization I support.

<a href="http://Paperless Post “>The platform was quite easy to use and I was able to customize to my hearts content. However, you can only tweak the background and text. Graphic elements on a card for instance, cannot be tweaked. While I am aware that this was created with a particular demographic in mind, it’ll be nice to have bolder colorful backgrounds rather than the pink, pastel and neutral tones.

Go check it out.