Engaged To A Job I Hate – Interview with Author Bankole Williams
The focus of your book is very catchy and controversial, one cannot just wait to pick it up and read. What motivated you to write this particular book?
Well, this book was borne out of my experience in two different work environments. One where I consistently heard people complain about their jobs and another where the staff were extremely passionate about their jobs and the impact it had on the lives of people. The biggest question I have always wanted to find answers to is, “why humans (people) act the way they do?” The quest for answers, particularly in the workplace led to further questions such as “why do people commit their lives to jobs that they detest?” and “Is there really any solution to this state of employee apathy?” This book was borne out of a desire to find and proffer lasting solutions to these pertinent issues.
This is a well researched book, how long did it take to write it?
It took me about a month, a month away from all distractions. A lot of the concepts shared are things that I had learnt over time based on my personal experience. Moreso, the subject of discourse is one that I am very interested in and knowledgeable about. Most writers try to write outside their scope and then writing becomes drudgery and uninteresting. Because I was writing about a subject I was interested in, carrying out the required research was an enjoyable expedition.
How has the process of writing this book affected you personally and what is the most important lesson you want readers to take away from reading this book?
This is my first book and just seeing the hard copies makes me truly believe that you can achieve anything if you are determined. The process of writing has made me appreciate all the experiences I went through in life knowing that nothing just happens. Everything happens for a reason and there are valuable lessons to learn from every experience. These lessons are not just for your own personal benefit but for the benefit of those coming behind you. In retrospect, I see how the dots in my life connect and now I can impact people’s lives with the lessons captured in my book.
Finally, you only have one life to live, have fun whilst you live but beyond that make sure you find passion in the workplace or better still work in the place of your passion.
This book is centred around two ideas; entrepreneurship, and then finding fulfilment in employment. Enterprise is obviously a more powerful idea. Why do many Nigerians get married to jobs they detest?
Frankly, we run an educational system in Nigeria that is pro-employment and not pro-deployment. The system encourages students to go to school, finish with good grades and get good jobs. Nigerian schools every year churn out graduates that are trained to get jobs and rise up the career ladder. More often than not, the available jobs have absolutely no correlation with the natural skills of the graduate, hence there is a mismatch. Coupled with this are the long work hours, deadlines, poor work environment etc, the employee is bound to hate his job. It’s an employee chain cycle that has gradually become the norm in our country.
In contrast, Asians (the Indians, Chinese and Lebanese folk) are trained to be deployed to start their own businesses. Have you ever wondered how come they come into a country they may know little about, yet set up businesses that outlive them? It is a function of their orientation; they are trained to be business owners.
In addition, a lot of employees may hate their jobs but they love the security it provides and are afraid to venture into what they have termed the “unknown” where true freedom resides.
The book refers to a research indicating that 80% of deaths caused by heart attacks occur between 8am and 9am on Monday mornings. How do people prevent themselves from falling into such depths of unhappiness in their careers and potentially save their lives?
Well, it has actually been discovered that the palpitations usually start on Sunday evenings. The mere fact that “the weekend is over and Monday is around the corner” sends negative uncontrollable commands to the body which in turn affects the person’s physiology. This reaction often takes effect without the permission of the employee. It’s like a song that plays in your head and you wonder when and where you heard it and how come it plays in your head without your will. It all starts with a limiting belief about the job that an employee is engaged to. Beliefs are like table tops, the more support (legs) you give to them, the firmer they become. The challenge is that subconsciously, employees have given support to negative, limiting beliefs in their minds which automatically trigger reactions that could ultimately lead to death. The way out is to consciously create a support structure for positive empowering beliefs and focus on the half full part of the glass. I dwelled on this and more in the book.
I believe that if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. Hence people who have made this choice do not have this Monday morning nightmares.
How can a person be engaged to a job and yet disengaged from the same job? Could you shed more light on this concept?
The new concept, “employee engagement” doesn’t just refer to an employee getting a job but it is the degree of positive emotional attachment he or she has to the job, organisation or colleagues which then profoundly influences performance at work. It is an employee’s involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with work.
Going by this definition, it is safe to conclude that it is possible to be engaged (employed) to a job yet be disengaged (lack job satisfaction and organisational commitment) without formally disengaging (resigning) from that organisation. This is the case with a lot of employees working in different organisations today; they are engaged to jobs yet disengaged from those jobs.
Research has shown that organisations with the most “engaged” employees produce incredible results. One of my responsibilities as a consultant is to help employees and employers boost employee engagement as the onus for change rest on both parties. Harley Davidson, a top range motorcycle manufacturing company has been found to have implausible employee loyalty. Their employees are so loyal to the organisation that some factory employees have Harley tattoos on their arms. They have a long term view of their future in the organisation and they work to leave a legacy for their children. In fact, a good percentage of Harley Davidson employees want their children to work in the company. It is possible for companies in Nigeria to stimulate great levels of loyalty like this.
Tell us more about your job as a consultant and a little more about yourself
I am an extremely passionate young man who seeks to help people discover and maximise their God-given potentials. I am yet to see a fish die from too much swimming so why should you die in your own natural habitat. I love teaching, reading, playing soccer on PS3 and I’m an ardent Manchester united fan.
I am a management consultant with Edgeecution consulting; a firm that assists its clients to gain competitive leverage by enhancing the performance of people through consulting, coaching and training interventions. I consult for banks and corporate organisations offering various consulting and training interventions such as Customer service, Peak performance, Employee engagement, Team-building, Workplace psychology trainings and other forms of interventions.
Fundamentally, I am eager to pour out everything God has put into my life. My book could have merely been a thought if I decided not to write and not the tangible product that has blessed many people.