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National service is next! National service is one inevitable stage in the life of every Ghanaian who completes a tertiary institution in Ghana, especially if the school enjoys government subvention. The release of postings is often received by most with mixed reactions, with some people being very happy with their placements and others wishing they had gotten somewhere else. While others see it as a form of a probational job opening, for most, national service is an opportunity to give back to our country in the spirit of patriotism. Let’s begin now with some important things to take note of;
1. Accept your posting
It would be extremely difficult for you to succeed in your new endeavour if you do not accept the posting and its accompanying responsibilities first of all. You need to sink it down your mind and soul that this is going to be part of your identity at least for the next year of your life. Accepting your posting will help align your thinking with this new situation so that you begin to see it as being just as important as other aspects of your life. This is really important.
It is not about which company or establishment you are placed in but the need for you to make a good name for yourself. This would also mean that you have to find out a lot about the institution and what they are about so that you would know what exactly you are involved in. Do not be lazy about this. Use the internet to your advantage and make sure you find out all details necessary. If possible, get the customer service line of the company from their website and give them a call. This would clarify any questions that you had. Having done this, your mind would have been fully prepared to face the task ahead of you.
2. Observe a lot, listen a lot, talk little
It is important that you observe a lot because there are many things that would not be taught during your orientation. Make optimal use of your eyes by using it to study practices that are observed in your new workplace so that you can follow suit, if necessary. This would indirectly mean that you are being entreated to make less use of your mouth, but rather your eyes and ears.
Use your eyes to see and take note of happenings and proceedings at the office or field, while your ears help you listen attentively to instructions that are given to you. In fact, instructions are very important in the world of work because, at times, petty mistakes can indeed result in great losses which (if it happens) would have already cancelled your name from the list of shortlisted service personnel. Therefore listen attentively and seek clarification where necessary so that you do not do anything contrary to what has been assigned to you. You may seek such clarifications using phrases like ‘so you mean that I should….’ This would afford you an opportunity to have your superior repeat whatever it is he or she was telling you so you can have a better grasp of it.
In a world where most young people appear to be increasing unserious with things that would help them succeed in life while paying attention to less important things, it is worth noting that the national service personnel who aim at being retained better learn and practice some really good work ethics.
First of all, you must do well to be present at work and on time as well. Do not fall for the temptation to copy wrongly, what some employees do, especially with government-owned establishments. Work time is not a time for Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and all other forms of social media addictions, neither is it a time to watch movies and telenovelas. Do not let your boss catch you doing these things because even if he doesn’t complain instantly, it can go a long way to affect you when you eventually tender in an application letter to be retained after your service. Do well to practice good work ethic as may be spelt out for you, so that you may be on your way to earning a qualification spot for employment.
3. Never forget who you are
If you happen to receive a warm reception where you are working, then you are most likely to come across the temptation to think that you are on the same level as other staff members. This could be a dangerous trap. Always remind yourself that you are like an employee on probation. Therefore what do students on probation do? They put in more work than everybody, learn more and complain less. These are attributes which you might have to inculcate.
Do not get too comfortable following peoples footsteps as you would find out on the last day that you all came in individually. Respect all those who have been there before you even if you hold a higher qualification than they do. You are a national service personnel and you need to stay within your permissible limits for your own safety. Don’t be timid, but be assertive.
4. Hold your dignity in high esteem
Let truth guide you and hold your values in high esteem. Dignity is highly important especially in a world where almost everybody is cheating someone out there for personal gain. This goes especially for service personnel who would be working in places where large amounts of cash inflows are recorded on a daily basis. You need to stand out and bear in mind that this unique quality could become extremely beneficial to you in getting future appointments elsewhere, even if you do not get employed after service. Be trustworthy, honest and reliable. They all pay. Trust me.
5. Feel free to take up challenging tasks
You know one of the biggest obstacles of our time? Too many people want to make it the easy way. Only a few people are willing to, without persuasion, take up challenging tasks and do them with diligence. Now, since these people are few and are in short supply, it would mean that the dynamics of economics have placed them in high demand. Embrace difficult tasks with enthusiasm. Some people would always hide their faces behind others so that they do not ever get called. But this is entirely wrong. Everybody can do the easy things; but it is in doing the difficult ones that you give your boss a chance to discover that indeed, you belong to the crop of revolutionary employees that the company needs. Such difficult tasks allow you to unearth your potentials which you might not have been aware of.
6. Display a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Believe so much in yourself that you are not scared to stand in front of the President to deliver a speech. You see, for most people to believe in you, it would be as a result of what you have already proven to them. And for you to be able to do that much to earn people’s respect, you must first of all believe in your ability to do those things. Mind you, I am not urging you to become so full of yourself and become one arrogant charlatan who always overrates himself. NO. Far from that. Rather, I only want you to trust yourself and have a good self-esteem. When you face the CEO of your company, it is not your degree that would give you the nerve to interact with him or her on a mature level, but your level of confidence. Never allow the presence of anybody to intimidate you. You must train yourself to be able to face a crowd as well. High self-esteem would improve your mood and in effect, lead you to a better work output.
7. Draw close to God
After all is said and done, you and I will not be here in the next 100 years. We will have to stand before God and give an account of our lives.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may be recompensed for the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
Having this in mind will guide you in giving your best at your workplace and also building a strong relationship with God through Jesus. You can listen to this audio devotional to keep you on track as you serve the Lord.
So my dear graduate or national service personnel reading this, I trust that you have it as a goal to succeed in life. Therefore, do not just go and do national service, but do it diligently irrespective of where you are posted; be it a school, hospital, company or bank. You might not be retained after service, but trust me the probability of you meeting someone later in life from your service posting is very high. Therefore give them a reason to write positive recommendations for you. Now go and conquer your world!