Saturday, October 27, 2012

Retrospect and How to Handle the Change Ahead

2011 is come and gone; but not with the memories of events that shaped it. 2011 for me was a year of tremendous growth; unfortunately, it was also a year of critical challenges. I don't know how 2011 went for you but one lesson I picked up in 2011 was this:
"Challenges will never ever go away, and there's never going to be a smooth ride; be it in life of business."
This is a harsh reality but it's either you take it or leave it. Before I proceed further, I want you to understand that I am writing this article from the Nigerian perspective and with the Nigerian business terrain in mind but one thing I want you to know is this: the principles of business is universally applicable. The only difference in business across the globe is the time zone, business environments, political situations, culture and the rest of it. So be rest assured that this article will be of value to you.
In 2011, I started the year with high hopes and enthusiasm; and fortunately, the year ended on a good note but not without its challenges. For six, out of the 12 months of the year 2011, I was practically running on adrenaline. I got robbed at gun point, lost some valuables, ran my business on a high debt to equity ratio, had a strain on my intimate relationships and had my bank breathing fire down my heels. But in all, I survived and ended 2011 on a good note. I hope yours ended well too.
I spent the last days of 2011 discussing with my business team about our plans for 2011. I also mused over my long term personal goals and took time to set goals for 2012. By the last day of 2011, my team was ready for 2012 with a strategic growth plan. But we woke up on 2012 to receive the shocking news that the fuel subsidy has been removed abruptly; thereby sending the price of PMS from N65 to N140. This literally means that the price of goods and services alike are going to skyrocket in correlation with the new pump price of fuel. And sincerely speaking, it's going to affect everyone; both businesses and employees alike. So how do we respond to this change? I will go into that later.
Is this the only change in government policy we will see in 2011? My answer is no. There are going to be reforms initiated by the government that will sweep across Nigeria like a storm. And after the storm dies down, only two classes will be left standing; the rich and the poor. The middle class will be wiped out entirely.
As I write this now, there's a proposed policy that will see a restructuring and a creation of opportunities. With the proposed ban on the importation of rice and the incentives provided for the importation of power generation equipment and cassava processing machines. With the government tilting more support towards the agricultural industry and the current security challenges in the country, a lot of problems will be created; which will in turn create opportunities for smart entrepreneurs.
Analysts across the globe have predicted a tough 2012 and I don't doubt them. After all, they are financial analysts and better understand the statistics of a country's financials. But in the midst of the multiple problems; I see a great gap. I see a deep need waiting to be filled; all I see is a 2012 full of opportunities. Now I am not a soothsayer, religious fanatic or an extreme optimist. I am simply an entrepreneur trying hard to see things from the entrepreneurial perspective. Remember that entrepreneurs are opportunists. Now I am not saying I or my business is immune to the harsh business terrain of Nigeria and the ever changing government policies; what I want you to understand is that I am trying to squeeze out opportunities from the numerous problems that abound in Nigeria. You too can do the same. Do you want to know how? Read on.
How to Handle the Coming Change in 2012 and Subsequent years
1. Restructure your mindset
There are two sides to everything in life. It's either you are one side, or you are on the other side. It's either you are rich or you are poor. It's either you are part of the problem, or you are part of the solution. Most people only see one side to issues and that's why they remain stagnant.
To handle the coming change effectively, you must see the two sides of the coin. You must develop your mindset to work with the perception that there's an opportunity in every problem. You must disassociate yourself from those who only criticize the government and join the group of people who are willing to help the government solve its many problems. And most of all, you must make a stern resolve to be a solutions provider rather than being a complainant.
There's going to be a lot of opportunities in the following sectors: agriculture, education, food distribution, security, alternative power supply, etc. In the face the removal of subsidy, do you see a Nigeria where 5% - 10% of the population will be making short distance journeys with bicycles? Well, that's left for you to envision. This leads me to the next point.........................................
2. Start your own business
When I say "start your own business"; the message I am trying to shout out to you is this: "take control of your life." Observe the effects of most government policies and you will find out that the most affected people are the middle and low level employees; which make up the bulk of the population. I am not saying entrepreneurs are immune; it just that entrepreneurs (I mean smart entrepreneurs) know how to wriggle themselves around obstacles posed by the government. With the escalating inflation and ever increasing cost of living, employees get hit the most because their salary stays fixed, they are overworked with less pay and they risk being downsized without warning. All entrepreneurs do in the same situation faced by employees is to simply cut costs or raise prices after taking the necessary statistics into consideration. Considering all this, why would you want to remain an employee forever? Why not become an entrepreneur and take control of your life? The choice is yours.
3. Always have a plan B
The third strategy to effectively handle change is to always have a plan B. Things never go smoothly; things won't always go in your favor. So what do you do? You put a contingency plan in place; and how do you set the foundation for your plan B? You can begin by asking yourself questions that have the prefix: "What If."
What if the government bans............................?
What if the banks withdraw their support?
What if customers reject our innovation or idea?
What if we don't break even in the stipulated timeframe?
What if the labour congress goes on strike? How would it affect me and how can I reduce the corresponding effect?
The questions above are what set the need and formulation of a plan B in motion. With your plan B in place, situations may take you unaware but you will never lose your footing.
4. Respond quickly to change
One of the many challenges of building a business is responding quickly to change; which may come in the form of upcoming trend, change in government policy, customer feedback, internal crisis and the rest. Unfortunately, this does not only apply to businesses; it also applies to life. To survive and live the lifestyle of your choice, you must be able to respond quickly to change.
Now how do respond to quickly to change when all you see are problems? How do you respond quickly to change when all you do is compound the problems of the government by criticizing and organizing strikes/protests? How do you respond quickly to change when you are stuck in your job with a fixed salary? How do you respond to change when you don't have a plan B? If you critically analyze these questions, you will observe that responding quickly to change is nearly impossible without implementing the step one to three I shared with you above. Just as I said earlier, there are two sides to everything. It's either you adapt to change or you are crushed by it. The choice is yours.
In conclusion, I want to state clearly that 2012 will be gloomy, tough and a lot of people are going to break. It's a hard fact that can't be disputed. On the other hand, I also want to state clearly that 2012 is a year of opportunities; many are going to get richer this year and end the 2012 on a happy note. This is also a hard fact that cannot be disputed. Now the million dollar question is this: on which side of the table do you want to be? The choice still remains yours.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Expect From The Medical Assistant Salary

The role of the medical assistant is to assist doctors and nurses either in doctor's clinics or in hospitals. As for the medical support salary, according to the American Medical Association official website, this could range from $22,000 to as much as $30,000 per year.
The salary would really depend on the training, work experience, and employer. Generally speaking, the medical support salary of someone who has a certificate would be lower than that compared to someone who has an associate degree. There should also be employee benefits like health and dental insurances that may be offered with the salary.
However, there are medical aides who have had several decades of experience and who have received additional training. These assistants can demand a higher salary especially if they have received high recommendations. There are advanced medical aid training like administration of injections, CPR, the use of a cardiac monitor, or even medical transcription. These advanced training increase the chances of the individual to find better paying jobs.
However, the salary is the least to be considered if the trained individual does not like the career they are in. This is a career in service and it can be very demanding, especially if the clinic or hospital work can extend after the work hours. Those who want to enter this career for the sole reason of getting rich will not achieve their goals, instead they could be easily frustrated. Others even claim it can be a dead-end job if the individual does not make the effort of getting additional training.
The good news about being a medical helper is that this is a very flexible career. Additional training can actually open doors to other jobs and careers. The familiarity with the medical field and terminology can lead to bigger careers. There are some MAs who have gone on to insurance work where they encode the medical billings, check on the medical health claims and many more.
The medical assistant salary can only be limited by the individual who puts a limit on their abilities. This is not a career where one is required to be a genius. What is important to have is to gain the education or training from recognized schools be they online or traditional. After getting the certification or degree, go out and experience the work. Get more training if need be so the desired salary goal is achieved.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Re-Inventing Health Class

For most high school students health class is just another filler in their schedule where they can get an easy grade for showing up. This is because many teachers stick with a very "by the book" approach to this class. Simply, a little creativity and imagination could make health a student's favorite class of the day. There is an immense amount of topics that can be covered in health, ranging from eating disorders and drugs to current events and world news. There are many basic activities that can be used to enhance a health class if given the chance. Any activity that helps the students have a hand in their own learning will instantly be more interesting. Health should not simply be a class filled with PowerPoints and lectures. Since the entire class applies to real life experiences students may have, then the activities should do just the same. Lessons should be based around the students themselves and their thoughts and feelings rather than just a fountain of facts.
Classroom based discussions are popular among English and History classes, but how about incorporating them into a health class. A discussion on a current event could have the students enticed for hours. One way to do this is through a Socratic Seminar. This is basically a class discussion lead by the students themselves. With an interesting topic, students will talk about and feed off each other's ideas. As long as everyone agrees to respect each other's opinions and disagree courteously the Socratic Seminar will be a success. Teachers may even be surprised by the participation of some students who may usually be quiet or shy. Teachers, do not worry, you will not lose control of your class. If the discussion goes in an unintended direction the teacher can simply ask questions to the group that direct the discussion any way they choose. Students will really enjoy this because it is a way for them all to be involved with no pressure to give the right answer. Since health class lends itself to so many interesting and controversial topics, the Socratic Seminar can never fail.
There are numerous activities that can be developed around health content, because, again, health content is so extensive and easily relatable. Skits or puppet shows depending on the content are a great way to get students thinking and enjoying themselves at the same time. No one ever said that learning couldn't be fun. Students can be given a specific topic and after doing research or using facts given to them, they can put together a skit or puppet show encompassing the information. This is a creative way to get information across to students and it lets them have a hand in their education. By creating the skits and by watching the ones other students present they are learning the information. Students are more likely to remember the information presented also. If there is a funny or creative skit students will remember more of the information presented then they would from taking notes during a lecture.
For most people when they remember things they learned in school it is not information from notes. No one says "oh yes, I know that the cranium is another word for the head from Dr. Smith's lecture from Anatomy class my junior year in high school." Instead people remember information based on something they did when they learned it, for example someone many people remember all the states in the U.S. from the states song they learn in music class. Any of these creative teaching techniques can be applied to multiple subjects, but health class clearly lends itself very well to these techniques. Students can directly relate to the topics being covered and for many of them the topics directly affect them so they have opinions and ideas to share. By embracing these techniques teachers can re-invent the notions behind high school health and transform it into a subject that students enjoy and find great benefit in.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Computer and Information Technology Jobs

Computer career opportunities are growing faster than average in the overall economy. People who have the necessary information technology skills and knowledge are in demand and have a tremendous number of choices. The scope of the careers in computer information systems field is extensive. Employment opportunities can be grouped in the following general categories:
1. Computer and information research scientists invent and design new technology and find new uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other areas.
Individuals who work in research and development require educational levels that are higher than others (normally advanced degrees). These jobs are fewer in number than other areas and reside on the cutting edge of the technology.
2. Computer programmers write code to create software programs. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.
Programmers create and maintain the instructions that cause computers to do worthwhile work.
3. Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some are called technical support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called help-desk technicians, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.
The support specialists are the people who users call when they get into trouble or experience difficulty in working with information systems on the job site.
4. Computer systems analysts study an organization's current computer systems and procedures and then makes recommendations to management to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.
Analysts and designers determine system requirements and design specifications for systems that meeting the needs of the system. Analysts and designers are familiar with how the availability of information drives organizational decision-making.
5. Database administrators use software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.
Database specialists analyze, design and implement databases that track organizational records. Information retrieved from databases, typically, are presented to users in a report format.
6. Information security analysts ensure a firm's information stays safe from cyber attacks and provide for information assurance. The information security specialist implements organizational wide security policy and best practices. Security analysts work closely with network administrators to provide for the confidentiality, integrity and availability of networks.
7. Web developers create websites to help firms have a public face and develop internal web sites that are known as intranets. Many web developers are responsible for maintaining online websites that sell to customers.
8. Computer network architects and administrators create the network infrastructure that all workers within organizations use. Network architects and administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of an organization's computer networks. They organize, install, and support an organization's computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.
9. Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.
The best news about careers in computer and information systems technology is the depth and breadth of the opportunities. A highly motivated individual can "write his or her ticket" in the field.