Each day, I receive messages from graduates, some even with master’s degrees in Ghana—desperate for jobs. Some are married men and women, in need of a salary to be able to take care of their families.
I wish I had a network of business friends who can employ all these people but that is not the case. I have been able to help a few—and for many others, I am not.
Many months ago, I advertised a friend’s law firm in Accra as needing a paralegal/admin. A lady on my Facebook got this job.
This is the same law firm that represents me in Ghana so I occasionally visit their office when in Ghana and sometimes even work from there.
During my recent trip to Ghana, I worked on a case there—and interestingly, this Facebook friend who now works there as a paralegal was very helpful. In fact, it was so refreshing working alongside this lady—knowing that she secured this job through my Facebook posting.
I wish for everyone to excel in life. I want everyone to be free—and live their best lives. But the matrix we live in is always working against us.
The only solution to not finding yourself at a tight corner is to have a good network of friends and colleagues. I dedicate a lot of my time to building such networks so that when I need to fall on someone, I have options.
I always say this; the black man does not care about building a strong contact list. People are not mostly friends by accident—they build relationships over time.
Warren Buffet and Bill Gates did not bump into each other on the street and became friends—their friendship was engineered by Gates’ parents. His parents desperately wanted him to meet Buffet despite their age gap.
While in Ghana, a friend I made through NAM1 introduced me to a businessman who needed UK visitor’s visas for himself and his wife. This man extremely comfortable and therefore my legal fee is not something he cannot pay.
I took on the matter, pro bono—and last week they received their visas. When this businessman picked the visa for himself and his wife, he called again to ask him for the bill—I told him that is on the house.
He mentioned that he will be in London next month so we can hang out and talk some business.
From this, I may build a strong friendship or connection with another ‘wealthy’ businessman in Ghana—and expand my contact list. I would have charged not less than £1,600 for the two of them. No matter how this amount is tempting, I had to let it go and look at the long run—even if for nothing at all, what about a number of future recommendations this man can bring to me within his business circle?
I have worked in 3 different Law Firms in London so far and in all of them, I did not go through the vigorous job hunt or interviews. I always know someone who owns a Law Firm. If I decide to move from my current Law Firm, it will take just a call to the next.
Apart from being an expert in my field, I have worked on building a network too. Just having 2 master’s degrees or whatever is not enough in our world today. It is all about who you know.
My sister always asks; how do you know all these people? From the British Airways desk at the airport to the COVID-19 testing centers, I always know someone to call. I make conscious efforts to make such friends or build these contacts. And you can too.
For those who are fans of Blacklist: I aspire to be like Raymond Reddington but without the crimes. I mean, to have contacts and helpers everywhere such that all it will take to receive a favour is a phone call.
While I feel deeply sorry for the many Ghanaian graduates without jobs, we should all remember that jobs are limited and sometimes or almost all the time “who you know will determine your journey.”
Building contacts and maintaining them is a priceless art. You must offer some sort of value to these friends or contacts too else they will ditch you along the way.
I introduced one of my wealthy friends to AirBnB recently as he has several properties in Accra. He called me this morning to say ‘Thank You’—because the bookings being received have been more than anticipated.
At the time when we were speaking about Airbnb, some people were offering him 2,500 dollars a month to rent one of his properties. I told him he can make more than that from AirBnB so he should let us give it a try. He did, and he made that 2,500 dollars in less than a week.
Don’t you think this person will cherish my future counsel? And our friendship will flourish such that if I ever need help, I can also ask and receive it from him?
Where are your classmates and the people you grew up with? It is fine to ditch people as you grow but you should always make new ones so that you wouldn’t remain in a gutter when you fall without anyone to reach out to.
If all your friends are losers, it is highly likely you are a loser too—you wouldn’t just admit it.
Just as we make it a point to be healthy in life, we should also make it a responsibility to build a protective network of amazing people around us.
In Ghana, Bola Ray is one person I admire in these quarters. He has positioned himself in such a way that his network is impressively valuable and always increasing too.
It is important that you know people so invest in that, no matter what it takes.
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