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Each career path has its unique way of landing you a job. For me, it’s been two years now since I could get my foot through the door of a creative agency and my professional life demands that I prove myself not to be a lazy Nigerian youth. My power move has become to demonstrate my skills and passion by responding to creative tasks from agencies I am lucky enough to get application feedback from. This might as well be the story of many youths seeking to enter the creative industry: spotlighting some of your skills before getting recruited.
Starting as a newbie in any career path you have chosen comes with the hurdle of discovering success quickly. Sustaining your success depends on decisions you make along the way and the mentorship you may be fortunate to receive or determinedly submit to. Some have received a pat on the back for a job well done; some have been able to rise to stardom on sterling performances; and within a short time, it’s been a rapid rise for some of us.
Having gone through all that stress, if you can land yourself a job or a role, be it in the creative space, movie industry, hospitality, education, fashion, or whatever discipline you have chosen to prove your worth, just know that it’s not worth ruining your chances with avoidable mistakes. Because we might be hurting our chances of getting ahead in our careers.
The moment after AMVCA that Juliana Olayode broke Nigerian social media with her now famous apology, I was stunned. My thoughts went into overdrive on what could have impelled Toyo Baby to say sorry. After six long years. As a writer, well, I’m prone to sniffing for stories, especially in the most awkward of places and situations.
Everything around me inspires me to write. Even this tardy apology. Lol!!! But guess what: I thought long and hard and found an inspiring angle to Toyo Baby’s apology. On a lighter note, sniffing for perfect stories for you to read puts food on my table. Ẹjọwọ don’t cast me till the end.
As human beings, we are bound to err, more so when it comes to our first attempt at most things, right? Also, we have been imbued with the superpower to save ourselves from our future selves. Here, I share my honest opinions and observations about Juliana Olayode’s apology. To the uninitiated, Juliana is an actress who cemented her place in Nollywood lore by playing Toyo Baby in Funke Akindele’s Jenifa’s Diary.
The Nation Newspaper Story on Juliana’s Jenifa’s Diary Departure.
Back in 2017, our newly minted star confirmed on social media that she had left Jenifa’s Diary after playing Toyo Baby – a character that thrust her into the limelight. She exited the show in May 2016, but the public only became aware in 2017. Seven years to the month she exited the show, she posted a written apology to the show’s producer Funke Akindele. In it, she cited a lack of industry experience as well as other details which she had recently uncovered. It appears that Juliana may have struggled to manage her fame and posted overly dramatic content on social media. Uncoupled from Toyo Baby and Jenifa’s Diary, she has gone on to show the other side of herself as a prolific content creator, chastity advocate, author, brand ambassador, and even as a theatre performer. Who would have thought?
Juliana Olayode’s Instagram apology post in full. Image Credit: ( @olayodejuliana)
I believe that her breakup with the series propelled her desire to remain in the faces and top of mind of her fans. Luckily, since her exit from the show, she has regularly appeared in Nollywood movies and is doing well, judging from her social media appearances and multiple endorsements. Kudos to her and her team for that, as not many have had the opportunity to make that sort of transition.
Beyond the drama and endless online chatter, Olayode’s Instagram post presents us with some valuable lessons for those taking their tentative first steps onto the career ladder – especially the GenZ demographic.
Here are 6 key lessons you and I should learn from her very public apology:
When I was looking for a job or Internship, a top experiential agency in Lagos invited me to do a task. After the test, I immediately approached the man who gave me the test, who is the agency’s creative director. At this point, I wasn’t even so particular about the job. But on the lookout for guidance. On my way out, I got his contact information. I reached out to him later through a message and followed him up on all his social media handles. Officially sent him a text to be my mentor. I don’t wait for him to call me. This is to say, we need to be in the face of our chosen mentors. I do the needful and update him on every move. Similarly, my second mentor has been instrumental in helping me avoid impulsive decisions and teaching me the value of patience. Mentors play various roles, including providing guidance, encouragement, and sometimes even pushing you to move forward.
One of the hardest things to face at the start of our career is accepting guidance, feedback, and blame. We might be tempted to rely on the confidence we have in our passion and zeal. Some of us might not be lucky enough to have a tender boss or bosses or someone willing to see us through our rookie stages. This though is not the time to reject valuable lessons. It’s critical to stay true to who you are and keep your confidence levels high, but it’s also a good idea to be open to learning valuable lessons that can help advance your career to the next level. Superiors and tenured colleagues have the connections and the experience to either help you grow and develop your skills or hinder your professional development. You don’t want to be on anyone’s naughty list.
At work, there is an alignment we must come into, like it or not. It’s good to be daring and to want to challenge the system. Well, while doing that, it is important to avoid disrupting the team’s cohesion. Strike a fair balance between courteous disagreement and an awareness of the organisational structure’s requirements. Open communication, constructive feedback, and the ability to express concerns respectfully can help bridge the gap between them.
Juliana’s apology emphasises the importance of individuals seeking forgiveness when they have erred and taking steps to rebuild trust. It is also a reminder that we all make mistakes occasionally. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, grow, and crucially move on. As a GenZ individual starting out in your career, it is beneficial to adopt a growth mindset and view setbacks as opportunities for personal improvement. And you know what? Employers appreciate people who can adapt, learn from their experiences, and bounce back from tough situations. So, keep that in mind and keep on growing!
The journey to rebuilding trust is sometimes arduous and, seeing as trust is earned and not a given, one has to be willing to work for it. Juliana’s apology emphasises the importance of seeking forgiveness when you have erred and taking steps to rebuild trust. In a professional setting, if you make a mistake or damage relationships, being sincere, proactive, and consistent in your efforts to repair trust can go a long way toward rebuilding professional connections.
Employers value employees who are cooperative, adaptable, and able to work within a structured environment. Consistency is key here. Maintain an excellent reputation and keep complaints low by consistently doing what matters and doing it to high standards. The word on your diligence will precede you.
It’s crucial to say that, as a millennial or GenZ, when we are given that golden opportunity, it’s important not to get too comfortable and make careless mistakes. Instead, working hard and staying relevant in the industry is crucial. Again, the choices we make at each juncture will determine our trajectory within the industry, company, or agency in which we find ourselves. Sometimes, when things get tough or we’re up against a complicated system, we might feel like throwing in the towel or that we’re not being treated fairly. But, if we take a moment to step back and be patient, we could see things falling into place.
Speaking of growth, let’s give a big round of applause to Juliana for having the courage to apologise after six long years. It must have been a challenging thing to do. Like fine wine, it seems with time and experience; she has achieved mastery of her fame and public persona in a positive and uplifting manner. This is what we all need to do. Channel Queen Beyonce, like Juliana, has successfully done: Make Lemonade from Life’s Lemons.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section. Also, I’m curious about how you have managed to navigate and conquer any obstacles that have arisen when you were a rookie.comments powered by Disqus