New job, new hobbies and wisdom as usual ;)

Caroline
New refreshed and Boring Msuper!

It’s been one month and a half since i started my new job. Still very excited about it. I have amazing colleagues, a massive challenge in a role i never knew would exist but its all i have been dreaming of. Ok, maybe this honeymoon phase is blinding but you get the drift, I am so stoked about it!

Through out this year i have been really challenging myself, my fears, bad habits, my skills and to a greater part my personality. I did a hike in January this year, Mt. Suswa; going from the gate of the park, to the crater, round the crater and back to the gate. It took me 12 hours. This was the toughest hike of my life even if i include Mt. Kenya on the list. Mt. Suswa topped it for me. Ā It could be that i was not really prepared, could be that it was just a terribly tough hike or the fact that Mt. Suswa is pretty unspectacular most of the way up and down. I digress.

Since then i decided that resilience will be my value to work on in 2015. I am the kind that doesn’t have one big ambition in life like be rich, CEO, athletic or whatever. I take my life one step at a time and so is my planning.

This value has turned out to be the best to work on in a year when i was also looking for a different job and a certain sense of having control. The Norwegian unemployment rate is 5-8% so there are jobs. The only challenge is Language skills. If you do not have them, forget it. Forget about working in a Norwegian company. God knows i tried but if i only depended on my language skills i would have very little chance of having a job by now. Luckily there are Norwegian companies that have English as an official language so hurrah! The challenge, competition for the few english positions is even tougher. I learned several lessons.

  1. First and very practical point, you must fit the expectations of your soon to be employer if it is a normal job. I had to update my CV with a friendly and professional photo that gives and impression that i am one of “us”. Cultural issues are an issue that may bosses do not want to deal with. You must seem either open enough or exactly like a Norwegian or the people in the company you are applying for. Do not over dress or under dress.
  2. Follow your gut feeling. If i listened to all the comments i was getting about me not being able to get the job or the work permit for one reason or another, i would not have gone for the interviews but i had a feeling that this was meant for me.
  3. Constantly review what you have tried so far and then change it if it hasn’t worked. Change you CV, your strategy e.g. call first before sending CV etc
  4. Set your standards of what type of person you want to work with, it is not only you being recruited, you are also recruiting a boss šŸ˜‰
  5. On your first day do not over dress. It raises the bar and also the barrier between you and your new team, boss and colleagues. Note how people dress in the organisation when you go for the interview. Dress one notch, really tiny notch down.
  6. Ask for meetings. With your boss, teammates, anyone you think you may work with. If they say no, it is ok but chances are that they will say yes especially if it is 30 minutes or less. Rarely do you need more than that for an information meeting. You will not understand alot either. Ask people for advice. Who should you meet, what should you do? What is the expectation of you in the role?
  7. Set clear goals with your boss. This you can read all over google, it is no trick. It just has to happen.
  8. Bite slightly more than you can chew, then chew it all. This provides you a chance to challenge yourself. Get an adrenaline kick and a chance to impress. Do not be afraid to fail. Just learn and move on.
  9. Mimic. See how others do it in terms of talking to each other, raising a point, reporting etc. Every organisation has its way of doing things and they are not able to tell you this is how we do during induction into the company. It is mostly going to be practical stuff during your induction period.
  10. Brag Sheet. Count all you eggs. All of them and document it. It helps you track how you are doing. A brag sheet is where you document all your achievements.

10 tips are definitely enough but please feel free to ask me for specific questions and i will try to collect my thoughts.

I am happy that i am writing again šŸ˜€ So Stoked!!!!

Mt. Kenya (Almost all you need to know)

If the “Mt. Kenya Climb” is on your bucket list, then get ready for this awesome adventure with us. “Xtrym Adventures” has 100% success rate.
Ā 
This was the introduction statement on the event page.Joining the hike was a commitment to finish, the moment we reached the mt. KenyaĀ Sirimon entrance gate, there was no turning back, point of no return, we called it.
Mt. Kenya gate.
Mt. Kenya gate. See the worry?

A little quiet probably from worry, all i had in my mind is that i had to summit come rain, snow or sunshine. They all showed up at some point šŸ™‚ I was worried that iĀ hadnā€™t joined the team on the preparation hikes and my training plan in Oslo didnā€™t go very well. I got several bouts of deadly flu that put me down for two weeks and reduced my strengthĀ to new lows, i could barely walk up flight of stairs. Never mind the overall lack of motivation.

“Caroline, I am worried for you, i donā€™t think you will be fit enough for the hike,ā€ Jon (my boyfriend) to me, two weeks beforeĀ the hike.
I shared the same sentiments but i was moreĀ excited, curious and full of anticipation of what lay ahead. I hoped toĀ get snowed on in Kenya, “that will be so cool,” iĀ thought. I wished for the rain too, i had all my expensive rain gearĀ which i didnā€™t feel that i had gotten their worth yet.
Many people knew each other, they had hiked together for three hikes before, i had only joined the final timed preparation hike which i didnā€™t feel i did so well since i am a number 1 maniac, anything else is dissatisfactory to me. Small talk was my only option, no previous jokes or conversations to pick on and Dancun the only person i know had 29 people to entertain.
Day 1: Walk in the park ;)
Day 1: Walk in the park šŸ˜‰

I cruised through day 1 until the first camp at 3300m above sea level. No altitude complications and no muscle pains. Day 2 was a long day so i slept as soon as i was done with the few tasks. With showering off the list it was only brushing the teeth left and removing the dusty outer layer.

Mt. Kenya Day 2 in the thick of things. Spot me in purple?
Mt. Kenya Day 2 in the thick of things. Spot me in purple?

Day 2 was earlyĀ and long, i hate anything longĀ so by noon i was quit bored, demotivated and a little bit annoyed by the guides that kept telling me that it was just around the corner yet we werenā€™t getting there. I also had promised myself not to pee in the bush. I failed terribly. Just when the next camp was 200m away, i couldnā€™t hold it anymore, i had to pee, there and then.

Day 3 mt. Kenya near a beautiful lake high up the mountain
Day 3 mt. Kenya near a beautiful lake high up the mountain

Day 3 was to start at 2am. We started at 3.40am headed for the summit because it was raining. I had experienced some altitude trouble the previous day so i was somewhat worried and slow paced to avoid the headache this timeĀ round. It was amazing to be snowed on in Kenya, Ā along the equator. That was pretty cool. Everything else was torture, slippery ice, head wind and rocks. When i reached the summit, i was angry at myself for taking myself there and even paying exorbitantly for the hike, other hikers that were recklessly sliding on the iceĀ mostly due to their shoes lacking enough gripĀ andĀ the guide for not going at my pace (I was quit fast). I took a selfie and off i went towards shipton camp for tea which had a touch of milk and that i had really grown fond of especially when the cooks started giving one thermos of sugarless tea. What we found at the camp instead was a feast. Sausages, toasted bread, porridge, noodles you name it, it was a feast! They told us that it was Brunch and the next mealĀ was at old moses camp, 17km away.

High altitude and exhaustion can do a number on you. Even the most fit members of the team struggled through the last 800m altitude. You should always have enough sugar, water and take it easy, you simply canā€™t run up to the top of the mountain, not a serious one šŸ˜‰ Respect the mountain and accept that it is on top of the food chain. Thatā€™s the only way to survive if you are as competitive as i am.
It was really great to hike with the group i hiked with, very intelligent, funny and caring team of 29 that came together to push themselves that little bit harder. Not that they wouldnā€™t have enjoyed a cold drink with friends over easter, i personally would have but what story will you tell of it? I certainly made new friends: SomeĀ who can bail me out of trouble, take a good photo, help me open a new business and certainly those that could save my life if i ever need it. IĀ really felt that it was the best way of networking. All guards and titles down, and everyone just being human.
During the hike though, i really needed a friend for warmthĀ (sleeping in 5 degrees C with no heating is quit an uphill task), a poop friend ( nothing beats a good number 2 session after a tiresome day filled with candy and all sorts of starch for energy) and definitely a moral support one, someone to tell you that we are almost thereĀ and that it is soon over.
Cool plant, cool guide and me :D
Cool plant, cool guide and me šŸ˜€

Mwangi our guide was nothing short of Godsent telling stories when i was getting delirious with fatigues and pulling some other guys up to the summit despite have injured his knee the day before summiting. Ā He is the best guide ever!

Among the must carry thingsĀ there are some i felt i really need to highlight. You need more thanĀ this.
  1. Ā Snacks – You really do not need so much but carry lots of candy and a portable water bottle

    Imprt your snacks if you have to ;)
    Kvikk lunsj: Import your snacks if you have to šŸ˜‰
  2. Waterproof boots – Please try take a shower in them to really check that they are waterproof because there is nothing more uncomfortable than frozen feet. You will cry all the way up and down. Check the grip too.

    Waterproof boots! MUST have!
    Waterproof boots! MUST have!
  3. ORSĀ – tastes like shit but does the job, hydrates and replaces lost ions (remember chemistry?)

    This secret i learnt about at the mountains
    This secret i learnt about at the mountains
  4. Hiking poles will save your knees a whole lot of pain.
  5. Power bank – Such are the times when we are living in, cars can go hundreds of kilometres without reiterating while a phone can barely last you 8 hours with it power.
  6. If you are hiking between April and August, you may need ice- cleat
  7. Good guides with endless stories, you forget how long the trek is if you are talking or listening to someone
  8. The mind of a Ninja – Mt. kenya is less about how physically fit you are and more about how mentally strong you are
  9. A hot water bottle, a friend willing to sleep close to you for warmth or both šŸ˜‰
  10. Arimis – For warmth, sunscreen, lip balmĀ ā€¦. for everything!Ā Arimis
General tips
  • Have your water within your reach, no one owes you the service of getting it from your bag.
  • Carry a light day pack
  • Have your hands free
If nothing above inspires you to try mt. Kenya, hereĀ is my last try. The view is AMAZING! Nothing can compare to the freshness,Ā theĀ rarity and intrigue ofĀ plants and animals that dare to live above 3000 metres above sea level.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Death will come to you whether you like it or not,Ā all that matters is where it finds you and what your story will be once you cross the line. Make it interesting.

Terrorist by any other name

The first article to read after the Mt. Kenya hike was by Magunga about a certain smartly dressed somali decent law student that he used to see at university. That young man happened to be amongĀ those that shot more than 140 people, most of whom were students. An interesting article shedding light on what a terrorist looks like, well camouflaged in the system and unsuspectable.
Well.
Its good to have two sides of the coin but not this one. I will not acknowledge his side of the story.
I refuse to acknowledge that he was a law student just because i was once a student in aĀ Nairobi based university and was well dressed. That i have met someone like him and probably talked to someone like him doesnā€™t bring his actions close to fathomable. I may not be able to identify with the Garissa students and their way of life but i identify with their ambition to try and make something of themselves even if it meant going to a university in a not so safe area just to get an education and hopefullyĀ get themselves and their families out ofĀ the desperationĀ of poverty.
I refuse to acknowledge him as a Somali. Kenyan somali or otherwise. It is those same Somalis that hide some of the students. Helped out during the crisis either as police or just civilians.
I refuse to acknowledge him as a muslim either. Whatever part of the Qur’an he chose to justify his actions. I can quote several bible chapters that would justify me killing. I still chose the peaceful quotes or the encouragement quotes of my religious book.
I refuse to empathise with his situation coming from a marginalised community that was terrorised by the previous Kenyan government. Many communities have been marginalised, terrorised and thoroughly dehumanised by governments all over the world. It is not right or even fair but nothing justifies these specific actions.
I refuse to acknowledge that he has a name. That he even is a he. ā€˜Heā€™ can only be used for humans or some animals that we love dearly. I refuse to acknowledge that he is human because there is nothing humane in killing hundreds of people. Whether or not those people annoy, disagree with or in this case, donā€™t even know you.
I do empathise with the parents but they didn’t lose their son to the Kenya security forces bullets, they lost him to Al-shabaab. The day he chose to kill, he died then.
I refuse to empathise with ā€˜itā€™ as i will refer to him from now henceforth. Itā€™s cause, ambitions orĀ even love for good dressing. The only ambition ‘it’ had, this creature was to kill as many innocent people as possible on the fateful Thursday the 2nd April.
#147isnotjustanumber it isĀ innocent young Kenyans that had dreams and a bunch of terrorists that took them away. Terrorists that are inhumane, tribeless, faceless, religious-less killers that deserve to neither be name nor have their faces shown. Terrorists that do not deserve my pity, empathy or to spot my conscience and neither do they deserve yours. If it were up to me, they would even be counted!
See you at the vigil!

How to publish a new post when you have nothing to write

Courtesy of www.20kgroup.com
Courtesy of http://www.20kgroup.com

So today I have stumbled over the writers block and i am simply floored by the emptiness in my head. I would have ignored posting anything today because not so many people will notice but i promised myself to write every Wednesday and Friday. I do not break promises that i make to me.

Creativity is a habit!

I recently posted, but habits are hard to form and it is moments like this that test your willingness to pursue the habit. So here i am trying to get myself to write.

Write anything, even if its one sentence and post, people will understand and not all your post will be a hit. You are not writing for the Newyorker anyway so you can be easy on yourself.

Here is how to get yourself to write when not a single fibre of you want to

1. Open your blog and look for older stories that you can build on. If you are like me, there is probably none.

2. Open a new blank post

3. Just get your hands to the keyboard

4. Connect the hands to your brain and just type whatever comes to you

5. Keep writing, make a list. They are always easy to make. Share your wisdom generously, as you can see, there isn’t much of it but this is truly all I have.

Once thats done, you begin to notice your body, maybe this is what they talk about in mindfulness talks and podcasts.

6. Give the post a title, anything just get the cursor up on the title bar and something will come (There i go)

Done.

7. Hope that no one sees it and that it gets better by the next time you have to write šŸ™‚

Damn it, my ears are hot!

Enjoy!

HR systems; A necessary evil!

My VP-TM days!
My VP-TM days!

When i became the VP- Talent Management of AIESEC in Kenyatta University, my first assignment was to get members for AIESEC in KU(Kenyatta university), which at that time had only 15 members 9 of which were graduating and leaving the entity with a bunch of first years. It was a failed entity. Regardless of that, when i put out the recruitment posters, i got 200 applicants yet i only had prepared space for 45.

In my selection process i first removed all 4th year students, it was not sustainable to have them because they only had 1 year in the organisation and it took a whole year to make an AIESECer according to my calculations.

I gave the lowest quota to 3rd years, only 10 slots and the rest of the slots were distributed between 2nd and 1st years.

The list still had 150 after this elimination step and so i conducted all 150 interviews with the help of the other 6 members who were left after the others graduated.

3rd years were stars, they performed so well yet there was no way i could let join. I had made a questionnaire that got information of where the candidates lived and why they wanted to Joined AIESEC.

If they lived in Nairobi and were willing to participate in the exchange program, I kept them otherwise all the rest were kicked out.

Of course this was discriminative and didn’t have anything to do with their qualifications but still i knew that for AIESEC in KU to work, we needed 100% available members through out the year even during our 5 months holiday. Secondly, you could teach loyal 1st years the skills they needed but you couldn’t train someone to be loyal. Seniors were never loyal to any organisation of club they just needed certificates.

This was just a basic system, nothing compared to the HR systems being used nowadays. As a person that is now applying for jobs in a new country where i do not speak the language very well, i am like a three legged horse in a race where all the others are perfect stallions with all their fours. Regardless of how good i am as a candidate, i am still being kicked out on the basis of my name, university name and language among all others.

Is it fair?

I never ask question. It is not the right question to ask in my opinion.

Back to my earlier story, one guy from Kisii, about as far from Nairobi as you can get both in distance and culture, came to the office and asked for me. He asked for a meeting toĀ give him feedback as to why he couldn’t get into a non paying student organisation that was going to add more stuff to do on top of assignments and classes. I pulled out his file from a pretty cool database system i had created and gave it to him straight.

You are in your third year and you do not live in Nairobi which will make it hard for you to do AIESEC work during the holiday.

I do not remember what we talked but he joined AIESEC and i put him in a team immediately. He didn’t stay in AIESEC for long but his contribution was felt.

I guess you have to go the extra mile to get in when you are in a disadvantaged position. It is hard to get it but not impossible.

The beating continues, until morale improves..… Stolen from Owwahh.com

NB: I need hook ups in this Norwegian job market, seriously.