So here’s what I did to bring back my lost zeal on the job. Remember, i told you that i lost my zeal because in 3 months of resuming this job with excitement, i discovered that it wasn’t exactly what i bargained for. The pay was good, but my passion was being killed by the day. I was an ICT teacher, but I work round the clock and no time to even do anything I love. I only had to meet deadlines, teach, mark and produce lesson plans and notes, and yet support the schools ICT needs and even that of teachers. The school was a very large one – over 900 students and about 200 staffs, and I was the most junior of only 3 ICT staffs. Of course, young and naive, I did most of the manual tasks. No time to continue the designs and coding I was so passionate about before this job. Simply put, I was choked!

Here’s what I did. I walked up to my HOD and suggested to him that we start a new club called designer’s club.

He asked me what that meant and I explained to him. “I want to start teaching the children how to create textile design patterns on MS PowerPoint”. Inside mez i just wanted a task out of the normal that will turn me on and make me love the job again.

These patterns, I told the HOD, are what we see replicated on every fabric or attire. He obliged reluctantly, stating of course that the school authority may not register it in a hurry as a new club. That partial nod was enough joy for me. Designing was my thing and alas, I can now start designing again. It was a huge relief for me. Now I can return to my passion even while retaining my job. The point here is that you must find a way to love whatever you’re doing. Loving what you do is the only gateway to doing what you love. Sometimes, they say, when the desired is not available, then the available should be desired. It’s not a statement of defeat. It’s a secret of happiness.

The Biggest Factor

And happiness is the biggest determiner of employees’ productivity. As an employee, employers can increase your pay, when you’re due for it and they may not, if business hasn’t been doing well. They may even come up with excuses in form of de-appraisal just to make you see that you don’t deserve it. I’m not saying that is what employers should do. I’m only saying that even where employees deserve more extrinsic motivation; it is still a function of availability of resources and willingness of the employer. Hence if you’re the type waiting for the employer, to motivate you, show you that sense of belonging, teach you about passion or make you satisfied before you can be happy and work gracefully, then you might have to wait for long. Even if they do, it will most likely come in short supply. Because most times, they also grapple to have these things you long for.

Intrinsic Motivation

So why not do something, reward yourself with that intrinsic motivation, the one that comes from within when you make yourself happy always and every day. Some teachers complained to me bitterly that their employers yell at them, and sadly, sometimes in the presence of the parents or even the children, quoting the cliché that “customers are always right”.

Whether customers are right or wrong, you don’t have to chastise your staff in their presence. But then, that’s a lesson for the employer. As an employee, decide to be happy and you will be. As you plan for each day, remember those events that excite you and feel good about them in advance before they even happen. Ignore the situations that steal your joy or remind you of your position on the corporate ladder. Don’t nurse bitterness against superiors who’d always be on your neck for one task or the other. They’re only trying to secure their own jobs too. Don’t take everything uptight or personal.

Back to the Designers Club

So, at the designers’ club, we started with a membership of just 5 children and in one week, we grew to almost 50. Apparently, the students loved it as much as I did.

The school was quick to register us as a new club with the likes of science club, jet club, maths club, etc. Wao!

Spotlight On Me

But it became even more interesting when the school agreed that a few members of my club could do a short presentation to parents during one of the Parent – Teachers gathering. That presentation was sterling. So much applause and appreciation. The spotlight was turned on me. I was about the youngest of all the teachers – about 200 staffs in that annex, but I was celebrated that day. My value, worth and self-esteem increased in that school, but so did the value, worth and respect the school had in the minds of her parents. That club even became one of the school’s marketing statements, more like a USP (Unique Selling Proposition. The school became proud of me, and now, I can design, my passion is back, so did my zeal on the job. I was operating at my peak, not enduring, but now enjoying the ‘hard work’.

But ask me. Was my pay increased all of a sudden? No! But did I care? Of course I didn’t. You think money is your problem? I don’t think so. You think if your pay is increased, you will suddenly start performing better? If you do, it’d only last for a while until you start craving for another increment. The fulfillment I got from that experience and the spotlight that came on me, was more than money. Even more was the personal development I forced on myself in order to perform well as the head of the school’s designers’ club. I became a very prolific designer. I designed graphics, patterns and software.

Fast forward, till now, I’m now a very prolific software designer. From that school, I even designing what would turn out to be Nigeria’s Largest School Management Software that’s now currently used by millions of students –thinkally.net. Hardwork pays, so never lose tour zeal. Be creative at aspiring yourself on always. The rewards are tremendous.

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