Once again, just like we have been doing in this Authors’ Corner, we bring to you another amazing exclusive interview with one of our finest authors on Tebeba Platform, PROMISE HASSAN. Promise Hassan is a seasoned engineer cum author. He is many men in one man and today, he talks about his journey through the workplace setting, his start into writing and the principles that helped in building a thriving career. Join us as he unravels the principles that guarantee success.
Please, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Promise Hassan. I am an Engineer by profession but I also have a passion for Business Management, Human Resources Management, and Writing. I like dogs, bikes and I love music.
When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author, and why did you decide to be one?
I first realised that I wanted to be an author during the years, 2014, 2015 and 2016, to transfer knowledge to and share it with people. My target audience then was the fresh graduates. But now, however, my audience is not limited to just this set of persons.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an author? What are the struggles or challenges you’ve encountered and surmounted along this journey?
My journey as an author began during the lockdown, last year, 2020. Although I have not had much experience in the workforce, I thought it brilliant to share the little I know with others who have an interest in building their careers, managing their bosses, understanding their work environments, and of course, becoming.
The process is continuous. Being able to properly pen down my thoughts in a manner that would convey the message I wanted to pass across was one challenge I had during the process. Deciding on the title of the book, the caption and the best cover page to use was another. Finance was also a concern.
For the book title and cover page, people voted, the votes of whose I used in making a decision. I also had a good publisher, TEBEBA, which helped me through the entire process. For the aspect of finance, I used my savings. And so far, the journey was worth the effort.
How did you come across TEBEBA Publishing firm, and why did you choose TEBEBA as your publisher?
A friend of mine referred me to TEBEBA. I decided to work with TEBEBA because I saw what it had done online, the books it has published. So far, it has been a good decision that I made.
Now, let’s talk about your book, Work-Life Success Principles. What inspired you to write it?
The inspiration for writing my book came from my experience. As of 2014, 2015, 2016 that I planned to write this book, I had worked with an organization for about 7 years. And at this time, I lost my job.
I had experienced quite a lot from the work environment, workplace politics and a lot of such, which are not taught in schools. And so, I decided to share these experiences with people, especially the young ones who are just coming into the industry, including those who are near and the ones far away.
The easiest way I could do this was through writing a book. This does not remove the fact that even some of the experienced ones need also to understand these principles that I shared in my book.
So, my story is what inspired me to write this book. We all have different stories, and although with a few similarities, everyone’s story is unique. All these spurred me, even more, to want to share mine.
What is your book about and who is it for?
My book is centred around the workforce environment: looking for a job, getting a job, keeping a job and building a career. Note that there is a difference between a job and a career. This I shed light on in my book.
I talked about the principles behind planning a career, planning a career development, owning a career development, and of course, for those who at a point in time would like to start their businesses, I also talked about owning and running a business (I like to do business; I currently have one that I am running).
And also, how to survive and get back up when one loses his job (I’ve been there before, so, I understand the feeling). So, my book is for everyone who either has a job or is looking for a job, who has lost a job or currently on a job or those who have a business running. It is for all undergraduates, graduates, corps members, inexperienced and experienced professionals, and business people.
Is work-life balance important? Why?
Work-life balance is very important. The reason is that we need to balance our work with our life. Our work is what we do to earn a living and take care of our bills, but there is more to work and that is life. Life in itself encompasses the spiritual, physical make-up, emotional well-being, day-to-day activities and interpersonal relationships.
So, this makes it very important that we strike the balance between our work and our life, especially our spiritual life — for me, this is the basis.
What do you advise a young professional who is just starting his career journey?
My advice to him is to, first of all, learn. After learning comes earning. He should not be scared to start small, neither should he let the money be the only objective why he wants to work. He should look for an organisation that would give him the platform to learn. That is it. Be humble enough to learn. The money will always come as long as you have the value to share with others and skills to solve problems.
There are problems all around us and in every industry; identify them and solve them. Connect with people in the industry, build your network, maximize the potentials you have, don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop learning, don’t stop working hard, and don’t be too lazy to start from where you are.
All of these will surely pay off. I’ve always worked with this thought process: do not be belittle your little beginning. Wherever you are starting from, as long as you are making progress — it’s not about perfection but about making progress daily — and as you keep moving, the next door will open. So, ensure that you are getting close to your dream every day.
Do not run your race with other people’s clock. Run your race and be open to learning from others. Most importantly, try to get a coach or a career mentor who would put you through. Some of the mistakes such have made do not have to have to be repeated by you.
How important is mentorship to one’s career?
Mentorship is very important. It is synonymous with two people walking along a bushy path. The person ahead has a cutlass to clear the bushes and make open a path for both of them to walk through, and a stick to ensure that the bushes do not prevent them from walking fast.
The other person, on the other hand, just follows. So, the responsibility of the person ahead is to clear the path, and as he clears, he sees some things ahead, and thus, guides the other, “move to the left, move to the right; don’t take that path, take this path.” He has more experience that would help the other as he follows that same path.
This is the purpose of mentorship — to guide you along your career path and help you navigate through. It’s not just about having a job but a career. Very important. But again, while you have a mentor, you also need to be your mentor. How? Look at the mirror every day and see areas where you need to improve, and then, improve.
What would you suggest to anyone who has just lost his job and is trying to find his feet?
A: First, take a deep breath. Secondly, audit your skills. What skills do you have that others need? And thirdly, take each day as it comes; one step at a time. Reconnect with people you’ve worked with, offer value to those around you, let people know what you are capable of doing. And trust me, you’ll get your feet back on the ground.
The best time to look for another job is when you have a job, not when you are out of a job. Read that again. So, always have a career plan and when you are currently doing a job that is affecting your mental well-being or one wherein you feel you’re not growing anymore. Before you get comfortable, take the exit door. Also, if you think you have the financial capability and skills to start a business, you can start one. But if not, focus on your job.
Why do you train people on mentorship and work-life balance?
Why I train people on mentorship and work-life balance is for one major reason: to prevent those coming up behind me from making the same career mistakes I made. So, as much as I can, I want to help them put on their light, not at the end of the tunnel but the beginning, so that they can see through it all and walk past it safely.
What do you do when you are not mentoring people on achieving work-life balance?
Everything I do is about work and life. When I’m not mentoring people on achieving work-life balance, we could talk about business, life, relationship, family, spirituality, emotionality, health, how to develop themselves, how to conduct themselves during an interview, how to prepare themselves for the future, and the likes.
Will you encourage women to lead in the workplace? If no, why? If yes, how can they get started?
Yes, of course. Women can lead in the workplace if they have the right skills and qualifications. They can get started by having the readiness to serve because leadership is about service. The question is, are you ready to serve? If you can serve people, you can lead them. And what this means is that you have to be humble enough to listen to their plight. You probably may not have the solution but listen, listen and listen, and show empathy in all that you do.
What has been your most memorable moment so far while working on your book project?
My most memorable moment was when I went to snap the pictures that I used for the cover page. It wasn’t easy choosing which picture to use because all the pictures were good! I eventually chose one. Besides that, before then, I can’t remember the last time I walked into a studio to snap some pictures. So, this time was indeed memorable, one I would love to relive.
Where do you get your muse or ideas whenever you want to begin a book project?
I get my muse from society; I look around at real-life scenarios and situations and my own story, where I started from. This motivates me and keeps me writing. As much as one can make up scenarios, I try to make mine real. So, I get my ideas from my surrounding; real-life stories.
As an experienced author, what advice do you have for someone who wants to get his/her book published?
For anyone who wants to get his/her book published, just keep writing. The thoughts would add up. Don’t stop writing! You may not want to publish the book today but keep on writing. It took me six years to get my book, Work-Life Success Principles, published. I began writing it in about 2014, but I kept penning down my thoughts until last year, 2020, when everything added up. Secondly, get someone who is much experienced to help you edit your book. And, finally, do not be scared to share your story; somebody is waiting to hear it.
What authors do you admire?
I admire authors whose book contents are what I can relate with, learn from, and which can add value to life. I, especially, admire those who write books centred on leadership. There are quite a lot of them I admire to mention just one, Emmanuel Olatunji, author of How to Never Be Broke Again (I love that book and I recommend it for everyone).
What is the best piece of advice you have received as an author?
The best piece of advice I have received as an author is that writing a book is an investment, so, I should not expect to cash out immediately. Let’s assume that I have invested so, so and so amount in a book project, and I want to get my money back in two weeks. No, it doesn’t work that way! It is an investment, just let it be while you keep doing what you know how to do.
The returns of that investment would come back over time. This is the advice. And it has made me not keep searching for how many books have I sold or how much have I made. Of course, this doesn’t mean I should not push to sell my book but I should be more focused on the impact I am making rather than the profits.
Do you intend to write more books? Why?
Yes. Definitely. The reason is to share even more of my story, experience and knowledge. I once wrote a sketchy book, which I posted on my Linkedin page: The Diary of a Job Seeker. I intend to bring it back up. I don’t know how soon, but hopefully, very soon. So, I want to write more books, but definitely, not now.
Where and how can we purchase your book?
To get the hard copy, just message me. My number is 08068860436. You can come to my DM, either on Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. For the soft copy, we are yet to fully launch it on all the platforms where you can get them. But currently, you can get it from TEBEBA Books.
What are your final words to the audience?
My final words to you: Share your story. You have an amazing story; don’t keep it to yourself. The next person might need it to move from his current position to the next. Do not be scared to share your story. We are all becoming. But for now, let’s keep sharing our stories. Dare to dream. Dare to pursue your dream. See you at the top. Cheers!
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