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How to make the most of your National Service year, create your best year

Making the job leap

You would agree with me that school life can very interesting especially on days that you don’t have any lectures. The campus life provides several liberties that the work-life won’t tolerate. As you make the change from a student to a worker, learn to know the rules of work. Learn to be on time, dress appropriately and presentable, speak with confidence, approach your work with due diligence and meticulosity and know when to ask for favors.

National service could be your thing yet…

National service is a long service of work for the country. It is compulsory for Ghanaian citizens to undergo this program after their tertiary education.

The program is managed by the national service secretariat (NSS) through the service scheme which is backed by constitutional law. The NSS is also mandated to formulate policies and structures for national service. The NSS was established in 1973 and deploys an average of 70,000 graduates each year to institutions and businesses nationwide.

Congratulations to you!
I would, first of all, congratulate you for completing your tertiary education and bagging that degree, Higher national diploma, diploma, training college, etc. – whichever suits your institution and certificate. I am proud of you; Africa needs more of you. Congratulations!

While you may not like to go into service, it is a national call to duty and we all need to do our part in nation building. Therefore, this year of national service doesn’t have to be your worst year ever, it could actually be your best year yet. Come to think of it, you can make it a great year no matter what you are tasked to do by the NSS. So, don’t make conclusions. I will share a few tips with you to help you have a great and productive national service, for God and country and for yourself.

6 Steps to making your service year next to perfect

1. Learn to like your place of work:

I bring this point first because most graduates usually have a pre-determined place they want to work. Hence, if they don’t get the institution of their choice, they tend to approach the place of posting in a manner which would not allow them to act out their best. One thing I have come to learn is that what you may think is good for you may be the opposite. So, learn to accept things especially when they are temporary. Do not let temporary events cause you to make permanent damages to your life. So, once you are given your posting, do well to report on time and work out your best.

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2. Know that the rules have changed and you are now a worker, no more a student:

You would agree with me that school life can very interesting especially on days that you don’t have any lectures. The campus life provides several liberties that the work-life won’t tolerate. As you make the change from a student to a worker, learn to know the rules of work. Learn to be on time, dress appropriately and presentable, speak with confidence, approach your work with due diligence and meticulosity and know when to ask for favors. There are so many differences between work and school life which I cannot mention here but I’m pretty sure you would figure them out knowing that you were able to pass all those heinous examinations to get this far.

3. Save, Save, save money and use your time wisely:

With your new found field and life, you may get overwhelmed with all the commitments that you may go without even thinking about the day and what you need to do to ensure that you are secure. The service allowance is currently at Gh559. This means you would have been paid Gh6708 by the time the year is over. This may not be a lot of money to manage with. I’m sure you are wondering how you would be able to save from this amount. I am not here to give you a lot of reasons why you should save but know this, if you don’t learn to save when you have little, you won’t be able to save even when you have much. The truth is, there is always something new to buy to be trendy but if you really look forward into your future you would realize your little savings today will eventually help you in the future. Things like clothes don’t need to take much of your budget. It doesn’t take a lot of money to look good and presentable for work. The second point here is to manage your time as much as you manage your money. Save some time to do extra things. Try new things and try to find new passions. The period of life to take risks is in the 20s. So, try out things and don’t just waste your time after work.

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4. Stay out of work place politics:

I have to accept that the corporate world is so full of politics and sometimes backstabbing. My advice to you is, don’t get involved unless you are willing to stake the rest of your life on it. Life usually has a way of tagging our future fortunes with little mistakes we made when we were younger. As service personnel, I wouldn’t advise you to take sides in such corporate conflicts and try to prove others wrong. You are in to do your year of service, do just that and leave the scene when you are done. That way, you aren’t already making enemies before you land your first job. For all you know, you can get a referral from that institution for a job elsewhere after you survive the year.

5. Network on purpose:

People usually say Ghana is about who you know. I think this is a wrong notion that we think its only a Ghanaian thing. By this I don’t mean gaining illegal access to opportunities which you don’t deserve but rather if you don’t know someone to let you know of certain opportunities so you can make your move, how would you survive? Knowing people would really go a long way to help you if you build your brand around integrity and honesty. Ghana is already dirty enough for you to go playing dirty. Build a brand of integrity and honesty so that people would feel confident in recommending you for high-level opportunities which will help you climb up the success ladder quickly. So, my pinch of salt here is; network on purpose and try to know almost all if not all the workers where you would be working. Be nice and attend to everyone with respect.

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6. Commit yourself to continuous self-improvement and development:

One secret to getting ahead is raising your standards continually. But how do you maintain the pace at which you raise your standards so you don’t take a great fall one day? You self-improve constantly so you can always deliver the task to standards. You can do this by continually reading books and blogs, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, etc. These will help you to be abreast with standards in your area of work.

Due diligence in the application will bring you the best results

These 6 steps will help you make the most out of your service year. Don’t count your time while you sit and waste time but rather be productive and before you say jack, your service year would be over. My warning is that, if you follow these steps very well, you would end up loving the idea of work and your supervisors wouldn’t want to let you go.

Service begins in August, be sure to go through the due processes so you don’t have problems. I hope these tips help you to really create that year you have always wanted especially making the best out of national service.

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