National Service is a one-year mandatory service for tertiary graduates in Ghana. Graduates are posted to various corporations to contribute their skills and expertise and also, learn on the job what’s required of them in their fields of study.
I did my Service in Accra and that will be the focus of this article.
Settling in can be very daunting since you’ll have to socialize with a lot of new folks and get accustomed to the work environment. Trust me, with time you’ll be fine.
Make sure to network a lot and expect to learn a lot in your early days.
You will be assigned a lot of duties. This isn’t done to spite you but rather to help you get accustomed to and appreciate the kind of work that goes on in your department.
This is a chance to gain additional work experience, don’t loose your guard: learn a lot about your responsibilities and be curious-ask questions always.
Within a month or two, you should have settled in fully. By now, you’ve made some great acquaintances from your co-NSPs to your bosses. Cherish your bond, respect them and know your boundaries.
Attitude Is Everything.
One thing your colleagues and supervisors will remember you for is your attitude towards everyone and your work. Behave positively and respect all workplace rules and regulations.
Time is of the essence. Be on time to work always. Do not excuse your action with the ‘Ghana Man Time’ rhetoric. If work starts at 8 am, get there before 8 am or exactly 8 am. It creates a good impression on your supervisors.
There is a lot of office gossip that will find its way to you. Mostly they are about your bosses, colleagues, and general happenings in the organization.
It is great to always be informed. However, most of these grapevines are denigratory and seek to tarnish the image of the parties involved. As much as possible, don’t pay heed to grapevines.
If your ears are itchy as mine, you can listen to them but don’t make them cloud your judgement or relationship with those folks. Take note, 90 per cent of grapevines thrive on negativity and falsehood.
Don’t let what you heard about someone affect your relationship with them, for all you know it may be false. And if there’s an iota of truth to such stories, who are you to cast the first stone? As though you are flawless. At best, mind your business and go about your work. However, if such stories have the potential of implicating your department or organisation, fill management in asap.
Do your job.
Be fixated on the roles assigned to you. Complete all tasks at a go, if you can. Don’t be seated pressing your phone whilst there’s work to be done. It doesn’t speak well of you.
Communication, both verbal and non-verbal is very important in the workplace. To achieve maximum productivity, understudy everyone’s temperament, find out what they love to be called and pay attention to body language.
Also, use appropriate tones and pitch and avoid making silly/ expensive jokes about others. Nobody loves to be made fun of. Unless such jokes are a spice to your relationship with them and they do not find it a big deal.
Lastly, be honest about certain things. If you dislike how you’re treated, feel your colleague or staff are crossing boundaries, etc. Point it out constructively, don’t go ballistic on anyone. The last thing you will want is a quarrel or fight at the workplace.
Some Companies That Pay Their NSPs More Than Ghc559.04.
Unilever, Nestlè, Blue Skies, Lima Partners, Ghana Commercial Bank, Most insurance companies, Newmont Ghana, and the Big 4 Accounting Firms, to name a few.
For Fellowship, Emerging Public Leaders and Lead for Ghana.
NB: Most of these companies are in Accra and for the fellowship you can be sent to any region.
Also, verify if they still pay more than the Ghc559.04 before applying.
My Sincerest Advice.
- If you get an SME to do your service with the possibility of retention, go for it. The big corporations are already chock full unless you’ve got high protocol.
- Ladies, office romance is real so don’t let your bosses take advantage of you. Be wise: Don’t go warming the laps of your male bosses in the name of helping you get retained. Funnily, once you get laid most of your colleagues will know about it.
- Do your goddamn job.
- Network a lot (especially with colleagues and your supervisors). However, know your boundaries.
- Don’t entertain gossip or grapevines.
- Learn a lot of soft skills during the service year, if you already have, try fine-tuning and monetizing it.
- Apply for a lot of remote jobs, to earn extra income on the side.
- While the service year is ongoing, keep searching for job openings that suit your skill.
- Write/ Polish your CVs/ Résumé, get all your Academic records down (Certificate, transcripts, letters of recommendation, English proficiency etc), Birth certificate and National IDs (Ghana Card, Passports, Voters ID, Driver’s License etc) ready, so when Scholarship, Job or Travel opportunities come you won’t be found wanting.
- For those who will be in the government sector, your allowances will delay. As such, get a side hustle to support you.
If you’re doing your Service this year, I wish you the best of luck. Make the most of it!!