Living Life with a Full-Time Job and multiple Side Gigs: 4 Commandments to adopt

6 months ago, I decided I needed to get a day job.

The decision came after I had run my fashion design business and realized I needed firsthand experience running the kind of business I wanted. I got a job as a Personal Assistant in a big manufacturing company. The role is combined with several other unofficial roles.

6 months down the line, I can safely say I am not so over my head as was 2 months ago.

Between this full-time job, running my fashion design business on a small scale and freelance writing, it is safe to say I had no “me” time. I had no life outside of work.

I had finally done two things I dreaded: living for the weekend and working hard without being productive.

Two months ago, I told myself that this had to stop.

I finally came up with a routine that helped me do all I wanted realistically and still have a life.

Here are my four quick tips for having a life with a full job and side gigs.

Balancing two or more responsibilities with self-care is hard but not impossible. Here are the 4 commandments to follow: Click To Tweet

1. Thou shall keep a To-Do list and use it.

I found out that having a to-do list keeps me organized. With so much to do at work and in my side jobs, I find myself running around a lot and doing nothing much.

My daily To-do list is organized the night before. I factor prayer, working out, my main job, my writing, my sewing in the evening into the list.

I make sure I leave blocks of time to accommodate the unforeseen jobs that will come up at work. This is a daily occurrence.

The To-Do list increased my productivity by 50%.

2. Thou shall set realistic targets

3 months into the job I developed stress belly and added weight. My face broke out and I started to wear wigs, leaving my natural hair matted under the wigs. Forget mani-pedi.  That was gone.

When I took the decision to get my life together, the first thing I did was set goals.

Safe to say the targets were pretty high and I gave up.

I went back to the board and re-drew the plan.

Work out thrice a week as opposed to every day. Drink water, get my nails done bi-monthly. Braid my hair once a month and wear wigs for the other days of the month.

2 months in, my stress belly has reduced and I still maintain my hair and nails routine.

3. Thou shall factor in “You” time

I love going to the movies, green tea, and red wines. One of the first things I stopped doing was going to the movies. Weekends were tight. No more tea time and wine time.

I now find time on Sundays to savor a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Most importantly I fix movie dates so I will have to make time for them. This means I must close out official work by Friday and put extra time into the writing.  It is worth it.

Relate each work experience to your business. This way your work and life is balanced emotionally. Click To Tweet

4. Thou shall find a purpose in what you do.

If your job pays a bit low like mine, you might grow resentful over time. This will definitely affect your work-life balance. For someone who wants the experience, this will make a terrible experience.

One way I have managed to balance myself emotionally is to relate each work experience to my business.

One thing I have learned to do is to be grateful and positive. It gives more light to the work I do. I make the choice to cut back when I can.

Balancing two or more responsibilities with self-care is hard but not impossible and we are getting there.

Till next time. For now, drink a glass of wine or cradle a cup of tea and take care of you!


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Alice Gathekia: Young People Need to Step Up and Take Their Rightful Place

On Paper, Alice Gathekia is the perfect match for any legal department in corporations. She has worked for the Law Society of Kenya and with COMESA Court of Justice.

However, despite her consistent efforts dropping her application in town, she remains unemployed. She founded Kenya Youth Professionals with fellow youths that were facing the same plight in an effort to fight for better employment for young people.

Why does the youth need to step up now?

“Our government had promised about 30% of employment slots to youths in their campaign manifesto. This includes formal employment or tender allocation. It is time we held them to their promises.” She says.

Alice is the deputy director of Kenya Youth Professionals (KYP) and has petitioned the members of National Assembly on the issues that plague the youth in general when seeking employment.

This includes a reduction in experience in the job descriptions put out to give the youth a chance. She is also keen on getting a youth-friendly Principle Secretary in the Youth Docket to deal with Youth Affairs, and reduce the amount of government certification is needed prior to an interview.

When asked the major issues that have inhibited youths from getting jobs, she says without hesitation that the absence of generational change is a major cause. It has impeded the youth from accessing opportunities ideally designed for them.

The advanced retirement age and the scarcity of jobs leave the incoming youth out of the employment slots given that there are genuinely no jobs to go for. The lack of mentorship has also led to the degradation of the employment scene.

This scarcity accelerates corruption as well, which, to be honest, is really a buzzkill in Africa’s economy.

It is time for the youth to step up and take their rightful place Click To Tweet

Alice’s faith in the Kenyan youth

Alice described the Kenyan youth as innovative, creative, and hard working. To her, it is really wrong that there is an unfair distribution of jobs despite the qualifications. She believes that it is time young people fight for their space in the political, economic and social world.

She believes that once given the chance, the youth is equal to the task of leadership.  After all, young people have more to lose in the future if they make wrong decisions.

This motivates Alice to spend her time petitioning the government institutions to fight against the odds that are stacked against the Kenyan Youth.

What are the challenges she encounters?

Some of the challenges she and her team face includes the politicising of the agenda. Some rival groups and ill-willed people often accuse the group of having a political ‘Big brother’.

This is a conditioning of the political mindset where people fail to realize that young people can fight as well as wage wars against systems set in place discriminate against the youth. This campaign aims at ensuring that the youth catch up from previous injustices visited upon them.

For her, this is a lifetime mission not only in Kenya but also in Africa in general. It is time for the youth to participate in making decisions that will benefit them in their future rather than a span of short time.

This does not need to be the grandest action and a simple start can go a long way.  It is time for the youth to step up and take their rightful place. KYP stands by their motto: “Nothing for us without us”.

A normal day for Alice

Alice wakes up about 6 am, and her morning routine often involves putting herself together (which includes makeup because…why not).

She travels to the city, and depending on the day, spends several hours in meetings discussing the issues that surround youth employment and how to resolve them.

Alice intends to globalize this movement, which, to her and the rest of us, is a few years late.

Alice Gathekia is the modern day Khaleesi of Youth Revolution Click To Tweet


Got an article you’d like to share with us? Share your story with us here.

WEBINAR WITH BUNMI SIMOYAN: HOW TO LAND A JOB AT A GLOBAL COMPANY LIKE SHE LEADS AFRICA (FEB 27)

Have you thought about what kind of company you’d like to work at? If your dream job is a traditional 9 – 5, where you get to send out a couple of emails and scroll through your IG feed for the rest of the day, this is NOT for you!

Now, if you’re wondering how you can land a job at a global organization or work with a dynamic and innovative team that’ll inspire you to learn continuously and be part of something bigger – don’t sweat it, girl, we’ve gotchu!

Join us on Tuesday, 27th February, as we host a Webinar with Bunmi Simoyan, who will be sharing exclusive advice on how to land a job at a global company like She Leads Africa.

Bunmi is the Head, People Operations at She Leads Africa. She is passionate about building successful careers and connecting the right people with the right jobs.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Creative ways to get a recruiter’s attention with your job application
  • Traits global recruiters look for in candidates
  • How to slay the interview process
  • How to demonstrate that you are capable of doing a kickass job
  • Do’s and don’ts of securing a job at such companies

Register below to have access to this opportunity and submit questions that you would like Bunmi to answer.

Webinar Details:

Date: Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Time: Lagos 4pm // Johannesburg 5pm // Nairobi 6pm

Place: We’ll send you the link to watch once you register

Watch here:

About Bunmi

Bunmi Simoyan currently works as the Head of People Operations with SheLeadsAfrica.org, where she adopts innovative HR solutions to drive and promote leading-edge people strategies. She is also an independent HR Consultant for various small to medium-sized companies.

Prior to joining SheLeadsAfrica.org, Bunmi spent the first 8 years of her career at Ecobank Limited Nigeria, where she worked in e-business, transactional banking and operations before pursuing a career in Human Resources.

Born in France, raised in Nigeria, Bunmi is a trained HR professional who is passionate about providing innovative HR solutions. She is convinced that her purpose is connecting the right talent to businesses and providing solutions that can help businesses succeed.

Bunmi graduated with a Distinction in Human Resources and Knowledge Management from Lancaster University – UK. She also holds a Post-Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

Webinar with Odunayo (PushCV): Writing your cv and cover letter for your dream job (July 13)

What do the first six seconds of your CV say to a recruiter?

If you’re attending many job interviews but never get a call back from employers, we’re about to solve your job hunt misery.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much skills you possess, having a bad CV and NO cover letter can end your chances for a job in no time.

Learn all you need to know from @OdunEweniyi about rewriting your CV and cover letter. (July 13) Click To Tweet

Now, whether you’re planning to write your CV yourself or get a professional writer, you also need to understand the difference between your CV and cover letter and know how to construct and present both to potential employers.

We’ll be chatting with tech founder and Chief Operations Officer of PushCV – Odunayo Eweniyi on Thursday, July 13th, about how to get the attention of recruiters, through your CV and cover letter.

Odunayo launched PushCV for both employers and job seekers – to fully harness the power of technology in the search for the perfect candidate or the perfect job.

Register for this webinar below.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Techniques for Job application
  • Rewriting your CV and cover letter
  • How to get the attention of a recruiter in 6 seconds (Presentation)
  • Interviewing processes every job seeker must know of

Webinar Details:

Date: Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Time: Lagos 1pm // Joburg 2pm // Nairobi 3pm

Place: We’ll send you the link to watch once you register

Watch here:

About Odunayo

Odunayo Eweniyi is the Chief Operations Officer of Sharphire Global Limited – which owns subsidiary companies like PushCV, Piggybank.ng and FrontDesk.

Odun, as she is called, is very passionate about education, employment and most importantly, female empowerment, which enabled her to work with her team to build products to achieve that goal over the past 4 years.

She graduated with a first class degree in Computer Engineering from Covenant University. She loves to write a lot, and when she’s not working or eating, she’s watching TV shows.

Facebook Live with Frenny Jowi: Journalism as a profitable career choice(July 6)

For 4 years, Frenny had a successful career at one of the world’s leading international broadcasters, the BBC. Join us for a Facebook Live session with her on July. 6th, as she shares with us how journalism has been a profitable career for her.


Journalism as a sector is evolving, and there are plenty of job opportunities in the field. However, Aspiring journalists have to build their experience and gather certain skill sets to thrive in the industry.

If you’re interested in starting (or growing) a career as a media Motherland Mogul, then you have a lot to learn from Frenny Jowi.

Frenny started her career in journalism as an intern at the BBC African Bureau in Nairobi and quickly scaled through her career as a journalist, amplifying African voices and stories.

Join Frenny on Thursday, July 6th, for a 30-minute Facebook Live session where she’ll be discussing journalism as a profitable career choice, and the skills aspiring journalists need to acquire.

Register for this Facebook Live below and ask Frenny all your pressing questions.

Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • How to make it as a journalist
  • Media career choices for young people in Africa 
  • Moving from employment to entrepreneurship
  • Personal PR: Social media etiquette and how it impacts your professionalism
  • Why young Africans should demand quality content from media outlets(African advocates of public interest journalism)

Facebook Live Details:

  • Date: Thursday, July 6th, 2017
  • Time: 2pm Lagos / 3pm Johannesburg / 4pm Nairobi
  • Where: https://www.facebook.com/sheleadsafrica/

Watch here:

Facebook Live with Frenny Jowi, Journalist and Media consultant, sharing insights on the skills aspiring journalists need to acquire to thrive in the industry.. Join the She Leads Africa community by visiting SheLeadsAfrica.org/join .

Posted by She Leads Africa on Thursday, July 6, 2017

 About Frenny Jowi

Frenny Jowi is a journalist, digital media and PR consultant who is currently consulting at Media Focus on Africa, as a radio producer, media relations trainer and digital journalism trainer. She also works as a volunteer youth mentor and freelance journalist.

For 4 years Frenny had a successful career at one of the world’s leading international broadcasters, the BBC.

While working for BBC Africa both in Kenya and the United Kingdom, she led several productions including creating digital content for younger audiences and news coverage of historic President Obama visit to Africa.

In June 2016, she took one of the lead roles in setting up Kenya’s first 24-hour news channel, KTN News.  Her work helped direct the day to day running of the newsroom and training journalists on storytelling and social media skills.

She has a BA in media studies from the University of Nairobi.

What they don’t tell you about your first job

So, you’ve survived unemployment like a boss, and now you’ve landed your first job. For some, this is a positive, life-affirming experience. For the rest of us, we need a support group or at the very least a few tips on how to deal. Don’t worry girl, I’ve got you!

indexThe general reason why many people do not enjoy their first job is typically because it just wasn’t what they expected. So if you are feeling like you are failing at adulting, relax, you aren’t alone. Here are a few ideas on how to tackle seven typical first job challenges, and come out strong.

1. So…is this it?

After the novelty of employment wears off, monotony can set in. You may find yourself a bit disillusioned with your job and asking yourself, is this it? The answer to this question will either prompt you to restart job hunting or help you to get your head back in the game. Either way, you can make the most of your time there. This is where you want to clarify your goals. What exactly is it that you ultimately want to do? Once you know that, decide how you can use the platform that your job provides to get closer to your goal.

There are very few skills in our increasingly interconnected world that are not transferable. You aren’t there just for the job, but also for the networks, the exposure to opportunity, insight into the industry, seeing how a business is run and scaled, tapping into the experience of your co-workers (potential mentors?) and to establish your name in that space.

In addition you can work to break the monotony of each day by:

  • Volunteering to help other departments out and diversifying your experience
  • Continually setting personal goals to excite you
  • Using your evenings and weekends to do more than watch series. Pursue your other interests and invest in a side hustle

2. Maintain relationships

The one thing many of us weren’t prepared for is just how much of succeeding in your first job revolves around your ability to work with people. It goes without saying, maintain a good attitude, don’t act like you know it all and avoid office politics. Your relationship with your boss, co-workers and clients all need to be managed as they each come with their own complexities.

Have frank conversations to make sure you clearly understand the expectations that the people you work with have of you. Ensure you aren’t part of the problem by understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a co-worker by soliciting feedback from your peers to help you uncover any blind spots.

The bottom line is you will work with great people as well as the scum of the earth, be prepared for both. Even if you decide to leave, it is important not to burn any bridges. Stay professional until your very last day.

3. Speak up, take credit

I totally agree with the saying, “Hard work speaks for itself” but that shouldn’t stop you from speaking for yourself too. Being consistently passed over for opportunities can create a lot of dissatisfaction in your first job. You want better client visits, you want to go to that conference, you want in on that project, that’s all great, but have you asked? Remember you are largely responsible for how much you will get out of your work experience and so take charge of it.

Mindfulness Coach Jeena Cho puts it this way: “If I could encourage women to do one thing, it would be to ask for what you want. Stop overthinking every simple (and not so simple) request, and just ask! Ask without apology. Ask despite your inner critic. Ask when you fear you’ll be seen as pushy…Ask when you fear you don’t deserve it. Ask when you feel you do.”

Another thing that will help all of your hard work ‘speak’ is actually being comfortable taking credit for your work. Keeping a record of your accomplishments will also help in pay negotiations and asking for promotions.

4. Skills versus titles

So, you didn’t take the time to scan through the companies’ organogram before you signed the contract. Now you realise you are stuck in a dead-end job with no chance of advancement. This may not be a total waste of your time. You may not get a fancy title but you can still ensure that your CV looks attractive.

Be deliberate about honing marketable skills. Each year many industries publish ‘hottest skills’ lists, take time to identify the skills that your job is helping you develop and indicate them clearly on your CV.

 #WOCinTech Chat
Photo credit: #WOCinTech Chat

5. Calculate the cost of compromise

Part of the anxiety you feel in your first job is when you settle in and begin to evaluate whether the job you took was worth the compromise you made. A survey done by PWC revealed that 72% of millenials made some form of compromise to get a job.

Some of the compromises we make to get off of our relatives’ couches are probably harmless, like getting a job in a dodgy part of town or being hired by our second choice company. Others however, may have serious long term effects on the trajectory of your career. For example, not negotiating your pay could negatively affect long term earnings. Accepting a job you are overqualified for may be the most practical thing to do right now, but it may your impact career development.

The question you want to ask is, will this have any serious long term effect on my ultimate goal? This should help you get over any petty hang-ups, or leave if necessary.

6. The diversity issue

Depending on your industry, you may find yourself being the only woman or African or person of colour (or all of the above) in your workplace. This may mean you’ll need to speak up to represent a perspective your co-workers may not have thought of. Remember your delivery is just as important as the message. As Ariel Investments’ Melody Hobson explains framing the conversation by asking questions may help take the edge off.

7. Get Support to build confidence

Mentors, sponsors and peer support groups will help you navigate your uncertainties and help you keep perspective. Few people felt 100% confident in their first job, it’s a learning curve and learning from others who’ve been there before you will make the journey easier.

I hope this helps!