This is how you get into the fashion industry fast

These are skills you should acquire to make a resounding break in the fashion industry Click To Tweet

I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be a fashion designer and she looked at me weirdly and told me that I had to choose a degree program that would land me a well-paying job. She thought fashion design wasn’t a proper fit for me, however I thought differently. Eventually, I decided to study media and society studies as this was close to fashion.

I am no fashion expert by qualification however my love and passion for fashion qualifies me to point out what I believe you should acquire in order to make a resounding break into the fashion industry.

1. Fashion is about PASSION

You have all watched a romantic soap that left you teary and caught in the bubble of the love affair portrayed. I have personally have also fallen in love with the heartthrob (and I am sure a lot of us are guilty of this).

The passion that exudes between these characters actually drives haters to bring them apart, because their love will be flawless. This is the same passion you should exhibit when you want to venture into the fashion industry.

Passion gives you the hope you need in asserting that you will compete against existing huge brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel and become a household name. It’s what has driven Mustafa Hassanali, a renowned Tanzanian designer who is a doctor by qualification to become a pan-African designer behind the Swahili Fashion Week.

Passion makes you resilient and helps overcome whatever hurdles that you may encounter. Passion is an attribute you should possess, I think it is essential for a fashion breakthrough.

2. Determination

Determination yields results as the fashion industry can be frustrating. It needs self-driven attitudes that are built on determination and willpower.

It is no secret why determined individuals always succeed. They are unstoppable and don’t allow negativity to thrive within and around them. This skill I believe is essential for you to make a breakthrough in the fashion industry.

It is essential for young designers to build on your drive and multiply it by keenly building your brand through effort and determination. With these skills, despite the negative feedback you might receive from fashion critics, your brand remains alive.

A good example of a determined designer is Archel Bernard a Liberian designer who did not let financial setbacks hinder her dream for setting up a successful fashion business.

Be a determined fashion designer and you will soar to great heights.

You should market your brand exuding both your passion and determination Click To Tweet

3. Marketing your brand

How you market your brand should exude both your passion and determination. This is to win over potential suppliers of your brand. As a less known brand in an already overwhelmed fashion world, it is quite vital for you to market your brand effectively.

It’s at this point you have to sell your idea and show belief in it. If you are unsure, it weakens your stance.

There are several products manufactured worldwide that cause long-term health complications. Yet the way these products are marketed exceeds the negative publicity associated with them. Think about that.

4. Believe in yourself and your brand

Trust yourself and that you will make it despite the opinions channelled your way; appreciative, negative or hostile.

Belief in oneself is simple, you have what it takes to become the best you and this is essential to break through the fashion industry. In believing in your brand, you resonate with unimaginable force that not only keeps you going but also makes others solidly trust in your line.

Fashion designers like Farai Simoyi exude confidence and character. Before being senior designer of Nicki Minaj’s line, she worked for Beyonce as head denim designer for her and her mother’s line.

Farai’s example shows that determination should be a factor that motivates your dream. The drive you possess can rub off on the right people you need to catapult your fashion design dream.

Patience produces character and this world needs an individual with tonnes of character Click To Tweet

5. Perseverance

Patience produces character and the world we live in needs an individual with tonnes of character. Established brands did not start from the top, they built their way and came out strong.

If people fail to understand the concept being presented to them, don’t give up. Instead, implement the skills mentioned above and patiently await because perseverance eventually pays off.

Patience is a virtue, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let that be a motivation for your eventual breakthrough in the fashion industry.

6. Educate your fashion abilities

With a little education, you cannot go wrong. Building a fashion business needs knowledge, you need to understand how the industry operates.

Though most of us think fashion is just about cutting cloth and recreating trends, there’s more to it. Research your fashion venture and acquire the business acumen that guarantees profit. Produce a sound business plan to lure and keep investors.

This applies to all fashion enthusiasts, educate yourself, perfect your fashion abilities and refine your fashion sense, go on to create your own line and manage your fashion business.

These are the skills I think one needs to venture into the fashion industry. If you feel I left something out feel free to hit me up.

6 easy ways to become smarter when you are strapped for time & cash

become smarters she leads africa shehive accra
You can take charge of your learning by creating your own personal syllabus. Click To Tweet

You have been out of school for a long while, your everyday work schedule is not as exciting as it used to be. You keep on pushing aside those books that you have been meaning to read forever. That short course that you wanted to your employer to fund has been declined.

Yet you keep reiterating to your friends and family, “If only I had more…time/money… I would learn …”

It’s time to take charge! You can take charge of your learning by creating your own personal syllabus.

Personal syllabus

(n.) structured course of self-driven learning

This mode of study can be as complicated or as flexible as you would like it to be.

Websites like Degreed will allow you to keep will allow you to keep track of all the material that you enroll in.

Alternatively, if you are an Excel-junkie, a simple Google spreadsheet could do the thing. If you are the pen and paper kind of girl, the bullet journal system could be your magic bullet.

So, what kind of materials can you include in a personal syllabus?

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1. Books

Media strategist Ryan Holiday, dropped out of college to pursue his career while continuing to educate himself by reading primarily classics.

Today, by the age of 29, he has authored 3 books, worked with Robert Greene of the 48 Laws of Power fame. Ryan has appeared in major publications such as Fast Company, New York Times and Forbes. Not to forget to mention, he is a former Director of Marketing at American Apparel.

You may argue that reading is an expensive hobby because the average cost of a new book KES 1,000-2,500 (approx. £7-18). It’s more expensive if Amazon does not ship to your country.

But have you tried borrowing from your good friends or the nearest library? Alternatively, you can find books on the second-hand booksellers on streets of Nairobi (a.k.a Inama Bookshop) from as low as KES 50 (£0.37).

2. Podcasts and audio books

Though, the jury is still out on the paper versus e-reader debate, the third option of audio reading through podcasts and audiobooks is gaining popularity.

This is a great way of reinforcing learning, especially when learning a foreign language. If you have a pretty long commute (yes, I am thinking about you, Nairobi traffic jam), comedy audiobooks or current affairs podcasts can be perfect way to begin your day.

Podcasts and audiobooks are a great way of reinforcing learning Click To Tweet

Book bloggers and Booktubers are also making the case for audiobooks and some like Ashley of Climb the Stacks  saying that you can test the waters with short memoirs by using apps such as Audible.

3. Webinars and e-courses

If you have always wanted to take an art appreciation class so that your trips to the museums more memorable or learn how to code in the latest programming language but you are not sure where to start, then you are in luck.

The beauty of living in 2016 is that you have access to screens 24/7 so you can take advantage of your fringe hours to take up new hobbies and hone your skills.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have gained popularity over the last couple of years and are seen to be the future of learning. They provide classes offered at international Ivy League schools at a fraction of the cost and within a few clicks.

The beauty of living in 2016 is that you can take advantage of fringe hours to hone your skills Click To Tweet

A great place to start is Class Central that aggregates MOOCs for other course providers such edx, Coursera and Udemy. Skillcrush has also gained popularity by providing tech skills which have enabled their alumni to make career shifts.

Special mention goes to Skillshare for having everyday ‘practical’ classes like Knife Skills 101.

In addition, you can take advantage of bloggers and Youtubers who offer free and paid online courses that are range from blogging, scrapbooking, navigating your career to playing music by ear.

In short, you have no room for excuses.

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4. Start an Articles Club!

Back in 2011,the ingenious Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo was on a mission to fight winter blues. In her  words:

An articles club would be just like a book club, but we’ll read articles. We’d all read the same story –from, say, The New Yorker or Elle– and chat over (your drink of choice) and snacks. It would be fascinating, timely and a much easier commitment than a book club…

This is a great idea for building friendships in a relaxed environment with people who love reading but cannot commit to finishing the latest Man Booker Prize winner in time for the next meet-up.

Here is a glimpse into how Joanna organised her own Articles Club.

5. Volunteer

After completing  my postgraduate degree, I decided to volunteer at one of the local charity shops near my university and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Working with people from diverse backgrounds not only made me more culturally sensitive, but also built on my interpersonal skills. Moreover, I have finally put my numerous hours on Pinterest to good use by helping out with visual merchandising.

Working for someone for free or work-shadowing provides you with the opportunity to learn new (and free) knowledge and skills like baking, cooking, changing a tyre, floral arrangement…

6. Visit local places of interest

Hands up, if you have lived in Nairobi (or insert your city here) for over 5 years and you have never set foot near the local museum?

You would not imagine the number of born and bred Nairobians I’ve met who have never visited the Kenya National Archives. The archives are smack in the middle of the CBD.

Local places of interest could also serve as sources of inspiration Click To Tweet

Though, these sites are meant to generate income from tourists, they are also meant teach you about your history so that you don’t repeat mistakes…. these could also serve as sources of inspiration.

As Ruthie Ackerman said here; Every city has its mysteries, and amazing experiences can always be found just by uncovering a few for yourself.

Well ladies, the opportunities for learning are endless and can only be limited by your time, passions and interests.

Please let us know how you continue learning and what book/podcast/online course has had the most profound impact in your life or career.

Against all odds (bouncing back after a failed business)

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I recently experienced a failed business and it would have been devastating if not for my support team. The good thing about failure for a positive minded person (which should be the mind set of an entrepreneur) is the ability to use the experience as a learning process.

When a business venture fails there are two most likely reactions from the entrepreneur. You either give up or dive back in again, trying to make it right this time around.

From my own experience, here are some helpful tips on bouncing back from a business failure.

1. And the blame lies…

A whole lot of things could have gone wrong. The first step is to take an introspective look at your business journey and without been biased.

Analyse the venture and pinpoint where things went wrong. You can ask the people who had interactions with your business for their opinions.

Be sure to let go of the hurt that comes from failing at a venture. The altruistic ones will prefer to blame themselves and this might be harmful if you cannot get over the blame game.

2. Decide…

Next, decide if you are returning to that venture or starting a new venture. This is important as it will determine your next moves. The decision to continue a failed venture will rest solely on you.

Consider the reason you started the venture. Was it just a business or a deal with a goal? An ordinary business idea (not that there are ordinary business ideas, but some are conceived based on needs as opposed to those based on passion), is easy to let go of.

With this idea, you can venture into a different line of business, responding to another need. However when your idea is part of a dream, it is harder to dump it and move on.

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3. Restore

This is usually the hardest. If your business was loan funded, it is always a source of grave concern. Many business owners suffer huge financial losses after a failed venture.

Although not easy, making efforts to restore/refund loans can give a sense of fulfillment.

This is not to say that inability to do so should lead to depression rather a well laid out plan for payment may inspire hope. It is absolutely necessary to avoid any form of self deprecating thoughts.

4. Plan

Now that you have decided, begin to make plans in line with your decision.

If you have decided to move on. You will need a fresh new idea and plan according to the idea. In the event that you want to continue with your previous idea, make further research using your previous mistakes as key points.

Go back to the drawing board. Your drawing board will hold your idea, its concept, theme and any previous mistakes. It is time for a new flow chart which will utilise the information gathered from the research you have done.

Tip: If you really need funds at this point, consider crowd funding.

5. Take your time

It is tempting to want to dive right into the deep end when you have found the solution or something new. Don’t do this.

It’s not advisable jump right in. And no, this is not saying you should procrastinate. On the contrary, take time to set out a pace that will allow you notice changes and progress.

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6. Laying the ground work

 

Now you work, and I must add with a vengeance.

Going from the drawing board to the work table is literally a huge step. This is where every past lesson is put to the test.

7. Faith

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Having a strong belief in the success of your venture helps to pad all the hard work you have done.

Praying about your moves and asking for directions divinely can go a long way.

Also a positive mind set is required. Always.

8. Be patient

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When you start squatting at the gym, there is a tendency to look at your butt for signs of growth. Disappointment quickly follows when the expected immediate transformation is not seen.

Like squats, your business will need time and constant, continuous efforts to grow and begin to show signs of growth. Be patient. Continue to work at it.

To avoid working blindly, take constant review of your progress. It may be quarterly or monthly but alway take stock. Mark areas that might need improvement or changes. Make necessary upgrades. Get customer feedback.

You cannot know too much. Even after the initial research, always seek expert opinions at every stage. This will serve as a guide along and also a yard stick to measure your progress.

In the long run. Your perception of a failed business is vital to your entrepreneurial life. If you develop the habit of not giving up and taking every failure as practice and a lesson, you will find yourself very soon in a successful venture with lots of stories to tell.

Remember

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How to get started in PR with no money, no clients

shehive accra pr she leads africa

There’s a long list of business ideas that we willingly admit are hard to pull off without money, connections and clients. PR is one of them so when we got an opportunity to talk with Sasha Robyn who co-founded a PR company before starting BlogChatSA, South Africa’s first exclusive online bloggers show. Sasha’s I-may-be-a-rookie-but-I-can-do-it stance has helped her and we think it can help you too.

Here’s Sasha’s easily replicable winning formula for getting started in PR.

The skills you need

In order to succeed in the PR industry, you need to acquire skills that will help you grow and stay grounded in the nature of the business. These skills are

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Creativity

img_20160617_211017Most important is the last one, creativity and perseverance. While it’s still debatable whether perseverance is a skill or a trait, it’s needed to keep you on track and ensure success.

Then comes the somewhat cliché word for Motherland Moguls; passion. You’ll need a strong drive to put in and offer your best to your client. This will set you aside from any other PR agency.

As for the resources, get a laptop where you can create a clients’ database. This will be a list of people to whom you render services. A laptop will also help  you create the social media strategy you’ll be needing to grow your company.

Setting up a PR agency with no money

Apparently in PR, money is not always needed to get your company off the ground. Sasha advises that an easier way to branch out into PR and make yourself known is to build on relationships and valuable contacts.

Then, create an online presence for yourself and/or your business. Your business will not flourish or draw interest from the broader public if you do not make use of social media platforms. They assist in driving the business and bring clients to you who are in need of the service that you project online.

When you build a website for your agency, make sure you keep it professional and simple.

Getting started on networks

Networks in business are important as they form part of the driving success of the business. In PR, your business thrives off the services that you provide to your clients.

According to Sasha, how and where you connect with people will determine the success and efficiency of your business. Attend events/seminars that would allow you to network with people. Consider engaging in public speaking as this would allow you to brand your company on a word-of-mouth basis. It’ll also make it easy for clients to connect with you and/or your business.

Source for people who have experience and knowledge in PR and can assist you in building your brand. Do your research on companies/people and the media (depending on your interest in the field).

Sasha’s 5-step plan to break into the PR industry

It takes a lot of dedication and determination to make your mark in PR. Whether you want to launch your own agency or find a job with another agency, these steps will help.

  1. Understand the media universe, including social media
  2. Find your niche/product/service
  3. Education/training
  4. Research local PR Agencies: learn their culture, areas of focus and how they functions.
  5. Network, Network, Network

Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.

5 tips to make the most of a slow day at work

When the big conference is over or the quarterly sales report is in, then comes the slow day. Everyone in today’s workplace has moments of downtime every now and then —as you probably do if you’re reading this. But forget #NetflixAndChill, it’s time to #HustleAndChill.

Even if you’re excelling at your job, now isn’t the time to rest on your laurels. Use these slow days as opportunities for self-improvement by checking in on your goals rather than your Facebook or Instagram.

Here are a few tips for what to do when you find yourself with a few extra hours on your hands:

Plan ahead

You know how your boss lovingly exclaims, “What would I do without you?”

Make sure he or she is prepared for the unexpected sick day or your departure for a new position by drafting a detailed list of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities to ensure that your successor will be well equipped to follow in your footsteps.

Image result for gifs beyonce plan ahead

It’ll also help you avoid forgetting the little things like sending a check for a vendor or drafting invitations to an annual event.

It’s never too early to start on hand-over notes —it’s easier to remember what you’re doing while you’re doing it rather than racking your brain as you’re headed out the door.

(You’ll also earn brownie points from your boss that will help you maintain a good relationship even after you’re gone).

Learn

As the saying goes, “good things come to those who hustle.”

Got your eye on a raise or promotion? Take this slow period as an opportunity to learn a new skill or hone a weak one. If you increase your value to your company, your employer will be more likely to reward your efforts. Sign up for a webinar, listen to a podcast, or take an online class from sites like Coursera, Skillshare, or edX.

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Interested in shifting to another role? Visit other departments and learn about their work. Even if your colleagues only need help with menial tasks, they’ll appreciate the favor (and be more likely to return it when you’re in a crunch).

Organize

To maximize your time when things are busy, set yourself up for success by organizing your paperwork.

Organize your online and offline space by saving those client emails that you took hours to draft, filing feedback on projects that you can reference during your next feedback session, and making sure your work space is tidy.

A clear space leads to a clear mind.

Connect

Having a good reputation in your field is part performance, part visibility. According to the Harvard Business Review, “workers are happiest in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers.”Image result for gifs beyonce plan ahead

 

Take advantage of your free time, and follow up with other industry professionals as well as current and former colleagues. It’s an opportunity to build trust and camaraderie at work, but also learn more about what’s going on at your company and in your industry.

Grab lunch or coffee or simply spend time acknowledging the contributions of those around you with a handwritten note —old-fashioned gestures are always appreciated.

Daydream

In today’s competitive global economy, people are being paid more to think than to manufacture. So along with your A-game, it’s time to bring your imagination to work if you’re gunning for that promotion.

After all, Archimedes had his “eureka” moment in the bathtub, Newton developed the theory of gravity while lounging in his mother’s garden, and J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter while staring out a train window.

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Now, imagine if those people had been new deep in the drudgery of paperwork or catching up on email.

Studies show that daydreaming indicates an active mind more open to creative breakthroughs. Creativity is about thinking outside the box, so put away the phone, turn off the monitor, and let your mind wander.

You might just come up with the next game changer.

5 skills your new team needs right away

Team work at She Hive NYC

So, you’ve got a new team on your hands. As a savvy manager, you’ve studied your team and decided that they need to work on some new skills. But you’re having a tough time making a choice on which skills are the most useful to ensure your team operates smoothly. Don’t worry, we have your back.

Communication

The importance of communication cannot be overstated. You have a new team of people, some of whom may have never worked together before or have never worked with you. In this case, clear verbal communication is essential for success. Your team should be able to easily communicate within themselves and also with you as their manager. Then again, excellent communicating ensures effective meetings, respect towards others and little misunderstanding during team work.

Being open-minded

Your team is going to have to learn to be open-minded and be willing to listen to new and diverse points of view without jumping into conclusions. You can’t have one member talking over the rest of the team or shutting down other’s ideas. As a manager, you want your team to work together and be supportive of each other. For that to be achieved, it is essential that everyone is open-minded.

Problem solving

Each member of your team should be able to problem solve on their own. Poor problem solving can lead to failure of the team, and your brand in the larger picture. As a whole, your team should easily identify problems and come up with different solutions. They should be able to take the initiative with coming up with new ideas. If they are having difficulties making a decision, they should know to notify you.

Management and organisation

Any efficient team knows the basics of project management. They know how to plan, manage tasks and schedule their time. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of just one person to ensure meeting and team goals are set. The whole team should possess management and organisational skills, this way everyone can remain focused on achieving tasks.

Questioning

Now this is an often overlooked skill, but it is extremely important for everyone. A good number of us are scared to ask questions, we don’t want to appear lacking especially in front of a new group of people. Your team will likely not be any different. Learning questioning skills encourages curiosity and knowledge seeking.

If you’re working with a team where roles need to be divided, consider having a rotation so this way your team’s skill sets are continuously growing and expanding.

Have you managed a new team recently? What skills did you encourage them to learn? Please let us know your answers by leaving a comment below.

6 key points to consider when writing an elevator pitch

In this day and era of being an entrepreneur, you may find yourself writing an elevator pitch over and over again. They say collaborations are the best way to engage in business. There will be different organizations, brands and personalities you would like to collaborate or work together with on a particular project. It’s key to identify a brand/organisation that is in line with what you believe in and shares similar values, and goals with you.

Today, we will be sharing 5 key factors to take into consideration while crafting your elevator pitch. This does not only work for business owners, entrepreneurs. Even those in employment looking to partner with other companies on different projects may find this useful.

Keep it short and simple

An elevator pitch shouldn’t be too long.  You want to pass your message almost immediately in the first few sentences. So keep things short, clear and precise.

State who you are, what you want from them, what you are offering, why you chose them and how you can work together moving forward.

Get down to the nitty-gritty 

This is your introduction, where you sell your brand and yourself or what you do.

At this point try to be very specific with the information that is required to get to know you better. Sell yourself and/or your product/ brand.

Emphasize the value you offer

After introducing yourself, you now need to explain or reveal more on how you do what you, and why they should work with you.

This is where you clearly define your qualities, strength and your passion for your career. Also show the value it comes with.

Include links and Photos

This is quite important especially if you are using your products as a selling point. Have the images attached where necessary.

You can even links to your website where more of what you do can be seen and assessed.

Mention any huge achievements

Here is where you state all that you have achieved in relation to what you are proposing to offer. The value will then be easily aligned with your achievements, depending on the person receiving your pitch.

Follow up

After sending in your elevator pitch, give 3-5 days before you send a quick email to touch base. They may missed your mail or are holding back on their response. This can happen easily as they receive many emails, and depending on schedules, emails can be overlooked.

A kind reminder to check your mail is necessary. You can even forward your initial email again so they don’t have to search too hard and can see you sent it earlier on in the week.

The best comebacks for the 7 worst workplace mistakes

Mistakes happen. But what do you do after a mishap?

Since different mix-ups require different solutions, we have put together a come back list for these 7 common work place mistakes.

They might help cut you some slack.

1. You miss a very important meeting

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When you come in, don’t act as if you did not forget. You might be smooth, but people will notice. Slide in quietly and take your boss to the side. Tell her you honestly forgot and that you’ll adjust right away. Don’t speak if you’re not up on the subject.

Rather, listen and take notes so that you can work back from there after the meeting. Take note of upcoming meetings and write them down immediately so that next time, you’ll be the first one in the room. Prepare yourself cautiously and never repeat this in the future. Before you know, no one remembers that one time you forgot.

2. You made quite the typo

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Your boss asked you to send a crucial e-mail regarding an important deal, and you used the verb? Let it be. Messed up a time-schedule? Correct it.

But then, there are the real pain-in-the-behind typos. Let’s say you got a little enthusiastic and spelled your biggest clients last name ‘Yerk’ as  J-E-R-K. Normally, this does not happen to you, so don’t beat yourself up – what’s done is done. Send out an email with an apology. Keep it light – perhaps you could humorously point out how close these letters are to each other on ALL of our keyboards.

3. You ate someone’s sandwich

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This is super disrespectful. Someone was counting on that.

We can’t help you here.

4. You had the best time at the office party

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…And may have told your handsome co-worker that “you love a man in a uniform”. And now you can’t remember whether you kept talking after that… Oh dear. You’ll still have to walk into that office, so you better come correct and look a hundred when you do.

Be fresh and in a good mood when you enter, and when someone comments on your frills from the night before, you say: “I’m sure you had a great time. Wasn’t I charming?” or “Man, that was some champagne”.

5. You deleted a document that you can’t get back anymore

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You better pray. The century of technology has provided us with so many comforts – but my, oh my, with it comes the stress of saving, saving-as and… well, losing.

If this problem is beyond your technical skills, get someone who can fix it for you. 

6. You’ve gotten into it with your co-worker

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He’d been on your nerves for weeks and now it’s come to an altercation. He said some things and so did you, and now it’s hard to concentrate around each other. If you guys can’t solve this issue together, tell your boss.

Either go together and address the issue in a respectful and mature manner, or book some solo time with your boss to discuss what you think might be a solution to the problem.

7. You lack sleep and therefore empathy

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You’ve been putting in extra hours and it’s made you cranky as can be. Although you try to leave that at home, people notice you’re not in a happy mood. If you can, take a day off, or work from home for a day. Being in a different, lower-pressure environment might help you snap out of the funky mood.

Get some sleep. Eat a decent meal. Do a fifteen-minute work out, and right before bed, read a few pages from your favorite book. Then watch yourself turn up at the job refreshed. After all, rent’s up and you need this money.

These tips should help save the day. And if they do, send us some jollof too. Also, if you have other tips for making an office come back, please share the SLA community.