Sunday, January 25, 2015

#How to put on work gloves in #corporate America

Yesterday morning I started getting my garden ready to plant some onions and Georgian collard greens. It occurred to me that I was wearing gloves, usually I like working without gloves, because I like the feel of the soil on my hands and the connection with the plants, seeds and soil that comes with it. This is a legitimate feeling and a good one for that matter, but it comes at a price, dirt enters deep into your fingernails, your fingers, get pierced by sharp objects, your hands get cold during winter. After you are done gardening, you have to clean your hands thoroughly to get rid of all the dirt. Even after a thorough cleaning your hands are rough and callous for some time.
All these issues can be avoided by wearing gardening gloves. The advantages of gloves cannot be overemphasized, in the case of gardening you need physical gloves, but if you are working in corporate America you need to put on a pair of gloves each morning as you get ready to go to work. Working in the garden and working in corporate America may appear to have nothing in common, but there is a lot in common as you are about to discover. In the garden you are dealing with, dirty soil, sharp objects in the soil and the potential of being hurt. In the corporate world, you are dealing with the potential of a toxic work environment, loaded with jealousy, strive, envy, discrimination, hatred, gossiping and bullying. You can agree with me that the likelihood that you can be emotionally and psychologically impacted is high. That is why you should make it a habit to put on a pair of gloves each day before heading to work. This will protect you from harassment, hatred, jealousy, envy, anger, victimization and many other perils associated with a toxic work environment. You can put a pair of solid cooperate work gloves by doing the following each day:
1) Avoid negative conversations. Some people are experts in spreading negative information around the office. Make it a habit to always look at the bright side of things, for there are always two sides to every coin. Remind yourself that every situation has two possible outcomes, a positive and a negative one. Even if your company is going under and all of you are going to lose your jobs, you can still stay positive. Yes, you will suffer loss in the interim, but better doors will open in the long run. You cannot draw any conclusions about the future that you have not yet lived. Stay positive, speak positively and think positively to the best of your ability. Be bold enough to interject a positive thought when everyone else is being negative. In some extreme cases, change the topic of the discussion completely.
2) Avoid office gossip. It feels good to hear about the failures, short comings and calamities in other people’s lives, but it will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Think about the negative consequences of feeding your mind with information that is not healthy and may not be true. If you are approached by somebody who says, you should not tell others what they are about to tell you, calmly and softly tell them that you will tell others, for you are not a dumping ground. If they insist, tell them that you are not interested in hearing what they have to say. Do not forget that gossiping erodes trust among teams and it will eventually lead to a toxic work environment. 3) Stop believing that in order to move up you have to pull others down. This attitude leads to dysfunctional teams. You want to move ahead at the expense of others. For example, if you find out a faster, cheaper and better way of getting results, you keep it to yourself, because according to you, sharing the information with others will make them equal to you. Remember Paul the Apostle said, “It is more blessed to give then to receive.” If you share information, encourage and mentor others you will be a winner in the end. Withholding information and bring others down in order to move ahead will create a toxic work environment and it will eventually hurt you and others. 4) Focus on the big picture. You are part of a team and eventually part of a company. For you to succeed your team and the whole company has to succeed as well. That is why you have to be more than a team player, be a company player. 5) Take responsibility for your actions. You are not at the mercy of anybody. It may appear that those who are harassing you, discriminating against you, hating you and gossiping about you have the upper hand. The truth is that you have the final say, for how you react to all these toxins will determine the final outcome. Do not let this toxin get to you, stay positive and refuse to drink from the fountain of hate and revenge. Paying back is a formula for disaster, avoid it at all cost.
6) Pray. If you are a person who believes in prayer, you should pray for your job, colleagues, and management. According to Paul the apostle, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Put on your gloves today and no matter how toxic your work environment is, you will thrive. If this has been helpful to you, please share your thoughts. Thank you. www.erictangumonkem.com

Thursday, January 1, 2015

5 things that will #guarantee a successful #2015

1) Let go of the past. You are not the only one who made mistakes in 2014. All you need is to ask others and you will be surprised by how many made the same mistakes you made. Therefore forgive yourself, let go of last year and move forward. 2) Forgive others. You have to forgive those who wronged you in 2014 for your 2015 to be successful. 3) Keep your goals simple. It is not the number of goals that matter. Do not try to get too much done and finally get nothing done. Goals no matter how good they are will not do you any good if they are not achieved. Therefore set achievable goals and do not overdo it. 4) Be optimistic. Your attitude will make or break you. Like any other year, 2015 will come with challenges, but you will be successful when you keep a positive outlook. 5) Be yourself. This is a reminder to you that you are unique and there is no other person like you. 2015 is another opportunity for you to find your place and occupy it. Add your own thoughts to the list and begin to make life better for others. Thank you for sharing and happy 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Three Solutions to the Problem of Illegal Immigration

More than a decade ago I stood in the office of the head of the geology department at the University of Texas at Dallas wondering how I was going to pay my tuition. I was a newly arrived international student with little money and had come with the expectation of working and going to school. Oh boy was I wrong! During orientation we had been told that we could only work on campus and will have to be in school for a year before we can apply to work off campus, if we ran into economic hardship. For example, if your sponsor dies or some catastrophic event impacted the source of your funding. One year was too far for me and even if I got a job on campus the pay was close to minimum wage and that would not have made a dent in my tuition. The temptation to drop out of school and start working illegally became very strong, but I resisted. We are living at time when according to some estimates between 12 to 20 million people may be in the United States of America illegally. We may go about our day to day activities as if nothing is happening or we can learn more about the plight of illegal immigrants and do something about it. This problem is a ticking bomb that can explode at any time and the shrapnel will leave carnage on its way and nobody will be spared. Saying the problem of illegal immigration is too completed is not an excuse for inaction. I am proposing the following three solutions to address the issue of illegal immigrants.
1) Do nothing. This is the most appealing option and the country has gone down this road for more than two decades. The assumption is that if you ignore the problem it will go away. Unfortunately the can is being kicked down the road for future generations to deal with. This particular solution in the short run is the easiest, but the ramifications are quite far reaching. Take for example, there are millions of would be tax payers that are living in the shadows of the society. They are having kids and unfortunately they cannot participate in raising these children like other families are doing. The fear of deportation keeps them away from PTA meetings and other social gatherings. If there children are struggling in school it will be difficult to intervene promptly. This implies that some of these children may drop out of school and their full potential will not be reached. They may end up depending on the government to take care of them. We as a country cannot afford to kick this can down to the next generation. It is in our best interest to ensure that everybody living here has equal access to resources that will help them maximize their potential. When everybody is functioning at full capacity, the entire nation will benefit. 2) Depot all the illegal immigrants. I hear this one a lot. People make it sound as easy as eating a piece of cake. Just round up all these millions of people some of which have lived here for more than twenty years and send them back to where they came originally. Deportation may sound straight forward and neat, but you have to take into consideration that some of these illegal immigrants have kids who are American citizens and will need their parents to raise them. Some have suggested that entire families be deported to keep the families together. These Families that have kids who are American citizens will raise the kids out of the country. When the kids become adults they can move back to the United States without their parents. This is not a good idea; you do not solve a problem by creating another. It is not the fault of the kids that their parents came to the United States illegally. These children are citizens and have the right to be raise in the country as well. 3) Declare an amnesty. A unilateral declaration of amnesty without securing the bothers, overhauling the immigration system and punishing the law breakers is an insult to those who are here legally. All the millions of illegal immigrants have broken federal immigration laws and letting them go for free is a travesty of justice. If we can incarcerate people for possessing a few grams of marijuana, it is an indication that we take our laws seriously. Nobody is above the law and nobody should break the law with impunity and get rewarded for doing so. America is strong because nobody is above the law; this is not the case in many parts of the world. A strong message has to be sent to would be immigrants that laws in America have be respected at all times and by all. When people break laws there is a penalty, either you pay a fine or serve jail time. In the case of the illegal immigrants it is not feasible to jail more than 12 million people, for the prison system is already overcrowded. The only option is to ask all the illegals to pay a fine, which will then place them on a path to citizenship. Through the process they too will learn to stand in line and take their turn.
I wrote this article to encourage you to join the conversation about the plight of illegal immigrants and the impact it is having and will continue to have on this nation. Call your congressman or woman and the senators representing your state. Email them, fax them, write do anything you can to ensure that they take up this issue and resolve it. The cost of not doing anything is going to be great. For the sake of the next generation let your voice be heard in this matter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One secret that will set you apart at all times!

Take a moment an ponder upon some of the difficulties and challenges you have been through and think about what kept you going in the midst of hardship and calamities. Turn on your TV and listen to the news and you will have a good dose of “bad news”. There seems to be no end to unnecessary killings, wars and epidemics. Right now you maybe in a season of your life where everything is going on well and you are facing no life threatening situation. If that is the case you may have to pass this to somebody who needs it. No matter how much we try to avoid pain, disappointments and betrayal, things keep going out of control. Occasionally we have fleeting moments when we think we have had everything figured out and brought things under control, just to see things slip out of our hands, leaving us helpless and out of control. We are constantly looking for a quick fix to easy our pain and take us out of our predicament. The issue of pain, suffering and death has troubled humans for a long time. Some deal with it by trying to ignore it. Some numb their pain with chemical substances and others give up on life altogether. Job who lost all his livestock on a single day and his seven children had this to say, “A person who is born of a woman is short-lived and is full of trouble.” In other words suffering, pain, afflictions are a given to all who are born of woman. This implies there is no exception. Since nobody is left out, it makes sense to figure out how to deal with life’s challenges, difficulties misfortunes, setbacks etc. One of the most efficient ways to deal with suffering and pain is to understand the following 1) Life is tough. This is a simple truth that will set you apart at all times and under any circumstance. As John Cash said, Life is rough so you gotta be tough.” Life is difficult! That’s it! The sooner you accept this, the better and more equipped you will be to handle whatever is thrown at you. Remember that you started life with a cry and not a smile. Accepting that life is difficult will toughen you psychologically, mentally and emotionally. This will enable you to face whatever comes your way with courage, resolve and bravery. Let me know what you think about the suggestion that accepting that life is difficult is a secret that will set you apart at all times.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

20 Reasons Joseph could have given if he committed adultery with Potiphar’s wife

We all know about the story of Joseph recorded in the following passage …7It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." 8But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9"There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me!" And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside..…Genesis 39:7-12 We live in a day and age when it is not easy to hear people justify anything under the pretext of, it is complicated, it is a grey issue, it is difficult. When people are hard pressed, they fight back with you do not understand, you have never been in my situation, you do not know what you are talking about. Unfortunately they do not mention God and what God’s word is saying concerning the situation. We have come up with a gazillion reasons to justify disobeying God. Joseph will be justified if he committed adultery with Potiphar’s wife because of the following reasons; 1) Joseph was far away from home, sold by his brothers why did God allow this bad thing to happen to him? 2) Joseph had no support of the local church. He was all alone in the house of Potiphar and there were no other people there that were worshiping God. 3) He was living in a culture that was occupied in worshiping idols and it would have been Ok for him to sleep with his mater’s wife. 4) There was no regular Bible study for Joseph to be reminded of what God’s law required of him. 5) He was lonely and home sick and the companionship of his maters wife would have been a good distraction. 6) His master was gone most of the time and his wife was lonely and need somebody to be with her. 7) She was he mistress and had power over him, for Joseph was a slave and had no rights whatsoever. 8) Joseph would be justified for it is his mistress that came up with the proposal. She is the one that insisted. Joseph would have said, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. My mistress has given me an instruction and I am just obeying orders. I am a slave and all I have to do is to obey. 9) Joseph was in charge of everything and adding his mistress to the list of responsibilities would have been just a call to duty. 10) To be the captain of the Guard his master Potiphar had to give up his manhood. In order words, he could not perform sexually. Therefore his wife had legitimate sexual needs that had to be met. 11) Out of compassion and pity for his starved mistress Joseph could have met her needs. What is wrong in meeting a genuine need? 12) There was nobody in the house the day his mistress grabbed him. This implies nobody will know about it. 13) Joseph was minding his own business and this woman kept asking in day in day out for him to go to be with him. He did not dress in a compromising way, he did not tempt the woman, but she kept bogging him. He could not leave the house because he was a slave. 14) Joseph was young, handsome and had sexual emotions that needed to be satisfied, for he had no wife at that time. 15) Sleeping with his mistress would have empowered him the more and it will feel good as well. 16) Who know he might have gained is freedom, because now that he is meeting his mistress needs she can talk with his master to release him. 17) Joseph had no mentors or role models to help him out. 18) God will forgive him after he sins for God understands. 19) The temptation was too much for this young man. 20) Others were doing the same thing. We give many reasons why we do the things we do. We convince ourselves and those around us why it is OK to disobey God. For example, I needed that Job so badly that I have to lie on my resume; I had to sleep with that man or woman. Joseph had every reason under the sun to disobey God, but he chose to obey God. He knew sleeping with his master’s wife was a SIN before God and it not a good thing to disobey God. Read the word, read the word, read the word and do not force the word to fit your situation. Most of the time we want the word to say what we want to hear this will get us into trouble. May God help us to obey him!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The fastest easiest and surest way to have a bountiful harvest without sowing

Is it possible to harvest without sowing? This question came in my mind this afternoon as I harvested fresh veggies from the garden. I was pondering on the law of sowing and reaping and how it impacts every area of our lives, and how many times people try to circumvent this law, because they do not want to go through the process. In other words they want a bountiful harvest without sowing. The process of sowing seeds, nurturing, and caring for the plants and waiting for a harvest is too long, too complicated and too demanding. The lure of making it quick and rising to sudden riches and fame is extremely attractive and appealing to many. The desire to get promoted and get to the top of the corporate ladder with speed has the propensity to cause many to neglect the law of reaping and sowing. Tight budgets and the desire to cut cost pushes some people to cut corners and the results are not always desirable.
There is a push for a silver bullet that will get rid of the process involved in achieving a long lasting relationship with a spouse, raising successful kids, owning and maintaining a successful business. This is because the process is not appealing, for it involves hard work, dedication, determination, perseverance and waiting. For example the veggies I am harvesting this afternoon were nursed in August and the young plants transplanted in September. For the past two months, I watered and removed the weeds and ensured that bugs did not get the veggies before me. This means that after a long day, I had to go to the garden in the evening and check on the plants, no matter who I felt. Now is harvest time and I can joyfully reap what I sowed.
The joy of harvesting is more than the pain, inconveniences and hard worked required to sow. What then is the fastest easiest and surest way to have a bountiful harvest without sowing?
Hmmm! Harvesting from other people’s plots is equal to stealing if I am not mistaken. Stealing is fast, quick and immediate, but the consequences when caught are undesirable. You may say, I will always go free; many are doing it and have never gotten into any trouble whatsoever. You are partially correct. But Paul the Apostle said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. It is possible to reap without sowing, but in the process you are sowing bad seed that will eventually yield bad fruit. For example fraud scandals like what happened in Enron are a sobering reminder that the law of reaping and sowing is well and a live and should not be broken no matter what.
Therefore each day is an opportunity, to sow good seeds, in your business, job, relationships, kids, neighbors, colleagues and all you come across. This will require patience, perseverance, long sufferance, peace, joy and hope. As such the fastest easiest and surest way to have a bountiful harvest without sowing is an illusion and should not be pursued by anybody that wants sustainable and long lasting success.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When life throws bricks at you build a wall

You must have heard that "bad things" happened to good people. This is part of the truth. The whole truth is that your response to whatever happens to you is the ultimate determinant of the outcome you get. You are not a victim, even if you have been told so and you feel so. You have the power to choose the right response. Do it and walk in the new opportunity that is always hiding behind the seemingly "bad situation." This is not a denial of the existence of evil, but a bold move to rob evil of its power and control over your life. If a seed had the ability to speak, it will scream when it is deprived of the comfort, warmth and security in the house, when it is being taken out of the house for planting. When the seed is being taken out of the house, if it could, it will be kicking and screaming for nobody wants to die. The seed will be justified if it complained about the terrible conditions that are associated with being buried in the dark under heavy soil for a couple of days and left to rot and die. But the seed knows better not to cream and kick. It knows that the comfort and warmth on the self is extremely limiting. It is safe and comfortable, but it is preventing the tree in the seed from coming out.
The seed understands that getting out of its comfort zone, is the only way for its full potential to be realized. Yes! It is dark, uncomfortable and extremely dangerous outside, but these are the condition for innovation and breakthrough. The seed understands that there are two sides to every coin and both sides make the coin complete. Life and death make a whole. The seed MUST die to live. It must give up its present life for a bigger and better life. It is in the dark and lonely place that this transformation takes place. As Jesus of Nazareth said, “I can guarantee this truth: A single grain of wheat doesn't produce anything unless it is planted in the ground and dies. If it dies, it will produce a lot of grain. This partially explains why life sometimes throws “stones, lemons, bricks, sticks and other things at us. These life changing events come suddenly and without warning and unexpectedly. These circumstances are meant to “kill” us, make us uncomfortable, stretch us, and push the seed in us to grow. The only difference between you and those who make it is that they make a choice to use whatever is thrown at them as building blocks. They make a foundation out of the stones and rocks. The bricks are used to build the walls of the house and the sticks for the roof. The lemons are used to make lemonade to quench their taste as the labor under these difficult circumstances. Those who get anything done are those who have also learned to use the trails and difficulties that come their way. Start making lemonade with the lemons that are being thrown at you. This is done by As I have already said, this is not a denial of the existence of evil, but a bold move to rob evil of its power and control over your life.