Thursday, February 23, 2012

Does your career need a makeover? Are you sure you love what you do?

It did not take me long to read The Career Clinic. The book, by Maureen Anderson, is about ordinary people who took risks to achieve extraordinary things. The book, just like the title imply, is indeed -- a career clinic.
It is comforting to know that, just like you, other people have fears, regrets, disappointments and expectations in their careers. The book introduces you to those people.  You get to travel with them to the turning points in their lives and careers.

We are often advised: follow your passion; do what you love! That would also include breaking boundaries and pulling out all stops to pursue what you were born to do. But really, how many of us do that? How many of us are happy at what they do? Were you born to do what you are doing right now? I’m talking about your job. Are you enjoying it? Do you love it? If "yes", Good for you! If  "not" (Who are you fooling?) What are you doing about it? These are some of the questions that you get to ask yourself as you read this book. 

The Career Clinic gives you tips to consider:
1.      Have no regrets, it is the only way to living a guilt-free life; and making mistakes helps you to learn.

2.       Talk to yourself. It is not insanity. Let that inner voice come to life, don’t ignore your intuition.

3.       Stop. Wait. Breathe. Take a break to reflect (I think this is the level I’m at right now (February 2012). I’m glad to see that I’m on the right track. It’s not abnormal. It’ not unheard of.  It’s a step that only the brave dare to take. 

4.       Ask for free samples. If you can test-drive a car before you buy it and try on the clothes in a shop before you pay for them, why can’t you test the waters of a career you want to follow? If it does not tickle you fancy you simply get to say: thank you very much, I’ll pass.

5.       Say yes! Yes to life, yes to new opportunities.  Dare to challenge your old beliefs and systems. Who put them in place in the first place?

6.       Have fun. If you stop having fun, you stop enjoying it, it then becomes a routine. Am I hitting a nerve here?
7.       Try something new if you stop having fun. (Exactly!)

If you, like me, enjoy reading inspirational and motivational content, you are going to enjoy reading this book. Accepting that I had finished to read it and that I had to put it down felt like saying goodbye to a friend, not knowing when I’d see them again. Yes, it made that kind of an impact.

Stepping up

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lillian Dube chats to me about how she beat cancer

Talk about laugher is the best medicine
Breast cancer used to be more common among white women and women over 40, but there are increasing cases of breast cancer in black women and women younger than 30. The key is to detect breast cancer early so that you can get treatment and increase your chance of survival.

Who is at risk?
Anyone can get breast cancer, but you are more at risk if your diet is high in fat, if you don’t exercise regularly, are overweight, drink more than two glasses of alcohol per day and if you have a family history of breast cancer.

You are also at a higher risk if you are over 40, if you started your period at a young age, went through menopause at a late stage and if you had children after the age of 40 or not at all.
Symptoms include a lump in your breast, unusual swelling, puckering of the skin (like an orange peel), a sore or rash, pain, discharge from the nipple and indentation of the nipple (instead of pointing out and forward, it is pointing sideways or inwards).

Lillian Dube
All cancer patients and survivors will tell you that finding out they had cancer and then undergoing treatment, was one of the biggest challenges they had ever faced. The physical effects of the treatment are tough with a many side effects, but it is also a psychological and emotional challenge.
Popular actress, Lillian Dube, is a breast cancer survivor who didn’t let the disease dampen her positive spirit. The bubbly and outspoken actress is renowned for her role as the matriarch and matron Sister Bettina in the TV drama Soul City. She also stars in SABC 2’s Muvhango.

Lillian is a very busy lady; everyone wants a piece of her. Her phone keeps on interrupting us, but she manages to tell me how her acting career started. “I was encouraged by my son to get into TV back in the 1980s. He heard on the radio that there were auditions in Johannesburg. He even got a telephone number and address for me,” she says. “At that time I was working as a credit clerk at a retail.”
She is now working on season two of the TV series, Skwizas, which is being produced by her production company: Lillian Dube Productions.

Cancervive campaign
Diagnosed with the disease in December 2007, Lillian was operated on in January 2008 to remove the tumor. She subsequently received chemotherapy treatment every three days for four months and radiotherapy for 30 days as a safety measure to ensure that potentially remaining microscopic cancer cells were totally destroyed.
“I am an only child, I have only one child and I’m a divorcĂ©, so I received most of the support from the community and my co-workers,” said Lillian.

“I am active in creating breast cancer awareness through talks and presentations. I’m now part of the new Cancervive campaign that educates and creates awareness about the shy-cancers. I’m also a member of Bosom Buddies, which is another breast cancer support group, and I have founded a Breast Health Foundation in Lesotho in 2008”.

Lillian’s cancer was discovered in a routine check-up. The first mammogram didn’t detect the tumor; the radiographer only noticed it when she went again the following year. “Because early detection is key, I appeal to women over the age of 40 to go for annual mammograms,” she said.
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the stage at which the cancer is detected. It may include surgically removing the tumor and a mastectomy – removal of the affected breast.
A double mastectomy is when both breasts are removed. Radiotherapy is administered to kill cancer cells that may have remained after surgery. Chemotherapy is when powerful drugs are used intravenously and in tablet form to kill the cancer cells internally.

A print version of this article was published in Vuk'uzenzele February 2012 edition.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Who makes a fuss about a small error in a community newspaper? I do (Singular vs Plural)

Ok, I don't think I'm abnormal. I also don't think I'm crazy -- OK  maybe just a little. I'm also not a perfectionist. I'm just a little bit passionate about a few things. "Words" are one of them. They have to make sense. They have to be true and correct. I know a whole lot of people who are like that too. They are called copy- or sub-editors, proofreaders, word-smiths, word engineers, and so forth.

I had just woken up. It must have been 11.15am. I know I'm one of the most envied person right now. I sleep and wake up at whatever time I want to. I don't answer to anyone. (Damn I've always wanted to say that) Let me repeat it: I don't answer to anyone. No more crazy traffic in the morning, no more rat-race for me, and definitely no more waking up in the early morning. (Well except for Saturday mornings when I have to get up at 4am to prepare for my 6am to 9am radio show.) And this is how things are going to be for me, at least, for quite a while.
I am watching you.

So the first thing I did was grab a copy of a local newspaper. Page 1, page 2, then on page 3, I picked up my phone and called the editor/manager. He's not in. So I asked for his e-mail address:

Dear Mr Dlamini

My name is Refilwe Thobega. I was paging through the Express Northern Cape dated Wednesday 1 February when I could not help but notice a glaring subbing error.

It is on page 3, main story, headline: Shucks, there's holes in the condom.

The story is about three million freely available Choice condoms in the Free State, which have been recalled because some had holes. 

It cannot be there "is" if there are "holes".
It should have been there're (there are) because there are not one, but many holes.

Plural and not singular.

Another question: were the holes on only one condom or on a number of condoms?
Answer: there were holes on three million condoms.

"Shucks, there're holes in condoms" could have been the correct headline.

I just thought I should bring this to your attention, sir.

Please just check for errors such as these in the future. Don't underestimate your  readers. An average newspaper team should know the difference between singular and plural.

Kind Regards
Refilwe Thobega

Then I pressed the "send" button. What would I do without my Blackberry?