“Choose To Be Sunny, You Don’t Have To React”: Joy Omoregie on ‘Woke At Work’

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Strategies to Navigate the Workplace and Progress with Pace

With the academic year looming, most of us are gearing up for university; pre-reading, prepping seminar notes, reviewing stationery supplies and buying more cutlery because last year’s house mates stole them all. But that isn’t the case for all of us; for the past two years graduates have been forced into the world of work but not as we know it. The pandemic may have stopped most of us from going outside but for others it’s stopped them going to work or even finding a job after university. Can you imagine that world? The constant handout of CVs, the perpetual rejection, the constant worry of being left behind even with your 2:1 degree. Sounds pretty daunting but it doesn’t have to be as impossible as it sounds; everyone starts somewhere. “On the other side of a no is a potential yes”, that the motto of accredited performance coach and author of ‘Woke At Work’, Joy Omoregie. With over 15 years’ experience within the corporate world and a “desire to share”, Joy has made it her mission to use her international career journey to educate and empower others to live “life fearlessly and create a positive impact”.

SCAN were lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Joy and discuss with her both the transition from university to the workplace and her top strategies for navigating the world of work. But firstly, in celebration of her latest publication ‘Woke At Work’, we began with a brief discussion into what inspired her to produce ‘Woke At Work’ in the first place. To this Joy simply responded that it was “the manual I wish I had”. Joy explained that she had graduated during the recession – so similar conditions to what our graduates are facing through the pandemic – and that she struggled to find not only a job but a job in her field. Joy’s first experience of the working world, despite her qualifications and degree, was on a construction site printing site access cards for builders; after this, she was a sales temp. Neither were her dream job but they gave her value skills and experience that eventually secured jobs far closer to her dream and she went from there. Likewise, when she finally entered the corporate world, “it was the things others got me involved in that helped me”, Joy noted that it was her enthusiasm, willingness and energy that allowed her to gain such a wide variety of skills – getting involved as much as possible, despite your job description, is the most effective way of applying yourself.

In regard to her top strategies, Joy’s first response was “get on LinkedIn”. LinkedIn is a brilliant platform for connecting with graduate recruiters and finding jobs that you never knew existed yet fit you perfectly. Universities also supply a service for graduate jobs but they are structured to point you in the general direction; as helpful as they might be, you need to do your own hunting too. Getting in contact with graduate recruiters on LinkedIn can open endless doors to countless jobs, some so obscure that they fit you to a tee. Secondly, “don’t always look for graduate schemes”, test out all the waters before you place your cards in the same boat. Joy highly recommended Total Jobs and Indeed for a more rounded job search – both brilliant platforms to look for entry level/junior/analysist jobs that can help you begin your career journey.

As well as these platforms, Joy also expressed the importance of resilience. 90% of us will experience redundancies and rejection in our lifetime; if we all gave up on our dreams when these happen, we would never reach our goals. It’s so important to “let go of your pride…on the other side of a no is a potential yes”.

With this advice, hopefully, the transition from university to the workplace shouldn’t be quite as daunting. “Exhale and celebrate yourself” then wake up and realise this is your journey. Realise you are transitioning but know you need to keep moving;  this is the most important piece of advice Joy could give. If you stop moving, stop applying yourself, stop making connections, you will inevitably stop yourself from progressing and stepping into opportunities. You may have reached the top at university but the workplace takes you back to step one; you have to start showing your worth and when you do that’s when you’ll realise you have no limits, only the ones you set yourself.  

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