They always want to know this and that about you, your work, how good you were or not, how you fit in or not, what you will bring in or not. You toil and prepare, you imagine every question possible. If it is a video interview you scour the internet and Youtube trying to master the art of the interview, know potential questions, decipher the best and worst answers, rehearse what to do and what not to do. You call your friends and simulate the environment and have them test you. Then the days and times come, and you step into the bubble!
“Am I saying your name right?”
My name is Ngozi Bell
pronounced uhn – goh – zee
Tell me about yourself, your career…how did it start?
“My career journey started with a desire to study medicine, but instead was admitted to study physics and architecture. My mother, a chemist and scientist, looked at my choices and I will always remember her advice to me.
Physics is the better way to go, it is a foundational science. The future will need foundational scientists, it is where the big difference will be made and as a woman you will be the better for it. Well; I listened and my mother was right for me! Physics allowed me so much latitude and longitude in life”
This is the door I opened my interview with years ago and sometimes even now the lenses through which I view my career story as I roam through a narrative spilling details that I hope are pertinent. What of you how do you start yours?
Have you ever wondered why someone sits across you and asks you a series of questions about yourself in order to investigate you for their gain? Or perhaps your win and their win simultaneously?
Statistics on job interviews is that on average six to 10 candidates are interviewed for the same job and they go through two to three rounds of interviews and many times if the employer is not satisfied, the process continues. Statistics also show that for a well prepared candidate the average number of interviews to a job is two to four employers per offer; at the average of three interviews per employer, it means the average person will do six to 12 interviews to land a job. By the way only 2 to 3% of applicants get an interview. According to Zety.com 28% of those interviewed, get the job.
What if you had to look at life from the lenses of a series of questions, your own questions what would they be? What would you like to know from yourself. Why have you prepared answers to tell about yourself? Have you met yourself? Have you asked yourself?
So imagine this, a stranger to your life, work, style, ethics, etc. works hard within an allotted time to superficially get to know you in order to make a profound decision on you. That is pretty serious heavy lifting. Isn’t it? What is equally interesting is that many are often times right. The decisions they make to hire or not hire are sound in light of what they need and want. Their experience fills in the gaps that the interviewer cannot access. The interviewee leaks their truth and some even ooze their truth. The point is a stranger can sometimes within a few minutes decide who you are in the context of their care about and simultaneously decipher, who you will/can be to them. All without a crystal ball, soothsayer or claimed spiritual gleaning. They just get an understanding in their “knower”, what to decide on the person sitting across from them!
Considering the happenings in our world today, there are shakings, movements, agitations and more. There is a defining interview for the job of living. The only way to win is to be fully apprised of the rudimentary denominator, a first principles of sorts. To prepare, you must become fully aware of the constituent part that makes up the whole. This being fundamental not only to exponential solution determinants, but also as a seat on which you can forge any big thought. Making it improbable to no0t be selected for your life’s work!
So let us look at the world at large, to ask a question of each of us. What world do you see? Do you see the world of social redress and activities mainly broken into left and right and fractured at religious curves? Or one marred with ethnic interludes; assaulted by undisciplined leaderships that waste away resources and cart for themselves what belongs to many?
Is your world on a smooth ride of the entrepreneurial bliss and only interrupted occasionally by the rivers of knowledge overflow and the privileged few who camp around “digital watercoolers” to pontificate and collaborate and engage and…..and review ecosystems and stakeholders like bedside relationships?
What if your worldview is rugged, your people under attack, while the world moves on and in? What of the point that everywhere you turn, there are traps threatening to harm you, to narrow your world or cause you to stumble? What if you found that people generally don’t understand and many can’t if they stopped, and that as for friends you have but few that really get it, get you in some ‘not weird’ kind of way.
You see, something significant happened to us, somewhere in the middle of interviewing for the job of life, we were allowed to quit, we were allowed to not triumph but yet still hang in there. Still engaging, struggling, fighting, clinging to our narratives, the fancy, the excellent, the awesome, the uncanny and crude, the untidy and the tolerated.
Then like clockwork, time rolls back again, the world seems upside down and we find ourselves again, this time at the precipice of innocence, a new type of innocence. A new normal that has little boundaries, a place that in spite of its perspectives has zero bearing to where we have been and lived. We also know that what we bring and take from it, is irretrievably unique. We cannot bottle it or patent it or relive it or research it. We just have to live in and through it
These are the terms of engagement – hopeful yet encumbered, tired yet determined, structured yet disparate.
This is the place where we ask the following questions, where we turn the interview around and become the interviewer excavating ourselves the interviewee, needing to start at the first principles and fundamentally know who we are and how we can participate in our world, what we bring to life and how we fit in!
So here goes, what if you had to look at life from the lenses projected on a series of questions, your own questions what would they be? What would you like to know from yourself? Why have you prepared answers to tell about yourself; have you been acquainted with you? Have you fully met yourself to represent your story? Have you asked yourself the questions you have been asked countless of times in your bid to fit into yet another business, culture, group? Yes, I fully understand it has been necessary to do as we have done, till now.
Yet, we must now turn the camera inwards, interview ourselves and find out if we are hired, need training or fired.
Am I saying my name right?
My name is Ngozi Bell
Pronounced uhn-got -zee
It is not engozi, not gozi, not nu gozi.
My name means blessing, the Blessing of God, the Blessing that is stable that guides me in the shadow of the valley of death and beyond The blessings that create room and leaves enough for many, the blessing that nearly every girl child is bestowed in Igboland to guarantee their family blessings are called out often. So every time I say my name, Ngozi, I am calling in the supernatural to encapsulate the natural for my benefit. So I must say my name well. I must repeat it often for others to know, and endeavor in every way I can to teach people to know it, because every time they say it, they proclaim my blessing, they proclaim their blessing, they proclaim the universe’s blessings!
Tell me about yourself Ngozi (uhn goh zi)
I am first and foremost a thinker. I like to think a lot about big things and little things. I like to engage on the little things and the big things. I like machines and people. I like theory and the process of verification. I like discovery and understanding. I like to hit a roadblock in order, to learn.
Oh my, do I like a good laugh, a great meal and good company, actually not good company, specific company. I like family and deep and loose ties. I like to hope and lose and in utter wonder, win. I like a type of sass that is not mainstream. Sometimes my passions are obvious, sometimes hidden; sometimes I am hopelessly inept, but I figure things out. My friends are few, and at times I don’t even know who, oh but I love The Lord if you know The ONE.
I think I have said enough, please let us do another question.
What do you bring and how will you fit in?
I bring little and will likely not fit in, but I want to help create, I want to take what is and repurpose for better. I want to fit out new things into areas that have served in the same role for far too long. I want to bring dreams to extend reality. I can use nothing as the platform for everything. What I need most is a little, what I’ll leave most is a lot.
We can uproot and find new paths, we can break and find new units, we can invest and build new lives.
Do you think I will be back in touch, that you can help?
I hope you will, I know you should be back in touch. I know I have already helped and I know we can build on us.
Did I make it? Am I coming on board?
About Ngozi Bell
Inspiration. Hard Work. Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother, A.C. Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).