Waiting For A Breakout Opportunity

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Yesterday I had an interview session with a Caribbean NGO. They need an Excel expert and I got the notification from UN Online Volunteer alerts. I registered as a UN Online Volunteer in 2011 and despite getting volunteer opportunities alert almost weekly, last month was the first time I got an alert on an Excel job role. It was like I have been preparing for such an opportunity. I applied and let them know how good I am. A week after applying I got an email from the NGO telling me how impressed they were with my profile and their desire to have an interview session with me this week. I was given the choice of any time that falls within 8am and 8pm in Toronto, Canada on Monday or Friday. I chose Monday and 2pm, which meant 7pm Nigerian time. And we had the interview yesterday.

It was a great way to end the day for me. The interviewer was so impressed she told me that though there was still one more candidate to interview I would be getting the job. Ordinarily, I was supposed to get a feedback after a day or 2 as she had the interview recorded to share with one of top executives who was also scheduled to participate in the interviewing but couldn't make it. It was the second time in my career that I was told by an interviewer that I would be hired before the interviews were reviewed/completed.

I call such opportunities breakout opportunities. Opportunities that make up for all your waiting and preparation. Though this job is a 4 to 6 hours a week job for a couple of weeks and I won't be getting any cash payment, still it has made the 3 years I have been waiting as a registered UN Online volunteer worth it. I will be working on a project I love to be a part of and helping a young international NGO in a capacity that makes me a Manager. I will also be exposed to the interesting world of evaluation: of policies, programs and education.

image: entrepreneur.com

Breakout opportunities are the result of long period of quiet focused preparation. When you pick what you want to be great at and focus on building your competence in it, to as high as possible. You let go of peripheral opportunities. You don't mix different fields. You do one thing and that one thing alone. You will experience lean years but when the fat years come it will swallow the lean years. Maybe not in money terms at first. But the satisfaction and increased competence you will get from the occasional breakout opportunities that come your way will make the sacrifices and waiting well worth it.

I'm currently equipping myself for breakout opportunities in big data. It's like schooling again. Reading and consulting for less than I could make from Excel training. If I keep busy at it and not minding the easy money I'm letting pass me by, someday a breakout opportunity will surface and I will be overcompensated for the lean years.


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