Personal Scribbles by Wandi Jama

Unedited moments in my life, using a personal ink to portray what lies beneath the picture.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

How to succeed and adjust at your new job

Congratulations! You’ve signed your new contract and you can finally stop refreshing your emails for job interviews. Landing a new job is an exciting chapter but can also be daunting and overwhelming. It can even be likened to the awkward first day of school. But, before you completely stress yourself out about it, allow us to calm your thoughts. We’ve compiled some points that will help you adjust to your new job in no time.


Company culture is the personality of the company and includes various elements such as ethics, values, work environment and the goals of the company. The best way to familiarise yourself with the company culture is to be observant. Pay attention to the different tools/communication channels that are used to complete various tasks, because using an inappropriate channel for a task or interaction can lead to negative consequences such as messages being misinterpreted. Complex messages require richer channels of communication such as face-to-face communication instead of electronic communication like emails or text messages. 
Do your research on whether the company culture is formal or informal. A formal company culture is hierarchical and traditional, employees have to report through a formal chain of communication and likely enforces a dress code.  An informal company culture fosters informal communication channels and independent thinking. Employees don’t have to pass along messages to specific superiors via email or setting a formal meeting but can do it through a group of friends or associates they feel comfortable with. It could be through talking about it over lunch and a game of ping pong or stopping by someone’s desk.
Always take note of your surroundings such as the workplace etiquette. Do people have pictures and other personal effects on their desks or are people eating at their desks or leaving the office for lunch?
Familiarising yourself with the company culture helps you understand the company better and to transition smoothly.


Routines are important as they increase your efficiency and effectiveness, as well as giving you that ‘I’ve got this feeling’. For complete balance and true control, It’s important to find a routine that works best for both your personal and work life. 
To manage your workload, perhaps you could more efficiently tackle your emails by setting aside time to read and respond to them twice a day, organise your inbox with folders, labels and categories. Your routine should definitely factor in your lunch hour! Develop healthy eating habits that become routine such as avoiding greasy foods during lunch and opting for lighter healthier meals to avoid that post-meal slump. Establishing a routine means, breaking and remaking a variety of existing habits – The secret to success is hidden in your daily routine!


In-house networking with your colleagues can help you transition smoothly, is a way to get to know your more people in the office and can easily make or break your experience. It can also be beneficial to your professional life beyond the office and can even enrich your social life. Step out of your comfort zone and attempt to interact with everyone you work with. Do this by actively listening (listening to understand not respond) AND asking questions. 
Set aside time in your calendar to meet colleagues over lunch or for a morning/evening coffee. These are the individuals that you’ll be spending most of your time with and collaborating closely with, so gain a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities to find where you fit into that. Building a relationship with your colleagues can even result in having a naturally deeper connection with some and who knows, you may even gain a work wife. Oh and don’t forget to always accept that happy hour invitation.


Adding value to your organisation will be achieved by doing your research on how you can best contribute to the success of the organisation. Practically, you can do this by setting goals for yourself, investigating the company’s weaknesses/problems and identifying how you can apply your unique experiences and expertise to these areas. By doing this you will create results that far exceed your targets. Take things a step further and increase your participation by volunteering to help colleagues with their projects, this will show your willingness and ability to support the wider team. Always remember to be proactive and produce high-quality work!



Wednesday, August 14, 2019


It’s often easy as human beings to study others behavioural patterns and point fingers but how often do we ever stop and check ourselves? When was the last time you analysed your personal behavioural patterns and identified your personal toxic traits?  
 Playing the blame game is seemingly the safest way to avoid identifying our toxic traits but there needs to come a point where you should engage in serious self–evaluation and discern whether we are the source of your own problems. We also need to identify how we project our energy onto people.
 Toxic traits are destructive behavioural patterns and dysfunctional interactions that create a demotivated workforce. Do you have an unhealthy professional relationship with your colleagues? You might just be the guilty party in this instance. Don’t get defensive, get to work! Here’s how can you identify your toxic traits in the workplace?


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sister Staycation at Pablo House

For the past few months my sister and I have rarely had a chance to spend some downtime together. Yes, we speak over the phone and text every day but it’s never enough. For someone, who’s your other half, some quality time is always needed.  So imagine, our excitement when we found out we could have a mini sister staycation at Pablo House in Johannesburg, Melville.
About Pablo House
Pablo House is a boutique guesthouse situated at the highest point in Melville, where you can enjoy breath-taking views across greater Johannesburg. The guesthouse is  a hidden gem Joburgers can visit when they need peace of mind or an escape from the busy city.
Upon arrival we were welcomed by Jamy-lee Brophy ( general manager) who showed us to our suite and offered us welcome drinks.  On our way to the suite, I fell in love with the concept of a traditional guesthouse that  incorporated an element of luxury and modernity.  The boutique guesthouse is tastefully decorated with soft white deco and touches of emerald green and mustard.  The accommodation offers a sun terrace, outdoor pool and a bar. One of the things that stood out for me is the unique furniture in the living room and the South African art collection the owners have hand selected over the years.

About our Suite
The one thing we wanted to do on this staycation was to unwind and we did just that! After checking in and obviously taking a few instagram shots, we settled in and watched some Netflix in our comfy bed.  Each room has a king sized bed, ensuite washrooms (although they’re small and have minimal privacy), nespresso machines, high speed wifi and netlfix. Our room was situated in the main house with a shared terrace, offering stunning views of Johannesburg.

Pablo house is perfectly situated near several shopping centres, so we decided to get dinner around the area. There's also an option of dining out at the guesthouse or ordering on uber eats.

The following morning we enjoyed a cup of coffee from the nespresso machine in our room and headed out to the pool area and the sun terrace. If you like myself prefer tea over coffee, the staff members will gladly prepare a fresh cup for you.

About Breakfast 
We were gifted with a voucher to Pablo Eggs-Go-bar-a renowned hipster hangout just 1km down the road. The name of the restaurant is a play on words deriving from ‘Pablo Ecsobar’. 
 Breakfast is served  from 6:30 am for the early risers through to 4 pm for people like me who prefer to laze around. The menu is versatile and has unique dishes.

Our stay at Pablo house was exactly what we needed to round off the year. The perfect intimate escape and a refreshing getaway to bond with your loved one.

We left feeling rejuvenated and Pablo House was certainly a home away from home for my sister and I!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Unconventional Woman Girls Talk Program

The Unconventional Woman is an outreach program that my friend (Yena Mgobhozi) and I have started.  We speak to young girls from underprivileged schools about sensitive topics and also offer advice on careers, self-image, goals and health. 

We also educate the girls on being unconventional in a society that demands for girls to be conventional. We explain that the unconventional woman/girl is brave and is willing to be unique and different than her peers. She is a lover of knowledge, not only knowledge that can be gained from books, but also knowledge that is passed down to her by others, such as teachers and parents. The unconventional woman/girl is willing to break norms and rules to strive to be better than herself and her surroundings. Without a doubt this woman/girl is always willing to give back to others. We make it clear to the girls that the unconventional woman/girl is not in a select few but is in every girl and woman, who is willing to be unconventional.       

The school we picked for our girls talk/outreach program was Nozala Intermediate School. The school is located in Bloemfontein, in a township called Phahameng. The school is a co-educational school with grades 1-7 with a total number of 700 students.The principle granted us the opportunity to talk to all the grade 7 girls.  We addressed issues such as self image, body positivity, relationships, peer pressure, sexual orientation, living a health lifestyle and how to set goals and achieve them. 

As Yena is in the hospitality industry, she explained and informed the girls about maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. She furthermore gave them tips on the type of foods they should eat for a balanced diet. I spoke to the girls about having a good self image and how self confidence is imperative. I also gave them tips on how to set goals and how run after their dreams. 

The response we received was astounding. They asked questions, told us about their fears, insecurities, dreams and revealed some of their darkest secrets. With all that being said, there was also a lot of laughter and jokes that was shared amongst the girls with us. 

It was such a remarkable and emotional experience to see the girls open up to us and allow us to share our knowledge and experiences. After the talk we enjoyed some cupcakes and juice with the girls. They continued to ask more questions and asked if we could come back, as they had really appreciated having some 'girl' time.   

One of the most fulfilling moments was when we heard that one of the girls had told her teacher that she felt excited and motivated about her future and is definitely going to attend university!

 'Unconventional Woman Girls Talk Program'  is more than a program but a movement. We realised giving back to others does not need copious amounts of money, it just needs your time and compassion. As 24 year old black females navigating our way to success, we truly hope this movement will encourage more young girls to be fearless and unconventional and inspire more women to give back!

Love & Scribbles


Friday, August 17, 2018

Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible

 'Slay in Your Lane’ by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene  is an inspirational black girl tool book that gives an insight into the challenges black women face in every sphere of life.
The black girl bible features 39 successful black British women spanning from different industries and explores what it means to be young, black and female in the U.K.
 How did you meet and come together to create this book?
Y: We met at university in our first year and it was a predominantly white university. There were very few black people and we became very close from there.
Essentially how the book came about was from  Elizabeth's interest in reading  a lot of self help books, she was also keen on furthering herself in her career. She worked in the corporate world and had read a lot of books such as 'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg, 'Girl Boss' by Sophia Amoruso  and all those kinds of books about how to survive in the workplace, the secret rules of how to get ahead and how to be more confident.  But often as a black woman when you’re confident it can be read as arrogant, and there were a lot of rules in the books that didn’t translate for black women. They spoke to white women. So Elizabeth rang me one day and asked if I can write her a book about how to get ahead as a black woman in the workspace. I thought it was an excellent idea and thought someone has already done it, but they hadn’t!  I always joke for the sake of our friendship that this is too good of an idea for her to gift me and thought we should do it together On a serious note though, she’s massively talented in marketing and was a marketing manager at that time. I had my journalistic expertise and thought we should just do it together. We needed it be more than just a book but a movement.
How did you decide on the title of the book?
Y:Elizabeth sent me a picture of Solange Knowles at New York Fashion Week and she captioned it ‘slay in your lane’ I called her and said I’ve never heard  of that phrase before in that way. Obviously it was a play on the term ‘stay in your lane’ I thought it's a memorable title.  When you look at Solange Knowles she could have lived in Beyonce’s shadow but instead she carved her own path, found her own lane and found herself. The picture encapsulated that she’s forging her path and doing her own thing. That’s essentially the essence of what the book is about as a black women:  to stay in your own lane, slay in it and do well in it!
The book also includes 39 inspirational black British women. How did you select them to be apart of the book and what did you learn from them? 
 Y: We had a long list of about 200 women but it was very much about throwing everything by the wall and seeing what sticks. We knew there were several black women in this country that were doing amazing stuff. If we could speak to all of them we could. It was about whom do we have access to, and at the beginning we had access to none of them. A lot of it was quite literally sending DM’s on instagram, twitter, googling for agent details and going to events we knew they’d be at and hoping to maybe get a chance to speak to them. For instance we went to the Afrohair & Beauty Live event, which is an annual hair show in the U.K. and knew presenter, June Sarpong would be there. We asked her in person if she would love to partake in the book and she agreed. We were bypassing the gatekeepers because some agents would’ve been dismissive over it. As soon as people hear something is black they become cautious and view it as not being an important thing. We did our best to speak to the women directly and it worked really well. We also learned a lot from them. From health to dating, to workplace and representation. It was so wide and broad. Our oldest interviewee, Margret Busby who was the first black female publisher in the U.K and the youngest is currently 73 years old. We spoke to women in our age group like Florence Adepoju,  she’s a beauty entrepreneur. All the women have a wide breath of experiences.
                                                 credit: Waterstones
What challenges did you face whilst writing the book?
Y: The biggest challenge was probably time management. We both had fulltime jobs whilst we were writing the book. It was physically, verging on impossible to do what we wanted to do. We did the interviews by ourselves with the women; we had a photoshoot with them that we organised ourselves independently. We were physically writing the book and doing the research. Thankfully we lived together at that time to ensure we stay on top of it. There were a lot of ‘sick days’ and lunch times where we were sneaking out to interview people. Every weekend was dedicated to writing the book. There was very little downtime during that period.  We were hands on and ran social media accounts and website. We even had interns cause the workload was too much.
 Has anything changed after publishing the book?
Y: Literally so much! We’ve never been so visible, despite me being a journalist before. We put a lot of ourselves in this book, in terms of our own personal experiences. Like doing book signings and people genuinely coming to see you and engage with your book because it spoke to them. It has been humbling and overwhelming. In the book I speak a lot about representation and the lack of it in a British context. When we see black women it’s very rare in terms of good media representation. They also tend to be African American. We have little good black British representation in this country, not because there aren’t any positive role modes, as evidence by this book but they don’t get the visibility that they should. It’s been interesting becoming part of that representation by virtue of writing this book because we’ve done a lot of press and did a shoot with Vogue, ELLE, Times Newspaper, Refinery 29, appeared on the metro and did an interview with BBC Breakfast. Being on the other end and providing that representation and people talking about how much it means to see girls like us on TV has been a massive change.  I’m seeing the difference our visibility has made in terms of black women knowing there’s space for them in publishing and that our voices and stories do matter.
What are your personal experiences of being a black British woman in the workplace?
E: I’m unable to talk about my personal experiences in a great detail but I think that there are a couple of things from across the board that black women experience in the workplace. These things range from having an idea and voicing it but people not acknowledging it. Whereas if someone superior to you, or if a white male or female voice it people tend to acknowledge it. I’ve personally seen it and experienced it. That feeling of your ideas not being taken seriously is something we talk about it in the book. There’s a term we use  called ‘white co sign’ it's when as a black woman your ideas are being vouched for by a white man . It is not something we encourage because it's not the best place to be in and a lot of black women have experienced it.
Imposter syndrome is what a lot of women experience, but when it comes to black women it doesn’t come from the same place. A lot of it is embedded in the notion that we are women and black and our identity alone presents itself a lot of challenges. When you work twice as hard and get to a particular workplace, you’re almost grateful to be there, even though you have all your qualifications and probably have more qualifications than your white counterparts. You have  that feeling of being grateful to be there. It’s almost a feeling of ‘oh they’ve let me in’. When you have that mindset it manifests in your interactions and you’re likely to let things slide and not speak up for yourself because you’re internalising your achievements. 
What micro –aggression experiences have you had?
E: In the book we talk about micro-aggression in great detail and we list the different types of micro-aggressions, how they come into effect and how to deal with them.
I think a lot of the times we know it has happened to us but one of the amazing advices in the chapter was around how to pick your battles. I’m one of those people who don’t want to let anything slide. There’s a chapter that details out how to deal with micro aggressions and for me one of the ways to deal with it is to  trust my instinct, because I believe there’s no particular way to deal with it cause we are all different. One of the key points about micro-aggressions is to learn to pick your battles so you know how to take an educated approach and also know when you need to walk away.
How did your families react to the book?
E: Our family and friends have been aware of this book for a long time because it's been in the works for a while and they’ve finally seen it come to life. They are proud and it was amazing and overwhelming to see them proud.
What has been a ‘pinch me’ moment after publishing the book?
E: We’ve had so many  ‘pinch me moments’ that have made everything so exciting along the way after publishing the book. One of those moments was when Sheryl Sandberg emailed us and wrote a formal endorsement for our book. We always say to her this book wouldn’t exist without her essentially. She opened up the conversation about women in the workplace. Another 'pinch me moment’ was when we were at our launch party and Denis Lewis who is one of our interviewee’s came up to me with 3 books and asked me to sign her books. I mean, she’s Denis Lewis! She's an Olympic gold medalist. It was so surreal.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
E: One of the things that I wrote in the afterword of the book is that when I turned 21 and graduated, I wrote a note to myself about the kind of approach I want to take in life. It was kind of a manifesto and a promise to myself. Whenever I lacked motivation, I could refer back to that note as something that would give me a broader perspective about what I wanted to achieve in life and how far I’ve come.
In that note was a quote from Maya Angelou "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style."
That’s one of the things I want a reader to take away from this book, especially a black girl. Your mission in life is filled with opportunities, ups and downs but there’s still so much beauty and great things to come from it. I just want a black girl to be in control of her future as much as possible and just thrive and have a great time whilst doing it. Over the years I’ve always gone back to the note and its reignited that spark and  helped me refocus my purpose. I hope that once they read this book its something they can go back to depending on where they are in life and it will reassure them that they’re not alone. There’s a sisterhood captured in this book to guide them in difficult but also triumphant moments in their lives.
Can we expect more books?
E:I feel like my life has been leading up to writing ‘Slay in Your Lane’. Everything life has thrown at me has all been leading up to this book.  It was such a therapeutic and cathartic experience to take this journey especially with my best friend. It definitely feels like we’ve given birth and our baby is out in the world. We hoped it would manifest in different ways, mediums and platforms so we excited to see what other things could come from the book and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a book. So at the moment we are open to a lot.
Describe a black girl in 3 words
E: I don’t know if I can describe a black girl in 3 words cause I can’t pigeonhole who we are in 3 words but the main thing I would say about every black girl I’ve met and also basing it on our stories is the fact that we are so resilient and that resilience comes into play in positive ways. We are go getters, we strive for the best for ourselves, our families and communities. We seek inspiration in so many things and we go against all odds. The resilience on the other hand can be quite detrimental to ourselves in terms of our mental health and self care. It’s a double-edged sword and that super woman complex of being perfect and flawless. When you’re resilient there’s no other option but to be great.
Slay In Your Lane (£16.99, Harper Collins) is out now.
For more information on the book follow the  Slay in Your Lane twitter and instagram account @slayinyourlane

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