2007-09-13 / Front Page

Workshop gives women solution to work woes

BY JENNIFER AMATO Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK - There is state in this world where everyone loves life, is happy with their jobs and completely loves the idea of going to work each morning.

That state, according to Ekan Onyile, is the State of Denial.

Onyile, the founder of myAngels, Inc., located on Hudson Avenue in North Brunswick, presented a seminar designed to empower females who are struggling in the workforce at the township library on Saturday.

The employee of the Superior Court of Essex County started her own company in an attempt to encourage women to make the most of their careers and assist them when their work environment is not the most suitable.

"Helping women and in turn being helped by them and learning from them and being encouraged by them," is her purpose, along with "having good people around me because they lift me up and make me feel good."

Onyile's focus is on career success, since, "career success means different things to different people. For some it is having the corner office in Manhattan; for others it is just something you enjoy doing."

Using a workbook she created, Onyile had the women in the audience define how they measure their work performance, whether by a decent salary, good benefits, being happy, achieving personal goals or helping others. She provided a self-assessment chart to rank personal feelings about responsibilities at work, quality of supervision, relationships with fellow employees and incentives and rewards.

"We put so much emphasis on our careers but life is a whole lot more than careers. But sometimes we make it the center of everything," she said.

To stay positive at work, employees should keep personal problems personal, develop an office support system, be organized, move around, accept coworkers for who they are and focus on the positive. Onyile said that when you work for a company, you tend to blame your associates, the boss or the system for your failures. Yet she said that women must take credit for both their successes and their failures, and learn from each. By never settling and always striving for more, she said challenges and adversity can be turned into opportunities for advancement.

"You have to turn the lens to you first before pointing fingers," she said.

The mother of three said that every employee must figure out what their obligations are to their employer, whether contractual or expected, and that the employee should be cognizant of what their employer should be providing to them. If the differences between reality and what the employee expects are too far apart, the definition of success must be compared to what the current situation provides.

If an employee does not feel their company is respecting them, they must handle their situation either by talking to a coworker, speaking with a boss or creating an outlet in order to make the work environment for acceptable. They should step away from the action, remain in control, stay focused, tune out negativity, enlist allies and look for patterns. In the event of an office conflict, they should address the underlying problem, air grievances sensitively and manage stress.

Onyile also said that your immediate supervisor has a lot to do with how you perform at work, so bosses who are jealous, insecure, distrusting, micromanaging or controlling must be dealt with in a manner which pleases them in order to keep the peace. On the other hand, she said any excellent administrators should be complimented for their behaviors because they are people, too.

"If you have a great boss you have to help that boss be great. You have to let that person know the good things they're doing for you," she said.

After all of the self-evaluation, Onyile said that in the event of overwhelming career boredom without an opportunity to change directions, a good solution is making the most of life in general. She said a good employee should continue to put their best work and attitude forward without cutting corners, but that time outside of the office should be spent on pleasurable activities.

Onyile noted her own husband and children as sources of happiness. Other tips for making life more interesting include writing a book, volunteering, publishing a newsletter, starting your own business or becoming a product demonstrator.

If all else fails and the situation is unbearable, Onyile said that it is time to make choices for a long-term plan. By establishing goals for one month from now to five years from now, a broader perspective can help women update their résumés, look for new jobs, consider going back to school or pursue a new career.

"If all you are getting from your job is a paycheck, chances are the intangibles are very little and that causes [problems]," she said. "Toxic people can be around you, but you can still be above it all."

For more information about myAngels and their services, contact Onyile at (732) 418- 9249 or at myangels.services@ verizon.net.

The workshop held on Saturday will be repeated on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the library at 880 Hermann Road. Registration is not required, but seating is limited. For more information, call (732) 246- 3545 or visit www.northbrunswicklibrary.org.

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