My blog has officially gone global. I was approached by InterNations who asked to advertise my blog in exchange for a questionnaire and a write-up about them. I whole heartedly accepted, hey, if this could mean a professional career in what I love most apart from cooking, of course I would say yes.
You all probably already know of them, (I’m always late to the party) but InterNations is present in 390 cities across the world and just like the likes of the Expats websites, gives you a chance to connect with other expats in town. The difference with InterNations is that you have to be invited. The benefit being that you know that almost all (I say almost because you can never leave out a margin of area for one crazy), members are genuine. It also has an element of Linkedin whereby you can connect to existing members, which I think gives it that special touch and well hey if it works for Linkedin.
There are two types of memberships, the basic membership which is free, you get all the mod cons of every expat website, and there is the Albatross package, this gives you newsletters, discounts on events and a lot of other things which justifies the £3 a month package. Whichever package you use, it still allows you to connect with expats in your country and all over the world. I have to admit, with the crazy few weeks I’ve had, I am still discovering the ins and outs of the site and what it has to offer, but what I do know is that there is a large following and you can never have to many networking opportunities, especially when you are a foreigner, a stranger or have not lived in this town long enough to build up a strong link of networks. In addition, they have lots of information about Ghana such as history, business etiquette, what to expect when you get here, working in Ghana, Economical Challenges, it’s a one stop shop of information, and much more tactful in the way they view the country than I do.
An article which I found of use is their business etiquette page, it is so precise that I have had to copy and paste what has been said for those of you who are thinking or are about to come to Ghana so that you know what to expect:
Time’s a Factor
If you did successfully land a work permit for Ghana, you should brief yourself on the most important facts to keep in mind about the Ghanaian workplace before you start your expat assignment. One key fact, which is probably particularly important to remember for those of you who are used to a rigid and loaded schedule, is the concept of time. Flexibility is vital here, as punctuality is not seen as overly important. You should always try to leave a time buffer between meetings to be able to react to any eventualities. However, as flexible as the local understanding of time may be, it is important to always schedule appointments ahead.
Other Key Values
• As in numerous other countries, you will have a hard time separating business from your personal life. Getting to know your colleagues and business partners is very important, and topics which are almost always brought up also include personal ones such as family, health, or social life. In fact, family life is still one of the main social pillars in the Ghanaian society and valued very highly. When getting to know new people in your work life, take the time and get to know one another a little bit. You should also not be surprised if your initial meetings with business partners contain little to no talk about business.
• Hierarchy and the respect a higher social status commands are very important, and not addressing higher-ups and elders in the appropriate manner are a ready source of social faux pas in Ghana. When in doubt, make a point of asking the first colleague you are introduced to about the proper ways of addressing people around you.
• Professional and academic titles are just as important as the hierarchical addresses mentioned above. If someone you meet around the workplace has credentials, you are sure to find out. You are expected to address these people with their respective titles.
• You might already be familiar with the concept of ‘face’, i.e. honor, dignity, and good reputation. A possible loss of face is horrid to a Ghanaian and should not be taken lightly. As the individual is subordinate to the family in Ghanaian culture, loss of face will also directly affect the next of kin. If you have somehow manoeuvred your way into a situation where your counterpart could lose face, you will realize it by the silence that will fill the room. This is the common reaction in situations like these; try not to break or fill the silence. As causing loss of face to others is also dreaded, the conversation style in Ghana is rather indirect.
There is a lot more information to share, if you are not already a member, check it out and if you are interested in joining, drop me a comment of email me and I will invite you (haha…feels so pompous saying I will invite you but it is what it is…lol)
For any of the existing members, I would like to make a shameless plug and invite you to the Cave, it is in Osu, it is on the first right road after the Honey Suckle Pub and a few metres past the Tasty Jerk Pub. As a thank you for the invite and for advertising my blog I have agreed with the boss that for my new family you on weekdays, before 9pm, you are entitled to a large bottle of beer for 3.50ghs, a draft pint for 1.50ghs and 5ghs on selected cocktails including a Mojito, Margarita and Sex on the Beach. Just tell the barman that you are an InterNations member.
So my advertisement comes to an end, thank you for reading. I would like to say thank you to Dimitris for reading my blog, who knows, the next time I write to you, it will be to tell you that I am getting paid for to write, you never know. I am a strong believer in God and that everything happens for a reason. I started this blog knowing I had my 3 beautiful friends reading it, but not thinking anybody else would be interested, but now here I am. So you never know.
check out my interview on http://www.internations.org/ghana-expats/guide/recommended-expats-blogs-ghana-16109/efia-efiasworld-3 (or something like that…lol)
Until the next time x