With Moses Nosike
Iyimide Ruseme is an engineer by training and profession. He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University some decades ago with a degree in civil engineering. Ruseme worked with two companies after his youth service before joining CFAO Structec, as a site engineer. Today, he has risen on job to the level of Deputy Managing Director, CFAO Structec.
He did not mince words to x-ray those factors responsible for rising on the job as experiences differ from company to company.
“My father was a top civil servant and that helped me . He made sure I didn’t lack the basic necessities of life. So, my father gave us the best gift which is education. He told us not to expect big parcels in money but he ensured that our school bills were settled.
“One of the challenges I had was when I had misunderstanding with some lecturers who didn’t like my style. But I took lesson from them because basically, they made me realise that I’m in the university, didn’t need to be pampered .
So, one does not go through life dealing with people who like him. You have to acquire skills to deal with people who don’t like you and people whom you don’t like. Therefore, you have to find a common ground to do business and that is life for you.
“For me, my experience in CFAO Structec is an experience in learning, an experience that has broadened my scope and made me have more focuse in life. I enjoy what I’m doing as an engineer because it’s my natural inclination to see things being built, taking a project from conception, seeing things in three dimensions.
Basically that is what gives me joy and that is why I chose to study civil engineering. In civil engineering, the project starts in your head and from your head, you do your calculation to see if it’s possible .
You now interpret it into drawings which you will use to communicate with other engineers because the principal medium of communication in civil engineering is your drawings.In drawings you have virtually all the information you need – you have the dimension, specification and everything already in the drawing.
You may not understand each other’s language, but it’s possible you understand each other’s drawings and that is the language of engineering. I enjoy that aspect of it because with the drawings, you can now go to site and build it up from the scratch .
However, when you are an engineer in training, you tend to do everything in best practice with best engineering solutions. When I first joined CFAO, I was always going for best possible engineering solutions, but I tell you I got my wake up call when I first had my annual review and my boss told me I was excellent in most aspects but when it came to commercial, he scored me below average.
I was surprised and I was like, how do you mean? Initially he did not want to explain because he is an European and we had communication challenges. But after talking with him for several weeks, I came to discover that there are issues in engineering and that when you are doing engineering ,it has to be with purpose.
As an engineer, you are to optimise for the client, for yourself, that is the company and the society. You have to strike for a balance. For instance, if you want to do a cubic of concrete with 10 bags. That is okay but six bags may be enough. The ten bags is marginally better but it’s not optimal. That is the kind of example I can give.
So , when I have a project, I try to understand the value system of the client. Already, I have that of the company and myself in mind and the value system for the society too. Within the three constraints, I try to get the best solution for the job. Over the years, one important principle I use as my guiding light is that in any position I found myself, I look at it as running my own company.
Of course, when you now cast yourself in that light, you will no longer see it as employer and employee relationship but you will now see that job as your personal property. My father used to tell us that anything you found yourself doing, do it to the best of your ability.
Albeit, any job you found doing, first personalise it, ask yourself a question, if this is my job or my company, how do I make it work? That is the first question you ask yourself.
Then, you do it well. Too, study the character and culture of the company you are working because each company has its own character and culture for you to know what value is cherished in that environment.
Basically, you get promotion when you add value and vice versa. If you are in sales department of a company and you don’t know how to sell well, you wouldn’t rise. If you are in research and development company and you don’t have anything to contribute intellectually as in research results ,you will not rise . If you are not contributing anything to the main goal or in any way supporting the values and the main goal of the company, you are likely to stagnate.
You might be doing your work but that is not the issue. What matters is, are you adding value to the set goal? And for you to add value, you must know what values and of course it differs from individual to individual; company to company. So, you must study the character and culture and know those people rising and why they are rising. Producing results sometimes is not enough. You need to get the confidence of your boss.
Today, you may be deceiving yourself that you are working for somebody, but when you don’t get the skill to work for somebody else, you can’t work for yourself. And when you go out, you can’t give out what you don’t have because you have not developed a skill to rise. So, when you are working for someone, try to develop skill and acquire the know-how.
But if you say this is not my business, you don’t develop skill and basically that has happened to several civil servants who think it’s nobody’s job and when they leave, they discovered that it’s quite difficult for them to understand what business is like.