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Autograph Your Work


There is this lady who sells roasted yam and plantain at a popular spot where I reside. Most times when you get there you see scores of people patiently waiting their turns to get served. She has a neighbor who sells same stuff who mostly will have enough of the delicacy without any one waiting in turn to have them. And I would always wonder how come these people waiting can’t just buy from this other lady instead of complaining of how long they have been waiting; after all is it not the same roasted yam and plantain they both are selling?
But then I reasoned; is it actually the same? There must be something that stands the first lady out from her neighbor. She obviously must have mastered the art of the preparation of this delicacy in such a way that people won’t mind spending much time to get it even in the face of a faster alternative. That is called ‘Autographing your work!’
We live in an age where people just want to gain prominence overnight; they want to get to the top of the ladder without the rigors of climbing it. They want an omelet and yet don’t want to break an egg. I am a firm believer in the fact that success comes when you do what you do so well that it carries your ‘signature’ on it. 

I have a younger one who anytime he passes through my home in my absence I get to know the moment I get into my closet. How? He places things in such orderly manner that the next thing I say is ‘this guy was here!’ He truly autographs his work! 

The question is, ‘do you autograph your work? Do you do what you do so well that it sets you apart? It’s not in the position or portfolio but more in the delivery. I once said to my hubby, “if I was a cleaner, I will clean so well that my boss can’t do without my services”. And trust me, when you get to that point where your output literally stands you out, you will be sought after. That’s what translates into success.
Let’s learn a lesson from Nehemiah in the Bible. He was just a butler but he was so good at what he did that the king noticed his sad countenance one of the days he served and asked what the matter was. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his ways, he will stand before kings and not before mean men”. If Nehemiah wasn’t good at what he did, I bet you he wouldn’t have gotten such recognition from the king.
How do you do what you do?
There is a dearth of excellence, initiative and creativity in our workspace these days. We don’t give our best to what we do; we just go through the motions and still expect to get the rewards and promotions. We don’t want to go the extra mile but want to get the extra bonuses. We should do what we do in such a way that our work can speak for us in our absence.

Invest in yourself, develop yourself to be better, set yourself apart from the crowd and you will see that even if its tables you are cleaning, it will open doors to greater opportunities for you.

 Imagine a team where everyone goes the extra mile to do his bit in such an excellent manner; can you just imagine what the output will be?
I stumbled across this story in a watsApp group I belong which further buttresses this point:
“Obi and Odu joined a company together a few months after their one year national service (NYSC).

After a few years of work, their Manager promoted Obi to a position of Senior Sales Manager, but Odu remained in his entry level, Junior Sales Officer position.

Odu developed a sense of jealousy and disgruntlement, but continued working anyway.

One day Odu felt that he could not work with Obi anymore. He wrote his resignation letter, but before he submitted it to the Manager, he complained to him that Management did not value hard working staff, but promoted only the favored!

The Manager knew that Odu worked very hard for the years he had spent at the company; even harder than Obi and therefore he deserved the promotion. So in order to help Odu realize the difference, the Manager gave him a task.

‘Go and find out if anyone is selling water melon in town?’

Odu returned and said, ‘yes there is someone!’

The Manager asked, ‘how much per kg?’ Odu drove back to town to ask and then returned to inform the Manager; ‘they are N100.00 per kg!’

The Manager told Odu, ‘I will give Obi the same task that I gave you. Please pay close attention to his response!’

So the Manager said to Obi, in the presence of Odu; ‘Go and find out if anyone is selling water melon in town?’

Obi went to find out and on his return he said:

‘Manager, there is only one person selling water melon in the whole town.

The cost is N500.00 for each water melon and N300. 00 for a half melon. He sells them at N100.00 per kg when sliced. He has in his stock 93 melons, each one weighing about 7kg.

He has a farm and can supply us with melons for the next 4 months at a rate of 102 melons per day at N350.00 per melon; this includes delivery.

The melons appear fresh and red with good quality, and they taste better than the ones we sold last year.

He has his own slicing machine and is willing to slice for us free of charge.
We need to strike a deal with him before 10am tomorrow and we will be sure of beating last year’s profit in melons by over N2,300,000.00.

This will contribute positively to our overall performance as it will add a minimum of 8.78% to our current overall sales target.

I have put this information down in writing and it’s available on spreadsheet. Please let me know if you need it as I can send it to you in fifteen minutes.’”

Same assignment, different output. One did his just the way most other persons would have; with no initiative, no creativity, no ownership. The other owned the assignment and gave a Midas touch to it. He literally put his ‘signature’ all over the assignment. Why won’t he be preferred? It’s not rocket science, it’s not juju; that your colleague is not manipulating the boss; he is just autographing his work.

Titles are good, positions are great but what will stand you out is how you do what you do.
This is what it means to Autograph your work!


  1. You are right, we have to learn the act of Autographing our work as a writer to really get the attention and approval desired from the audience. It not just about getting a book published with a pretty paperback but about the content in it. the quality of the content and its relevance to the targeting audience. You are on point. Thank you for sharing such an insightful article.