| Academia Nomad | Edited
WAIGANI - Until a couple of weeks ago, I had spoken to Lazarus Towa just once. We’d met briefly, greeted and passed by.
That’s what you do when you meet your Facebook friend, right?
But I’d been hoping to speak to this guy. To ask him questions.
Throughout Papua New Guinea Lazarus is known as the guy who runs the popular ‘Current Job Vacancy Repost with LT’, a Facebook group that has 202, 000 followers.
The guy was awarded the Young Men of Honour by Digicel Foundation in 2018, won the 2018 Commonwealth Youth Award from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and had a chat with Prince Harry.
When I walked past Lazarus a second time, I acted as though I just stumbled across a long lost friend.
We high fived and I invited myself to the empty seat opposite him. Our chat lasted over an hour. It began with the question: ‘How do you do it?’
Lazarus received, and replies to, about 500 messages a day.
They come from people in all walks of life and from across the Pacific region.
They concern matters like the job vacancies he shares on his Facebook, how to develop CVs, how to prepare a job application, scholarships and much more.
Lazarus was one of the first among his friends to get a job after the end of his final year of studies in 2014, thanks to an internship the previous year with the Australian Awards office in PNG.
When he secured a job with Awards PNG (he’s now with the US Embassy in PNG), he started helping his friends to find jobs.
Using his own resources Lazarus would do their photocopies, scans, fix their CVs and other tasks.
He realised that not everyone can develop a good CV, or properly market their skills or even present well at an interview.
He thought, ‘If this is the problem people I know face, then there must be many more who face such challenges’.
And this gave birth to the now popular Current Job Report with LT.
Lazarus says that he has directly helped more than 700 people to get jobs, an estimation based on how many people send him a message of thanks or post on Facebook and tag him after getting a job with his help. I think this is a conservative estimate.
I asked Lazarus whether it had ever crossed his mind to monetise his large number of followers.
He said he has never monetised his followers, and never will.
He provides the jobs service because it gives him joy to help other people get an opportunity in life.
And his reward is when someone gets an opportunity in life because of his intervention.
“We could walk out of here right now (we were at Cuppa Coffee at Vision City) and before we reached the front gate, we will be stopped couple of times along the way and people will thank me for helping them get a job or a scholarship,” Lazarus told me.
When I asked how he could respond to 500 messages a day, it invoked a long discussion.
The answer was that Lazarus applies a combination of effective planning and efficient use of time.
He has developed sample answers for the most popular questions.
So if you asked for tips about job interviews, he can copy and paste a detailed response he’s prepared previously and email it to you, or send you a PDF.
If the request is for more details about a job vacancy, he’ll send you details and contacts he prepared before posting.
Lazarus also uses a strategy I use in my personal life: the incremental use of time.
You don’t wait until the last minute and do everything at once. Work in five minute sequences Give five minutes to the task at hand and move on to the next five minute task.
If you’re consistent, by the end of the day you’ll have done a lot more than you usually do.
Lazarus spends his lunch hours and after work hours replying to messages.
He doesn’t do his voluntary work helping people to new opportunities during work hours at the US Embassy.
Lazarus said he will do ‘Current Job Vacancy Repost with LT’ for free as long as Lazarus Towa is alive.
Finally, I asked him how he managed Facebook criticisms that he did this for his own gain.
It was a silly question but I had to ask it because I have read negative comments and accusations.
Lazarus responded that if you have a clear conscience, and you know what you’re doing, that is all you need.
“Criticisms has been, and always will be, a cousin of any good intentions.”
Lazarus is a normal Kerowagi kid who uses his time, energy, and passion to help other humans.
If we set aside five minutes to help another countrymen, a stranger, we will have helped PNG in a great way.
And if you see Lazarus, give him a high-five. The guy has a huge smile.