Work Mode with Brown Uzoukwu: Coping in Lagos as a Professional Without a Car

dreamstime_l_25131309Most young and fresh career persons working in Lagos State will have to face the challenges of having to pursue their careers in this town without a car of their own. Before the ride comes, you must learn how to deal with the uncertainties and the obvious experiences that the street have to offer. I have encountered, on numerous occasions, young career persons who have allowed the fact that they do not have a car, take a toll on their professional lives. If you don’t handle this stage of your career life properly, it has the capacity of affecting your personal finances, image, psyche and ultimately, your productivity.

So, today, I will be sharing some tips that can help you navigate through the storms of Lagos until your own ride finally arrives.

Transportation Cost
Lagos State is famous for its high cost of transportation; but, the truth is that, you can cut down on what you spend on transportation if you become more aware of your environment. I can remember vividly when I relocated to Lagos, I spent exactly #750 daily on transportation cost alone going to work. It was eating deep into my monthly take home, so I had no option but to shine my eyes wella. Like one of my friends will always say, “I no come Lagos come count bridge”, so I had to become more ruthless with my finances, and I also increased my street awareness. This brought down the transportation cost to just #300 daily.
Please guys, let’s use our heads. Unlike the ladies, no matter how long we stand at that bus-stop, no one is going to give us a lift until the next solar eclipse. So we must be street smart and prudent in spending as regards our movement. Take advantage of the BRT services and the ‘molues’. They are cost effective. Don’t use bikes unnecessarily. Try walking some distance especially after work. It is good for our health ok. *winks*

Public Conduct
Before your ride arrives, it is important you conduct yourself properly in the public for a better image and security reasons. Ensure, you use the pedestrian bridge where ever it is provided instead of crossing the highway. Even if you won’t use the pedestrian bridge because it is the civil thing to do, use it to avoid being a prey for the scavenging eyes of the men in uniform. Those KAI guys can really make your day start on a bad note and you don’t want that.

Secondly, avoid sitting on the aisle in the BRT. This way, you reduce the chances of other passengers messing up your clothes with their luggage and stamping the hell out of your shoes. While the seat by the window is most preferable, remember not take phone calls with your hand that is by the window. Avoid stories that touch.

Finally, reduce the rate at which you eat in a public transport or in the street.

Clean-up Kit
For those of us who work in a more professional environment that requires you to always appear cool, calm and calculated, it is important that we acquire a handy clean up kit that will enable us maintain that cutting edge professional image. Most ladies already know this, but carrying a mini clean-up kit is not an exclusive reserve for the female folks. Guys, we also need the clean-up kit.
There is no excuse for showing up untidy to work or before a prospective clients for the guys in the field. By the time you are done jumping from one BRT to another Danfo, then to one ‘Marwa’ (Keke Napep), you will realize that you are no longer looking your best.

So for the guys, I will suggest that we arm ourselves with a simple clean up kit that will consist of a face towel for keeping our face dry and dust-free, a spare handkerchief for dusting our shoes, a hair brush or a comb, a powder and a cologne for maintaining that fresh aura.

You know how it is, when you leave your house in the morning smelling and looking good, but then you have to pass through an area where some boys will bath you with the smoke of their Indian hemp; or you find yourself having to deal with areas along your route that produces a very strong stench from undisposed waste. Even when you finally board a vehicle to your destination, one ‘Iya Abike’ will also board the same vehicle with her carton of Fresh Fish to complete the deformation process. By the time you get to your destination, you can’t even tell what you are smelling of. This will affect your confidence level and ultimately your productivity. A simple clean up kit will be handy in this situation.

Use your bag and free up your pockets
It is not proper to keep your pant pockets too busy. Things like your wallet, extra phones, ear piece, handkerchief, money and your key should be kept in your bag. It helps you to be more coordinated and more aware of yourself. Having most of this things in your back pocket or breast pocket makes you look tardy and also vulnerable to theft, loss or damage of your properties.

Remember, the idea is for you to be at your best always, and make the most of what you have at the moment. Cherish the moments you have to work without your own ride. It is merely a season of your life. Don’t allow your professionalism, competency or productivity to be questioned because you don’t have a car yet.

Harris Steve said “It’s not what we don’t have that limits us, rather, it is what we have but don’t know how to use”. Have a great day and don’t forget to make your work your passion.

The quickest way to fall in love with your job is to imagine yourself without one. Thank God its Monday #TGIM.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

26 Comments on Work Mode with Brown Uzoukwu: Coping in Lagos as a Professional Without a Car
  • Jo! February 22, 2016 at 11:31 am

    very practical. well done

  • lovely February 22, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Forget comments o. BN girls are only interested in gossips
    They wont come here. Even if the reaqd, they wont drop comments so you ve got to be used to it

  • Minnie February 22, 2016 at 12:08 pm


  • Nammy February 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Though I do not work in Lagos this advice is very practical, I wish some pple could be banned from entering public vehicles cos of their dirt, you will see a mechanic complete with his dirty brown overalls and grease stained palms boarding a bus and sitting next to one who is neatly dressed, granted a mechanic is rendering his own service to the community but if he needs to go out it would be only courteous of him, in deference to other passengers, to clean up a little.

    Since my bill to stop dirty pple from boarding vehicles is still in the freezer, i have decided to employ the second and third points raised by the writer, I will put the second point to use while I improve on my third point- if you see me while going to work and see me at work, you won’t be able to reconcile the two individuals, by the the time my slippers changes to hees remove my bus jacket (which Shields me from dust and other unwanted elements on the road) ,and touch up my make up,I will be transformed into a well dressed professional,il keep this up till I can buy my car.

  • Boo February 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Wonderful write up, all very true.

  • Cocolette February 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Very practical and helpful. Thank you for reminding us of simple stuff we tend to take for granted

  • May February 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Interesting piece!

  • LOVETH February 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Nice article.

  • Mercygal February 22, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    VERY INTERESTING WRITE UP….. THUMBS UP BUT LOL @ “No One Is Going To Give Us (GUYS) A Lift Until The Next Solar Eclipse”

  • MO February 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I can relate to this, getting used to an unorganised transport system. But getting their day by day Lagos is made with traffic and too much I have to keep to myself.

  • beauty February 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    As of today, my white blazer is badly stained, thanks to the bus I entered this morning*sadface*. Had to use a black scarf all day till now on a Monday *weeps*

    • I just waka come… February 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Like seriously, you boarded a Nigerian bus, a danfo, wearing a WHITE Blazer???

      Why didn’t you just stain it yourself from home. At least your stain would have taken pride of place.
      LMAO!!!! Sorry hun. ?

  • Foluke February 22, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Common sense article! Well done!

  • Temi February 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Great article.. There’s also ride sharing which I know is new in Nigeria but looks like it’s catching on. I stumbled on an ad on twitter from a website called GoMyWay . You can check out their twitter handle @gomywayafrica. From what I gather, they connect you with car owners driving your way and you both share the cost of the trip so it’s cheap. I saw some rides for N250 on the site.
    A friend and I debated about the security of an idea like this but I think it’s a fantastic idea and it does look like people are using it. I hope it works out , it will be a better option to the struggles listed above

  • Clara February 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Nice article….Gosh! Lagos transportation is the absolute worst! I remember one time I had to use a bus back home from work. it was a coaster bus ( Mini Molue). Cramped and stuffy, I had to sit beside this meat seller. My Gad! the smell was epic. .I had saliva in my mouth throughout the 2hr ride home. I almost gagged. My throat was on fire the next day.

  • Brown February 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    @Temi… Thanks a lot for that info. I have come across that before but I ve not really verified if they are really functional.

    I will do just that. Its a good alternative

  • Danfo customer February 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Great article Brown. At least someone recognizes that not all BN readers are car owners lol. I came from my cushy job in Northern Nigeria where I was driven places in an official car to Lagos where I had to take danfo to work every morning from Lekki to gbagada. Deeply regret not getting a car while I was balling in the North. Now I have to sit in them cramped danfos besides people who mostly smell like they need a bath. Greatly affected my psyche until I gave myself a pep talk. Now I am saving fiercely to get a car. Only God can help with that though as I don’t earn much now and somehow haven’t been able to reach the target amount lol. In the meantime I will apply Brown’s tips and keep moving and hoping.

  • Helen February 22, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Uber comes in useful
    It’s cheaper than the average taxi and is clean, drivers polite and on time.
    The fleet of cars are new and you can either pay cash or with your card.
    Comes in useful in vex money situations

    • Babycakes February 22, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Are you joking abt this uber gist…really?? for someone that earns 50-100k and lives at ajah and works at ikeja. You are calling uber, so thw person won’t be able to feed and pay basic bills. Obviously, you don’t know anything about all this issue.

  • Great Chidizie February 22, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Nice write up. And you’ve got some sense of humour too.

    I have a date with you every Monday bro!

    Bella what time do you post this so I will set my reminder?

  • beccagenesis February 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    great article!!! thanks for the tips…

  • lacey February 22, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    This is an excellent write up! You are so right! I would rather just drive only weekends if I was still in Lagos. Driving during weekdays on the Island is overly crazy! I was in Nigeria last September! Men stayed at a posh hotel in Omole phase 2 while it was easy to get on the BRT with AC to the Island and used Kekenapep from there! Although I usually get the BRT from 9am after the early morning rush and I had so much fun,behaving like an agbero lady sometimes,no spreeing, it was the day I was going back to the Airport that the Hotel staff even found out I even came from abroad because of their begiratu attitude! At least I saved over a 100k that would have gone for cab fare. I used to stay in Lekki phase 1 then with family,when I decided to rent my own place,house agent was saying 2 bed is 2m for the dirtiest looking 2 bed in Lekki phase 1, agency fee never dey there o and they will ask you to pay for 2 years then pay agency fee! That was how I just decided to relocate to New York! Yes o,after all now one month rent and one month deposit! I started my IT course and since then God has been overly faithful:)

  • Tosin February 22, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    We live in a city, one of the world’s largest (population) with a congestion problem.

    We do NOT need more cars, we need a vastly improved public transportation system. (plus I’m starting to believe in Uber and ride-sharing too.) So we need to adjust our vision. (I also think we need to kill 9 to 5 ing for health’s sake.)

    The government has not communicated this, nor have they ever talked about citizens using dustbins and proper waste-disposal, but such education needs to start.

    The prayer industry too needs to start telling folks the truth – no SUV for you, we would choke to death if God rained down all the cars y’all praying for.

    Sustainability is wealth. Don’t shoot the messenger. And as always, ask google.

  • molarah February 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Great advice, especially that ‘valuables in pockets’ bit. You are in a BRT and you have to be advising the men standing to watch out for the money sticking out of their pockets. Or once they sit next to you, you can literally feel all the 5 phones they stuck in their trouser pocket by your side. Petty thieves have a field day with these kind of situations. A leather or fabric sling bag, even a small one, will hold all your valuables in one safe place and still keep you looking stylish.

  • Tobi February 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I always have my hand cream, hand sanitizer or wipes, shoe cleaner/shiner, face towel and perfume in my bag.. This Lagos cannot come and spoil my fine girl swag abeg *flips hair*.

  • jhennique February 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    The day i wore a light pink blazer to work i had to carry it in a dry cleaners nylon till i reached the office.. I cannot shout

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