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Diary of An Unsatisfied Lagos Employee



stressed black womanI really don’t know where to start from or what to say, so I’m just going to paint a picture of what my life as an employee is like. I am taking courses in Enterprise Development and tempting as it is to step from the threshold of employee to entrepreneur, there’s a security that comes with paid employment. I am not strong enough to bear the burden of the risks of a business even though I’d love the joy of doing a business, making profit and going off to buy Jimmy Choo’s just because! Talking about treats, when I started working fulltime (a year ago) and having to pay bills myself, simple things like trips to the salon became treats. Treats in the sense that I don’t go into the salon, steam my hair (N800 approx.), buy two new packs of weave (N3000 approx.), fix my hair (N1500 approx), get a pedicure (N1000approx.) and a manicure (N1000 approx.), have someone else pay the bills (one of my sisters/ a boyfriend/ a toaster/ a ‘friend’ a.k.a that guy with questionable intentions you’ve decided to act blind to), smile, say thank you and be back there in two weeks! Now, these trips are three weeks to one month apart and some things are rotated… a pedicure on this trip, a manicure on the next… hmmm! As an employee, you get paid some change that your employer feels is too much money to pay someone like you. He thinks after all it’s a learning experience for you, so hey you should be grateful for the opportunity. Bollocks! If your employer doesn’t think you can add value to their business, they wouldn’t employ you in the first place and the minute they sense you have become a liability, they’ll kick you out the back door. In reality there are no sentiments in business. Your boss is never really your friend in the real sense of the word…don’t get it twisted!

Don’t get the wrong ideas, I have a good job, I enjoy my job, and I work with some really great and interesting people who over time have become friends of a kind. I don’t work in any of those rigid environments where there is a huge hierarchy and you have to be at work before 8 am and you probably don’t leave till 7 pm. As if the timings aren’t bad enough, you have to wear a suit and heels for all those hours. I wear my jeans and whatever top I feel like wearing, slip on my flat soles and I am good to go! Downside though, unlike the ‘machines’ doing those long hours in the killer heels I am not ‘serviced’ by my employers. No fat pay checks, medical insurance…(now that’s very important!), housing allowance, a car allowance….their system takes from you but gives something back. I am not saying my system doesn’t give certain things; it’s just human nature to think that the grass is always greener (wink!)

Let’s do an analysis of my paycheck. Can you imagine earning £175.00/month? That translates to £2100.00/year. Oops! Did I add my annual Xmas bonus of £15? There you go! Luckily, as a Youth Corps member in Nigeria, I get an additional say £45/month. Please don’t ask me why I am speaking in GBP. It’s just my way of painting a universal picture. If I use NGN, when some people start hearing anything above N20, 000 they’ll probably say, “She’s not happy!” On the other hand, if I use USD, it’ll project an image that the money is still manageable. For me, GBP does it…so deal with it! Now to the crux of the matter, what exactly can that amount of money do for me? Let’s say I decide to take a danfo home every day in a month, I’ll be spending £50/month. Should I attempt taking a taxi every day, I’ll be spending something in the area of £225. Please don’t forget I earn £175/month!

Now, I have lunch at Iya Eba(don’t try the pounded yam and ofada rice!) as opposed to TFC, Tantalizers, Nandos etc. These places I go to just once in a while because an average meal there will cost me say £7.50 while at Iya Eba, after all my orisi risi, I’ll be under £2. Despite all these though, I treat myself to a nice sharwarma or pizza every once in a while. Wetin man go do? And whenever I am in V.I in the afternoon I try to buy Chipsy (dodo)…hmmm…

As if all these are not enough to drive one crazy, you have to deal with people bitching, envious people, bitter people, people you admire inside, attractive guys you can’t have…the list is endless! Sometimes, I go to work day in and day out and I don’t feel like I’m adding any value to my organization. At those times, I’m so depressed and I start to wonder what mid-life crises would be like. Good thing though, those spells never last long. Before long, I’m back to my usual bubbly self.
Anyway, I’m done here for now. Always remember what the wise man says… “seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before common men” (Prov 22:29)

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