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#BN2015Epilogues: Isabella Struggled to Leave Her Comfort Zone & It Paid Off!

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Happy new year to all our readers! As promised, we are continuing the 2015 Epilogues due to the volume of responses we got. We’d like to thank every one who sent an entry, and if you sent your story before the 15th of December 2015, you will see it published on BellaNaija.

If you’re reading this and wondering, ‘What on earth is the series about?’ please catch up HERE.

In today’s edition of the series, find out how Isabella struggled to leave the comfort of ‘cucumbers and onions’ for the peace of the promise land!

****

I had been putting off writing this. But the more I put it off, the more I felt a leading to share my story sorry testimony. If I was in church, I would start with “Prai-prai-praisssseee the Lord” and you would respond, “Ha-ha-haaaalllelujaaahhh!” Can I get a witness BellaNaijarians in the house? Amen.

I started 2015 with a lot of hope…for a change (not in government though). I wanted a personal change. As a creative person, I had become disillusioned in my corporate communications role in a multinational FMCG. As the months rolled by, things went from bad to worse. It just wasn’t working anymore. I was tired and it began to show – the pounds piled on and I just wasn’t ‘popping.’ Work was becoming… work. It was monotonous and despite trying to jazz things up, I wasn’t making headway. But outside work, the story was different.

It was like I became a new person in the evenings and at the weekend, Bella Fierce. From hosting the red carpet at the AMVCAs to travelling abroad for events representing my online publication Nolly Silver Screen, I was having a blast. So why didn’t I leave? Of course, I told myself I was not ready and I really wasn’t. Starting from December 2014, my life had taken a drastic turn when my grandparents relocated and I literally had to grow up and really fast. I now had rent, bills and school fees to pay. I was coming into my own. It was a new experience but I thank God for the loving family and friends who helped me along the way.

I remember discussing with a Pastor friend of mine. And you know when you are in the spirit, you just start speaking Christianese. I told him how I felt I was in Egypt and the thought of leaving scared me. There were too many cucumbers (salary) and onions (perks). It was all I knew as I had been working there since I graduated. I didn’t know what lay ahead in the Promised Land flowing with ‘milk and honey.’ All I could see was a long wilderness journey ahead where I had to depend solely on God for manna (sustenance). I had got used to being the lord and master of my destiny and to be honest, I didn’t want to hand over the reins of control. I didn’t want to wake up wondering how the numbers will balance at the end of the month. It was scary. I was accustomed to a certain kind of life and did not want to give up the safety, security and ‘seeming success.’

On the outside, I had it all going but inside, I was dying away slowly. I felt the more I remained in the job, the more I let God down. I didn’t want to be the servant with underutilized talents that God would take it from me and give it to somebody else. It bothered me but I was stubborn. I bargained with God that I would have a plan – 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.

But you know how God does it. Like Jonah, when he refused to go to Nineveh to preach, He caused a whale to swallow him up. God didn’t leave me alone. Instead, my environment became more uncomfortable. I was not making any progress on the job; in fact, I felt I was regressing. My friend/colleague had moved to another department and was not replaced. It was more work but not ‘more pay.’ There was no silver lining (promotion) in my thunder clouds. It looked gloomy but thankfully, God did not have to send the whale (sack/redundancy) after me. Instead, He started showing His faithfulness.
A day after my birthday, a friend recommended me to be a guest on Channels TV to discuss the Oscars on Rubbin’ Minds. A few months later, after another TV appearance, the producer recommended me to be a co-host on The Frontpage radio programme. In a matter of months, I moved from co-host to main host. Then a producer who I had worked with briefly on an episode of Jara (which didn’t air) a year before called out of the blue and asked me to be the presenter of a new TV show. For me, these were signs of what I should expect in the Promised Land. It didn’t pay much but the fulfillment and satisfaction…you couldn’t put a price on it. Bella got her groove back. Still I was not ready to become a ‘hungry media personality’ (God forbid). My faith wasn’t ready for a full and swift change. So I started asking myself, ‘What else can I do?’ Teaching.

Teaching was something I toyed with but it was supposed to be something that I would do in the future – when raising a family. I asked around about doing part time teaching and called a high school friend who left her degrees in law and diplomacy for education. I told her I was looking to make a change. She was excited. She told me she didn’t know why I was wasting away in my job that I wasn’t doing myself any favours. Afterall, I had studied Education with English and Drama at the University of Cambridge. She promised to speak to the MD of a school in Lagos. And boy did she ‘sell my market finish.’ In a matter of days, I had an interview and was offered an opportunity to teach, do some PR work, writing and even set up my own club. Encouraged, I went to two other schools and they were eager to get me on board in one capacity or the other. Yet I was still thinking of cucumbers and onions. I wanted my thirteenth month, bonus and Christmas party. I didn’t want to leave my friends. I didn’t want to walk on water. I mean how do you leave a well paying job and become a teacher? In this economy when people are looking for jobs??? I spoke to HR and they kept assuring me that there were big plans for me that I just had to be patient. I even applied for another role in the company but I did not have the experience.

Then one day in one of my low moods, my friend casually asked if I was going to make it to the end of the year. That got me thinking. What did I have to lose or gain if I left immediately? If I went for my three month plan? I contacted two of the schools if I could start work the next month. It was a resounding YES. That was all I needed to take the leap of faith. With no offer letter, I handed in my resignation letter the following week. As soon as I did that, I felt a weight had been lifted off. Literally, my step had a spring and my smile met the eye. Of course, people thought I had made a BIG mistake and would regret my decision but they were the minority. I received so much encouragement and support from my family and friends. It was unbelievable.

Today, I am on my way to the Promised Land. I work in schools/teach part time and also have my side hustle; writer, editor, presenter, voice over artiste and actress. Original Hustler. I have continued to get offers to work full time but I have had to turn them down. I love having my time…so I can be creative and follow my passion. Teaching is exciting and my students inspire me. They also look for my trouble but hey, c’est la vie. I have had to learn quickly on the job but I am just grateful that I have been given an opportunity to add value using my different talents. Yorubas will say, ‘omo wa se, o ri se’ which roughly translates to, ‘you are looking for job, now you have seen real work.’ But I am happy and the sacrifices are worth it.

As the year comes to an end, I am not where I want to be but I am glad I am not where I used to be. When I resigned, so many people came up to me to applaud me on my boldness. Some told me I inspired them and wish they could be in my shoes. As they preached on Sunday, God doesn’t only speak in an audible voice, He also speaks through people. And all these remind me that ‘eye has not seen, ear has not heard, mind has not comprehended what God has in store for me’. Amen!

31 Comments

  1. Ivy

    January 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    This is totally amazing! God works wonders indeed.

  2. OMOLARA

    January 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    also waiting for manna cos all i c is wilderness but i am hopeful…

    • Bella

      January 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Me too my dear. This is a very motivational read, thank you for sharing o.

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you namesake Bella 🙂

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      It will come. God is never late.

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      It will. God is never late.

  3. Odididi

    January 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Such a lovely writeup. U conquered fear and soared high. Gods grace this year dearie!!

  4. @edDREAMZ

    January 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    All i see is God and God and the man no never try for my matter i just bone am one side till i see a miracle then i go start dey reason am again…… Gud for yu though…..
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  5. Suchaninspiration!

    January 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Hi

    Your story is just the inspiration I need to move into teaching this year. I have tried in the past but everyone seems to think its ‘beneath my capcities’. I think otherwise.

    Please can you send me an email where I can get in touch with you. Perhaps you can give me a few pointers on how to make a headway into the education sector

    Waiting to hear from you.

    Thanks

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you, please feel free to get in touch or you can drop your email address. Teaching has its own challenges but it is fun and you keep learning. You don’t want your students going to google to check your every word. You will enjoy it!

  6. Xavier

    January 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    My sister, the way you feel is exactly the same way I feel at my job. I work in an advert agency and it is well paying by any standard. I just feel like I need to move as I am a more Brand Management/ Corporate Communications person than Digital Marketing which I am currently doing. If you can help with this offer in your previous company, I’ll be super appreciative. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks Xavier for your comment. I am not sure if the position has been filled. Your experience in advertising will definitely be a plus. Good luck!

  7. Jika

    January 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Oh Bella!!! I am so happy to hear this. You are an amazing, driven, passionate… I have told you this several times. I am rooting for you and I know that you will be a huge success at whatever you do. You are not a half-measures kinda girl. I love you hun and wish you the very best. xoxo

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Awww Jika thank you. You have been a huge part of my writing starting from our Farafina days and even when you left you gave Tayo and I are writing jobs. Thanks 🙂 I pray God will help me surpass your high expectations IJN Amen.

  8. Tosin

    January 13, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    kisses.

  9. bisisexy

    January 13, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Nice one, I feel very bad where I work now but my mu. And pple kip telling me dat I Shld stay. My problem is bad bcos my pay is small am siting on u God

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Pray about it. Discuss with your mum and let her know your decision is not a hasty one. Parents only want the best for their children.

  10. bisisexy

    January 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Hey my God I have to remove dis auto correct on my phone, it changes my words, I mean am waiting on u God,and my mum feels I Shld stay

  11. elsa

    January 14, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Congratulations!! Yours is an amazing story where you conquered fear and took that leap of faith. Truly, the fear for the unknown is what keeps people in a situation that isn’t even much favorable, just comfortable. Your story/testimony has inspired me so much this morning.So I’m going to pray to God to give me the courage to take my own leap of faith. Thanks so much.

  12. elsa

    January 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Congratulations!! Yours is an amazing story where you conquered fear and took that leap of faith. Truly, the fear for the unknown is what keeps people in a situation that isn’t even much favorable, but merely familiar. Your story/testimony has inspired me so much this morning.So I’m going to pray to God to give me the courage to take my own leap of faith. Thanks so much.

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you Elsa. Just trust Him and step out of the boat. It is also good to save and plan towards it.

  13. Didi

    January 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, i don’t know where to begin. My story is so similar to this amazing story. I am currently shaking and in tears as i read through this story. First i really want to say that i really love Bellanaija, it is a platform that inspires and motivates. I can’t go a day without visiting this site because of amazing articles like this.
    I also studied English language Education in one of the southern universities in Nigeria. But my passion has been for acting and screen writing, Up till today I can’t fathom the level of bravery and determination i had to resign from a international airline job i had and relocated to Lagos 4 years just to pursue this career.
    My first year in Lagos wasn’t rosy at all, I had began going for auditions and doing some writing but the jobs came in bits and paid poorly, Out of fear for survival I quickly began to seek the usual white collar jobs which i eventually got 2 years ago but i dreaded teaching because I thought it might make me appear older since I was single. The pay isn’t fantastic ( Cause I am currently in it) no room for promotion and the only deluding benefit is the free access to the internet. I have never been happy but I was scared to leave; just like you also, i was waiting for the 13th month, an wretched bag of rice and a gallon of oil; which I always send back home. This job became and still remains consuming that it has affected my social and spiritual life. Up until now, I tell you that i have no one i can call friend or hang out with in this city.
    Prior to end of last year most of the acting and writing jobs began to air on some local stations and people began to commend me on how talented i was; most of them were very impressed. This again encouraged me that immediately i resumed work this year, i decided that i will send in my applications for teaching jobs; this i’m sure just like you have said, will give me time to do all the things i love and want to do with my life.
    Last week again, a director who i wrote a script for years back literally begged me to write him a series and I agreed. All that remains now is to get that teaching job and I’m dropping my resignation with a bang! Like D’ bang will say you only have one life to…. have nothing to lose.
    Thank you for sharing this amazing story. It has truly inspired me further. Kisses xoxo

    • Isabella Akinseye

      January 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks Didi for sharing your story. Congrats on your writing gigs. For teaching, you can start with lesson and on a part time basis. Schools are always looking for good English teachers. You can also check online for job postings.

  14. X-Factor

    January 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Wow!!!

  15. taiwo

    January 30, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Very inspiring!

  16. Isabella Akinseye

    June 8, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you

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