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Ivy O: Let’s Talk About the Struggle of the Nigerian Job Hunt


 on - More Downloads-4Recently heard the gist about the CBN employing children of Nigerian “Top men” and there was an outcry. It all seemed so funny to me. Like is this new gist or is this why you people are shouting all over social media?
We are Nigerians. We know how getting jobs work. 4 in every 5 people will most likely use “connects” to get a job, whether it’s in CBN or in Ekeson and Sons Co. Actually the whole world is like that, people fix their kids in positions they feel are best for them. It’s a human thing. You want what’s best for you kid. It’s just more pronounced, or obvious, or “in your face” in Nigeria, and much more rampant if I might add. While I have given up on us following due process, my only issue is that when they are hiring the children of the “top men”, they should please hire the qualified ones.

Having said all of that, have you tried getting a job on your own in Nigeria with no connects, only armed with your certificates and hope? Bruhhhhhhhh! The struggle is the realest! After my NYSC, I thought it won’t be that hard. I mean I’ve heard of people’s job search stories, even testimonies in church of people who waited up to a decade before they could get a job. I didn’t think it would be that difficult in my case. I graduated with a good result in IT, from the best private University, certifications, “krim krim” English, I just assumed “It can’t be that hard”. I planned to go for my Masters after NYSC but due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to wait. My email that period was just the funniest. Jobberman, PushCV, NgCareers. I was applying here and there. In my head, if I apply to 20, at least 5 will answer me. Jokes. Most of the job postings I was seeing were even putting me off. “2 years post NYSC experience”, “5yrs experience”, and these were jobs that weren’t even paying up to 150k Naira. I was more annoyed by the “post NYSC experience”. So you mean to tell me that my sojourn in a foreign land working 9-5 is meaningless? What?

2 months in and I hadn’t gotten a reply. That’s another issue Nigerian employers need to work on. At least Oyinbo people will confirm they have gotten your CV and reply you if they don’t want to. Nigerian employers just leave you hanging. Anyway, after a while, my mum said she had given my CV to some people. One uncle in one top parastatal called me to send my CV to him immediately. Please bear in mind that I did not ask him, I was on my own and he called. This was late 2014, till date I haven’t heard from him.

We entered 2015. Being in Abuja didn’t even help matters. It’s mostly Federal Government jobs and the people who were supposed to be “connects” kept saying “Bring your CV after election”. I tried to do web design which I really didn’t like, but I could do it, and I kept hearing ridiculous things like “Will you take 20k?” or “Just do the website when it starts making enough money I will pay you”. By the second quarter, a friend helped me with a job at a Photography and Imaging company as a customer care rep. It paid just 60k Naira, but it was close to home, and by then I was frustrated with staying at home, as I’d never been at home for more than 3 months. I already knew I would be going for my Masters by the end of the year, so I just needed something to gett me out of the house every day. After one week at the job, my mum asked me to quit. You know that thing they say about “What an elder sees standing, bla bla bla…” Brethren it is true. I refused to quit. I was working weird hours, from 7am to 7 or 8pm, plus weekends.
Then there was that “female beef” thing at the office. Apparently someone did not like me because they felt I was “ajebo” so they started making things difficult for me. After a month, I quit. I couldn’t imagine working in such hostile environment for long hours for 60k Naira. By the way, many Nigerian employers will treat you anyhow because they know jobs are scarce. Lol. And yes, they ended up paying me 32k Naira.

I tried a bunch of places after that. My mum asked me to apply to Immigrations and I looked at her like she didn’t want me as a child anymore. Can you remember the Immigrations incident in 2014?

Another issue, if you hear “Marketer Needed”, unless you are brave and full of energy, well… Anyway, where did my job search not take me to? There was a day I even ended up in a training for fire fighters. I didn’t know it wasn’t for me. I just heard “job interview” and I ran there. Till I left in September 2015, I still didn’t get a job.

Now having experienced all that, I’m sure some people have had it worse, I have vowed that my kids will not go through such stress. If I can fix them somewhere good, I will. I won’t even lie. I have friends who have been earning less than 100k naira for almost 2yrs and they can’t leave because no other jobs. And these are people who spent way more than half a million every year trying to get a degree. Even trying to get an internship position while in University, you need someone to help you. I interned in a top parastatal, and every time there was new staff, it was the battle of surnames. Very few things are by merit in Nigeria.

Someone also pointed out another angle. Many Nigerian “graduates” do not even help matters. I met so many people in NYSC camp that couldn’t spell, speak proper English, or use a computer. So many times, these employers pick children of “top men” because they assume they went to better schools and are better qualified because of their backgrounds. I’m not saying this is right, I’ve encountered qualified intelligent people from not so “elite” backgrounds. I’m just showing you an angle someone pointed out.

That being said, how many of you will try to put your kids in good positions if you had the opportunity?

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Ivy is a certified nerd who is terrible at writing bios and great at taking selfies. When she isn't eating or studying, she is most likely to found on Twitter


  1. banana

    April 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

    who wouldnt?

  2. chydyke

    April 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Very well said my dear. That’s the world we live in, nothing comes to u bcoz u merit it but the connections u have to be able to get that which u need. In the past employers go to Schools to seek for best brains to take in as their staff. This time around u must have like 300k – 600k to get a job in govt establishments or know some1 who will take u by the hand to an employer or u will remain jobless for life even with ur 1st class degree. We take solace in God alone.

  3. Ocean Beauty

    April 26, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Some of us no fall for blow and we no fall for slap but na divine connection all the way. That’s all I need.

  4. cynthia

    April 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    mine was God and till today nobody believe me

  5. NUNU

    April 26, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Nne you have said it all. That’s how someone wouldl be told they will pay you one amount, you start the job and suprise! It’s another gist. God will help us in this our Nigeria

  6. LolaLayi

    April 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    This “who you know” mentality is too much in Nigeria. Its not true that you have to know somebody to get a job, plenty of people get jobs on merit without knowing anybody. I got my job on merit, did NYSC there and they retained me, didn’t know common secretary sef in the company.
    Also Adaku of TWP wrote a career post on her blog & in her whole career she got all her jobs without knowing anybody. SO Im just saying that maybe we should let go of the mentality.

    • ms lala

      April 26, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      You Adaku got her Job at GE and didn’t know anybody. Bloody lie. Her oldman made the phone call. Really u bought that lie for 100 naira, aunty please ask for change . eziokwu TWP has the brain that I won’t dispute , but na mma madu she take collect the work.

    • Weezy

      April 26, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      What blog? Links please.

    • Bleed Blue

      April 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      It’s a blog called Third World Profashional.

      Adaku…gotta love that chic. My fellow lawyer who has copious amounts of personal style and is a smart cookie with remarkable wit . Very glad for the day I bumped into her blog a few years ago.

      Yes she did write on career advancement through the use of social media, and even though I’m fortunate to be well employed, her article was worth every moment. Please find the link below:

  7. "changing moniker"

    April 26, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    the firefighter training cracked me up… colleagues were looking at me one kind..
    I got my job through diving grace. zero connections, zero merit . just divine grace..

  8. Hmmm

    April 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I know everyone keeps saying you need to know someone to get your jobs. I have had 3 jobs so far in Nigeria and all 3 were purely based on the application process. So don’t give up on yourself and think it’s the end if you know no one. I finished with a first class but I know people with 2-1s who also got jobs without connections.

  9. nene

    April 26, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    funny article but its all truth.

  10. obi-talker

    April 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I enjoyed this article, it was So funny, but yes I do know people who got jobs without ‘know man’ but the percentage is small

  11. Hordunayor

    April 29, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Well, i am still in this same battles…… even when some of us feel we are very GOOOOOOD, but the hustle is truly REALLLLLLLLL!!!

    Connect does matter, if you have someone who truly want to help, My TOP Politician uncle said to me TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST; TOUGH PEOPLE DO!!! The economy is HARD!!! keep pushing, you are still young,,,,,,,,,,bla bla bla!!!

    I was like really????

    may God help us jarehh

  12. Ayoola Mustapha

    May 1, 2016 at 12:52 am

    that part where you said oyinbo people would reply you if they have gotten your CV, sister abeg don’t get it twisted ooh, that one na big lie ooh, they are even the worst when it comes to that aspect, a lot of them fit no even reply you when them get your CV, ur CV go dey look them, them go dey look your CV.

  13. Tarrtiyana

    May 9, 2016 at 12:00 am

    I literally laughed and cried when I read this . I recently just finished my NYSC, the painful part is I’m currently going through job hunting aswell and its driving me nuts. If Bella naija has a job opportunity for me I would be willing to give my very best.

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