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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

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