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Ayo Al: What is the Guarantee of Good Pay?



So I was at a conference where a speaker had come to talk to youths about the increasing rate of unemployment rate. He discussed issues like interviews, appearance, code of conduct and the likes. His audience was fascinated. They were stuck on his words. Yes! He was that good an orator. They wanted more.

I looked around and saw people jotting furiously. I am sure a lot of them wondered if they had been refused that job because at the interview, they had smiled too much or did not shake hands the proper way.

And then, I heard him say “When you go for interviews and you are asked how much you think you deserve to be paid, do not start with a high figure. First, tell them that any amount the organization allots you will be fine.”

It was here that my mind wandered. I wondered at the plausibility of the speaker’s assertion. I mean I have heard stories of people who complain of being underpaid just because they had failed to be assertive enough about the pay they wanted. And most times, it happens because they are eager to get the job.

My friend is a perfect example. She was working as a secretary for a company at Ogba, Lagos. The job was good enough; the working hours were perfect, but after some time, she got bored and itched to work in another environment.

It wasn’t long after that she applied and was invited for an interview at Victoria Island, for the same secretarial position. My friend was elated. You know how working in VI/Lekki makes people’s mouth water? They immediately start fantasizing about living in big mansions, driving good cars and the rest.

During the interview, her former workplace was brought up, and she responded to several questions about her former job.  My friend was overjoyed when she was told that she would be offered 70,000 Naira as her monthly pay. Though she feebly tried to ask for more, she accepted the offer immediately the interviewer told her that was the best they could do. She consoled herself with the thought that her salary had escalated by 20,000 Naira.

Let me tell you a little about the new job:  the work hours were challenging! My friend and I lived together, but we saw each other only in the mornings and late at night. We caught up on gist -majorly on weekends, because of her schedule. She always left for work very early and returned quite late. She was still enjoying the exhilaration a new job brought until one aunty pricked her bubble of joy.

The lady, in a conversation with my friend, told her that she was just managing the job. She even said that the ‘hundred and something thousand’ she was paid was barely enough for her needs. My friend was dumbfounded. All the joy went out of her. She felt used. I can just imagine how she must have felt.

“Ayo, I have a Masters degree This girl doesn’t. I have enough working experience. She doesn’t. Why is my salary this little compared to hers? To make matters worse, we do the same work” She lamented to me immediately she had the opportunity to. She said she couldn’t continue working in a place where her salary might just be a little bit higher than that of the cleaners.
At the end of the day, we advised her to be patient, spend a bit more time with the company and then prudently ask for a raise.

In all, my friend said she knew she had been offered so little because she had worked in Ogba before the new job and her new bosses knew that nowhere in Ogba would they pay a secretary more than what they were offering  her.
I wasn’t so sure about that though.

She also believed that another advantage the other lady had was that her previous job had been in Lekki, so the new employers knew they couldn’t just offer her any miserable sum. She said the lady at her workplace also explained to her that when asked  how much she wanted as her pay during her interview, she started with 150,000 thousand Naira. They knew she was meant business.

“Maybe I should also have started from 150,000, instead of the 90,000, I started from. Anyway, I have learnt my lesson!” was my friend’s conclusion.

My friend goes to work now, living for the day she would ask for a raise. I hope she gets lucky.

So the question is, what guarantees good pay?  The management?  Your forceful assertion?  Luck? Or is it about your previous workplace?

Please feel free to leave a comment and let us share our views on work experiences/pay.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime| Kurhan

An avid reader and writer, Ayo Al hopes particularly to refract the ills in the society through her writings. A professional blogger, she is available for content writing, freelance writing and book reviews. She is also a business woman, fashion enthusiast and a dealer of watches. She can be reached via mail- [email protected] Check out her instagram: @thatsaucywriter


  1. Frank teacher

    April 21, 2017 at 12:06 am

    I like!
    My reality
    I walk in the Secretary ‘s shoes and I also play the role of her employers.
    No, I’m not trying to be confusing, I’m that human resource manager who was short-changed by the former human resource manager at the point of employment.
    Now, I try to be fair,
    Ha! Like that’s even possible, when there were already existing staff in the system with ridiculous pay.
    I try to be instrumental in bringing the miracle of the Secretary but who is going to aid my own miracle.

    Brethren, let us pray…

    • Ayo Al

      April 22, 2017 at 5:32 am

      We shall pray! Hehehe…
      Thank you for reading too!

  2. Anonie

    April 21, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Honestly, there are no hard and fast rules. Some organisations already have their budgets, so e get how you go push, dem go leave you. My present boss pressed me just to see how flexible I was. I was earning 110k at a previous job,so I asked to be paid 100k, only for him to offer me 50k, but it’s close to my house, and my other job was killing me. I told him to do 70 and he said he’d get bk to me. He finally gave me the 100 I asked for. Within 6 months, I got raised to 120k, and 2 months afterwards 170k, how? I made myself indispensable, people worked 10 hours I put in extra 2. If I saw a vacuum, I filled it sharply! I made sure I was so useful, he thanks God he found me everyday. Problem is people don’t see opportunities even if it slaps them in the face, I saw a startup with growth potential and I went for it and made their vision my own. I work like its my father’s company, and I can’t wait to see it bloom and succeed, this Is my mentality. What Is yours? Now match it with your salary expectations.

    • Ayo Al

      April 26, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Now, this comment gives me life!!!

  3. LEM

    April 21, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Hmmm… There are a lot of things involved here. For your very first job, you obviously have no advantage so you would have to take whatever the Company offers. Of course if you have other offers you can compare and make your decision. After that, it depends on where you are going, your years of experience, additional certifications/higher degree and most important what value you believe you will bring to the Company/Organization. It’s good to negotiate for yourself but you should be able to defend that as well. So that’s my two cents though…

    • Ayo Al

      April 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Thank you. Sure, one’s first job is most times just for the experience, and so there is always little or no opportunity to haggle wages. Thank you for reading…


    April 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

    There are four Sales/Marketing staff where I work, One of them earns double of what the other three earn only because she was assertive in the negotiations, I was there. My boss is as cunning as a fox but she cut through all the BS and he agreed. Even now, if for any reason salaries cannot be paid fully/on time, she gets hers. IN FULL.

    Employers will not shy away from paying less if they can get away with it. Don’t let them get away with it.

    • Ayo Al

      April 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Yes! Employees need to do away with intimidation and stand up for themselves… Thank you for reading!

  5. Lois

    April 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I learnt in a hard way. I couldnt even negotiate my placement not to talk of pay because i belittled the previous experience i had. I tell you, compared to what i did before my present employmenmt, i WORKED HARD. But really, negotiating pay should not be a skill cast in stone. Many work environments (industry) differs and the pay is largely depended on a salary scale attached to qualifications and experience (especially the Civil service or Parastatals of government). This cannot be compared to the private sector where we can practically haggle on renumeration. I have learnt one thing though, it is important to do a good homework by asking around what the present market pays in a paprticular industry and place negotiations around the rate that applies. It is frustrating working in an enviroment where the feeling of being paid lower than the input. It demoralizes one. For me, i have learnt my lessons and won’t expect to be paid lesser than i feel i deserve (make the work come first *chuckles*). Thank you

    • Ayo Al

      April 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      You rock, you know! I’m glad you learnt from your past experience. Thank you for reading..

    • Curious

      April 29, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      But it’s difficult to get that information in Nigeria, where everyone hoards information, especially about how much they are being paid. So how does that work?

  6. nono

    April 21, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    This issue of wage pay inflation is quite a dicy one! Reason being that you do not want to shoot yoursef in the foot. Ethically and professionally it may seem wrong, but on the flip side in relation to human and emotional intelligence, one would be forced to play smart considering the state of the economy amongst other conditions as mentioned by other commenters. Me i just say the choice is yours, weigh the situation and then know if its suitable to follow whats right or twitch a little to make sure it suits you. Some big organisations(chevron, shell, nestle) have a regularised start-up pay that even if you told them you earn N35,000 it wont matter.

  7. Ayo Al

    April 22, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Hmmmmm! True though…
    Thank you for reading…

  8. Hiykes-leo

    April 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

    I would say it is all inclusive, but majorly depends on the individual. The thing is that most of us, because of the frustration we face due to paucity of jobs, tends to be too kind when it comes to salary. If only everyone would stand up to the employers on this issues and many more issues (condition of work), it would be pretty better.

    • Ayo Al

      April 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Indeed… My brother, unemployment can be frustrating but we shouldn’t always let our frustration show. Thank you for reading!

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