To say the truth, we know that not every graduate will get a corporate job immediately after NYSC or eventually. It is not a Nigerian problem. Even the biggest economies in the world have shortage of jobs. Some of us know some people who have made up their minds to be business owners immediately after school. As easy as that may sound, that road is not to be traveled by faint hearts.
I believe that entrepreneurship is not an art but a spirit. It is not something you just do; it is fueled by a passion to solve problems; the ability to be able to identify needs/problems and stay on course to solve them. There are many business owners who are not entrepreneurs at heart, and there are many employees and career people who have and display the entrepreneurship spirit every day at work.
In the past decade, despite the fact that there has been a recurring and pressing need for capable housekeepers/house-helps/maids in Nigeria, very few graduates are open to exploring the opportunity, even though it is profitable. Some willing ones have shied back due to the societal conditioning that associates certain kind of people with housekeeping.
Or maybe there is this idea that housekeeping is easy, it requires no special competency. The people who do this job wouldn’t agree. I can tell you that all those skills that you listed in your CV sent to an oil company; Ability to work under pressure, Team player, Ability to Multitask, Resourcefulness e.t.c are the key competencies required to thrive on the job. It requires that your emotional intelligence and value proposition be high.
If you take a random survey on the needs of maid-employers, the basics are: someone who is hardworking, has a tested character, can communicate fluently, who can assimilate instructions well, can take initiative, learned and skilled enough to be able to stay with their kids, prepare meals and so on. With the quality of maids that are being outsourced, you will quickly see that there is no balance in demand and supply. Wouldn’t it be unfair of us to actually expect so much from someone who is just coming from the village?
It is lack of this balance that causes a family to go through as many as eight maids in a year, simply because they can’t find what they are looking for. This is why I recommend and encourage more educated people to consider these opportunity.
It amuses me that “The American Dream” and greener pastures many young and able Nigerians go to seek for abroad, most of the time starts from this point. So why has it become difficult for our society to come to terms with and incorporate this? The promise of the American dream is that no matter where you start from, as long as you work hard, you have a chance of becoming something. But you must start, even if it means starting very small.
Being a housekeeper is never the endpoint for an educated person; except he/she really wants to. Home and abroad, people have used these jobs to pay for their tuition, pay debts and provide for their families. It only serves as a platform. I see it as as a small door that would lead to other big doors.
While on the job, he/she would be amazed at the other opportunities that present themselves. The entrepreneurship spirit can help an educated person see that his/her employer’s network is their first selling point for other marketable skills.
Look at these examples:
- Because of your education, you are able to teach your employer’s children. Eventually, with your employer’s permission, you can explore the option of teaching other neighbors kids for a fee.
- With your professional make-up skills, can make up for your employer for free and ask her to bring her friends for a fee.
- You make your employer and her daughter’s hair. Soon enough, neighbors and friends are bringing their kids, then you work on having a salon.
- You are a #fitfam member, so you help your employer draw up a meal plan and prep meals that would help her lose some weight. Imagine what would happen when she sees results.After working for some time, you can begin to plan your exit strategy with your employer in the know. I think any employer who is hiring an educated maid, should already know that the person may not stay for a very long time, but for the time being, they are at peace. A contract should be in place to specify the duration and conditions for termination.
To conclude, statistics already prove that corporate employers are more likely to favor someone who has volunteered or done some kind of work over another person who has done nothing at all, to fill in a vacant position. So while still applying for your corporate job, you can be sure to put in your experience as a help in your resume. Don’t forget to re-christen the role to something like “Home consultant” or “Personal Assistant on home affairs” as the case may be. Just kidding!
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