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Money Matters with Nimi: Don’t Waste The Long Holiday

It is not the amount of money your child earns. It is the lessons learned that count.

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The long vacation is here and many parents and their young adults need to figure out how best to utilise this break. Yes, there is a need to unwind, rest and rejuvenate, but it is also a good time to take advantage of almost 3 months or more at their disposal to improve existing skills, build new ones, and learn to earn. The long holidays, if used appropriately, can be a major career opportunity as well as an investment in their talent.

Grades and work experience

From a very young age, students are trained and expected to get the best grades possible. However, having good grades doesn’t necessarily translate into a job or make you a great employee. Employers don’t consider academic grades as the be-all and end-all for candidates anymore. 

Of course, your A-grades will win you accolades (particularly from Nigerian parents), but employers look for work experience in addition to exam or coursework grades and an array of extracurricular activities and interests in their search for top candidates. An internship often gives students an edge.

Get a feel for the workplace

In the classroom, your focus may be largely theoretical. Nothing compares to living the experience. It is on the job that you can truly hone some professional skills and gain hands-on real-world experience outside the classroom. The theory is important but it comes alive when you are allowed to put that knowledge into practice, reinforcing classroom concepts.

Know your interests

At the end of an internship experience, you should have a fair idea of the sort of job or career that you might want to pursue or what you don’t like. This helps you to hone in on your strengths and gives you a better chance of not accepting an unsuitable job if there are alternatives.

So many young people embark on a career path only to find after considerable time and expense, that they do not wish to pursue that direction. It’s best to know as early as possible.

An internship usually lasts for about 3 – 6 months. This is a great opportunity to test out a job or career path with enough time to learn whether or not it is a good fit without a long-term commitment. If you have not yet decided which direction to go, try various sectors during each vacation; different careers demand varying skill sets. This way, you get a wide range of experience under your belt and can begin to narrow down your choices as it highlights your strengths and where you tend to struggle.

Apart from the formal roles, there are numerous other opportunities to consider; from volunteering and community service, helping at a summer camp, waiting tables in a restaurant, sales clerk at a local store. This is also an ideal time to consider setting up and running your own business, which impresses employers no end.

Get a foot in the door 

An internship can lead to a full-time job at your host company. If you’ve left a great impression that you are hardworking, committed, intelligent, and capable, you are certainly in a more competitive position to be considered than even those with far superior grades since your bosses are already familiar with your work ethic. 

Internships have been described as an “audition in disguise,” an ideal way for both employer and intern to test the waters for a short time before committing to it fully. If you’ve impressed them, you’ll probably make the final list. 

Relevant work experience

Ideally, any internship you choose should be related to the field that you wish to pursue. If you already have an idea of the path that you want to pursue, select a firm in that field that will help equip you to prepare for future interviews and direction by gaining invaluable industry knowledge. 

Employers prefer to choose candidates with some experience relevant to the position they are hiring for; this puts you up on the learning curve and helps you settle into a new role with ease. 

Make valuable connections

You often find that when you look for a job, it’s not only what you know, it’s also who you know. Professional connections are among the most valuable networks that you can have in your life. Even if you are not retained for a full-time position, the networks that you build from the stint can be invaluable whether for providing mentoring and support as you grow or for career advice, references, or recommendations for your next job. 

Find a mentor, but remember that a senior colleague will take an interest in an interested, committed, hardworking intern and not someone that is always late, unresponsive, and adds little or no value. 

Should you work for free?

Naturally, some students might have to turn down an excellent but unpaid internship opportunity simply because they cannot afford to work for nothing; this significantly limits available opportunities. As far as possible, try not to let money be the deciding factor when you are thinking of interning. Gaining useful experience should be your goal for the value it will bring to your resume and your personal life; see it as an investment if you can.

Financial responsibility

One of the great benefits of an internship is learning to earn and manage your own money. Hard work builds a sense of frugality. When the money comes out of your pocket, from your hard work, you tend to be more selective about purchases and are less likely to spend it frivolously, as you might tend to do when it is doled out by generous parents.

Time is a fundamental ingredient of successful investing as funds set aside have time to appreciate. This presents a wonderful opportunity to set aside at least part of your income and begin the journey to financial independence. Mutual funds are ideal for small savers with entry as low as N5,000; the key is to be consistent and to think long-term. 

Many internships will be virtual or hybrid as many companies have adopted remote work policies since the pandemic. In this new way of work, self-discipline and responsiveness will be even more important than ever. Virtual internships offer diverse possibilities, but some positions lend themselves to remote work better than others. A virtual internship will provide your child with an opportunity to be fully immersed in a professional experience all from the safety of your home.

Having to work every day, even if it is online, is usually the first step to financial responsibility. It is not the amount of money your child earns, but the lessons learned that count. The sense of independence and accomplishment provides a child with a solid foundation for their development and when they leave home, you can be confident that they can step out into the world and face a bright future.

 

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Featured Image: Pexels

5 Comments

  1. Jerry Egbeaso

    July 22, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    This is a must read article to parents/caregivers and their children. It presents what seems to be one of the most major solutions to our nation building.
    Most children and youths waste their long holidays without improving on a skill or skills that will aid them.
    In the writer’s (Nimi Akinkugbe) words, “Many internships will be virtual or hybrid as many companies have adopted remote work policies since the pandemic,” is true because there has been a transition since the COVID-19 Pandemic. A transition that has forced people to develop skills in online visual activities and use of AIs.
    Finally, this article deserves to be one of the Comprehension Passages in either WASSCE, NECO or GST Examinations.

  2. Caroline Olumorin

    August 2, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    This is insightful and interesting. Money making should be taken seriously in the present day Nigerian

  3. Dolapo Faniyan

    August 2, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Great post. Holidays should be for money making and not rest throughout

  4. Abolade Alao

    August 2, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Great tips to spend the holidays

  5. Victoria Adesanmi

    August 2, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Great financial tips for the young and working class

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