More often than not, what we get paid on the job is not enough or is outright bad. As a matter of fact, “the pay” is usually the main reason why people change jobs or resign to start a business of their own. The experiences are varied, I’m sure you would have a million and one to share if given the opportunity. Your own story may even be one. Let’s check out Funbi’s story briefly, it is laced with some ‘need to knows’ I’d like to share.
Funbi is a brilliant young chic, her secondary school grades were impeccable but JAMB ‘jammed’ her and she ended up studying English instead of Law. After being victimized by her notorious HOD, she narrowly escaped with a second class lower BA degree. Somehow, she landed a job with MTN, pay wasn’t fantastic but she was doing okay, at least, she was in Sagamu. The 50k would have been a no, no for her in Lagos. Two years down the line and she got sponsorship to do a master’s degree programme in Human Resource Management at the University of East London, she was determined to make it right by sweeping in the best grades. She was not ready to return to Nigeria to earn less than 200k for starters (did I hear you laugh or say, “You wish”?). The course is ‘hot’ no doubt, getting a good job shouldn’t be an issue when she returns, especially because she is smart, pretty and knows a couple of people (or so she thought). Anyway, Funbi finished the programme in flying colours, returned to Nigeria and couldn’t get any proper HR job because she didn’t have any work experience in the field so she decided to hook up with a family friend who owns a Recruiting Agency to gather some experience. Mrs Williams had promised to personally coach her and give her a monthly stipend or “transport fare” in the meantime.
The long and short of the story is that Funbi spent six months with the recruitment agency following the recruitment team around Lagos whenever they had a project and filling in as an office assistant at other times. She saw Mrs Williams once in a month on the average and at each time, the woman would explain how sorry she was, how busy her schedule had been and how much effort she was putting in to ensure that they has some coaching time the following month. Guess what? She received 10k in her 1st and 3rd months as “transport fare” and that was it. Funbi got another job; she is currently a sales person with an electronic company where she earns 100k monthly and gets a commission on sales and she’s been scooping in the sales like no man’s business…man must survive na! She has also now begun to volunteer as a career adviser with a renowned NGO during their monthly open workshop for fresh graduates. She hopes to save enough money to register and get her CIPM certification done next year.
So here are a couple of tips to draw from Funbi because she seems to be finding a way around all the craziness she’s been through, it’s not an exhaustive list so you can add your thoughts with your comments;
- Funbi thought Law was the befitting profession for her brilliance and academic prowess either out of ignorance, lack of exposure to other fields, peer or parental pressure or sheer childishness, so if you are at that point of choosing a career, or you made the same mistake that Funbi made, keep calm and learn, your career choice should align with you inclinations, hobbies and abilities. Trust me, you would learn, grow and excel easier and faster that way. You should start to find a way to switch now because there is never a good time to move, the earlier, the better. A course mate of mine switched from Zoology to Sociology in 300level and we all thought he was crazy, now I know better.
- English as a first degree, though, a second choice was a good one because it is kind of general and could be leveraged for several job/career opportunities. So if you’re not certain as to what you want to do or you don’t get your choice course at any level and need an alternative, pick something that is quite general and can be leveraged if you eventually make a career change. I chose an MBA when I needed to do a master’s programme but wasn’t too sure what to study for the path I had chosen, and I have no regrets because it has been relevant to my job and business!
- And now to the main ish, when the pay is bad, first, you would need to determine what you’re doing there (purpose) – Does the pay cover your immediate need for sustenance like Funbi’s MTN job? Is it a means to an end? That is, are you trying to save up for school, a certification or a project? Or is this your career path? Are you trying to grow and gather relevant experience to land your dream job?
Your answers to these questions would set the tone for the next, which is, are you achieving that purpose? If no, then you need to either find a way to start maximising where you are or just get up and leave, but, not before you identify and secure a place that meets your purpose. When the human mind cannot see any particular achievement in line with its desires, frustration begins to set in. The major step is to get intentional about life and living. Too often, we live our lives unconcerned about what we’re doing and how it adds up to where we’re going. We sit and let life happen to us when in fact, the onus lies on us to create our lives by our choices, decisions and actions. Hence, when issues spring up, we become reactive; people’s actions and organizational policies become the determining factor for our decisions and behaviour. Funbi was with Mrs Williams to learn, not accumulate empty years of experience with an HR firm, so in six months, she was out. The pay from her sales job was fair and she was doing excellently getting more on sales commissions but she didn’t get lost in the euphoria of the moment by accumulating ‘good clothes and correct hair’, she is saving up for her HR certification and in addition to all her certificates, she would need some work experience to hit the right job so she’s volunteering in a HR role. In little or no time, Funbi would have got a healthy network from her sales role and a great HR portfolio working with graduates, and who knows, the foundation could even absorb her because she’s giving her best and doing awfully well.
- Give your best at all times even in the face of challenges. If you’ve been under pressure from any of your lecturers, let alone your HOD in a federal or state institution, you would know that pulling off a 2,2 without succumbing was no mean feat by Funbi. Your grades usually go to more places than you do and sometimes, they determine whether or not there would be a subsequent meeting especially for fresh graduates. Also, the best way to learn is to practise, so if you’re feeling underpaid or unappreciated because you’re putting in so much to ensure that your job and probably that of others are well done, know this, you’re doing it for you, what you’ve learned by giving your best, no one can take from you and they always come in handy. A mechanical engineer turned baker told me recently that her academic knowledge helps her know how much weight can sit on another or fit in a particular space when making her cake designs….would you ever have linked those two careers in anyway?
Finally, whatever your hands find to do, do with all your might… but time and chance happens to them all. What you do gets you prepared for when your chance comes… that’s how to get lucky!
By OBBIE Luya
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