YOUTH : country hard!!
SOCIETY : learn a skill!
YOUTH: There are no jobs!
SOCIETY : learn a skill, don’t be lazy,be an employer of labor..
YOUTH : B-but, I’m Hella broke..
SOCIETY: Keep that energy for when you learn a skill..
YOUTH : Just one more Person tell me to learn a skill, ONE MORE TIME!
So, this happened a long time ago, but I’ll tell it anyway :
I had just closed from school, preparing to go home and putting stuff together, one of which was getting an internship placement.
My cousin had the previous year, worked at a firm where she invited me to apply. I went to the firm as soon as I came back from school but my application was denied because they weren’t Taking freshmen and that I should come back in sophomore year. This was without Taking cognizance of the fact that I had in my cv, a diploma from a reputable university in the same field.
Anyway, I took it in stride,with the resolve to come back the next year. However, before I left, my cousin showed me around and I got to meet the staff and everything. I for one, believe that networking can take you places your Cv can’t, but that’s by the side.
So, the next year I applied again,this time, months prior and I got the don’t call, we’ll call you,you’re in our Data base, yen yen yen.
There’s a staff I had met the year before when I came around that I kinda kept in touch with, so that I have eyes on the ground. He said he’ll follow it up yen yen, and I waited. And waited. And waited.
Everytime I hit him up, he’d know it was work related, and this one time I said off handedly, in unrelated circumstances, that I wasn’t looking forward to the holidays, he hit me with the unsolicited Nigerian advice – Oh, you guessed it! Learn a skill!
I was all in my mind like, okay cool, we’ve heard this before, but nice one. Out loud, I said, daddy won’t agree fa.
He said, convince him, learn a skill, join a language class yen yen yen that when you graduate you’ll even get tired of practicing the course you studied. Inserts rolling eyes emoji
I was just like, if a doctor would get tired after years of practicing medicine, does this mean he shouldn’t hone and add to his knowledge, anywhere and anytime he sees the chance? How will he prove he’s a good doctor if he didn’t learn anything extra, outside school? I Sha said all these in my mind.
Funny and how convenient when everytime someone says don’t worry, don’t stress yourself, you’ll still get tired of it.., they are always sitting at the other side of the table and I bet you, they didn’t get there by not stressing themselves or maybe, learning skills. They also are not tired of “it”.
If you’re a graduate, you’ll probably remember all those uncles you went to submit your resume to, who also advised you to learn a skill, that the corporate world was cut-throat. You that you’re in the corporate world, have you died? Yen yen yen.
I believe in skills, handiwork, something extra you have to bring to the table apart from a degree. I run two businessses asides being a full-time student, and if you read my throes from hell post, you would know that I don’t even get sick days or exceptions for missing class. So, forgive me if I get offended every time someone says, in that uppity manner that suggests they found the cure for common cold, to learn a skill. Dude, I am the whole freaking skill!
I remember the time being an entrepreneur was the in thing and maybe we’re still in that times, that everybody is now a seller, a producer of labor. Begs the question, where then are the customers? Where I live in school for instance, eeverybody has something to sell, everybody makes wigs, sells shoes, clothes, braids hair, sells perfume, and sometimes you buy things you don’t need from someone only because they patronized you and you have to return a favor. A vicious circle, I dare say.
Learn a skill! Learn a skill! Almost everybody on the planet can make wigs, braid hair, sew, and what other skills do Nigerians learn again? Oh, baking cake! That was once a thing, till cakes were everywhere and nobody to pay for them.
Does anybody stop to think that learning skills don’t even come cheap or free. What happens when you can’t afford it? Brave it and sha, learn a skill? The end justifies the means?
My school offers a foreign language course in conjunction with the republic of China. Basically, you study Chinese part -time, write exams and get sent to China on an exchange programme. It costs about 17k now to register, this is asides the examination fee. Since it is a part time program, people from my school get to attend it only during summer holidays. Basically, you stay back in school every summer for how many years it would take for you to master the Chinese language. Of course, your parents will have to provide the extra allowances and feeding during this period. If you can afford it, then it’s a great idea, but then, if you can’t, what happens to the hallowed learning of foreign languages?
I for one have no interest in Chinese or going to China but I have a soft spot for the French Language, and these study centers don’t come cheap, so when you say, learn a foreign language, try adding the where, what, how?
And if you can’t afford to learn a skill or a foreign language, don’t kill your self – beg, borrow or steal. So you don’t end up with a dud certificate and no job because Google translate can do the job you spent money to learn.
My point is, we preach skill acquisition like it’s the solution to the economic crisis in the country, the cure for malaria. I tell you, we’ve been learning skills way back since Ed, Edd and Eddy, how many mansions have we built?
I remember the time braided wigs was the thing. I know people who paid money they didn’t have, to learn it, and now have an array of wigs in their rooms unsold, because everyone can make their own wigs already. Or when being a pro make up artist was the best thing to add to your Instagram cv, people practically killed themselves to get money to train, only to find out that YouTube was training for free. Whew! Chile.. The horror.
This is what you get for sending everybody to learn a skill.
As an addendum, I believe that entrepreneurship is not for everybody (My school practically forces everybody to register for the course which is not free, but of course. Lol!).
It has been proven that some people thrive as 9-5ers, investors, overseers. Not everybody can survive under the sun, day to day hustling, or dragging debt with customers that refused to pay, and it’s okay.
Find your niche and stay there, don’t let society force you into doing something you’re not cut out for because the truth is, you will lose!