For young people in some of the world’s most advanced countries, the career growth trajectory is always in the following order: graduate from school, move to your favourite city, land a dream job, and work towards your promotion. For young Nigerians, however, the reality is completely different. It is not uncommon to come across university graduates who have never been employed for five years. Understandably, this situation makes it extremely difficult to have a decent standard of living.
Survival of the fittest
The major problem facing young people in Nigeria has to do with the unavailability of jobs. The Nigerian job market is like an evil forest full of treasures. Everyone is scared of it, yet they must go there in order to survive. Every year, thousands of young people graduate from tertiary institutions and are pushed into a job market that does not have any room for them. With limited resources and competent skills to create their own jobs, they end up competing for the few available vacancies.
Leaving is an expensive option
In a desperate bid to make it in life in Nigeria, many people willingly do anything– legal and illegal. One of the things people do is leave their loved ones behind and travel across seas to foreign lands where they often become strangers. This is called “checking out” for greener pastures. While it is a viable and legal option, emigration is not a cheap option, especially for many Nigerian youths who barely earn enough to sustain their livelihood. Emigration requires a lot of financial planning, consistent saving culture, and even investing.
In this article, we shall be examining some ways some young people are investing to leave. We shall also be examining the business of emigration.
Saving up is the first step
As earlier mentioned, it can be quite costly to emigrate from Nigeria. To this end, you really need a lot of money. While many people struggle to come up with the funding required for their relocation, there remains one good old way to accumulate enough money – just save more and spend less.
As one of the millions of young Nigerians who have successfully emigrated from Nigeria in search of greener pastures in Europe, Charles (not his real name), had to rely on his savings as primary funding. Narrating how saving “helped my life,” he said he had to “save aggressively” whilst living frugally for more than three years. Charles first began nursing the idea to travel to Germany in 2015. At this point, he had just completed his studies and was fortunate to get a job in Lagos which paid him a monthly salary of N150,000. Out of this amount, the young man managed to save 70% of his monthly income. It sounds unbelievable, but he did it!
The fact that Charles was intent on his ambition to leave the country helped him to make conscious efforts to save. Another thing that helped him a lot is the fact that he had free accommodation which, coincidentally, was close to where he worked. Eventually, a consistent saving habit helped him to save up over N3 million in the course of three years.
Why is emigration so expensive?
There are people who have given up on the idea of traveling to greener pastures after realising how much they have to spend in the process. But then, nothing good comes easy in life. There are reasons why emigration is expensive. I’ll briefly break down the expenses below;
- An average of N30,000 is needed to acquire an international passport, just in case you do not already have one.
- You will need to spend an average of N200,000 to write either IELTS, TOEFL or GRE exams. In the same vein, you will need money to register for preparatory classes ahead of your examination(s).
- For visa application, let’s budget an average of N100,000. Visa applications vary, depending on where and for what purpose you are traveling.
- Assuming you are traveling for education (which is the avenue most young Nigerians use), you may have to spend about N50,000 on admission application fees.
- Now, you will have to travel from your base to either Abuja or Lagos for embassy interviews. Depending on whether you are flying, travelling in a bus, or walking, you will definitely spend money commensurately. So, put that into consideration.
- If all things work out and your visa is granted, you will need to spend money for air travel. The distance between Nigeria and your destination is too far, so you couldn’t possibly trek it. Budget about N300,000 for this just in case.
- Here is the important part – you will need to have enough for sustenance when you get to your destination; until you start working and making money. This is where the rest of your savings becomes very useful.
- At the end of the day, you may need more than N3 million to finance your emigration.
1. TOEFL practice test with explanations:
2. Everything about TOEFL: https://t.co/Qh5OFQt3SN
3. IELTS materials including Cambridge practice tests 1-14: https://t.co/nseNa1pnBP
— Agboola Peter (@baba_Omoloro) August 10, 2019
Making more money ahead of emigration
Saving over time is a very good thing to do; however, inflation has a wicked way of messing up the value of your money and frustrating your plans eventually. Nonso (not his real name) knew this very well when he was planning to leave Nigeria. As a matter of fact, this was shortly before Nigeria’s recent recession, between 2015 and mid 2018, which messed up the economy. So, to avoid the tragedy that inflation could cause, the young man did something most people do not always consider doing – converted most of his money to dollars.
“I was already earning some monthly income in dollars due to a scholarship I was on. So, considering how the value of the naira was fluctuating at the time, I thought to myself that it would be nice to hold on to the dollars as they come in instead of converting them to naira. Soon, I had converted the rest of the money already in my account to dollars. With hindsight, I think it was quite a risky thing to do, keeping all those dollar bills in my room. But then again, the cash wasn’t even as numerous as it would have been if I was keeping the money in naira. I just had to learn to hide them properly.”
The plan worked for him and before long, he was buying and selling dollars, depending on market demand. Once again, this was between 2015 and 2017, especially when the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar was quite much. In the end, not only was Nonso able to preserve the value of his money, he was also able to earn extra money in the process which facilitated his emigration.
Borrowing to emigrate
Some young people also borrow money from their relatives to put temporarily in their bank accounts, just as one’s account statement is one of the things officials at the embassy consider prior to either granting a visa or refusing to. So, how this works, as explained by Maryam (not her real name), is that someone’s relatives and friends would transfer money into the person’s account in order to make it up to a reasonable amount. The money would come in at different times and stay there over time. And then after the traveler has successfully flown abroad, he or she can then refund the money to everyone he or she got it from.
In conclusion, emigrating from Nigeria can, most times, be a game changer for anybody’s career. This is because there are more job opportunities out there for Nigerians, compared to the ones they would ever have access to back home. This is why more Nigerians keep striving to leave. They will keep striving to leave, so long as the economic situation in the country remains as bleak as it is today. Unfortunately, Nigeria keeps losing its brightest minds and most agile labour force to other countries.
7 key ways women can effectively build a professional career while running a family
Juggling between work and family life has been one challenge faced by many women.
According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources, women make up 44.94% of labour force in Nigeria as at 2019. It can be estimated that more than half of this number of working women are wives and mothers. This is quite impressive and shows an appreciable increase in the number of working women and working mothers to compared to what was seen two decades ago. However. The rise in the number of working women and mothers also increased some of the problems working wives/mothers faced both at home and at work. In fact, some of these problems remain largely unattended to in the Nigerian society.
In our world today, especially in the corporate world, where competitive nature is prevalent, a lot of women have risen career-wise and have carved a niche for themselves. Some of the career choices they made has put so many of them in a state of dilemma. i.e. juggling between their work as well as their family life, thereby making it difficult for them to strike a balance.
In addition, many husbands, especially in Nigeria where patriarchy is strong do not support the idea of their wives working. A few who buy the idea, do so grudgingly, thereby, not offering their full support and cooperation to their wives. This, however, has made a lot of relationships suffer.
Contrary to the above, many men give their wives full consent to work, pursue their dreams and professions. In Nigeria, there is an indication that most working mothers/wives are working not just for self-fulfilment but also to supplement their husband’s income in the face of persistent inflation and to assist their spouse financially.
A lot of people find it difficult balancing the strike i.e. their career and family, leading to some having to quit their jobs. Nevertheless, there are some women who, over the years were able to balance their professional careers with that of their family, and these women have become source of inspiration to so many women finding it difficult to strike the balance. And they are the likes of Oby Ezekwesili, Folorunso Alakija, Aisha Ahmed, Ibukun Awosika, Toyin Sanni, Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu and so many other women striving in their area of specialization.
According to Mrs. Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu (MD/CEO, NSIA Insurance Company Limited) in an exclusive interview with the Amazons Watch Magazine editorial team, she said that “balancing work with family life is quiet challenging to achieve but is very achievable. I think women more than men need to realize that it is essential to start early to focus on a desired career and we need to stay the course when marriage and children come. We do not have time to play around or to waste, and we must stay motivated and not burn out. Women, by starting early would already have set a pace, before family life comes in. Even when you don’t start early; women must realize that many times, we need to do more. We must stay the course”
According to Ibukun Awosika (Chairman Firstbank Nigeria) “In life, you decide on those things that are important to you, because as a woman I have all my visions and dreams and I want to achieve them. I want to also be a successful mother to my children and I want to be a successful wife to my husband; once I am able to balance it up, it will make a successful home. All we need is understanding. And we need a balanced home to have the right atmosphere. I also apply wisdom most of the time because the day my children matter most to me, I create time for them. The day it is my husband that matters, I create the time. The same goes for my work. If not, everything will crumble and that is why I need to measure the percentage of attention I give to them and that is why I can’t advise another woman on how to run her family because it is your circumstances that determine your kind of action; my home is different from any other home. I am happy to be married to the best man.”
Here are the 7 ways to help make sure both your career and your family flourish:
Having a supportive spouse is key to balance
Having a supportive spouse is key to balancing your career and family because he will assist in the responsibilities of taking care of the family. Having a supportive spouse will enable you reach your career height. They go as far as being supportive of their pursuits to seek higher education thereby supporting them financially, morally, emotionally and otherwise.
Though at times some when overwhelmed might grumble about a woman’s dedication to her job, however, as a woman the best way to resolve this concern is by being diplomatic. Nevertheless, when your spouse is being supportive, it is still imperative to give them top priority and also tend to their needs.
Planning and time management is crucial
Good planning and time management are crucial to balancing career and family. A lot of people are faced with the challenges of taking care of their young children/ pursuing their careers. Some will plan it in a way that they will pursue postgraduate degrees or career advancement when their children are older.
Also, when planning and managing time, figure out your family’s priorities. Have a calendar that includes dates when bills are due, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more. It is always recommended to use a Google calendar, which can be easily shared and synced on smartphones. Set aside 15 minutes each Sunday to review and prepare for the upcoming week’s schedule. This helps eliminate surprises during the week. Also, have a time put in place to take care of yourself by going to a spa and exercising (like a yoga class). Remember to eat well and get enough rest. These are simple things a lot of working mothers/wives’ neglect.
Be focus and work hard
This is specifically true for women who want to compete for leadership positions and elevate higher in their careers. For you to get to that position you have to be focused and work so hard to avoid your gender being a hindrance to your success. There is often pressure from employers on women to convince them that their loyalties lie at work and not at home, since working mothers might not be able to afford to spend extra hours doing overtime or other work-related activities which can jeopardize their family. The best way to meet up with all the expectations is to be focused and work super hard. Multitasking will aid you to achieve your goals. Avoid time-wasting, casual internet browsing, gossiping, and long lunches. All these things cause distractions and make you less productive.
Hire a good house help/nanny
When trying to balance a professional career with family, it is advisable to hire someone that will take care of your children. You may decide to employ a house help/nanny or even invite a family member, like your mother/mother-in-law to come around and take care of your kid(s).
When hiring a help/nanny it is always imperative to do a background check of the person you are bringing inside your home so you wouldn’t end up creating a problem for yourself and for your family. Go for someone that has excellent experience and is adaptable to kids of various age range; caring for newborns and older children who need homework help.
The house help could cover the necessary functions, such as cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the children while both parents are at work. It is imperative to show your house help love so they can reciprocate and take good care of your children when you are at work.
Find quality creche for you kids
Using a Creche (for toddlers) is a good way of balancing your work and family for those that do not want to hire a nanny/house-help. There are some inexpensive schools you can enroll your kids, where they will receive proper care. Having them enroll in Creche will give you ample time to focus on your job and grow your career. You and your spouse can reshuffle on how you both can go for school runs. Choosing a Creche is not something you carelessly pick out and move on, the reason being that leaving your child in the care of others is a major act and needs your utmost attention. Before choosing a Creche it is important to take note of their services and leave room for evaluation to be sure they are in good hands.
Go for online courses
Getting an education is very important to a lot of women as it enables them to achieve higher leadership positions. Having a successful career has to do with furthering your education, whether through degrees or certifications.
For this to be feasible, since you are trying to balance your career and that of your family, it is advisable to venture into online professional courses/online Master/PHD courses. Going into online courses will give you sufficient time to take care of your family and also aid in self-development which is a good ladder to enable you climb faster in your career.
Create a family time
Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. Always create family time, like having a family breakfast and family weekend. The family weekend covers going to the movies/amusement parks. When you are having family time, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests by asking questions about their friends, classes, and hobbies. With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs.
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In conclusion, being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to be focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood.
Great tips for landing a job during this lockdown
The coronavirus pandemic has had its impact on job opportunities, but here are some tips for landing jobs.
The economic lockdown and movement restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on job opportunities. Some of them could be in the form of job losses, getting new jobs, or even changing the way we work.
Given the unemployment numbers especially in these challenging times, it might be hard not to be apprehensive.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com, said, “It’s important to remember that there is hiring happening. There’s always attrition and individuals leaving for other jobs.”
Robin Ryan, a career counsellor, said that just a few unemployed people are job hunting at the moment. Most believe that there are no jobs, they can’t be hired, or that only lower-level jobs are available.
Here are some tips for landing jobs during this lockdown.
Beat the system: Make a list of your recent jobs and your top accomplishments at each of them. Those are the items that should be on your résumé. To get past automated applicant vetting systems, enter your work tasks—budgeting, project management, graphic design, team leadership, etc.—in the first bullet point under each job. Don’t include extraneous formatting, such as text boxes, tables, footers, or headers, because application software can’t recognize it.
Assess your prospects: You have to find out if the opportunities in your industry are shrinking. According to Hamrick, “many people fail to see that their skills might apply to a variety of settings.” Consider some of the sectors that have stayed open in the lockdown—finance, real estate, food and other consumer goods, technology, and retail, plus suppliers and distributors for each. If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. “There’s a need for people to help facilitate digital transformation,” Hamrick says.
Hit up recruiters (Recruiting agency firms): Let them help you with your resume and offer suggestions about things you might do to stand out.
Use your resources: Companies are filling positions needed to support virtual workers as part of their pandemic strategies. Many company websites might not yet reflect these changes, so try popular online job search websites, type in a company and your city, and you’ll get a better sense of what kind of hiring is going on.
Network: That friend-of-a-friend who previously ignored you. He’s home now and might be up for a quick Zoom coffee date. Connect with everyone you know in your field. (LinkedIn is good for this.). Those connections build on each other. You can ask mutual acquaintances to introduce you to people who can help and once that happens, you can fix a virtual coffee date. If that goes well, ask for an introduction to a hiring manager or supervisor. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Millennials changing the definition of work; doing the most with freelancing
Given the numerous number of changes in today’s world, millennials are gradually changing the definition of work, and beginning to embrace freelancing.
Given the numerous changes in today’s world, millennials are beginning to embrace freelancing. It is not just about thinking outside the 9-5 work hours, they are gradually changing the definition of work. This signals a new relationship between the worker and the economy; it is not just where they are working. It is what they are working for.
Millennials do not see companies as salary machines and do not also see themselves as ‘another chair-filler’. They actually see themselves as having the power to make choices, and their decision to work in one place or another is about finding value, not just the luxurious life attached to a conventional job.
How Millennials make the most of freelancing
Skills over degree
Nearly half of millennials have tried freelancing, and nearly three-quarters of freelancers say it is getting easier to find work. Most millennials begin their journey into freelancing by discovering their passion and finessing their skills in order to look unique. They often find time to develop themselves outside the scope of their disciplines by attributing more values to skill acquisition than conventional degrees. With unique skills like photography, graphic design, content creation, etc. millennials are able to make enough money to pay their bills and afford their lifestyles.
Millennials are taking advantage of working remotely. Working remotely affords millennials the much-needed flexibility they need in their daily routines. Working remotely also helps improve the productivity of millennials, unlike conventional workers. This way, they are free from distractions that cannot be taken care of. It is amazing that working remotely can have millennials working straight for 8 hours without thinking of food or break.
Gigs rather than restrictive job functions
Millennials use freelancing as an opportunity to harness their creative abilities rather than focusing on restrictive job functions. Millennials get certain jobs called side gigs which can help them explore their creativity. They figure out who their clients really are and what they want from them. More importantly, is that millennials find an untapped market and then quickly build a huge customer base on it which will be making enough cash in short notice.
Networking for Growth
Gone are the days when business cards were fashionable. This is because people do not really remember business cards. Millennials use networking as a way of getting to know the persons behind the business. They look for a spark in any conversation that a relationship can be built upon. Also, through the use of social media platforms, millennials are also able to collaborate to ensure the growth of the freelance economy.
Finding a freelance platform that affords skilled professionals flexibility and opportunities to grow is a concern for millennials. TERAWORK is a highly recommended freelancing platform that provides freelancers with an opportunity to work on flexible schedules, get rid of the daily commute process and have a perfect balance between work and professional life; not only because it affords local and international millennials opportunities to harness their skills, but the platform also allows these skilled individuals to showcase their past work experience and provide them with the access to new jobs every day.