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I always hear stuff like, ‘There are no jobs in the country.’ In the past, I would have agreed to this. Now, not so much. I think there are jobs in this country…they just might not be the ones you want or are worth.
You see, I used to be surrounded by many people who are above 25 who did not think they should apply themselves and work. They would sit all day at home doing nothing. They did not work, study, or keep themselves abreast of news and development stories from across the world. They spent almost all their time watching movies, goofing around or basically, wasting away.
I remember one family that I used to know. They had all been through various levels of education, but they stayed at home rather than worked. The first daughter was different though. She would wake up, cook, clean, cook, do laundry and whatever else she needed to do. Then she would plait the hair of women and girls who came to visit her parents. She worked, but it was mostly free labor. It meant all that energy was for almost nothing. She was still dependent on her family for all her needs.
Her siblings on the other hand? Pheww! They defined the term, ‘lazy’. They only seemed to watch television, eat, and sleep.
When I lived with them in the same compound, I used to wake up early, head off to work and sometimes, return to the house very late. On one of my days off work, they were surprised to see me at home at that time. We got chatting and they chastised me for being a workaholic, saying they hoped I was paid lots of money. I laughed; I definitely wasn’t. They then said, ‘Don’t stress yourself oh’. For some reason, I remember being so mad at the statement. Don’t stress myself?! Really?! I wanted to retort that maybe they should stress themselves, apply themselves to something more productive than sitting around all day. But I stayed silent.
As if to force me into talking, they went further to say they would only work hard when they expected to collect allowances of not less than a hundred thousand Naira. At that point, I got up and left. They had almost no value to add to any organization. They didn’t care that they were older and should be planning out their futures. They were content letting their parents fend for them; parents who were themselves old and barely surviving on retirement checks. I was, to say the least, quite disappointed with their entire outlook on life.
I remember my first job after I graduated from school. The pay wasn’t even enough to cover transport expenses, so my dad had to take me halfway to work so that I could always have a little money. I didn’t need the job; my needs were pretty simple at that point. But I needed the independence! I didn’t want to ask my dad for things like sanitary pads or new underwear. I didn’t want my parents buying me clothes when I was a full-grown university graduate. And though the job was way beneath my pay grade, I took it and gave my best to it.
I particularly want to address religious leaders, as their parents were Pastors and Preachers. Many of you use your ‘office’ as an excuse not to work. You ‘are doing full time ministry’ as you say. In my opinion, your everyday life should be your full-time ministry…whatever the faith you profess. That being said, get up and work! Write a book. Own a business. Work in a company. Do something other than live off the tithes, gifts and offerings of members who have decided to work. It is yours, no one argues that, but your congregation will respect you more if you were as industrious as they are. In fact, because leaders always lead by example, any religious leader who doesn’t work will have more unemployed people in the congregation than employed ones. I know first-hand that any religious leader that works has over 90% of his flock being hardworking. It really is a simple formula.
We all need to work! It is not compulsory that it be a white-collar job in that plush office and with that fat bank account. Only a small percentage of the population will get those jobs anyway. Sometimes, taking a lower paying job can present an opportunity for greater improvement. Plus, it beats not having money and being dependent on people; especially if you are an adult.
PS: This post is not to negate the economic factors that make living (and working) in Nigeria really tasking; because they are there. It is to address some of the entitlement of many young people who are not willing to put in the work to improve their lives.