Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.

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Since 2013, the subject of this week’s #NairaLife has worked for her brother’s publications as a writer, manager, HR and never earned more than ₦100k a month. If she could do it over again, she’d never work for him. But that’s just one of her many regrets. Tell me a bit about growing up I’m the third child of four children. My dad was a civil servant who worked as an engineer, and my mum was a teacher. We weren’t wealthy, but we also weren’t poor. My dad was a strong believer in going to school and getting jobs after — not business. So we went to good schools and lived in a nice small estate. After school, I went to my friends’ houses to play. That’s just how stuff was.

As a child, I was obsessed with books. They even used to call me “Information Minister” because I knew something about everything. I was sure I wanted to work in the media in some way. Did this affect what you studied in university?

I didn’t even go to art class in the first place. I was in commercial class, and by the time I figured that we didn’t do literature in commercial class, it was too late to switch. I finished secondary school in 2003, but I didn’t go to university until 2005, at 18 years old. Even then, I had to restart university in 2006. I have so many whys

I couldn’t get into a federal university to study Sociology and Anthropology in 2004 because of my low JAMB scores. In 2005, I applied again and also didn’t get admission, but for some reason I don’t know, I told my dad I did, packed my bags and went to resume. Resume where ma?

When I got to school, I didn’t see my name on any admission lists, but I didn’t want to go back to Lagos. I was tired of staying at home.

I called my dad to tell him I hadn’t been admitted, and he came to school to see a friend in the school’s senate who could help me get admission. The best the person could do was get me in to study a foreign language. I took it. But I wrote JAMB again sha.

The next year, I got in to study international relations in the same school. What was money like for you in this period?

My dad paid my fees and gave me between ₦5k and ₦10k monthly as allowance till he passed away in 2009. My mum handled the family’s finances after that. She sold plantain chips, shoes and did other businesses on the side to augment her teaching salary.

Thankfully, my older sister, the firstborn, had graduated, and my older brother and I graduated a year later. So she didn’t have to spend too long worrying about multiple children’s fees. What does an international relations student do after they graduate?

I went for NYSC in a South-South state — the first big mistake of my career. Why?

I believe if I’d redeployed to Lagos, my life would be much different now. I’d have started my career with a job at an actual organisation and built a professional network, and that would’ve put me on a different path in life.

Instead, I stayed in the south because I wanted to experience a new place. This was 2011 when there weren’t so many job opportunities in places outside Lagos. I’m sure it’s different now because people can easily find jobs online, but back then, there just weren’t many opportunities. How were you getting fed?

My NYSC teaching job paid ₦5k monthly. NYSC had also just started paying ₦19,800, so that was pretty great too. I could save most of my money because I lived with a friend’s family that fed me.

I sha tried to build my career from there because I didn’t want to return to Lagos skill-less. I took a physical bead-making class for ₦15k, and a project management course where I had to go for classes on Saturdays for […]

source The Regretful #NairaLife of a Nine-Year Career Spent in a Family Business

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