This advice is for my brother (and any other young man out there in his same situation). Congratulations on finally getting a government job. I am looking forward to the thanksgiving service. I have also not forgotten my promise to provide refreshments for the occasion.
Afterall, we attended many “deliverance” services in different churches, lighted many candles, opened plenty bottles of olive oil in serious prayers for you to be employed by the government.
Even our dear cousin promised to pay seven hundred and fifty thousand naira to anyone who can “facilitate” your employment in the civil service. All to no avail.
I don’t know why it did not occur to him to give you the money to start a small business.
Anyway, that is neither here nor there now. You have finally done the impossible by getting employed in the civil service without the aid of a mentor.
It is no mean feat, let me assure you. Being as you are not the son of the sister of the auntie of the mother of a member of parliament. Also, you are not related to a minister of the republic or a governor or even the oga-at-the-top himself.
While you prepare to start the job
You should be proud of your achievement. It doesn’t matter that youths in other nations don’t aspire to join an already bloated civil service where people sit around all day doing nothing until their brains atrophy. It is not your fault; when in Rome do as the Romans do.
As you prepare to start the job, remember to spare a thought for other young people who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of the only escape-poverty-card available to the man in the street aka government employment. Many others were brutalized at recruitment screening centres for the sole crime of not having the resources, empowerment or proper environment to start their own productive ventures.
Let me not digress from my purpose which is to give you a few pieces of advice now that you are in the league of the rare, fortunate ones.
1. Don’t get the party started yet
Yes, we have agreed to have a thanksgiving celebration. If people can throw a party for getting a visa to leave the country, we can also have one for finally getting the knife with which to cut your own share of the national cake.
But let the thanksgiving be where the party begins and ends for now.
I know you like to drink, our mama likes to drink, our sisters, uncles, everybody. It’s a family tradition. A bottle of the foamy stuff can’t hurt.
Except when you take several bottles, in which case you have to shell out several monies. And that’s when the issues start.
You don’t need to go off on a bender just yet. Stand with one leg like a hen in a new environment. Focus on familiarizing yourself with your place of work: FYI, office politics dey o!
2. No be only you waka come
I know I said that there is no work to be done in the civil service.
But you are an I.T. person and I’m guessing your department may be seeing more action than others.
There’s something you need to know. Most of us like to proudly announce that we are “working” at the federal ministry of so and so. However, when it comes to practice, we usually dump the “work” part.
So don’t be surprised when ALL of your co-workers disappear on you unannounced. You will find yourself doing most of the work at all hours of the day and night. This will not be good for your health.
Therefore, rule of thumb; when you look up at the clock and its 7pm and you are the only one left tooling around the office, ask yourself WWPJS: What Would Patience Jonathan Say?
3. Babes WILL come a’knocking
I am not going to lie; we like our men rich. Not any kind of rich. We want them with several GP-tanks-filled-with-dollars kind of rich, off-shore accounts and Panama papers rich. Are you getting me now?
But when there’s no cake, bread will do just as well, so expect babes to start doing ‘waka-pass” on your frontage.
You should keep a low profile on all things babe-related for this first year.
4. Your middle name is not Father Christmas
Our ability to keep a tightly knit extended family is a positive trait and stands our society out from the rest.
But you don’t have to jump in with both feet on every family member’s financial problem. Dem aunties, cousins, uncles, daughters of your mother’s friend’s brother were surviving before you got the job, they’ll still find a way to manage without the job you now have.
As a guiding rule, give 10% of whatever amount you are asked; at all, at all na im bad pass.
5. Father Christmas may not be your middle name but O.Y.O is
I wish you can see me doing the Shaku Shaku right now because you are no longer my problem. You have qualified to be OYO, that is, On Your Own.
I don’t have to dread your silly and sarcastic questions about what business you can start without money.
I no longer have to court hypertension worrying whether your idleness will lead you to do some foolhardy and possibly criminal stuff.
And I don’t have to entertain your smug responses of “Ayam not working anything now” whenever the subject of you getting married comes up.
Long story short – I am free!
6. Father Time is actually, surprisingly fast
I have left the most important for last.
I don’t want to embarrass you, but you know how old you are. Don’t get me wrong, it is not your fault. But take note that before you can say “finally!”, ten years have come and gone. Voilà, you have turned the corner on the express road to retirement.
Another long story short, start saving right away. Look into target savings like the one offered here. At the end of the year put the savings into a fixed deposit. Forget the wonder banks and get-rich-quick schemes.
Don’t say you’ll finish saving for your wedding before you start. After marriage comes children and after children comes school fees, a bigger house, and so on. It never stops.
Squirrel away ten percent of your salary every month. You were coping when you had zero money; you should also cope now that you are earning six figures.
Don’t go buying all kinds of electronic gadgets; give yourself time to figure things out.
PS: If you ignore the above suggestions, in ten years time you will be writing an article titled, “Six Things I wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Just Got a Job”.
To other Readers: Can you tell the gender of the writer and how do you know?