While growing up, I started hearing people say things like, “This is not my permanent job”, “I am looking for a permanent job”, “I’m just doing this job to while away my time until I get a permanent one”. And so many things like that. Statements like these never made sense to me then. You know, what do they mean by a permanent job? And which job is a temporary one? That was too hard for my young mind to comprehend, I’ll say.
As I started my university education, these statements began to make a little sense. The way I saw it then was that if you have a well paid job, you can comfortably say that you have landed a permanent job. But if it is a low paid job, for sure you’ll keep looking for something else, right? So, well-paid jobs are permanent jobs while low-paid ones are temporary jobs. Simple and short.
Well, the journey continues. I went for my NYSC and realised that landing a well paid job doesn’t mean that you have a permanent job because you can get sacked anytime. As a result, my view changed and the only permanent job I know turned out to be a government paid job. Ok o.
Finally, I joined the Nigerian labour force and started my own journey towards finding a permanent job. My first post-graduate job happened be in a school. People wondered what I was doing there. This may sound funny, but in Nigeria, once people consider you intelligent, visionary, and ambitious, the school system isn’t the place for you. You should be working for oil companies, banks, telecom companies, rich conglomerates, or even leave the country (because it is a common knowledge that your skills will not be appreciated here). As far as Nigerians are considered, you have no business working in schools, where you bring in ideas that seemed to come from the moon and make the management uncomfortable (Lol. Don’t mind me, please). Well, that sure wasn’t my permanent job.
I left there and moved to Ibadan where I picked up another job, in a school too. This school doesn’t allow its workers to go for further studies. You know, if you want to go for further studies, you have to resign and re-apply when you are done. If there is still an opening, you can have your job back, but as a beginner. Well, that sure wasn’t my permanent job either (even though it was paying way higher than my first job). I didn’t even last up to one year there.
My journey to finding a permanent job continued.
I shifted base from Ibadan to Koroduma (popularly known as One-Man-Village) in Nasarawa State. I landed another job there, in school as well. The pay wasn’t so high but the responsibilities were exciting. I had job fulfilment and all, but that wasn’t my own school, so it can’t be a permanent job. I mean, I can’t last long there considering that my position can’t cross a certain level. I was too ambitious to be locked in one position for long. So I had to move.
I started searching for something more exciting, challenging and, of course, more financially rewarding. Finally I landed a federal government paid job, a job that means that I can carry out exciting researches and work my way to the top tomorrow – in a very, very far tomorrow. A lot of people congratulated me for finally finding a ‘permanent job’. Some said, “Ozioma, now you can rest and keep that your brain in one place.” But, have I landed a permanent job? Nope, not at all; I’m still on my journey because even this one isn’t permanent.
Before you start wondering what my problem is and what I’m trying to do here, I want to explain why I said that I haven’t seen a permanent job yet.
When we say ‘permanent’, we mean something or someone that can never go; something that will always be there in the future; something that has come to stay, forever. Believe me, no job can ever take up this position, not government paid job, not your private businesses. Every job can come and go at will.
Ok, I’ll do my best to explain how our different jobs are not permanent.
1. Private Sector Employments: One thing that is known about working in the private sector is that our jobs can go anytime. Job security is a term that doesn’t exist there. I know some of us relax so much because we believe that since the company is making much profit or that it is a plc, we are safe. But a simple restructuring and creation of new policies can decide otherwise for us. Besides, private sector is out to make profit. This means that when an employee is considered more of a liability than an asset, the management will not hesitate to show him the door. In other words, if you fail to generate much profit for your employer for any reason whatsoever, you are already a goner.
Mistakes can also cost us our jobs. Not all employers condone the slightest mistakes from employees. This is also the same thing with customers’ complaints. I know people that lost their jobs just because one or two customers complained about them. So, no matter how big your employer is, don’t relax, you don’t have a permanent job yet.
2. Public Sector Employments: Hmmm. I know the people that fell under this category are getting the guillotine ready for my neck. The truth is that every civil servant believes his job is permanent until he retires. He hardly considers changes in government policies that could cost him his job. I could remember when some lecturers from a federal polytechnic in the northern part of the country were relieved of their duties because they didn’t acquire higher certificates after employment. I also remember when some lower cadre civil servants were let go of their jobs because the government outsourced the employment of people of the cadre. I have met some workers from government parastatals who were retrenched because of one restructuring or another. Most civil servants don’t think of these until it happens.
I could remember when I asked a colleague of mine what he felt could be the reason most civil servants retire as poor people (no offence meant, I’m just stating my observations). He told me, and I quote, “The problem with Nigerian civil servants is that once they get the job, they relax and keep waiting for their salary.” This is so true. Nigerian civil servants are so relaxed that they don’t bother improving on their professional outlooks. They see their jobs as permanent because nobody can sack them. But I want them to understand that government can wake up and decide that one Parastatal or a Ministry should be removed and that some certain types of workers be retrenched. So, if you are a government worker, don’t relax, anything can happen. Even that job of yours shouldn’t be treated as permanent. So, get up and work on yourself. Besides, you need extra source of income.
3. Business Owners: This is the only group I believe that will truly understand what I mean by saying that no job is permanent. Have you ever seen a business owner that takes his business for granted? I haven’t anyway, except maybe those that shut down shortly after opening their businesses. What I respect about business owners is that they understand the fact that they have to keep seeking for new jobs in the form of new areas to venture into, new customers to attract, ways to keep old customers, how to expand their businesses, and so many others. So, if you want to go into a private business, remember that you are a job seeker for life.
Anyway, if you ask me, I will say that there is only one job that is permanent, and that is the job of finding different ways we can improve on ourselves. When we make out time to work on ourselves, we will find out that there are better things out there. And trust me, a knowledge like this will keep you searching for better things. And when you are looking for those things, you are actually seeking for new jobs. Now you understand why I haven’t landed a permanent job yet.
So, don’t relax, get up and keep seeking for new jobs because no job is permanent.
Keep the hustle real.