Job Chronicles 2
Months before I got an Industrial Training
(IT) placement and started working, an
older cousin of mine who also studied
Engineering at Unilag and did his IT
had advised me on how to conduct myself
But you know you only hear what you
want to hear and the only advice that
stuck with me amidst all he said was;
“don’t start what you don’t intend to finish.
If you know you don’t plan to buy amala
throughout your time working there,
you should politely say “I am sorry
I can’t – it’s not in my job description”
whenever you are sent on personal
Me: say no more.
I was neither going to buy amala nor go
on any personal errand for anyone
throughout my stay at S Ltd and I
resumed work with a chip on my shoulder.
There were 5 of us in my unit’s Lagos’ team
– 2 guys who worked primarily on-site,
myself and another IT student, A, and
the manager and assistant manager
who worked in the office and are both
A and I were the first IT students to ever
work in the unit hence there wasn’t a
laid down program on how we were
supposed to work.
A and I were assigned to work with the
2 Nigerian guys who worked on the field.
One of them, M, wanted to be proving
Lord of the rings over me and one day
after close of work, he asked me to
carry his laptop downstairs.
But I had my answer ready and told him;
“I am sorry but it’s not in my job description.”
He did this a few times and I always
gave him the same answer.
He’d exclaim and go on about all the things
he had to do during his own IT but I
was not moved especially since my
manager did not send people on
personal errands so he couldn’t report
me to him.
We didn’t have a dress code in Engineering
and everyone wore whatever they liked
I sometimes wore flat sandals and
slippers to work and one guy in HR used
to harass me and tell me slippers weren’t
allowed at work.
I reported him to my teammates and
was told to inform him whenever he
complained about my footwear that
we did not have a dress code in Engineering.
The next time he accosted me, I gleefully
told him that my Engineering teammates
said it was ok for me to wear slippers
to work because we did not have a
He did not take it well.
The other guy, L, is one of the most
hardworking and quietly intelligent people
I have ever come across.
He had a personal policy to always
finish whatever work he started no
matter how late it got except he
needed help from someone else in
the office or another site and the
person wasn’t available.
On a few occasions, he fueled the
trucks used to drive us to site with
his own money because the company
always delayed in disbursing the
money to fuel the trucks and he liked
to leave early to work on the sites
before traffic started.
He was also very generous and as
little as his salary was (it was public
knowledge), he always paid for the
food of anyone who ate with him at
the canteen even his superiors.
Anyway, because I really wanted to
learn, I attached myself to him and
started going to sites with him instead
of Mr carry my laptop.
He answered most of the questions I
had and guided me to figure out the
answers to the rest.
He also gave me useful, reading materials
that helped me understand the theories
and founding principles behind our work.
The Nigerians in Engineering were paid
very poorly compared to the foreigners
some of whom weren’t as qualified and
some of them retaliated by talking trash
about their bosses and management and
not going the extra mile in their work.
If a site went down around 4 pm, some
of the Engineers would say the company
did not belong to their fathers and
would go home and fix the issues on-site
the following day.
But L never joined them in speaking ill of
those at the top and always went the
extra mile at his job because hard work
and productivity were some of his
I remember one evening when he told
our manager that he wanted to take a
sick leave the following day and the
manager told him to take as many days
as he wanted because that was the
first time he’d ask for sick leave unlike
the other staff.
I learned A LOT from L and I always
knew he’d go places.
The assistant manager, H, had a poor
command of English (English is not the
national language in Bolivia) a short
while after I resumed, whenever he
wanted to send an email or write a
document, he’d ask me to review it
for him and correct his mistakes
before sending it out.
As a result of this, he taught me how
to use the planning tool which only
himself and the other Bolivian Manager
had access to and could use.
At some point, I got drafted to go
for site surveys for like a month but it
was the most boring work I did during
my time there.
A lot of expansion was being done while
I was there and this involved setting up
new cell sites.
I and representatives from other units
would go and survey various sites along
with different real estate agents and
my job was to ensure there was a line
of sight between the proposed site and
the existing site it was supposed to
The site that best suited our purposes
would then be selected and the estate
agent showing the site would get his
cut when a contract was entered
into with the site owner.
Some of the estate agents always
tried to butter up the Engineers so
that they could choose their sites
and sometimes treated them to
One time, I missed work and the
following day I was given some
money and told it was my share of
the money given by the estate agent
that took us to view a site the
I asked if it was ethical to take the
money and was told it was so I
pocketed the money and used it to
buy food because a laborer deserves
The funniest thing that happened
during my time at S Ltd. Was that a
lot of the staff were involved in
pyramid aka Ponzi schemes.
One of the few Nigerians leading an
Engineering team had participated in
some of those schemes when they
first started in Ibadan and had
gotten a lot of the other junior staff
including my teammates to come
under his pyramid so he’d made a
lot of money.
Because of this, a lot of the Nigerian
staff including drivers who weren’t
earning much had participated in
some of the schemes with the hope
that they too would blow like the
A lot of mornings started with them
looking at their pyramid and calculating
how much they had made.
I can still remember the names of
3 of the Ponzi schemes, Nospecto,
wealth solution, and penny wise.
I never participated because I was
aware of Ponzi schemes at the time
and I wasn’t willing to lose even N5
out of my meager savings.
That’s how the contact who worked in
Ibadan and helped to set up the
schemes for the staff back in Lagos
suddenly stopped picking people’s calls
because the schemes had crashed
and their monies had gone with it.
You’d see the drivers and some other
staff complaining to the team lead and
cursing G in Yoruba with “ko ni da fun G”
and many other heavy curses.
As much as I felt bad for them, I was
also surprised at their Naivety.
Anyway, after my 6 months was up, I
had 2 months before school resumed
but I didn’t want to keep working in
the transmission unit so I spoke to
the manager of the unit
I Was told they didn’t accept IT
students and he admitted me into
his team for those remaining 2 months.
My manager told me I could return to
S Ltd for my NYSC but I wasn’t interested.
An Arab company was coming to set
up a telco in Nigeria and that was
where I planned to do my NYSC because
we all heard they paid well and money
was the number one factor driving
my choice of an NYSC job.
My NYSC posting to Lagos did not
work out as I expected and I ended
up going to Adamawa for camp. I had a
miserable time there except the few
times I left camp to chill with my family
friend at Atiku American University.
I returned to Lagos for a month after
camp, went back to Adamawa for 2 weeks,
and returned to Lagos when my
re-deployment worked out.
My uncle’s connect to the Arab Telco and
everywhere you go network didn’t work out.
One of my family friend’s got me posted
to an IT firm that only paid N20000/month
but I wasn’t interested – I was looking
for N50k/month NYSC posting.
I tried several better-paying companies
but none of them worked out.
2 months after I got the 20k IT job, I
ended up taking it and resuming there.
My team was headed by an older
Yoruba man, Mr. A and we didn’t have
any substantial project to work on
while I was there. Because I didn’t
want to be there and didn’t care to
be retained, I didn’t even bother
forming enthusiasm at working.
If I was given work to do which
rarely happened, I’d do it but I spent
most of my time studying for my GRE.
One particular guy in my team kept
trying to dissuade me from going for
my masters and taking Cisco certifications
instead but I always rebuked the satan
in him in my head.
Anyway, our Yoruba boss liked to
send the NYSC students on personal
errands and I knew one day it’d be
my turn so I was just waiting in anticipation.
One day, he asked me to go pay some
money in the bank for him and I politely
told him I did not want to go as it wasn’t
part of my job description.
He kept begging me in Yoruba and I kept
refusing until I finally agreed but I had
my own hidden agenda.
I took the money and first went to lunch,
then I paid the money in the bank and
then I went to my friend’s office where
I gisted and played for 2 hours after
which I returned to the office.
As expected, my boss was furious at
me and kept screaming at me for
staying away for 2 whole hours.
I calmly responded to his fury by
reminding him that I told him over
and over that, I did not want to go on
the errand but he kept insisting until
he wore me down and I just decided
to pursue my agenda after running
My office was one large room where
most of the staff worked so everyone
in the room witnessed this confrontation
between my boss and I.
Needless to say I wasn’t retained and
I did not feel bad.
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