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The idea that I need to japa before I can have a fulfilled life is a mindset that I have fought hard. I love my country, its people, the humour and a lot of other things that come with being Nigerian. We cannot look away from the many downturns, like insecurity, and policies that ruin businesses. But after all, that said, Nigeria is a beautiful country with lots of resources and has a lot of potential when you decide to immerse yourself in the posibi…blah blah…Oga, me too sef wan japa abeg!

“Japaing” is what has crossed my mind and yours in the last few years. We all see Nigeria as a country that could have been a wrong fit for us as young people. The only thing that goes to bring solace is that we can all ‘escape’ this feeling of being stuck and move on to everything we hope to have and more.

While some of us have the means to leave the country, the other half or more will have to save up for many years, hopefully, mama no go swallow the razor blade for you to contribute money to the village and go back to the ground zero again.

With remote working becoming the new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many opportunities to help increase our earning potential, despite the unemployment challenges we see on the surface. Such opportunities are in sectors such as the development sector (international development), technology, digital marketing, tourism or even the food business.

You can’t take out the insecurity and healthcare problems in the climes we live in; other countries like Canada solved this problem by providing good healthcare services, security, and better standards of living.

Moving to other countries comes with weighing the cons of not having a job soon enough because of the number of immigrants that might be on the waiting list. The question remains: will it be better to get a good job in Nigeria or leave Nigeria. I’d say both are great decisions but whichever choice you make, these are some things that you may want to consider first:

Find a sellable skill: I know to say the country is hard, but it wouldn’t be a good decision to leave Nigeria for ‘the abroad’ and not have a skill that can give you a life you can be proud of. Demand for new skills like digital marketing has been on the increase in Nigeria. Digital marketers are very valuable both at home and abroad, they can earn up to a million naira monthly. In many developed countries, there is a very high demand for vocational skills like hair making, plumbing, electrician, welders, carpenters, and mechanics! Yea you saw that right, so if you have any of these skills as a hobby, you will fit in just fine.

Build credibility: These ‘abroad’ people can be known for doing a lot of background checks before they hire so ensure you build your work credibility here in Nigeria before you sail off to find other opportunities in another country. The same applies if you choose to build a career in Nigeria fully.

Culture research: If you choose to relocate, find a family that you can be with for some time before you fully become independent. This way, you will learn about the city before you jump the ropes. There are some cultural differences that you might not be used to being a Nigerian. For example, making friends might be harder because of the change in environment; the cost of living is higher so expenses like taxes and housing can be extremely high. Also, adapting to new skillsets for sectors like technology in Nigeria would require you to learn about the work cultures to thrive in these sectors.

For whichever decision you make, be fully aware of the pros and cons before you make the change. Nigeria might be the ‘worst’ but many people are living great lives. Living abroad might be the best option, but many people might be living their worst life. Evaluate the timing and ensure you are making a decision that is good for you.

Rachel Ogunlana is a communications specialist with about 10 years of experience. She loves to share knowledge about work and life experiences to help young people make better decisions. When she is not working, she is writing or simply loving the air with a book in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @rachelogunlana

Rachel Ogunlana
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