[Opinion] Over-Reliance On Your Job Is Like Depending On Crude Oil

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By Justice-godfrey Okamgba

Pause for a minute. Take a deep breath and think about this. What if I get fired from work tomorrow? Remember, you can still get fired even without benefits. This is very common in Nigeria. Sometimes, you are owed for many months and may never get paid.

There are people who lose their jobs, they crumble and never rise again. Don’t be like them. Be foresighted and be ready to take action. That is the only way avert uncertainties like losing your job.

I know a man who limped into poverty after holding a top managerial position in Aba Textile Mills Limited for a decade. Supposedly, he was so dependent on his job. He failed to diversify, or even have a solid have a financial plan. Nigeria is almost confronted with that same mess.

Let me digress a bit. What actually happened to the Textile Mill Industry in Nigeria? It’s all about ineptitude in leadership exacerbated by the economic recession in the 1980s. Other impediments were Nigeria’s poor infrastructure and the demeaning perception of made in Nigeria goods. Have you seen the super creative and talented artisans in ABA? These guys create some of the things we import.

Over time, Nigeria succeeded in negatively influencing the mindset of its citizens about goods produced locally. Our penchant for foreign products is legendary. Whenever you hear someone say “I don’t like shoes made in Aba; don’t blame them. Even the Nigerian government never recognized locally made products.

No country will ever make a significant amount of progress if it’s Manufacturing Sector is in a vegetative state. The problems of Nigeria didn’t start today. We are only reaping the infected seeds planted many years ago. The revenue accrued from the sale of oil could have led us to ELDORADO.

Now, here is the point. Do not rely so much on that your job without having alternate plans. Africa’s largest economy relied so much on oil without having a PLAN B. When you get to your workplace tomorrow, tell your colleagues to have a PLAN B. Preach it because it’s imperative.

While you are still working for your boss. Learn the ropes of the industry. Gather as much knowledge as you can. Start your time business. Invest a certain amount of money on your skill sets. Improve your knowledge bank.

We know some of these but we end up not taking any action. It’s in the nature of humans to be in the comfort zone. You are contented with your salary. Your Cerebral Network has been wired in such a way that you feel relaxed. In as much as the pay comes in monthly, you are fine. It has to change.

The 1914 British creation is a mono-economy. It has been earning massively from oil export for over forty years without investing in key sectors of the economy. Even as an individual you need multiple streams of income to satisfactorily meet certain hierarchy of needs in life. If you depend solely on your job without having well carved out options, you may end up borrowing like Nigeria.

Africa’s most populous nation has been lucky to have the likes of IMF, China that usually come to their aid. Do you have an IMF or China that will lend you money when you lose your job? Do not wait until you are taken aback. This is the time to think properly and take decisive actions. It’s not easy but it has to be done.

The gibberish talk about diversifying the Nigerian economy is outdated. It has been a subject matter in this country for over forty years. After the oil boom in the 70s, Nigeria started having obstacles from corruption, capital flight, and clambering foreign debt. It was so alarming that Nigeria had no option than to undergo structural reforms like the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) to address the havoc caused by over-reliance on crude oil.

Nigeria is still rolling out Macroeconomic and Fiscal Reforms with most of them having economic diversification as a focal point. Successive governments have all outlined Agriculture as the next big thing. It is all sugar-coating.

It doesn’t matter how much the federal government claimed to have invested in the sector. The reality is that without exporting oil Nigeria remains financially incapacitated. Don’t be like Nigeria that failed to see the future.

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