BY OJIE IMOLOAME||
So, it has been almost a year now since I touched down in Lagos. I recall when I touched down. I was angry, confused and wondering what I did to be sent back. But after some time, I decided to give it a shot and see where this experience takes me. All in all, my learning curve has improved remarkably I must say. It is as if I was, to quote the Great Madonna “ like a virgin, touched for the very first time”.
- I have learnt that if one wants to get anything done here, you have got to be able to speak the lingo. If you do not speak the lingo, you will either not get it done or you will get it at a remarkably inflated price. Lets call the marginal price “Ajebutter charge”. Believe me when I say, I have gone through such. When price bargaining, you have to do it on their level. Oddly enough, that is the only way they will respect you. If not, you will be subject to the above charge.
- Atimes, as silly as it sounds, to get your way, you need to push by any means necessary. I believe in constantly being cool, calm and collected. But many a time, the language they understand here is force. Oddly enough, you are expected to exact force to get your way. I have no idea why but it is what it is. There was a day I was in a very long queue and I just had to do jump the line by pretending to take an interest in someone’s life in the front. I felt so bad but it was either that or stayed on the queue in the hot sun for hours. However, one must know when to call it quits. I say this because some people are merely script readers and being forceful to them is definitely going to change anything. They will only tell you what they know. You can either take it or leave. If you continue to stress, you will only get a repeat of the info and blank stares and probably some insults under their breadth.
- Things move extremely fast in Lagos. I believe that can also explain why the rate or car accidents are very high. Everyone acts as if there is fire on their arses and is constantly running to put it out. In this context, I have learnt that one has to always be pro-active and I cannot stress the importance of that enough. A certain situation just happened to me and upon reflection, it made me think that had I been more pro-active (although, I literally had no idea how to handle the situation), but, had I shown some more enthusiasm, I would have been able to share much more credit with the success at the end, rather than just being a glorified spectator. It made me understand that in business and probably life in general, you are expected to just act or as my darling Mitchell said in his post, Do! As I was made to realise, people are not going to tell you verbatim what to do and when to do it. You are just meant to know and Do! Even if you fail, at least you did and that counts for something, as I was made to learn.
- Never judge a book by its cover. Always keep an open mind. Always. My point here is, always be willing. You will be surprised whom you will meet with that kind of open mind. Even if the person might not be richy rich, but you will learn so much from just a simple conversation!
- Believe it or not, even if I call bullshit on it Atimes, there are a ridiculous amount of opportunities here. In the past year alone, we have welcomes the likes of Konga and Jumia, basically our very own Amazons of Nigeria. But, they are doing extremely well. Nigerians are much more sophisticated than you might think and are now demanding these kinds of services to meet their new sophisticated needs. Malls are going up in places now. Cinemas are opening now round the country and many more. All it takes is to recognise a void or need and meet this need and voila, a business has been born!
- Also, I cannot stress this enough. Networking. It is important. I have learnt this the hard-way of course and I had to adjust. Things move faster when you know people. Take that however you want to, but it is always good to know people.
- There is always a second option. Do not under-estimate the power of Google. I needed to fix my laptop and I went to the main place. They gave me stories and smug attitudes. I came home, got unto Google and started calling and now, I am going to pick up the laptop today.
All in all, it has been an interesting year and I am readily looking forward to the next one. Hopefully with a job in hand! Then, we can start a new series “Working In Lagos”.