Our Salary Paths series aims to give fellow Elphas a reference point for salary negotiations and encourage more women to talk about compensation. We hope that opening up the conversation will contribute to more pay transparency and equitable pay.
As a global series, we’re interested in gaining insights into salary progressions across different countries and economies. The numbers in this post may differ from what you are accustomed to, reflecting the distinct contexts of these global stories.
Interested in sharing your Salary Path with us? Please fill out this form here and we will get back to you (can be posted anonymously, too! 😉 ).
When I was younger, my father, always told me that his biggest fear was for me to be through with my education and be jobless afterward. His fear was valid because we live in a country with possibly the worst job market in the world: Nigeria.
When the pandemic hit, everything changed for me as I was supposed to graduate in October 2020 and then commence my mandatory 1 year National Youth Service.
Instead, my coursemates and I had to wait at home till March 2021 to do this. While we were at home waiting, I had nothing to do except chores and basically had no money coming in. My dad would give me money to buy data subscriptions or hang out with friends when he felt I was bored.
I soon realized by October 2020, that some of my friends were working (even though we hadn’t graduated) and that was when I knew that I needed to do something with my life and stop depending on my father for money.
So, I started hunting for places I could work for my Pre-NYSC and during my NYSC (NYSC is a mandatory 1-year service program to the country for all Nigerian university graduates), too.
All the places I applied to, either rejected me or ghosted me, it was so painful. My dad was the one who would cheer me on and support me when I got interviews, so it was so hard to tell him I eventually got rejections.
Getting my First Role
One day, a phone call came in on February 2021. It was a coursemate telling me she had referred me for a remote job as an online community manager at a small business coaching company. I had a meeting with the founder and got the job. This job was how I started my career in marketing and I will always be grateful because I had no experience and the owner believed in me.
Once it was time for my youth service in March, the head NYSC office rejected my letter to work at this company and posted me to a company that doesn’t exist. I was so frustrated and asked to be reposted to a government company I had interned for while I was a student.
The company accepted me and I started working two jobs. This was so stressful because I had to juggle having weekly meetings and working on-site. I would say the perks of this was having a pretty great salary for a youth corper who still lives with her parents. I was earning over N100k (roughly $250 per month) at 21 years old and I had few expenses. I also had a car at the time that my dad always fueled so I was chilling.
With my youth service slowly coming to an end, my father reminded me every day for 3 months that I needed to get a new job because once my service was over my monthly income would take a huge hit.
Getting More Job Offers
A day before I finished my government job, I got another call from them saying someone would be leaving for a couple of months and that he recommended I take his job. This shocked me because I’d never had a conversation with this person before and it came right on time. The job was for a 1-year contract as a project analyst.
When I started the job, I realized I’d have to leave my job at the coaching firm because the responsibilities at the new job were a lot. So I resigned.
In October 2022, I saw a job opening for a community manager at a nonprofit I’ve always admired, and this was when my life changed. I was less busy as the company assigned me two interns to help me out and I felt that this was a job I could excel at. I was passionate about the organization and was already a member of the community. The founder is also someone I look up to and hope to be like someday, so I applied and got an interview.
The interview went so well, and I got the job. I can’t explain how amazing it is to work at a job you’re truly passionate about. At this point, my salary had doubled and I could start affording my wants not just needs and even help out around the house.
Two days before my birthday in November 2022, another call came in! It was from the sister of the owner of the nonprofit who asked me if I’d like a job at the company she’s working at because she was impressed by my work.
I asked her to give me a day to think about it and I said yes. Now some could ask, are you nuts? Why would you say yes? Why would you work three jobs? The answer is that I'm on a contract job with an expiration date, so it's a temporary situation.
I also lost a lot of my friends to the Japa movement (the “Japa Movement” refers to the mass amount of Nigerians that are immigrating outside Nigeria for a better life or studies). I technically live alone because the majority of the time my dad travels for work and my siblings are in school. So, basically, I have a lot of free time.
Another thing is that once you taste a remote job, it’s hard to ever want to go back to an office. So, now I work three jobs and it’s exactly what you think, it’s very difficult to cope but I’m not complaining.
Also, a huge perk is money. In January 2023, I had a 50% pay increase at my government job, plus the money coming in from the two other jobs – I am actually comfortable. I can take care of my siblings without disturbing my dad and take care of myself too.
I now have the possibility to think about starting a business, saving up for trips, and hopefully moving from the state I’m currently based in. Most importantly, I know I’m making my father proud and happy.
Although, I could be better with the way I save money.
The Shortcomings of Working 3 Jobs
My burnout is really bad. I usually get tired easily and don't get to sleep a lot, unless it's the weekend.
I’ve also fallen sick frequently, in January I had to call in sick a lot because I was too weak to leave my house.
Sometimes I work on the weekend just to make up for the work I couldn’t do during the week.
Even though you try to be as organized as possible, you could still end up forgetting to do something.
I’ve been yelled at a couple of times because I truly forgot about a task.
So, I don't recommend having 3 jobs if you can afford it.
What I have Learned From My 2 Year Career
Referrals are Life Changing
Most of my jobs came from referrals. Try building your network and leaving a good impression. I understand that it’s not easy to work with everyone but try not to make the general consensus about you negative.
You may be the most talented person in the room but if you have an ugly attitude, people will run away.
Always work hard, no matter what.
Sometimes it may be tempting to give up, trust me I’ve been there and depressed about it. But I didn’t. It was my hard work that made someone I’ve barely spoken to, refer me for his job. It was my hard work that made someone offer me a job without even applying for it.
It may look like no one is watching but it will surprise you that people are watching. Say you write a blog post and it gets 10 views, you don’t know if one or two of the people viewing could change your life. So, keep pushing!
Always Find Your Community
Community is everything! Being a part of a community can change your life. It gives you access to a network and the support you never knew you needed.
So, try to find communities with people who have the same goals as you and learn from them. Also, try to give back to the community in whatever way you can. The help goes a long way.
Always Remain Humble
Don’t let the money get to your head. It’s okay to reject low offers but do it politely. Try to always leave a good impression. In the same way you have money now, the same way you can easily lose it later. So, be humble no matter what.
Overall, I believe working hard and leaving value where ever you go will always pay off in the end. I’m not yet comfortable with where I’m at career-wise, but I hope to eventually get a remote marketing job that pays me well, so I don’t have to be so stressed.