As a young graduate, facing life in Nigeria after graduating from the university with a second class lower (2.2) may look really bleak. If you can, study hard to finish with a first class or a second class. But if after all is said and done, should you finish with a 2.2, life does not have to end – you can always turn your career around. This is my true life story.
My initial thought was to only share this story with colleagues on Wastesmart Initiative’s closed Whatsapp group but following the massive feedback from members after I shared it on the group, I realised I had to share my story with the bigger youth population in Nigeria. Thus, my motivation for sharing this personal story of how things took a positive turn in my career is that I hope my story inspires you to find the courage to also turn your career around and go on to fulfill your dreams.
Turn your career around – Never Say Never to Good Things
There is no law that guarantees that you will get all that you deserve. So also, there is no law stopping you from getting anything good in life. “If only you will believe you can get it, then you can.”
I know a young man that graduated with 2.2 from University of Ilorin (Unilorin) Biology Education, Ilorin, Nigeria. However, he has loved Genetics from his High schools days, and desired to do Masters in Genetics & Molecular Biology at the best University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan, Nigeria.
Are you kidding me?
With a 2.2 (Second Class Lower), he was not even convinced he would qualify for a Master’s in any Nigerian University, not to talk of the highly competitive MSc Genetics program at UI… Back then, it looked unattainable. But still, he tried and applied.
He followed his gut, applied, and competed fair and square during the entrance exams and screenings. Eventually, he got the admission.
To turn your career around, whatever your hands find to do, do it well
Upon graduation, he finished as one of the best in his set, published papers in international journals, became renowned for his research and data analysis prowess and all of that.
However, no job for him until he accidentally stumbled on the signpost of a Security Consulting firm while he went to register his MTN SIM card. He walked into the company, applied for job, got invitation for interview and sat to compete with over ten other well qualified applicants with intimidating CVs.
Thank goodness. He got the offer and replaced a Lawyer as Head of Corporate Services. This made his first organised job.
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Dreaming of how to turn your career around? Yes, dreams do come true
Within two years of joining the company, he was made the head of the Risk Management Department, a post that enabled him to start attending Management Team Meetings.
Isn’t that unbelievable? From Education Biology to Genetics to Security Consulting.
But the story is not over.
Exploring my love for the natural environment to improve waste and environmental management in Nigeria
He got a glimpse of a fully funded scholarship application by German Government for Developing Countries Engineering Students to be camped and trained in Germany on Sustainable Waste Management and Sanitary Engineering. He read the procedure and submitted application on the deadline. You must be kidding me this time around? Not at all! He got the offer and off he went to Germany and participated in a training meant for Engineers.
During his stay in Germany, he met other vibrant young people and nation builders, including the Co-founder of Wastesmart Initiative, Idowu Kunlere.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he continued to leverage on this relationship with Idowu, which yielded another breakthrough for Landfill Operations Training at the University of Texas at Arlington, US.
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And still, the dream gets clearer
During his months of training, fun, education, and exposure in the US, he received a renewed clarity for his vision and re-invented himself. He dropped his PhD program at UI and resigned from the Security Industry to pursue his vision of food security and poverty eradication through enterprising solutions. The link between sustainable agricultural practices, food security and environmental management is a critical one that developing countries like Nigeria must leverage on.
Even though, he has had offers from Germany, Australia, and USA now, he has suspended all outside Nigeria engagements till the end of his Poverty Alleviation Project in the North West, Nigeria.
Mind you, he is not yet a successful man by any means but he is a dreamer and fighter, with absolute hope in God for salvation, help and mercy, for the tasks ahead.
John has failed many times and continues to fall short of perfection in all things but he is a believer who walks and works by faith.
If you truly want that goal, then, pursue it, go for it – there’s no stopping you
John believes a man can get anything good he wants if only he will be humble enough to work hard, strategically apply for opportunities (no matter how competitive), pray, and then, hope to receive good news.
Don’t question your ability, qualifications, test score or class of degree anymore. These are secondary to the main determinant which is you, your mindset and your propensity for action.
The door only opens for those who knock.
The good Book says in Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV) “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that ask receives; and *he that seek finds; and to him that knock it shall be opened.”
So, yes, you too can turn your career around.
I wish you all the success in the world.
~ John B. Babadara
(John is Chief Sustainability Analyst/General Secretary, Wastesmart Initiative)
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