Jul 02

Essential insights into moving back to Nigeria

Blogger Temmillenial is a Nigerian citizen has lived in various locations across the globe including in the US, Nigeria and Dubai. She provides some essential advice to those considering a return home and answers some key questions.

1. What was most shocking about Nigeria?

The flurry of new faces I was meeting daily, the welcoming culture, everyone’s willingness to spend a ton to take me out, the intensity of smells, the need to be accountable for my movement after years of independence, the crassness of some males, the savoriness of food, the dinginess of the airport, the need to ration internet, which actually was a lot faster than I’d been told to expect..

Five years later, the gradual transition to a cashless society was shocking and impressive. I remember always being excited that I could pay for fuel, and at the supermarkets with my ATM card. On the spot mobile transfers also got me giddy. The availability of ubers was fantastic.

The not so great stuff: I was transitioning to a full-blown feminist and my family had not gotten on my level yet (society was and remains way behind). The respect culture had not changed- asking basic questions, even about bank charges and why savings accounts paid only 2-3% in a high inflationary environment were met with eye rolls. The food was always too spicy, so my mom had to blend separate tubs of pepper for me. I suddenly developed allergies to a lot of outside food that I previously had not reacted to. The cost of living was significantly higher.

2. How was the career transition?

I think concerns about career stagnation in most industries are justified, but perhaps overblown in most cases. I think career mobility is more rapid in Nigeria, and it’s easier to stand out in Nigeria than in the US as an example.

3. Was it a culture shock?

The office culture was very different. At the organisations I worked for, the atmosphere was welcoming, and performance driven at the organizations, not team oriented on average. I have been told that in some places, the focus was less on the output than on the appearance of performing, but I honestly cannot relate. Expectations to “look the part” are taken more seriously in Nigeria, than in the US and interviews are sometimes unnecessarily brutal and too personal.

4. How did moving back impact you personally?

I became a more confident and assertive version of myself. To avoid being misunderstood, I realized I had to be clear on my stances, and ensure I never gave the appearance of endorsing suppression. As an example, I insisted on drinking Heineken on Friday nights, despite the stares and all the reasons females were not supposed to drink beer. At some point, I started actively avoiding complainers and whiners because I was becoming like them. I think if you control your interactions, refuse to be intimidated by people, and filter your social media carefully, you should be fine.

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