Seyi Olukoya: It’s a bird; it’s a planet; no…it’s another graduate! (30 Days, 30 Voices)

 

Seyi Olukoya

 

I thought once I moved back, getting a high paying job will be easy. “Afterall, I am an international graduate! Surely I must be better than the rest”, I thought. However, it seemed like a lot of Nigerians believed they were the best too.

Pulse racing, heart pumping, adrenaline in overdrive as I answered the call into the fold of the elite in the society or so I believed. It was summer 2009 and I had just received my full license to be called a graduate. A title bestowed on only those who have displayed uncanny tenacity to start and finish a degree. The title represents the pot of gold at the end of the predetermined rainbow from Nursery to University. So yes, after investing 18 years of my life to this cause, I believed I was ready to change the world as an Economics graduate! After all, it was my God-given right and I studied abroad. However, I was in for the shock of my life once I stepped into this so called elite fold.

I spent the entire summer that year trying to get a job in the UK but for some reason, I did not have the necessary experience to work in their graduate roles. What baffled me was the thought of where these prestigious companies expected me to get relevant work experience from, when I spent most of my time in class supposedly getting equipped with the necessary skills that their organizations could not do without.  With things not working out according to my 5-year structured plan of dominating the UK, I decided to pack my bags and head to Nigeria for the National Youth Service.

I thought once I moved back, getting a high paying job will be easy. “Afterall, I am an international graduate! Surely I must be better than the rest”, I thought. However, it seemed like a lot of Nigerians believed they were the best too. So there I was in the rat race, scampering for the same jobs with over 60% of the Nigerian unemployed graduate population. Our worth as individuals reduced to nothing but a dispensable pool of workforce that employers could do away with in a whim. How painful it was when we looked back to how hard we worked to graduate just to see that the ones who were highly connected got into positions they clearly were not fit to occupy.

In a situation as bleak as this, the easiest thing to do was to pass the blame to the government, rant about their failure and state our rights that we were not willing to fight for.   We all want to be great and create a legacy but we forget that “Greatness is not given. Greatness is taken” – Robert Griffin III.  In the Bible, I love what God asked Moses before He sent him to deliver the Israelites. God asked: “What is in your hand?” Everything that you need to succeed is embedded in your grasp; it all depends on what you see there.

As an Economics graduate, the natural career path for me to take was either in Accounting or Financial Management. My pursuit of this fruitless journey ended when the Managing Director of a top Nigerian financial organization told me that my job must be an expression of who I am, if not I am simply wasting my time. This statement caused me to question my motives and I decided to seek out true purpose. During the NYSC year, I invested a lot of time and money in developing myself from advanced writing courses to jewellery making. At the end of that year, I was unemployed for roughly 6 months but it was during that period I discovered I had a knack for copywriting and branding. This discovery shifted my focus from Finance to Brand Management and after those 6 months, I got employed by Alder Consulting.

Fast forward 2 years and I am now the CEO/Principal Designer of a jewellery company based in the UK and working as a Business Developer for a Social Media organization. I created this path for myself when I decided to take my life into my hands i.e. take an active role in making sure I succeed and believing my best is yet to come. To God be all the glory! I seek to encourage you, the reader not to give up on any dream whether big or small that God has given you.

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Seyi Olukoya is the CEO and Principal designer at Mademoiselle Butterfly (M.Butterfly). Under her leadership, M.Butterfly has seen tremendous growth in business in over a year of operation. M.Butterfly recently debuted at the London Fashion Week in February and the jewellery brand is gaining more ground in the international market. Seyi is also on the Business Development team of Yookos (UK). Yookos is a home grown social network from Africa focused on connecting Africans and the African diaspora on an engaged social and business networking platform.  Additionally, Seyi is a social entrepreneur engaged in projects targeted at helping women and the homeless in society.

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30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (2)

  1. In a country like Nigeria wit a battered economy, the only saviour of any graduate is self employment.

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