Jide has always dreamt of a career in banking back in University and so when during NYSC he had an opportunity to join a “new generation” bank (as they were called then) he jumped at it. He spent the better part of five years learning the trade working In operations, marketing and treasury, all in a bid to gain requisite experience. Then came the Banking Tsunami of 2009 and Jide suddenly found his career threatened. His name appeared on the list of people that will be sacked years later after his bank was taken over. Fortunately, he was paid severance of N3m only and wished the best of luck in his future endeavors by his prior employers.
After looking for a job for months without getting one he decided enough was enough and decided to do something fast. After much research he decided owning a taxi was his best option. He soon bought one and got a driver to run it. But that didn’t work as returns didn’t match his expectations. He decided to take a bold and unattractive step, drive the car himself.
The car is a fairly used good condition Toyota Camry with Air Conditioner both of which made his decision to drive easy. Its a decision he looks back to with pride. Today he makes about N15,000 weekdays and as much as N25,000 weekends( Friday and Saturday each). On an Average, Jide makes a revenue of about N500,000 monthly. On a good month, it could be as high as N600,000, more than he ever earned in the bank.
His customers are mostly students and working class ladies who can’t afford a car but can’t stand the rickety public transportation system in Lagos. Jide is presentable, patient and intelligent. Qualities that make him in demand. There was this weekend one of his customers came to town and felt like going to club. He called Jide at 11pm to come take him. Jide told him it was late but he could come out for N30k.The customer is high net worth and quickly accepted the price. On getting to the venue, Jide opened the door for him and asked him to call as usual when he is done. It’s a routine he is all too familiar with. Usually, he drops them off, pulls back his sit and takes a quiet nap with his AC and engine running. But his customer wasn’t having any of that that night and asked that Jide joins him at the VIP.
He says the job comes with its hazards just as any other job. But this is his and he treats it with all the seriousness and dedication it deserves. He saves N100k every month from his earnings and hopes to buy another taxi soon. He projects in the next two years he will be running a fully fledged car hire business with drivers, secretaries and cashiers.
From being and employee he’d soon become an employer of labour. He is confident of success as he sees the sacrifice he is making now as a learning curve. He is learning all the intricacies of the business and believes this will come good when he expands. On whether he still wishes to pursue a career in banking he firmly says nahh!!
Most of his colleagues are still jobless and some have even finished their severance money. They look at him sometimes and wonder if he is crazy. He says he has been lucky but won’t neglect the fact that courage and his decision to ignore stereotypes led him to where he is now. Its just too counterproductive to dwell on the negatives of his new job.
He believes, his journey is just starting. Surely, he can’t keep driving taxes forever as his university education should be put to better use. For now, he can only thank his stars that no one can sack him, ever again.
*Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.