Nigerian Salaries

28 Jan

This week has been a week of weird random thoughts.  My mind has been buzzing and my productivity is kinda all over the place.  I have been checking out the Nigerian job market out of curiosity and was amazed to find out that some salaried individuals (like bank managers) make $10,000 a month. I know it is not a typical average salary of say some telecomm middle exec (which from my research seems to be around $2000 month) but still … that has a wow factor.  It reminds me of my sister’s comment when she came to visit.  She said, “you guys make good money but the cost of living here is just too high!”  She was absolutely right because $2000 will probably go further in Nigeria than here in the U.S.

I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately because sometimes I think I would have fared better had I stayed in Nigeria.  I remember when I got my visa to come to the U.S. I was so excited and happy.  I was the envy of everyone. Now, coming to the U.S. has lost its allure.  Those that come don’t want to stay.  Those that stay realize that unless they have money to start a business, working for the man won’t make you rich.  As for me, it took me 10 years of working my butt of getting an education, interning, entry-leveling and generally paying my dues for me to get to this mediocre level.  I look at my younger co-workers who are at the same level as myself and frown at the injustice of it all.  This one guy graduated from college two years ago and am sure he is not too far off from me salary-wise.

America is not for the feeble-minded.  You have to DECIDE you want to stay here and make something of yourself no matter how long it takes you to get there.  If you come here with some lofty ideology, then you are setting yourself up for failure.  Sometimes, I find it funny that people look at me and assume I come from money and that my family helped me settle in this country. That is not the case.  My father put me on a plane in 1998 with $500 in my pocket.  The rest as we say is 13 years of sweat, tears, frustration, depression and downright suicidal – history.

I like to tell Nigerians back home that they are so lucky the country is moving forward and becoming more cosmopolitan…yes our infrastructure is nothing to be proud of but…we now have a vast middle class.

Last night I had this conversation with Turtle:

“So if I go home and get a job that pays me well enough so you don’t have to work, will come to Nigeria with me?”

“I don’t know …  I have never been there.”

“What if we got a nice house, a maid, a gardener and a driver, would you come?”

“I said I don’t know, I have never been there.”

“What if you had all the time in the world to play as much golf as you want.”

“Now you are speaking my language…”

Oyinbo people sef…..

On other note, I am really enjoying this Ofe Onugbu (Bitterleaf soup) I made last week.  Shame it will be all gone by Sunday:

Alright am off to annoy CaramelD and Verastic.


34 Responses to “Nigerian Salaries”

  1. Joxy January 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Yay, I’m first! That soup looks yummy. I know what you mean about those that stayed in Nigeria, my contemporaries are now top bank execs, magistrates, have law practices, are running for House of Reps, Senate etc. However, I am thankful for where I’m at, the greatest blessing of having come over is that I met and married T. He makes my life complete, what more can I ask for?

    • lucidlilith January 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      Yes oh my sister. I am very thankful. However my mind does wander now and then and some ungrateful thoughts come to my mine.

  2. Sugabelly January 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I definitely agree with the situation of Nigerians currently in Nigeria versus Nigerians abroad. I think the best strategy is to get the education here and then head home to start a business.

    • lucidlilith January 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      If only I had thought about that before…if only. If I do decide to go back home I worry about the fact that as a US citizen, I will still have to pay tax on my “income.” back home.

      • Joxy January 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

        Nigeria allows dual citizenship. Just get a naija pali.

        • lucidlilith January 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

          …but dont you have to still pay american taxes to keep your citizenship?

          • Joxy January 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

            Ah, now I understand what you’re saying….

  3. taynement January 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Sigh, you totally echoed everything I have been thinking. I still don’t even know which is better or not. Your onugbu looks good.

    • lucidlilith January 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

      That is the problem..somedays you feel good about yourself and somedays you feel bad. My sister is visiting the US twice within a year and I can barely scape the money to go home once *sigh*

  4. EDJ January 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I understand your concerns however you are ignoring a very important fact.

    That bank exec making $10,000/month is only there–most of the time–because of family connections. I know one family that runs a large bank in Nigeria as if it is their family business. Every managing director is a relative or in-law of the previous set of directors. THAT is why people stay in America. Its not about the money.

    I don’t want to go back to Nigeria and rely on my parents to find me a job with one of their cronies where I can hold on to a position and pass it on to my children as if it is their birthright instead of an actual career.

    Its hard in America, but to me the alternative–is not an option. Many of MY classmates in Nigeria graduated uni in 2010 after almost 7 years in school thanks to strikes. I don’t see the plus side.

    Pardon my slight rant. Do you have a recipe for the soup by the way?

    • lucidlilith January 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

      I don’t disagree with you at all…but you gotta agree that things back home are getting better when it comes to the economy. Your money goes farther there. As for the soup…send me an email and I will reply with the recipe….

    • tobenna January 31, 2011 at 2:18 am #

      I disagree EDJ.
      There is no banking institution in Nigeria that is privately/family run anymore apart from ETB.
      All are publicly quoted and are monitored by the CBN to ensure this does not happen.
      2/3 years ago, maybe. But not now.
      I’m a middle manager in a firm here and I do not have any family connections whatsoever. Same goes for 98% of my friends.

      There are tons of issues in Nigeria, much more than the west. But the country is developing.

      My personal thoughts are: there are more opportunities to excel in a developing economy than in a developed economy.

      • EDJ January 31, 2011 at 10:23 am #

        @ Tobe I will have to disagree with you.

        I’m not going to say any names, but I know the bank, I know the family and they are not the only ones that do it. I am not talking about middle management either.

        I know people–educated, qualified people–who have to go and BEG for a promotion or raise from members of the “old guard” otherwise nothing will ever happen for them.

        Besides, why argue about the people who have jobs? Lets consider the millions that are unemployed or underpaid. Those are the people you need to worry about. Even if you are bringing in millions of naira a month, the stress of actually living in Nigeria is sure to shorten your lifespan and enjoyment of the money.

  5. Ginger January 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    This is an aboutface for you girl.
    Are you really that depressed??? lol
    The places you see those kinda salaries apart form Oil companies and Multinationals(where working conditions are ok) are banks. I left the bank after 2.5yrs for a job that paid half of what i was earning but gave me peace. You don’t want to earn that salary with the hypertension, politics, no leave, harassment that comes with it. Those bank managers go for meetings where the CEO calls them stupid, fools etc to their face. They swallow it cause they’ve got no choice or where to redress. I’ve heard of a dimkpa nwoke farting with nervousment na ihu igwe manager ibe ya when called to present his branch achievement. lol. abeg! all that glitters isn’t gold o.

  6. Ginger January 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    The stories are plenty there. My lesson learned is find a job where you are happiest. I can assure you that after 12 yrs in American work environs, you wouldn’t be able to cope with Naijas…basically cos you’ve never experienced it.
    The money goes longer….lol. that’s a laugh. Fuel, diesel for power, money to area boys, kith and kin who know your house, paying back customer’s loans, repainting your car on average thrice a month cos of molue drivers, the list is long.

    • lucidlilith January 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

      LOL…ginger…you kinda made me feel better. Is that a bad thing?

  7. Good Naija Girl January 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    This is a tough topic because for every person making $5,000-10,000 per month there are many who are barely making enough to pay for more than rent and credit for their phone. It does seem that the middle class is growing so that’s good.

    In a recent entry I was sharing the plight of people who are unemployed or underemployed. Many don’t have the hope of leaving the country for greener pastures due to money issues, even though they’d be willing to come here and work anywhere, and work hard too, in exchange for regular payment.

    I don’t doubt that you’ve worked your butt off to get where you are though so I know that same attitude will take you even higher and further.

    • lucidlilith January 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks GNG. I think it is worth exploring further. i see naija people coming here ever so often to visit and shop and I wonder … where the heck is the money coming from?

  8. Natural Nigerian January 30, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    I love the look of that soup. Makes me want to go and make some.

    This post spoke to me for a number of reasons. A lot of my friends seem to be moving over this year. Some are bound for the US and others for Canada. Only one person moved to the UK (which I think is particularly brave given the current economic climate). I need to get the potentials to read your mail.

    EDJ, I can’t say that I agree with you. My friend who came from to Lagos from the village with 2 shirts and a pair of trousers in the early ’90scurrently earns more than $15000 a month. Another friend who just relocated from the US earns ~N50m a year. I can assure you that these people have no connections. They were good at what they do, got headhunted and landed good jobs

    Ginger is right about all the headache of a bank job. You earn that money but you are drained at the end of the day. My approx ~50m a p.a friend has since quit and moved on to another job. Some people think she’s crazy. Others understand that she was a hair’s breadth away from dying on the job.

    Generally, I think each place and each job has its benefits and drawbacks.

    • lucidlilith January 31, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      IMO anyone moving to the west in this economic climate is BRAVE.

      • EDJ January 31, 2011 at 10:31 am #

        Well I think, for the “typical” very rich Nigerian, now is the time to move to the US. Take advantage of the low housing market and make some roots abroad for whenever the country goes bad. Afterall, Nigerians excel at back-up plans–hence all the foreign educated children who maintain the option of returning abroad.

        Of course, the real typical Nigeria has no chance in hell of affording 1 airline ticket to London talk less of the US.

        As everybody has said, millions of naira a month–that is not normal. To gauge the level of comfort in Nigeria you have to look at the “average” Nigerian and I don’t see that as a good thing. I wrote this on my blog once Lucid, and I’ll say it here again: the “average” Nigerian is very likely to tell you to stay the hell away from Nigeria. Compare their situation with the situation of the “average” American. You’ll have your answer.

  9. RepOne January 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I think we generally hear the ‘good’ stories.

    NN, the people you described are not the norm oh…ALOT of people that live in that country don’t have jobs that pay good money. Yes, I hear of people that are able to visit 2/3 times a year and get to shop like its going out of style, i know a few. On the other hand, i also know more people that can only dream of such. These things are relative o jare

    As per money going a long way…i don’t think so really cos things are expensive in that country. Don’t even think about doing any shopping for clothes and such cos they mark those items up 1000%- i’m with Ginger on this one.

    • lucidlilith January 31, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      Hmmmm….as per spending money and going shopping because things are cheaper here, I think it depends on what the product is. My sister called me asking to see if she could buy material in naija and bring it over to sew here as suits. I was like girl, “abeg it better to buy a new suit jare. seamstresses cost money here.”

      When I took my jeans to get the hem taken in, it cost me $10 for a pair. Just the hem oh. No wonder we throw things out instead of repairing them.

      • RepOne February 1, 2011 at 12:25 am #

        Well yea i was talking about things that you will normally shop for here…baffs and such. Say you walked into shoprite and wanted to do some ‘shopping’…nne mehn.

        but things like labor or stuff that can’t generally be considered ‘foreign’ will usually be cheaper. Like braids cost N3/4k…that’s what? under $30…?

        Naija is a hard place to live no doubt but its doable…ones mind just needs to be right!

  10. tobenna January 31, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    Hey Lucid Lilith aka Rosie…
    Consistency becomes you…
    Good to see that you are ever active – unlike me

    Your onugbu soup looks scanty oh! The leaves no plenty. Where’s the okporoko and periwinkle?
    Just teasing girl.

    • lucidlilith January 31, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      That plate looks scanty. The bowl I have in the fridge is so full of meat that I have to eat some in order to get any soup at all. Anhue – my sister is always making fun of me and the fact that I make soup full of meat and little soup to dip garri with.

      And I have never heard of using periwinkle in onugbu …. ever.

      • tobenna February 1, 2011 at 4:15 am #

        Soup full of meat is the way to go. Bring that on anytime.
        Onugbu is my native soup but I never seen periwinkle used except in Port Harcourt

  11. adanne January 31, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    have you considered taking a 3-5 year hiatus to Nigeria and see what it brings you? I know people who have moved back and love it, and some hate it. You have US citizenship so it’s not like you can’t come back if you don’t like it. And how much taxes will you really have to pay anyway? won’t your happiness make up for it?

    • lucidlilith January 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Hmmm…not a bad thought except that I have one Mr. Turtle to consider now. Honestly, I don’t know if I will be able to adjust to life in naija …what with the power outage and all that mess.

      • adanne January 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

        lol i had a feeling you’d say that. if push comes to shove you’d probably stay here, so nne just suck it up one day you WILL make it in obodo oyinbo especially after your MBA

  12. Vera Ezimora January 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Nne, let me just tell you now, as you’re seeing me here, it’s not me you’re seeing oh! My body may be here, but my spirit is in Nigeria. Okay, wait. On a serious note, the thing about Nigeria is that the people who are making it are really making it. Those that aren’t … well, you know the rest. I fully intend to go home and make it.

    And woe betide you if you don’t cook this kind of soup for me when I come.

    LOL @ coming to annoy me and Caramel.

  13. CaramelD February 1, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Ermmmmm Madam, you can never annony me! I would drown you in sweetness and Caramel goodness 🙂

    Now back to the matter at hand, sometimes I get worried about my rate of progression at work and I think about finacial responsibilities I have and panic a little, but like one of your readers said, I think it is a case of making super hay in whichever country you decide to settle in.

    Many people could have made as far as you have so that should be a testament to your determination and street smarts.

    PS please start putting an alert before posting pictures of delicious food on your website!!!!

  14. myne Whitman February 2, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    let’s not forget that there are still so many people getting by on minimum wage of N7,500. And there are no guarantees that anyone returning will get thoae million naira jobs, there’s only so many of them.

  15. Mamuje February 12, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    Myne just made a valid point. Hard as it might seem, some people in Nigeria still want to go abroad for greener pastures.

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