How do you survive in Nigeria’s cutthroat job market?

Let’s hear Raphael Sani  Enejo.

Let's meet you

Raphael Sani Enejo, or SanRaph for short, is my name. I worked with Semicolon Africa, and now I am working with my partners to get my pre-series A funded and pre-market-fit company to the market called izigo, a logistics aggregation platform that serves vendors and logistics companies – checkout

I like cycling as in mountain biking. I am considered uptight, but I can loose it when my favourite jam is up or when I share similar vibes with a person, so call me crazy; I won’t mind.

I hate games of chance because I never win, I love computer racing games, and I read to relax; I just dive into the rabbit hole and lose the concept of time with a nice book. People say I am always unaware of my environment, but I’ll leave you to be the judge of it. I believe in a utopian future and Roko’s Basilisk while acknowledging the supremacy of God Almighty. I hate organised religion, but I love the idea of faith.

I am an optimist who believes that hard work is key to creating a better future and changing circumstances; it pays. The result may not show today or tomorrow, but those who put in the work have a better story to tell.

What do you do for a living?

I am an entrepreneur who started as a software engineer.

How long did it take you to secure your current job?

After school, it took me two years to secure a job. Within those years, I read entrepreneurship books that I will be happy to recommend or discuss.

I upskill and improved in areas that needed improving and, most importantly, joined a community of software engineers to keep abreast with the ever-changing industry.

In those years, I basically read books, exercised and joined communities.

You read, exercised and joined communities? How were you able to meet your needs without a job?

For the first year, I lived with my family. My mother is pretty supportive. She believes in me like no other, which is very helpful. In the second year, Semicolon Africa paid my expenses for a year Bootcamp before joining their workforce, which is a huge advantage of joining a good community.

I know it can be very hard to not move at the speed you expect, giving you sleepless nights and PTSD. It can be brain-tasking to budget limited funds. 

This is my advice:

Trust that life means well and that God is in Heaven and all is well with the world. Take chances for things that matter to you and never look back. If it didn’t work, move unto the next one and listen to your heart and gut for directions; they already mapped your course. You just need to know how to read the map. Self is your greatest friend, make him an ally, and perhaps the journey will be less complicated.

Wow! It's good to have such a supportive family

I tell you.

I truly tell you. 

My Mom stands out.

You must have been exceptional to be retained by Semicolon. What was your role? Instructor?

No. I was retained as an engineer for Semicolon Labs, an arm of the company that builds systems for banks and insurance companies. Semicolon is many things, the bootcamp arm is popular because that’s the one that gets advertised or talked about.

What's your experience in the Nigerian labour market?

The Nigerian Labour market is a tough terrain based on the current state of the public market and economic downturn; companies are cutting the cost of hiring, thereby making it harder for those coming in for entry positions. However, to the brave-hearted, the downturn presents nothing but opportunities, those who are ready to change their mindset, plan, solve genuine problems and create a workforce of their own.

My experience in the Nigerian Labour market is the usual sweet and sour combo where you are sometimes paid lower than your current market value. Still, my mantra has always been to stick around as long as I learn something new at work. Your experience will eventually pay off the low-ball days if you do that.

What is your advice to recent graduates?

Shake off the contrarian theory that the government is supposed to cushion you, especially the Nigerian government. The greatest investment you will ever make is self-development. As a graduate, it’s not yet time to drop the ball, take the boot camp, start a business or learn a new skill online. Don’t relax; the journey has just begun.

Thank you so much sir for sharing your experience with me

Thank you