Financial Advice for Today’s Youth Corper

While reading the papers today, I stumbled upon a quote credited to the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe who said “I am convinced that the high rate of unemployment in the country today can easily be halved within a few years if we get our electric power situation resolved”. I could not agree with him more.  Gone are the days where upon completion of youth service, a graduate is assured of an instant job with major organizations within the country.

Nowadays, you’re not even sure of getting a job after graduation, what with the manufacturing industry in comatose. An old colleague of mine who has crossed over to a major telecommunications firm, used to lament on how he stayed at home for six years before getting his first job. With the benefit of hindsight now, I see how shortsighted I was some few years back upon graduating from university. If I had known what I now know, I’d have taken up the entrepreneurship challenge a long time ago. Not that I blame myself entirely, but the system in place encouraged such a dependent attitude on a system that was not creating jobs, but eliminating the few ones that were available.

So, if you’re one of the corpers serving our motherland this month, take note of the following tips:

Identify and Observe: Use your time at the orientation camp to think about what you want to do with your life once orientation is over. Don’t wait for the supposed manna from heaven cos let’s face it, we’re highly intelligent people. Identify your interests, hobby, passion and see if you can sell these attributes for money. Sometimes, your idea need not necessarily be a new one. You can “copy and paste with pride”. Take out the time to observe your immediate environment, which includes your family, friends, neighbors and the social community within your circle of influence. Are there services, needs or wants that are not being met? Are you in a position to offer these services for a stated sum of money?

Start saving: don’t wait till you get that prestigious job after orientation, lay out a savings goal or life plan for yourself and start as soon as you’re paid your first allowance. Don’t join the bandwagon of peer pressure. Commit to a constant and consistent savings plan for the rainy days.

Live below your means: this is not the time to splurge on Tiffany & Ambers, Odua Creations, Jimmy Choo, Mulberry, Curtis and Hawes, Pierre Cardin and other designer items just to announce your arrival on the pre-employment scene. You may think the sum you’re receiving from the Federal Government may not be enough, but if you’re consistent, you’ll be the one laughing last. You don’t need expensive items to substantiate your personal appearance; neatness, basic personal hygiene and a good dose of self-confidence will keep you looking good.

Career Plans: if you decide to contribute your quota to the labour market, identify where your interest really lie. If you read engineering in school to please your parents but your heart lies in the confectionery sector, don’t hesitate to follow your heart. Most times, your instinct is never wrong cos your passion will never fail you. Search for organizations that will give you the kind of experience you need to pursue your own interests later in life.

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