I haven’t written anything of worth in a while because I have been, supposedly, tied down with work. It has been so tedious and strenuous for the past couple of months and I’ve told myself that it is for good reason—it allows me to live a portion of the lifestyle that I want for myself—and thus necessary to my daily evolution.
I get home stressed and tired most days, barely having sufficient strength to do much else save to take a cold bath (which temporarily wakes me up) and then watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Suits. Thank God for that else I’d feel like all I do is just wake up at 5 a.m., go to work, come home at 9 p.m and then sleep.
What a life that would be!
As the years have gone by and I see those that have come before me and those who are coming into the labour market in 2017, I still ask myself what we are truly struggling for. I have come to believe that this is really the issue of the lower and middle class as those at the very top (and some who own their own businesses) aren’t really prone to this issue. They are pretty much set up. Right?
I see men and women in their late 50s who are still working their asses off one way or the other because they have loans to pay off and mouths to feed and because their savings over the years have not gotten them anywhere. They’re barely surviving. They have dreaded retirement all their lives and now, after all the hard work, time and effort they have put into it, there is nothing much for them to show. The younger ones are constantly doing anything to stay within the good graces of their employers in order not to get a sack letter.
So now the question is, how do we avoid this fear of retirement and being out of a job? How do we ensure that we provide for our—eventual—progeny and ourselves and still live a reasonably good life? The answers I have gotten from various persons include: “invest in stocks, bonds and treasury bills”, “invest in landed properties and/or engage in a side business that brings in extra cash (or being diligent with savings) and hope for the best.”
Which of the above is the right answer? Is there any right answer?
I have an uncle who was recently forced into early retirement because the company he was employed at eventually shutdown. He has three children currently enrolled in tertiary institutions and providing for their education has not been easy on his savings alone. I have seen men and women take insults from those younger than they are simply because talking back may or in some cases standing up said boss might cost them their jobs and they’re not ready to jump into the job market again when they have bills to pay and mouths to feed.
Is this a problem specific to the Nigerian system or is this prevalent across the globe? Is there a way out of this quagmire or are some persons meant to go through this brunt as their cross? What can we do to ensure that we only work because we enjoy our jobs and not because we are out of choices? What can we do to ensure that we retain our dignity and do not fear losing our jobs and the uncertainty that comes with it? What can we do to ensure that when we look back, we will say with all confidence that we didn’t belittle ourselves just to take home a paycheck and we can be proud or where we find ourselves?
I really want to know…