Life has dealt with me so well; I would call myself one of the privileged few.
I never had a thing to worry about, and my life moved at the pace every parent would want their child to succeed. I have no complaints about life. None at all.
I journeyed through life, succeeding at every academic point as I was fortunate enough to get an education until I became a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I enjoyed this default comfort zone of being the 10% of the 10% as though it was my birthright, though this came with a lot of hard work and the zeal for academic excellence, after all, it was only with such distinction that one can guarantee a bright future.
I got so used to success, success itself became stale.
I tried exploring new frontiers in acquiring skills at my job, in the grave misconception that it was the only option to getting the kind of job I wanted. I soon realized it is a big scam. I could never use those skills as a young lawyer, working with persons who have no clue about the skills and who are too timid to try. It was just right on paper to land the job, and that was it and nothing more. Nigeria is just a unique country; we function in a custom-made environment; only a real Nigerian can survive. How we do it is still absurd to me in the most fantastic way. And, to get a perfect job, academic excellence is the least criterion in assessing if a person qualifies for a job.
I enjoyed my job as a lawyer, with the support of fantastic superiors, I became fearless. I wouldn’t fail at anything (I still don’t), so I tested my limit, took more significant steps, won majorly (in my circle), and I quickly got my name stamped with the mark of undisputed excellence. It was like I was Alice in Wonderland until I had to work in an extremely toxic environment.
I prepared for everything in life, but nobody warned me about the human person. No one told me that the way we are different in shape and size is the exact way we are different in using our common sense and having empathy level for one another. I soon called myself the only human being. I was shocked every time, and I cried all the time. I struggled with emotional intelligence to the point that I read many books about becoming better. I took many courses on how to resolve disputes. Though I became invincible at the workplace, I realized some people would be envious, and we must show them some love for their misery.
It wasn’t even up to ten years before I realized, working only as a lawyer wasn’t making me happy at all. It was not the end for me; it was only a career path that ought to be the means to an end. I soon stopped smiling. I began to question my wants from life. Was I immature? It was easy for people to tell me; “Be thankful for your job”, “You work where you have job security”, “in no time, you would rise through the ladder”, “Just stay where you at and be grateful.”
Others taunt; “How did you get the job?” as though I was hoarding a piece of classified information as to how one becomes a Counsel in a reputable firm. Some would say; “You are bigger than that place”, “You surely won’t have a future in that place”, “What are you still doing there?” “When will you join the big league?” “You are wasting away”, “You couldn’t be serious, are you still working in ‘that’ place?” “Toyosi, wake up and get out of there.”
Was everybody plain mad, or was I ungrateful? I started avoiding people.
I never wanted my kind of job. How I ended up with the situation, is one form of default settings. I cannot explain it. As soon as I got the job, I was confident I would leave the job. It was my mantra. It was my magic wand to avoid being boxed into a corner and get frustrated. I was going to leave!
When did it become a thing of rising through the ladder? What ladder? How did I get here? How can people be so comfortable with less? I was suffocating.
Soon, I stopped complaining, and I became reticent. I did the job, I kept the name of excellence, but I was one miserable person.
Recently, the coronavirus pandemic which the world’s medical community is yet to understand, and provide a cure, has made people from all over the world adopt the solution to stay at home to stop the virus from spreading like wildfire. I never knew I could be saving humanity by merely being at home. These many days of staying at home, gave me the time and energy to think about my life as I want it to be.
I cleared up all of my to-do-list from the year 2019 till date, I wanted more. I discovered I could never get tired of staying at home. I could do so much more, but I didn’t know what else to do. I had signed up for many online classes to the point that I started sending out emails to the management of those courses on how absurd those courses were, and how shameful they should be to have rolled out such. I went through the half module for some; for others, I didn’t even bother. I was not too fond of movies, but I had to give-in. I soon got tired.
I spoke with a friend of a friend. I never knew a human being could be so patient at listening without assuming I am too smart to have not had an interpersonal crisis for hours non-stop. He sent me a Toggl link for a job, and that changed everything. I wanted more, and here was one of it right in front of me, but I was damn sure I could never pick up such a role if I do not re-skill. He opted to help me out and guarantee that I could do anything I wanted, so long I go at my pace. How did God throw such a great mentor in my life? I must have done something right.
He is a fantastic taskmaster, and this is me being very careful not to call him a terrible harasser and tormentor that he is. He’s tormented me to be the best not only in words, but showing me a pathway of courses I could do at the comfort of my home, starting from Pluralsight. He has scheduled my life for the following months in such a way that I am petrified, but I am happy that I dare myself to try. After all, they say your dreams should scare you. If they don’t, it means they aren’t big enough. He is now my new nightmare. I see his calls, and I will either lose my sleep, appetite or be very guilty till I get at it. This website is one of the to-do-list, and I am grateful I got it done and wrote my first post in hours. I am thankful to have someone holding me accountable for my own life’s decisions.
The plan is simple. Since I am already a fantastic lawyer, I need to re-skill at writing, unlearn some communication habit and learn how to be a badass data scientist. It all sounds crazy. I know, and even if I’ve lost my mind, I don’t care as long as I live in a world that I design. A million dreams are keeping me awake, and it is about time I grab them.
Now, this is not me dreaming of getting a job. I want more. I want to be a product of myself—an intersection of technology and people. I want to write, be IT savvy and a professor of laws. I want to show that I can do anything by self-learning at my own pace. Not because I need an endorsement, but because my life is before me with options and I have the freedom to live through it.
The count-down starts now. I am my Greatest Showman!
Welcome to May, the brightest colours fill my head.