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While giving you my profile during my official introduction, I did not mention that I studied English from the Pestigious Unilag.
Well, not that I forgot: just that I always like to save the best for last. I happen to be very skilled at reserving information and juiciest chunks of details for the most appropriate times. Another reason why I deserve to be ‘Madame’! (*winks)
I believe life is more interesting that way don’t you?
So as I was saying, I had my degrees in English- both Bachelor and Masters. However, that wasn’t by choice: I actually wanted to study Law (more for prestige- not out of passion) but didn’t meet the University Matriculation Exams (UME) cut off point for Unilag. Therefore, I ended up studying English.
Moreover, because I’ve always been of the opinion that I wasn’t cut out to work for any organization but to run my own business from the very start (though I wasn’t particularly sure about what I would eventually do and couldn’t quite figure out what my passions were) I never tried changing my course- I just stuck to English.
After all, it is a well know fact that a good number of people end up in careers having nothing to do with their university degrees over here. For instance, you probably know of trained medical doctors who end up in business, trained computer scientists who end up in the movie industry, trained engineers who end up in the banking career and so on…
even though I might not have figured out my passion, I always knew one thing for sure: For me, the reward CANNOT be in heaven. It’s got to be right here and now! I want money and I want it pretty fast! Money in all available currency and denominations. Moreover, I also want prestige: a real ‘Madame’ is what I’ve got to be…
Sometimes due to misplaced passions while choosing out their college careers and then having to tune to their passions later in life; sometimes owing to not meeting the cut of points for their dream courses and having to study just any available course like it was in my case…
Most times however, the reason is due to the quest for survival. Responsibilities settle in after college and the bills don’t stop running- so people just have to pick up any available jobs or venture into any reigning business just to keep up. Whether related to their discipline or not!
If you are reading my narrative from my side of the globe, I know you can relate to this… You probably attended a school you didn’t like, studied a course different from your first choice and are pursuing a totally different career right now. You probably are not happy on your present job either because it is not in line with your passion or because it is not paying much. Furthermore, you probably also can’t wait to either get a more suitable job or resign to start something in line with your passion.
Can I get a witness?
Of course you know say I no be ‘winch’. Neither do I need to operate in the prophetics to know this. I have close to ten years work experience during which I met and interacted with lots of people long enough to know that these things are real.
Now ATTENTION PLEASE: lest I forget, I think it is most appropriate to quickly chip in here that I did not work with any small company in my years as an employee. Rather, I worked with solid firms which were the key players of their respective industries.
Thank you very much for paying close attention! Now where was I?
So, that was how I stuck to English- a course I did not like for one second!
My anxiety grew as graduation approached because I couldn’t figure out any other thing to do with my degree than ending up a school or college teacher: and how I hate the whole idea of being a ‘teacher’ or ‘lecturer’!
Now don’t get me wrong; of course I do believe that teaching is a very noble profession. However, people often say over here that the reward of teachers is in heaven, meaning that most are probably not well compensated for their efforts. And boy, even though I might not have figured out my passion, I always knew one thing for sure: For me, the reward CANNOT be in heaven. It’s got to be right here and now!
I want money and I want it pretty fast! Money in all available currency and denominations. Moreover, I also want prestige: a real ‘Madame’ is what I’ve got to be…
And sincerely, it crossed my mind to title this narrative “Cash Madam” initially; however upon careful brooding and consideration, I decided that “Madame de Madame” would do as that captures the whole essence of ‘Madamehood‘ in all ramifications.
In any case, I said all that to help someone see the exigency of money as regards this ‘Madame matter’ as well as paint the picture as to another reason why I give an enthusiastic “It’s the matter of cash!” to the “Madame de Madame” salutation.
That for me is more than a mere citation or mantra. It is purely a statement of fact, for truly it takes money to be a ‘Madame’. Real cool money and lots of it!
My Work Experience…
Now back to my story:
As it turned out, I was attached to one of the key players in the Telecoms for NYSC- to work with the Facilities Department and how I loved the job!
I gathered lots of experience, built my work career around what I learned and I kept working in the Facilities Department from company to company. I liked the profession because it exposed me to various skill sets like Procurement, Vendor Management, Event Planning, Project Management, Building Technology, Contract and SLA Management, Interior Decorations, Services, Security Services to mention but a few.
I didn’t offer most of those services directly, but my work provided the platform to interact with lots of individuals and third-party companies who render them. I made lots of friends and kept lots of contact, so much so that things like planning my own wedding and helping Ade secure the bigger apartment which we moved into after our wedding, and even the semi-detached duplex we recently bought on mortgage and now occupy are all the dividends of my ten years of work experience.
And wait o. What am I talking about! How could I be so forgetful?
Even my Adekanbi Akanni himself is one of the dividends of my work experience, and if anything, the greatest one if all!
I met him about seven years ago at a Property Management firm while checking out apartments for some of our new expatriates in Ikoyi. Coincidentally, he had gone to make enquiries about an office facility his company was interested in on that fateful day; since which day I started keeping late lunches to the dismay of my boss until the guy eventually put a band to my finger two years down the line!
That was about four years ago!
Obviously, I had a time of my life in paid employment. I worked for four companies spanning from the Telecoms to the Aviation Industry.
My job was so much fun and, the pay very good. Things went on so well that I forgot totally about the desire to run my own show.
Resumption hour was a bit flexible because we literally worked round the clock as occasion demands: we kept late hours and worked almost every weekend and on public holidays. And even though that meant missing Church almost every Sunday, work was too much fun for me to be bothered in the least.
I generally enjoyed myself job… The odd hours and all, that is, until I got hooked and how marriage changed it all…
And Then The Story Changed…
Let me paint the picture…
When I got wedded to Akanni and had to start attending to some marital obligations and responsibilities such as family functions, etc. the profession I once loved so much became a stumbling block… And I stopped enjoying having to work at late hours, on weekends and on public holidays!
As a married woman, things just weren’t the same with me and everything I once enjoyed about my job wasn’t funny anymore: especially when I took in, through my pregnancy period and after I had my angel Adora.
There were times when I had to leave Adora and with the Nanny for weekends while attending to work demands at Abuja or Port Harcourt .
I remember a particular occasion when I had to take one of those weekend trips to PH while my darling Adora was down with Malaria. She was barely nine months old then.
The trip was in response a distressed call from the CEO who needed some things sorted out regarding lodging for some expatriates due to arrive PH that weekend for an annual company-wide event billed to hold the following week.
I could have swapped with a colleague, but it was a last minute call and nobody was available.
Besides, it was MY call!
Adora had taken ill suddenly that morning. My baby had cried all the way to the airport while Ade dropped me off, and up till the time I checked in, she never stopped yelling. I can still remember stinging hot tears roll down my cheeks as the boarding gate was locked and I bade them final goodbyes before going aboard my flight!
Ade was very caring, understanding and supportive throughout my work life. He bade me farewell and did assure me that my angel would be fine. But I just couldn’t stop the tears from flowing as I went. I couldn’t get pictures of my crying angel off my mind throughout the trip.
And you cannot imagine my horror when I arrived two days later only to discover that my baby had been hospitalized for Malaria and acute infection since the evening of the day I left. A fact which Ade carefully kept from me till I arrived.
I cried my eyes out as I watch my helpless little angel wringing In pains as she kept throwing up at the hospital. I was told she had been in that state since the day she was admitted.
She started responding to treatment when I arrived. I guess the trauma of my absence when she needed me the most must have added to her ordeal. But thank God she eventually recovered.
That was about two years ago, and this incident was just the least of my many struggles as a typical Nigerian working wife and mother. There are many other stories of the sacrifices and compromises I had to make for my job at the expense of my family.
And if anything, each of these experiences which actually happened in quick succession succeeded in awakening my long lost desire to have my own business and run my own show…
And yes, you guessed right: for psychologically, that was the period I resigned from paid employment!
And that was the period I started marking time in preparation for the big day…
Funmi Adebayo (c) 2014