The last decade has witnessed a surge in all manner of motivational talk in Nigeria. Hundreds of seminars and thousands of articles have been churned out by the motivational talkers and the frenzy continues to gain momentum. This is good, as everyone surely needs motivation.
One of the most common subjects of such talks is entrepreneurship/self-employment. Good subject. I
believe it is good to be self- employed and seriously craves being one. The benefits of owning one’s business are pretty obvious: you are in full control of your resources (time, finance, etc), you share all the rewards. Fine point. Owning one’s business is clearly one of the best goals a person should desire to achieve. It even makes you exercise your brain more.
Most of the richest people in the world own their businesses, their brands. Aliko Dangote owns Dangote Group (although being a PLC, he doesn’t have 100% ownership); Mike Adenuga owns the Adenuga empire; Michael Dell owns Dell Computers; Bill Gates owns Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg and friends own Facebook, etc. These guys are bottomless moneybags. No disputing that. They have done their selves some good by coming up with some ideas and making money from them. The
entrepreneurship advocates therefore have in them fantastic examples to draw from in their self-
employment sermonizing. But that is where it ends.
The self-employment preachers in Nigeria, good as their intention is, are however beginning to go off
the mark. And this is where my problem with them lies. There is a dangerous trend of demonizing paid employment in the thriving business of self-employment advocacy. Every Ade, Ada and Adamu
that can string two words together has turned into self-employment preacher and the fad is to demonize paid employment. Being in salaried job, to them, is slavery.
First, our self-employment advocates oversimplify things and sometimes when you listen to them or
read what they write, you begin to wonder why they are not Dangote themselves. To be sure, I don’t have a problem with self-employment preachment; indeed, it is my ultimate goal too to own companies and businesses too, on full time basis. I also hold that being self-employed, if one gets it right, is better than being under someone else’s control. But is everyone cut out for being self- employed? Capital NO!
This is why I think in the process of advancing their advocacy, salaried jobs should not be demonized. I don’t believe salary job is necessarily slavery. I also don’t hold that you cannot be rich with paid job. You may not be as rich as Dangote or Adenuga, but if you work hard to become CEO of Shell Nigeria (a salaried job), for instance, I doubt your next generation can ever be poor. Not everyone will be as rich as Dangote, but with a dint of hardwork, becoming a manager in a decent company can earn you decent saving, and with sensible investment (preparing for retirement), you can live a satisfactory post-salary life.
I have seen some young graduates and prospective graduates vowing they can never work for anyone and they will go straight into entrepreneurship. Good one, if you have the idea. But managing businesses most times goes beyond the theories we read in those materials and the smooth talk of the self- employment advocates.
Apart from the constraint of raising capital to fund the idea, there is an even more critical factor in
management. Most times if you have never worked for any other person, you may find it difficult in
running your own businesses.
Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun founded GTB after working for other banks; Aig-Imoukhude and
Herbert Wigwe apprenticed with GTB before breaking out to found Access Bank. Most of these
guys cut their management teeth working for someone else. This is why I hold that learning by
being under someone else’s employ is most times helpful. Of course, I have not said it is necessarily
the case. It is very possible to go straight into one’s business after finishing school and still go
ahead to make it big. Aliko Dangote is an example here. He started straight away. So, oh you self-
employment preacher, before you tell me I am a slave for choosing the path of salaried employment
(for now), know you that the CEO of Shell is a ‘slave’ to Shell. I want to be one.
Culled from jarushub.com