Thursday, June 17, 2010

One Point for the Nigerians

Dear Readers,

I know I'm about to commit an international affairs faux pas. I'm going to generalize about two groups of people/institutions that are quite different from each other, and only have one point of commonality here: me.

Here it is:
I like Nigeria. I like Nigerians. I'm sure I'm going to run into tons of obstacles, problems, violence, insecurity, etc...BUT my Nigerian friends, coworkers and soon-to-be employers have been hands-down MUCH more helpful than my first-world American institutions.

I'm not going to name names, but in my job hunt, hiring process, contracting, etc, every time I've needed help (whether it is a job recommendation from a former colleague, help making new contacts in my upcoming consultancy, items for my visa application), that help has been generously given to me by Nigerians. People have gone out of their way to be responsive, communicative, and introduce me to their extended network. Nigerian friends and former colleagues have gone out of their way to help me, help me meet more helpful people and to get things done.

American institutions (some of them involving friends and former bosses)...have been much slower. I'm on 1.5 years of waiting on one job's paperwork to move from desk to desk, and I'll consider myself lucky if I get an actual offer before 2 years has passed from the original application. I've been working for my other job for nearly 3 months and haven't get paid (should happen any day now...I'm not holding grudges, I just would like to buy the plane tickets (that I've delayed twice) necessary for me to actually get to the job)). Also, my American personal connections, despite agreeing to write recommendations, usually take weeks to do so, never communicate and I have to chase them down to make it happen. My Nigerian former colleague? Sent it in the first day, emailed me to confirm AND wished me good luck!

So, maybe I've just met the most charming Nigerians and the more bureaucratic American systems. Still, I think that is one point for the Nigerians.



  1. the grass is always greener on the other side.

  2. I also am prejudiced in favor of Nigerians. And Kenyans. My sweeping generalizations/stereotypes: they are proud of their professional training and really like further developing it, they are team players, they are loyal once you've proven yourself worth of that loyalty, they appreciate help and they are happy to give it, and they have very high BS detectors. At least that's been my experience with nationals from Nigeria and Kenya.

  3. Hi Alena - as a Nigerian, I'm very pleased to read this!
    :-) It's good for us to get some positive news once in a while. Not to say that you won't come across "bad" Nigerians - but the bottom line is that Nigerians - just like other human beings can be....human beings - good, bad, in-between what have you! People need to quit making it out like we're a special breed!

    On another note, I was horrified to read that you've been waiting 1.5 years now. That's terrible and the bureaucracy of international organisations really needs to be sorted out. I wish you luck and hope all that you're hoping for comes through....quickly.

  4. Thanks for the post. It's like five years of not being in Nigeria has finally made me out-dated for this to be news to me. The change is amazing. Great blog!

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