Connecting the dots – Tayo’s Diaspora Story.

“All things work together for good” Romans 8:28 – The Bible.

 

I remember when I was about 7 years old, I was still struggling to read while my 5-year-old brother was progressing at a faster pace.  I felt some shame constantly lagging behind in school.

I was a very slow beginner with legendary low scores in Maths, English and Science. Amazing though that I was still able to skip Primary 6 and into Secondary school. From then on somehow, things were now on the upward trajectory, I believe it was more hard work from me and efficacy of prayers from my beloved mum.

By Form 2, I was now averaging 10th position in a class of 33 pupils. In Maths though, impressively, my score was the 3rd highest for my class.  Something was happening at this point as it started to become clear that I had a natural flair for Numeracy.

Fast-forward to university I got a very strong 2:1 in Engineering. I was recruited while still in school to work for one of the highest paying global Oil & Gas companies in the world. This job necessitated several foreign postings which I really enjoyed despite some major racism challenges encountered in the line of duty.

In 2003, at the ripe old age of 30 I got married, took off a year and a bit to start a family. It was also at this point that my family relocated from Nigeria to the UK, where I didn’t particularly know anyone. The relocation affected my career thought process and I really began to realise that working in Oil and Gas was not for me anymore. The thing is I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do.

I still had some investments back home, however, it was beginning to deplete at a very fast rate so it was becoming imperative that I got a job in this new country.  I tried to get some graduate jobs but with no UK experience my wonderful Oil and Gas past was not important. Even the experience garnered from the foreign posts I had held in Houston and Asia made no difference. After a while I gave up and applied to my local council as a Data Entry Clerk earning £5 per hour. “Oh how are the mighty fallen”, I thought! Anyway I gave the job my all thus getting my manager to notice me almost immediately and I was then moved to a Data Analyst position which was £12 per hour.  It didn’t take long, I did a task for my department that alerted the director to move me to a Performance Manager role at £21 per hour. At this point I wasn’t still sure where I was headed, I was just grateful to God that I had a job and the office was happy with my results. To create direction – at least so I thought- I decided to go for an MBA in 2009. I had seen colleagues and people at the top attributing their success to MBA’s from fancy schools. I then took out a hefty loan to achieve this but the sad thing is that I didn’t get “the” job immediately afterwards. Some others were hired straight from school but I wasn’t that lucky. My investments back home were now at nil.

I hit rock bottom for the second time and started odd jobs such as ‘picking and packing’, mail room letter sorting, etc. I wondered what went wrong. This was 2011, why did it look as though I had gone back in time to 2005! I had a Masters for Crying Out Loud! I couldn’t understand it! ‘Why did I decide to do an MBA?

However, I chugged along doing the best I could while it lasted. I was earning about £100 per month as I was on a zero contract. Sometimes I would be called to work only 10 days in a month.

One fine day, I got a call that the council needed a Performance Analyst and was going pay £1000 per week and I applied and got the job. 6 months later, there was an advert for a Business Analyst roll at £400 a day, I got that as well. Then it was one contract after the other for at least 2 years.   

5 years later, I am a Business Consultant for one of the top SaaS products in the world. My MBA is a requisite for this job. My role is to advise the clients on Enterprise Wide Service Management solutions. Guess what?! I am now able to connect the dots; from understanding industrial processes (mail room sorting) to data analysis to business analysis and to engagement management. In my new role, of course I am still asking questions as learning never stops. As I connected the dots it became crystal to me that “all things indeed work together for good” Romans 8:28. Please use this scripture when in doubt as it will give you a sure footing to believe and trust in the Lord that you are headed in the right direction.

It is indeed ok to fall! It becomes bad when you however remain on the ground playing the victim. Learning doesn’t come by reading alone. A big chunk of learning is from the experiences we go through. Life is a journey. Life is a race. Stay in your lane. Learn what you can during the journey. Set realistic goals that will bring you out of whatever situation you find yourself in. But please cut yourself some slack! There is no one on earth who always understands where they are at every point.

To be on a journey, means you have planned the journey. You know where you are, where you are headed and an estimated timeline for when you will get there. During the journey, plan in some stops along the way. Even if you don’t, Life will add them in. These stops are for when you sit and smell the roses along the way. The one where you tell yourself ‘I am not yet there, but I am a far off from where I started”.

On another note ease up on the fussing over your kids particularly when you think they are slow.  In my counselling classes, I tell parents “it’s not how they start, but what they learn in the process”.

May the Good Lord Guide and Keep You

Tayo.

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