If you grew up with Nigerian parents, then chances are your parents held down a minimum of two jobs to make sure you had Christmas clothes and a shiny new bag to start the new term with.
Speaking life to this phenomenon was this tweet that had more than a few people revealing the different roles their parents engaged in to provide for their respective families:
It got a number of responses, like the lawyer that moonlit as a clothier.
And the clinician with the design outfit and restaurant.
Then there was the nurse that sold meat pies and drinks to supplement her income.
Jumping on the bandwagon, we asked six people what kind of side-jobs their parents engaged in while holding down full time jobs. Here were their responses:
Public Servants/ Supply Shop Owners.
Both my parents served as public servants Monday through Fridays. Their schedule saw them in their respective offices by day, and manning their supply shop, situated not too far from our home in the evenings. Because of their perennial fear that they were being stolen from by their shop assistants, they spent more time than was necessary making sure their daily sales and books were in order. We always counted this as their third job. Even now, retired and surviving on their infrequent pensions, they still have that shop, and every so often stop to make sure everything is in order.
Doctor/Chemist Owner.My father is a respectable doctor, with a career spanning 27 years. He has risen through the ranks to become a consultant, this however didn’t stop him from running a small chemist/first aid/informal consultancy not too far from a little way off from our home. He was always shuffling from rounds to the chemist and back again. More often than not, he was extremely beat by the time he got home to get a little rest. Funny how it never occured to me that he was juggling two jobs at the time, one just seemed like an extension of the other, a reasonable segue really.
My mother is the OG hustler. Despite holding it down as a primary school teacher, she stayed behind to teach after-school classes, made take away lunches every morning to sell to other teachers and had a thriving aso-oke business back in the day.
If there was anything I picked from her holding down so many jobs, it was the being enterprising every chance I got. I currently own my own clothing store on Instagram, provide make-up services over the weekend and even weekdays whenever I can slip a free day or two from my 9-5.
Moin-moin/Ogi Merchant/Party Cooks.
When I was little, my mother was the moin-moin plug on our street. She supported this business with an equally thriving enterprise in Ogi. She didn’t stop there, she also ran a successful Alase (party cook) business that saw her out of the house just about every other weekend and weekdays in particularly good months. She has slowed down considerably these days, but I’m going to have to burn down every banana leaf in the world before she stops selling moin-moin. I love that woman.
Federal Government Workers/Fabric Importers.
My parents worked in federal government establishments – Nigeria Airways and NITEL. Concurrently, they set up a joint Guinea fabric importation business and a printing press to supplement the income for their growing family. Every day I thank the heavens for their enterprising spirits, as they had substantially lucrative businesses to fall back on when both companies fell apart.
My parents met in the hospitality business. They catered for the kitchens of some of the biggest hotels in Nigeria, causing us to switch states more than once. Eventually, they left the country in search of better opportunities abroad. That change forged an enterprising spirit that wasn’t exactly necessary in Nigeria. While my mother was a nurse taking mostly night shifts, she supplanted that with caring for an elderly man three times a week and baby sitting every other day.
My father did it all – door-to-door salesman, car wash attendant, handyman etc. It was all eventually worth it, as they were able to save up their joint earnings to start a thriving Bed and Breakfast in Florida, finally letting go of all their side jobs.