If you’ve ever worked in a toxic environment or done a job you absolutely hated, you might have toyed with the idea of resigning, or even gone through with it.

Recently, there’ve been multiple stories by Nigerians who decided to pull the plug on jobs and opportunities that weren’t worth it. But what about those who don’t have the luxury of choice?

We spoke to a few Nigerian Millennials about it, and here’s what they had to say:

“I needed to pay for school”

  • Yemi*, 28

I was doing a bachelor’s program at the National Open University. I had a diploma from a polytechnic in the South-West and I used this certificate to get a teller job at one small microfinance bank. My salary was basically paying for the bachelor’s program, so when my boss would scream and rain insults at the slightest thing, I had to ignore it. I was later sacked after another tantrum, but if it were up to me, I wouldn’t have left — I had no other option.

“I was hoping for a federal job”

  • Gloria*, 31

I reside close to a popular federal government agency and I know a lot of their staff. Everyone wants a government job because of the security and freedom to explore side hustles. So, I volunteered to work with one of the directors in this agency, hoping that he’d give me a slot when recruitment opens. It was a frustrating period — my days were filled with typing olden-day-style letters and baseless errands, it seemed like no one was thinking progressively; they just looked forward to receiving salaries. I stayed for three years before I got a job elsewhere.

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“I have a family”

  • Joseph*, 36

I worked as the business development manager of an international education agency and my boss had too many issues. If he wasn’t warning me not to bother thinking about stealing his clients, he was berating me for not meeting impossible targets. I’m a married man with two kids and I definitely can’t decide to fold my hands and watch my family starve because of one man’s tantrums. I stayed for about two years till I secured another job.

“I couldn’t afford a career gap”

  • Ronke*, 27

I joined this company, and within three months, I already knew I needed to leave. The boss had this thing where it was like she really liked the staff whose job I took when said person resigned and it resulted in a struggle to live up to the ex-staff’s standards. There was nothing I did that this woman approved of. I had to stay because I didn’t have any other job lined up and I didn’t want to have a gap on my CV.

“My aunty got me the job”

  • Lisa*, 29

I was at a desperate point in my job hunting and my aunty connected me with a company. The salary was quite small but I was grateful for the experience. Two weeks into the job, I discovered that the company policies didn’t leave room for growth and often rotated staff between departments without adequate orientation. It wasn’t ideal and it led to frequent panic attacks but I didn’t want to disappoint my aunty by resigning.

“One word — Money”

  • Ehis*, 35

I worked in the customer service department of a telecoms company. I hated having to deal with entitled and downright rude customers but my salary was paying my bills so I just sat my ass down.

“I needed to leave the house”

  • Oge*, 27

I’m an unmarried 27-year-old still living with my parents. It was either managing my toxic workplace where office politics was rife or sitting at home at the mercy of my mother’s constant marriage-nagging. Keeping the job was the lesser of two evils.

“I don’t like poverty”

  • Ade*, 33

I’ve worked with my fair share of horrible bosses but I try not to let them get to me. To a large extent, you only have as much power over my state of mind as I allow you to. So when I work with micro-managing, tantrum-throwing people, I just think about my salary and leave them to their games.

*All names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

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