What People Don’t Get About Your Job — A Week in the Life Special

December 6, 2022

In this special edition of the A Week in the Life series, we ask professionals what people don’t understand or appreciate about their job. 

We explore the common stereotypes around certain jobs and celebrate the hard work people put in to win their daily bread. These are our favourite replies.

Banker

People think [Nigerian] bankers are broke, but we aren’t. You earn fairly well if you’re not a contract staff. A week in my life involves meetings for our digital products, business and marketing meetings, reviewing designs, sending out briefs and endless marketing strategy documents. The first thing I do during salary week is settle my PiggyVest and splurge on my mum.

Pastor

People expect me to be an assistant God who’s always available and perfect. They can’t deal with the fact that Pastor can’t always come to name their child, visit them at the hospital, pick up their calls at odd times, heal them of sicknesses, meet all the financial needs they discussed with him, etc. They also find it awkward that Pastor can get angry, tempted and broke. 

There was a time my wife had a miscarriage and needed to be admitted for days in the hospital. Members still called me for prayers and assistance. All I got was, “Heeya. Sorry, sir. It is well.” Nobody thinks pastors need prayer, encouragement or financial support. 

A typical week involves meetings, prayers and services. On Sundays, I fast and host Sunday service in church. I rest on Mondays and enjoy quality family time. For the rest of the week, I visit members and prepare my sermons.

Human resources manager (HR)

People often think HR’s primary job is to hire and fire people, so if you want to get a job in a company, just send them your CV and the job is yours. They also believe HRs are superhuman and emotionless people. But since  we’re exposed to many issues that require us to keep secrets, we can break down just like others employees.

Also, we don’t hire and fire. We guide hiring managers through the process of identifying the best candidates and support them along the way. HR has no authority to hire or fire anyone; that’s usually a joint conversation between two or more parties.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

People simply don’t understand that we never have time.

Tech Journalist

People always think the media should be a PR extension of the tech ecosystem. But the ecosystem is still nascent and the media is expected to be its cheerleader, so I understand. A typical week in my life involves way too many calls and meetings, chasing deadlines and pursuing people who’d rather not talk to me.

Salesperson

People just think salespeople are naturally extroverted. Outside of work, I’m an introvert. I don’t like being in positions where I need to ask people for things. But because I’m a salesperson, I have to create a separate character while at work, be friendly and light rooms up. All the while, I really just want to make money, go home and take off my mask.

I’m a team leader, so a typical week in my life is defined by planning, management meetings and team check-ins. I also spend a lot of time pitching to clients, chasing after people who’re ignoring me or owing me. I’m usually drained by Wednesday because I’m always working extra hours.

Graphic artist

One thing people don’t understand or appreciate about my job is the extensive research that goes into creating a logo or drawing an illustration. Most people think it’s just to “press computer” or it takes less than a day to complete, but nothing could be further from the truth. To work on a design project, I often have to spend hours researching and gathering source materials. Sometimes, I pay for information if Google or Wikipedia doesn’t have enough. I also travel a lot, especially if I need to experience an environment, culture or architecture. One time, I went to Timbuktu while I was drawing backgrounds for an animated project.

People greatly underrate the amount of work a single design or illustration can take. And a few people believe I need money to start a project just because I’m designing on my laptop. A typical week in my life has me working three days of intense focused work then lazying around playing video games, watching anime and just chilling. This life na one.

Data analyst

You’d think my days involve sitting in front of multiple screens, analysing and visualising large data sets or doing some complicated maths shit. Sike. About 45% of my working hours go to mundane stuff like attending meetings. Some days are exciting; many, not so much.

People also underestimate the amount of time analysts spend doing research, especially in Nigeria because most times, na you go find the data you wan analyse. You’ll also need to know how to write and speak well because we do a lot of communication.

People think I’m a baller, but in my first data analyst role, I was being paid ₦‎60k. This was around 2019. My last salary was around ₦‎750k (I’m in between jobs now). So the idea that we get paid loads of money is not entirely true. You can land a good gig from the first go or you can progress through roles to get to one.

Public health worker

Many people expect because I work in a non-governmental organisation, I touch people’s lives and change the world. The truth is a huge part of community development is drudgery, boring repetitive administrative tasks. People over-glamourise the work. Leading policy formulation and getting the Nigerian government to enact helpful policies reads well on paper. In reality, it just means dealing with politicians and government officials who don’t give a shit.

There’s also the idea that we have plenty money. Na lie. Because it’s an extremely specialised field, you must’ve worked for many years and gotten advanced degrees before you start to touch money. Will I confess this on LinkedIn? No. A typical week in my life involves planning and a shitload of meetings with government officials while keeping my temper in check.

Computer Village vendor

People think we make huge amounts off each gadget sale, so we have a lot of money to throw about. Shey you dey whyne me? I won’t blame them sha. It’s the people who are “carting” I blame. Carting is when Yahoo boys get iPhones through their “clients”, and since they’re only after money, sell them to gadget vendors at a low cost. The vendors then sell to buyers at market rates, so you can imagine the profit.

I heard that a Computer Village vendor was killed at a party early this year [2022] because he was carting. The market is filled with fraudsters. Sellers don plenty pass buyers. 

A week in my life involves selling gadgets, tracking orders, surviving the chaos of Computer Village and praying to God to avoid problem customers. 

Thrift vendor

People assume thrift clothes are bad quality. But I’ve managed to change my customers’ perceptions. They can be clean and classy, as some of the clothes come with tags while some are in branded packaging.

A typical week in my life goes like this:

Mondays: I travel from Abeokuta to Lagos to stock up on new arrivals. Then, I go to the park to dispatch previous orders nationwide. 

Tuesday: I sort the clothes I’ll sell for the week and iron them.

Wednesdays: I take photos of new arrivals, attach their prices and post them on my social media pages. This process takes about six to eight hours.

Thursdays: I send out new orders for deliveries. Later, I iron the clothes I’ll post on Friday. 

Friday: I snap the remaining clothes, attach their sizes and post them on my page.

Saturday: I take inventory, balance my books and sort out new orders ahead of Monday.

Sunday: I post more new arrivals. In the evenings, I rest or go out to catch my breath.

Creative strategist

“Ah, so you design and make videos. Like, the ‘creative’ things”. In reality, my role covers everything from market intelligence and research to program design, stakeholder engagement and more. When I try to explain stakeholder engagement, people reduce it to “public relations” or “Na just PR na”. I facepalm every time.

I work from home except on Tuesdays, so a typical week in my life is simple. Monday to Friday: work, work, work. Saturdays: movies, washing, cooking, and  sometimes, more work. Sundays: church, cooking and work.About a year ago, weekends were my opportunity to take photos for fun and edit them for fun. But I’ve found going out more tedious than usual. But what I never skip is listening to music at night. I’m an audiophile, so listening to good music on good devices matters.


Check back for new A Week in the Life stories every first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. If you’d like to be featured on the series, or you know anyone interesting who fits the profile, fill out this form.

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