I finally got my own window office with skyline City view, a fancy title and a new reality that feels awkward to walk in - mostly because they told us we would never get this far. The narrative i've always known and accepted is the one of unrelenting struggles in undignified uniforms armed with a pungent toilet brush. My point is, that view is a one sided story and maybe it's worthwhile sharing the other narrative seeing as i have no identity to make boast for.
Last week we had a celebratory party with like minded young Africans living and thriving abroad and pondered if we were just lucky or if there is a worthwhile generic formular for the successful migrant. Ofcourse my defination of success may well differ from yours, but here a few notes from our arguments.
1.What's going on here?
Start with a honest appraisal of your own situation. If you honestly feel like your life is going nowhere, it's worthwhile considering trying your luck outside of your home country. Immigration is not a new or even noble idea. Americans, Jews, Indians, Pakistanis all have had histories of migration. The important detail if you choose to relocate is to do it legitimately - which ofcourse is the first and possibly toughest bridge to cross. Ultimately you're looking for a valid work visa and there are various ardous (but not impossible) routes to achieve this. Don't however put your life on hold - carry on with life's hustle and burn the night candles doing your research. I always say it's not a do or die affair but if it works out - game on.
2. Get a degree and then some
The competitive advantage of foreigners in the West still lies in educational degrees. We haven't come far at all from the storyline of hidden figures. Indians thrive in IT because they understand and hold appropriate qualifications. Nigerians thrive in banks and project management because we typically own a hustle mindset, our motivations are never far from money and our qualifications often revolve around accounting, finance and law. There are indeed people who follow the unconventional route but in my opinion, if you're making such a massive decision, you're better off taking the road more often travelled then hoping to become Jidenna. I'm aware that i may be biased in my opinion here because this is the circle of people i know.
3. On a wing and a prayer
My faith these days is in tender pieces but i cannot deny the providence involved in the various ascents that have led to this place. It is not rocket science that the odds will always be stacked against you. What are the odds that your applications will be approved, or that you'll get an executive job interviewing by a closet racist? What are the odds that you'll ever in your wildest dreams buy a house in new jersey....and the list goes on - all against the backdrop of a worsening national identity. The detail here is not in holding faith to get stuff but in getting stuff because you have faith.
4. Getting that job.
I'll continue this later if it is useful to anybody. If you do have any questions, give a shout in the comments.
Disclaimer: I do not have it all figured out. Life and success is like the wind - here today and a downturn guzzles it all away tomorrow. So these notes only relate to my journeys and understandings so far.