Thinking of a Career Change

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

I have been thinking of a career change. Seriously, I have been thinking of a career change. Lately, I have been thinking it would be in my best interest to change job and title. It is not as though I am dissatisfied with what I do now; but a change would do a lot for my spirit, for my ego and for my sense of vanity. Besides, I am likely to make more money — double or triple what I make as a professional cook.

As a cook you get to make a whole lot of people happy. They entrust you with filling their stomach with nutritious meal, great wine, and delicious desserts. As an aside, you get to mingle with a lot of people from all walks of life who come into the kitchen every so often to say their hello and their “thank you” for a job well done. And then there are your fellow cooks, the wait staff and the supporting team.

If you are a professional cook and you are in the big-market, you could make over $35,000 a year. Chefs and Sous-Chefs make twice or three times that amount, plus other compensations and unrecorded bonuses like hotel discounts and freebies. At the very least, a cook will never go hungry because of the access to food and drinks some mostly dream about. Just don’t be greedy with food or your body will record the fat and calories.

In spite of all the benefits, it is time for me to move on, to find another job. I could get retrained and be a nurse, a florist, a guitarist, a lawyer, a journalists, insurance adjuster, carpenter or even go into international trade exporting building materials, used-clothes, computers and toothpicks. I am not sure what I would import into the US, though. A friend of mine used to import diamonds from Sierra Leone, Gold from Ghana, and Rubber from Liberia. I may have to look him up and then hook up with him.

On the other hand, being that I am from the Niger Delta, I could go into the oil business. The sex business — moving girls from the Delta to Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany — is way too difficult to do. Besides, selling sex is not my kind of thing. Selling oil would be easier to do. Bunkering for instance would be great. If you are from the Niger Delta there is nothing illegal about the informal economy of oil. After all, the oil is on the land my ancestors inherited from God and then passed on to me.

And being that I am an Ijaw man I have rights to as much oil as I can load into those tankers. No one ever stops my Yoruba friends and in-laws from walking into the bush to harvest cocoa for sale overseas. None of my Ndiigbo friends have ever been sanctioned for exporting timber. And every time I go to Kano and the surrounding states, I see my old friends and neighbors exporting groundnuts and other minerals to Asia and other markets. Because the oil is in my backyard, I have every right to sell it or dash it.

Walahi Talahi, oil bunkering is good; therefore, every man and woman from the Delta should engage in that line of business. But you see, the more I think about the oil business, the more discouraged I get. It is a messy job, you know: looking for buyers, hiding from the law, needing Ghana-must go bags to haul your dollars and pounds and euros and so on and so forth. No, no, no that’s hard work. I need something simple, something light, something easy — like being a politician in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yes, a politician!

Politics is good. It is admirable. As a politician, I only need to be good at four things: lie, cheat, and steal and do nothing. What beats being a Nigerian politician? Nothing! What beats lying, cheating, stealing and laziness? You tell me.

Just last week I informed my wife and mistress and booty-call about my impending change of career. I also informed my pals in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kaduna. They are all for it as long as I remember to give them their cut: ten percent of all contracts, ten percent of all egunje, ten percent of all dash from Aso Rock, and ten percent of all budgetary jibiti. Only ten percent? Oh well, I can live with that!

I was ready, getting ready to tender my letter of resignation to my boss and in readiness for my trip to Nigeria when my friend of thirty years from our White Garment Church days called. He was happy for me. But somehow, I sensed he wasn’t happy all the way. He wanted answers to five questions: (1) have you hired a pastor, a juju man, a marabout and a psychic; (2) have you yanked your conscience; (3) are you ready to make nonsense of your reputation; (4) are you ready to kill and be killed: and (5) how well do you like your self?

I was stunned by his questions. I was taken aback. I was dazed.Why, why do I need the services of a pastor, a juju man, a marabout and a psychic all at once? I don’t know the road to a juju man and neither have I ever been to a marabout or a psychic. I am not a Church going person. And in fact, I loathe the idea of prayer or religion. I am something of an agnostic, an atheist if you will. What then would I be doing with those shady and shoddy characters? All in the name of politics?! Sensing my incredulity and the irritation in my voice, he said:

My Brother, of you are not ready, if you cannot meet all the conditions I have laid out, please ooooo make you siddon for your Obodo Oyinbo and continue with your cook work. Nigeria is not a place for the faint-hearted; and Nigerian politics is not for choir boys. This is messy; politics is tough and demanding. If your opponents detect the slightest fear or doubt, you are in wahala. If they think they can push you around, they will push you off the cliff. Do you know what politicians do in the name of money and power? I beg siddon for Yankee ooo…

So now I am back to square one, a cook. If you have the President’s phone number or his private email, please let me know. I need a job in Aso Rock. I am good at off shore banking. Tell him I am his biggest supporter…his number one fan.

Washington DC

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