UnCertified

Between my 2nd and 3rd year of university, I have a 6 year gap. All that time I lived in the UK (minus 6 months). For over 4 years of those 6 years I worked with top companies in the banking, telecoms, and gas industries. I grew on the job and through the ranks, managing teams and company resources efficiently, and also earning promotions.

I returned to Nigeria and was certain I would get a job. I mean who wouldn’t want talent that had been grown and nurtured by the ‘abroad’ folk. How wrong I was. First, it was “You don’t have a degree”. After I completed my degree, the next excuse was “You don’t have NYSC (National Youth Corps Service). After I bagged NYSC with a certificate to show for it, it was “You don’t have post-NYSC experience”.

That last one still shocks me. How does this work exactly? Employers are generally interested in how much work experience you have acquired, correct? So I had about 4 plus years of corporate experience, another 1 year of freelancing (prior to NYSC)… And somehow, they don’t count because I did not own an NYSC certificate at the time I was adding on those experiences? I bet you find this as ridiculous as I did.

What is even more disappointing is how several business owners who have lived, schooled and worked in leading economies and/or with international organisations join in this party of ignorance and backwardness. Current trends in the workplace show that the rules of engagement are evolving. Thanks to tech and creative fields, a talent is hired for what they can do, proven accomplishments, their abilities to create, the influence and accomplishments that they can bring to the business, and the like.

There is a new challenge for leadership. In the near future, the average worker works remotely and freelances, taking on several projects at a time. Such talent will deliver results based on competencies developed in diverse skill areas. If you are an employer, talent manager, etc and are still enforcing the NYSC certificate rule, you may be missing out on the some of the best talents out there.

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