May Day & Work-Life Balance
Since the beginning of time, when the Creator “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it”, man has moved from just tilling the land to doing more complex, physically and mentally exacting work to survive and eke out a living for his family. The world, today, celebrates workers in various fields of endeavour. Allure went out to feel the pulse of some men and women in their various daily engagements. Here is what they said.
FRANK OSODI – DESIGNER
Life in Lagos has been very stressful and challenging lately with poor electricity supply, diesel and fuel issues. It affects not only the work but everything else and makes you not to have a smooth day sometimes. However, we still thank God that we have our clients and we try to put in extra effort in order to meet demand. Based on all these things happening now, those who cannot stand the heat cannot be in the kitchen anymore. Now, we are beginning to know those who are born to be in this industry.
A lot of designers are closing down so you have to work extra hard. Unfortunately, some of the things we need to work with are not readily available here – quality fabrics etc. I am not particularly into ankara print; that’s not what I do daily. I am into premium stuff for evenings, weddings (and) occasional wears. The fabrics are not readily available so you need to order them or travel most times to bring them in – which is very hectic. The exchange rate is not helping matters too.
Things are hard now but I know it will turn around for good later. I believe in this government. There is a lot of decadence that needs to be cleaned up. Then things will be good.
BAMIYO ISELEMA EMINA – FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER
Life as a worker has not been easy but we have survived. I have spent most of my life in Lagos, a state that has been kind to those who work hard – from the time of Alhaji Lateef Jakande even to the better part of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration.
However, there are many challenges living and working in Lagos. The cost of living has sky-rocketed; transportation, accommodation is like gold, food is like diamond etc. I cannot understand why garri in 4 litres container should cost N800. To survive this, I am forced to offer more for less as a photographer because it’s almost impossible for me to increase my fee considering the economic crunch. I have become my own power provider. If truth be told, the economic situation is not making me enjoy my work.
DR. BODE WILLIAMS – MEDICAL DOCTOR AND FORMER GUILD CHAIRMAN
Life as a worker is very challenging, demanding and stressful. Having to move kilometres from home in heavy traffic on a daily basis has been a herculean task. I wish work could be close to home.
Over the years, there have been some good changes; especially in the past one year. The work environment has improved tremendously; salaries have been regular and on time, the patients are enjoying better services and promises of improved welfare from the present administration.
However, like every other worker, we remain Oliver Twist: clamouring for increment in salaries, better welfare package, standardized working environment, easy transportation, improved quality of life – including accessing soft loans from the work place.
Then, these days of petrol shortage; it’s really been tough. Part of the challenges also include exposure to communicable diseases, keeping up to the challenges of provision of standard health care for our patients, short intervention time for patients, reduced mobility and mortality, reduced maternal and child death, coping with disaster victims and displaced people.
It is the dream and aspiration of every doctor to give appropriate care to patients as and when due.
LADY CHIKWUE OCHIAGHA – LAWYER
Practicing Law in Lagos could be overwhelming, especially as a business lawyer working round the clock to close deals with tight deadlines. You must look after all aspects of the practice no matter the season of life as jobs can come at unpredictable times; sometimes, conflicting with previously scheduled family events. You end up disappointing your spouse, family and friends.
The gravity of the cases, sometimes, wears down on me when a client’s freedom is at stake. This can keep you up at night, worrying about whether you have done everything you should.
The legal profession is in the midst of a dynamic society. There have been law amendments to take care of some of the changes. In other cases, entirely new laws are made. Recently, we have had the Child’s Right Law etc. in some states. At the national level, we have the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP). The introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has helped decongestion in the courts.
Being a professional in the midst of personal and professional storms is challenging. The challenge starts from the responsibility of playing the role of a watchdog to ensuring that the fundamental rights of citizens are secured and protecting citizens from the oppression of the powers that be.
The trauma a client feels could transfer from client to lawyer. We are not inherently stronger simply by virtue of the occupation. We are human beings too and we are not impervious to pain. We also have the challenge of negative public perception that lawyers make money out of trouble and plenty trouble out of money!
IFEOMA ODOGWU – FASHION & STYLE CONSULTANT
Life as a worker in Lagos has its ups and downs but, overall, I still find it exciting. I don’t enjoy the traffic situation and I think the government can do more to make life easier for working class folks.
Public transportation needs to be improved for those people who don’t have cars. I also think security in early morning and late evening traffic can be better. As a single lady driving alone in traffic, I get harassed all the time by hoodlums knocking on my car windows especially on the Eko Bridge. I would like to feel safe.
That said, I enjoy the vibe of the Lagos night life. The Lagos crowd is a crop of seriously stylish and cool people. Lagos definitely has my heart.
There’s been a lot of positive change that I’m quite happy about. A lot of people are now looking inwards when it comes to fashion.
Corporate, TV/magazine productions and even everyday individuals are engaging us, stylists, a lot more. There’s greater appreciation for stylists and wardrobe consultants. We are being trusted a bit more and paid a bit more to do what we say we can do and that is awesome.
Apart from the general inconvenience of living and working in the Third World, to be industry specific, I would say we need more advertisers to be interested in putting their clients on the pages of fashion magazines. We want investors to think of a fashion firm when they think of what to do with their money.
ADETUNJI OLOFINLADE – HAIR STYLIST
Life as a worker in Lagos is great and business is lucrative. There are lots of opportunities but you have to be ready to face the challenges that come with them. Over the years, I have grown. Where I am now is not where I used to be. So, using myself as a reference point, I will say that I am moving slowly but forward.
The challenge I face is finding youths who will be dedicated to go through the struggle like I have done. Many of them are not ready to learn like I did. They just want to be sky-rocketed but you always have to pay your dues.
By Jemi Ekunkunbor