CHOOSING A CAREER: When to settle for less or not settle

Fresh University/Polytechnic graduates are not particularly appreciated in the labour market here, as quite a number of them finish school and have to spend months or even years searching for jobs. At the end of the day, a lot of them get terrible underpaying jobs, some employers even offer as low as forty thousand naira per month. Since “half loaf is better than none”, some don’t mind taking jobs like this, while others refuse to settle for less. Hence the question of ‘whether or when to settle for an underpaying job or whether to never settle’. 

In a country like ours, this seems like a rather tough question. There are cases where people turn down poor job offers and then end up getting better offers, while a lot of them regret turning down the underpaying jobs because they weren’t lucky enough to find better opportunities. How then do we know when to go for underpaying jobs and when not to? What if the job will bring more debts than income? What if a person becomes too comfortable with such contemptible job and refuses to pursue further?

Of course, there are quite a number of factors that should be considered before deciding to take up a career or a job, and the most important is the purpose of getting the Job. One can easily say the purpose is getting money, but that is not the only purpose of starting a job or career. A person can be starting a job to get paid, as well as to gain experience so as to be able to go further in that particular field. You can also get a job so that you can build a name for your brand. For example, you can take an underpaying job if your primary purpose is to gain experience in that particular field, but if your sole purpose of getting an occupation is to meet your financial needs, an underpaying job might not do you justice. I’ll differentiate the two scenarios below.

In cases of entrepreneurs, making a name should naturally be your top most priority at the earliest stage of starting your business, instead of profit and here’s why; lesser rates for good quality will attract customers/buyers which is exactly what you’re trying to do; to attract people. Attracting people is important because there will always competitors who are probably more experienced than you’re with better goodwill, therefore, getting people to leave their supplier for you would not be easy unless you attract them in the most obvious and common way; price and quality. The two goes hand in hand because lower price with lower quality is not exactly a win, neither is high price with a better quality because people cannot know the authencity of your product until they patronize you. Which means you still have to get them to patronize you first before bragging about your quality. It all still ends at price and quality as a way of attracting consumers. As soon as you start building a reputation for your business, you can begin to inflate your price gradually to suit your demand, as you have already created a good name and reputation for your brand. So, underpaying jobs in cases like this are not as bad as they seem. It’s just like how I’ll rather write an article for free and get the credit for it than write an article for as low as five hundred naira and not get the credit.

Also, in cases of getting a job with the main aim of internship or experience gaining, it is very obvious that a fat paying cheque should not be the watchword. This is because you’ll only be taking that job for a short while because it is only a means to an end.


Well in other sceneries where jobs are seeked for the main purpose of getting income, I’m not certain on whether underpaying jobs are advisable or not. This is because sometimes, people wreading.  end up with better offers and other times, there are simply no better offers, depending on how lucky or good you really are.
Consequently, my comments section is opened as usual for you guys to share your experiences and opinions concerning job/career search in Nigeria, Thank you for reading.

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