It took me a while to really embrace my work and become proud of it. I stumbled into writing— which is what I do for a living—by chance. Or maybe I should say that writing found me. Unfortunately, a lot of people still largely misunderstand what it is I do exactly. I hear phrases like: ‘Writer kẹ? Is that one work? Does it pay?’
For a while, I actually began to believe these voices and questions. I felt lazy and unambitious for not seeking out a more ‘conventional’ job. But then slowly, it began to grow on me. I realized I had to be proud of my work. It may not have looked like much to others, but I love it and I put my heart into it.
Apart from the fact that I put my heart in it, and also that there are challenges that sometime come with writing as a career, I have to admit that I put in quite the effort as well. Thankfully, it has actually begun to really pay the bills. In the words of Igwe Tupac: ‘I paid my dues and I paid in full. I deserve some accolades!’
Happy Workers’ Day!!
The truth is, many people like me give themselves way too little credit for the work they do. Regardless of your career path: board executive or designer, architect or teacher, doctor or business woman. You are doing the work, putting in the time, paying your dues. You deserve some accolades. And there’s no better time to celebrate you than today, the International Workers Day.
So yes, this one is for you.
You, who have sacrificed time with family and friends just so you could put food on the table. And then you, who face and endure difficult bosses, you who is underpaid, undervalued, frustrated and confused. Let’s not forget the many families who have to feed off each day’s labour, entrepreneurs and local business owners squeezing blood out of stone in an unyielding economy.
This Is To Say…Well done!
Well done to the unseen, unappreciated employee. To the cleaners and janitors who help us stay clean, to the security personnel and housekeepers, the nannies and drivers; the bricklayers and artisans, hairdressers and waiters. To the sun burnt woman frying akara by the roadside, hawkers running as fast as any athlete to make a few bucks before the day’s end. We see you; we see the work you do, the value you add to lives everywhere.
Be Proud Of Your Work.
That’s right, even if you are in the trenches, in the farms, in the abattoir; even if you are in the back waters, behind the scene, working quietly in unacknowledged silence. Stand tall. Be proud. Your hustle is valid.
Maybe you are out there; enduring the job, frowning at the strain, looking towards the next big break…you should still be proud. Whatever your reasons for staying on, we see your sacrifice.
For mothers who choose to sacrifice income and independence so as to run their homes and raise their children as full time stay-at-home mothers, who are sometimes disdained for this choice and their hard work dismissed, we see you. For mothers who have to juggle outside work and motherhood, with or without the presence and/or support of partners, we cheer you, loudly too!
This is for you too, unemployed, dusting files and sending out CVs. Writers and artists/artistes still waiting for their big break. Those going for auditions and interviews, sending out essays, manuscripts, and demos without success: Be proud. Be glad. Your big break will come!
No matter what you do, remember that your hustle is valid. Every work done with your honest sweat is valid as long as it’s legal.
Happy Workers’ Day!